The tourist of tomorrow: How should the hospitality sector accommodate the e-generation?

Åsa Wallström, Professor of Industrial Marketing, Luleå University of Technology

What is the research project about?
“We will examine how best the hospitality sector can accommodate the tourists of the future. The technology-minded generation will be placing totally different demands on marketing, availability and two-way communication via digital channels compared to the aspirations of many companies in the sector today. This in turn will place heavy demands on the digital presence that companies have.”

Who are the members of the e-generation?
“We have defined them as including people born at the start of the eighties and thereafter.”

How will you proceed?
“We will study two focus groups of young persons aged 16-30, and at the same time carry out a more in-depth review of the literature. This will form a basis for our work for when we then conduct two large-scale online surveys in the form of questionnaires in both Sweden and other countries. We expect to cover around two thousand individuals, and will ensure that we get a sufficient number of answers back to carry out statistical analysis. The questionnaires will enable us to find out, say, which expectations and demands the e-generation will make on a company’s digital presence, how it will hear about destinations and the offers available, and how it will gather and disseminate information about these on the Internet. We have a reference group attached to the project consisting of four representatives from the hospitality sector, with whom we will be working on an ongoing basis. We will compile the results in a popular science report which will contain suggestions for strategies and advice to businesses.”

How can companies in the hospitality sector benefit from this research?
“We would like to help companies to be prepared. By producing, developing and disseminating knowledge about how they should meet the needs of the E-generation, we can help make the hospitality sector more attractive. The digital channels will give tourism companies a good opportunity to present themselves and be seen in a way that has not been possible for them in the past, and they will be able to spread information about their business in a new and exciting way. However, they will also need to be able to deliver and bear in mind that they’ll be creating expectations. They will need to find the right balance in their range of offers.”

What are the main challenges?
“We Swedes are good at answering questionnaires and surveys and will no doubt provide useful data for this project too, but the reasons for taking part in an online survey differ between countries. So one challenge may be obtaining sufficient data from other countries.”

The research team
Åsa Wallström is a Professor of Industrial Marketing whose research focuses on e-services and services marketing. Maria Ek Styvén is an Associate Professor in Industrial Marketing, Anne Engström is an Associate Professor in e-Commerce, and Tim Foster is a Senior Lecturer in Industrial Marketing. The project’s reference group consists of four representatives from: The Stockholm Visitors Board AB, Swedish Lapland, Teknikens hus, Luleå and ABBA The Museum, Stockholm.

You can track the project on: http://www.ltu.se/research/subjects/Industriell-marknadsforing/Forskningsprojekt/morgondagens-turist-1.118400

Publications from the project

Title Year Image
Who am I if you can’t see me? The “self” of young travellers as driver of eWOM in social media 2018
BFUF Rapport #6
Morgondagens turist – hur ska besöksnäringen bemöta e-generationen?
2016

Åsa Wallström

Projektledare

Foto: Luleå tekniska universitet

Maria Ek Styvén

Medverkande

Foto: Luleå tekniska universitet

Anne_Engstrom

Anne Engström

Medverkande

Foto: Luleå tekniska universitet


Tim_Foster

Tim Foster

Medverkande

Foto: Luleå tekniska universitet

Project facts

Project:
The tourist of tomorrow: How should the hospitality sector accommodate the e-generation?
Research organization:
Luleå tekniska universitet
Project Manager:
Åsa Wallström
Members:
Maria Ek Styvén, Anne Engström and Tim Foster
Period:
Apr 2014 – Mar 2016
Amount:
SEK 1,200,000