Digitalisation and visualisation of guide services – A communicative perspective

Mia Larson, associate professor, Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University

What is the research project about?
“We are in the midst of an exciting, growing sharing economy where consumers and companies are renting, sharing and creating together or borrowing things instead of owning them. There are several examples in the tourism industry: Airbnb, Couchsurfing, I like local and Uber. We are going to be investigating in more detail what opportunities and challenges the new economy and digitalisation means for the tourism industry.”

Why is this important?
“The modern tourist will increasingly be wanting more personalised and authentic services. In order to meet this need, the tourism industry needs to learn more about how digitalisation, visualisation and communication can be used to create both new services and new companies.”

What will you be doing?
“Over the course of two years, we will be closely monitoring how one company develops a national digital platform for adventure tourism. An entrepreneur – an adventure enthusiast – has been working on the concept for a long time. When we enter the project, he is in the starting gate, ready to implement it.”

What methods will you be using?
“The first stage will involve us tracking the process of establishing the platform. We will be studying how the entrepreneur, together with others, builds up the company, creates business models and the company’s identity and brand. In stage two, we are conducting something called a netnographic study. This involves investigating the attitudes and behaviours of the users – both guides and tourists – how they communicate with one another on the platform and whether a community emerges. The results will be summarised in three academic papers.”

What does the digital platform consist of?
“It is a mediation service that is supposed to facilitate communication between guides and customers in adventure tourism activities such as surfing, kayaking and off-piste skiing. A mountain guide, off-piste ski instructor or kite surfing expert is given the opportunity to offer their service to both a domestic and international pool of customers. Both booking and payment are handled via the platform.

How can companies in the tourism and hospitality industry benefit from this research?
“Our goal is to learn more about how actors in the tourism and hospitality industry can develop and communicate their operations within the sharing economy. The hope is that this will facilitate the creation of new successful services and new entrepreneurship. We also hope that the platform will inspire others to become involved in new partnerships.”

Researchers involved
Mia Larson, associate professor, Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University
Cecilia Cassinger, PhD, Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University

Collaborators
Nikola Leijon, owner and project manager, Aways AB

The digital platform Aways is here.

Project facts

Project

Digitalisation and visualisation of guide services – A communicative perspective

Research organization

Lund University

Project Manager

Mia Larsson

Members

Cecilia Cassinger, Lund University, Nikola Leijon, Aways AB

Period

Oct 2018 - Sep 2019

Amount

SEK 1,500,000

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