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The Role of E-Marketing in the Growth of Tourism

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The Role of E-Marketing in the Growth of Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises in Limbe. This study aims to assess the potential of e-marketing in the growth of selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.

This study was carried out  using  both  quantitative and qualitative data analysis.  Inferential statistical techniques involved measure of association using Chi Square Test  of independence  and Correlation Coefficient (Spearman’s rho  non-parametric test).this study revealed that most guests have smart phones but how well the organizations have adopted the use of IT is very poor(73.2%) .

This study suggests some recommendations to the Government and to the management of the sampled tourism organisations. Some of the problems highlighted in our study which these organisations face is poor internet connection(89.3%) and poor IT knowledge.

To solve this problems the study recommends the management of these organizations to train their staff on the use of and advantages of e-marketing and to the government to adopt technological innovation like; improving internet wireless connection carrying capacity.



1.1 Background of the Study

Since the late 19th century, E-Marketing has evolved from a process which underpinned a distinct mode of transacting business with customers into an activity in which virtually every large organisation is involved (Webber, 2013).

This evolution has been most rapid since the founding of the digital marketing in 1988 with the evolution of the internet. The commencement of internet marketing takes us back to the 1960s, shortly after that, almost all innovative electronic applications was introduced just about the late 70s (Turban, King, Lee &Viehland, 2004).

An additional improvement which was later introduced known as the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), made it possible for businesses to conduct transactions such as purchase orders and invoices to be transferred between two or more organizations using standard procedures and documents (Papazoglou & Ribbers, 2006).

1995 was the year when the total number of internet users worldwide was 16 Million which was changed to 558 Million in 2002 and average time spent by Americans were spending time on internet in 1996 was 30 minutes a day and in 2014 the average time spent by an American on internet is approximately 11 hours a day, however the popularity remained limited due the slow growth of internet affordability and adaptability of Internet with less usage of service/host offering the web hosting.

The new millennium has given the actual recognition to the term E-Marketing and by the end of 2005, the real significance of e-marketing was pointed out by the majority of the users. Zuckerberg started Facebook in February 2004, Google launched Gmail in April 2004, and Twitter was launched in March 2006.

The growth of e-marketing in 2010 was estimated approximately 48%. 2012 and 2013 are the years which have so far traced as the favourable most time for the term e-marketing (Kamal, 2016).

Statistics related with e-marketing reflects that the developed economies have faced the maximum expansion in e-marketing practices, among such are the Economies Australia which is leading and followers were United States of America and Luxembourg.

E-marketing are the backbone of businesses to day in the 21st century (Derick, 1992). E-marketing is expected to benefit economic development in several ways: e-marketing allows business especially tourism enterprises to have access to global markets/audience, by providing new opportunities to export a wider range of goods and services and by improving the internal efficiency within the firms.

Similarly, small manufacturers of tourism enterprises are discovering how e-marketing is assisting in the marketing and distribution of their wares by creating digital market places to manage supply chains and automate transaction, increasing efficiency and opening previously closed markets to firms in developing countries (Derick, 1992).

Also, e-commerce is improving the culture of business which has improved better intra-firm communications, cost savings procedures, and reductions in the inventory costs leading to better management.

In Europe, small tourism enterprises (SMTEs) make-up a large element of the European tourism enterprise, notably in hospitality as well as travel firms and restaurances.

Tourism enterprises in Europe are fast adopting to the changing technological advancement and they are using technology for e-marketing making them to be the leading tourism industry in the world today (Evans, et al., 2000).

technology innovations used by tourism enterprises for e-commerce in Europe are: telephone, fax, e-mail, world wide web-www, intranet, accept credit card and virtual reality (VR).

For example, over 50% of London tourism enterprises currently use IT for e-commerce to communicate/call customers about the any modification or change in it products and to do research on customers’ needs. The most common used by tourism enterprises include: email, the internet/web, intranet and CD-Rom.

Challenges faced by tourism enterprises in Europe which hinders them from carrying out their e-operations include: lack of coordination, lack of security and trust (Hojeghan & Esfangareh, 2011).

Northern America has seen a steady increase in e-marketing and number of tourism enterprises involved in e-marketing has increased ten-fold since 2010. In the midst of this e-marketing evolution, the global travel and tourism industry is by its very nature especially ripe for change.

Nearly a quarter of the United States of America (USA) consumers are going on holiday by planning their accommodation with the use of ICTs technologies that permit the easy use e-marketing operation such as: smartphones, the internets, electronic cards Global distribution systems like Amadeus and social media to book the hotel of their choice on arrival (Peng & Yang, 2011). Just a few years ago, all travel arrangements would have been set in stone prior to departure.

However, the coming of e-marketing means that the tourism and hospitality enterprises with their consumers can be more spontaneous and can tailor their holiday to suit their needs while on the ground. It is envisaged that online marketing will see more and more tourists planning their break on the go since they can pay from where ever they are (World Travel & Tourism, 2018).

Wine Restaurant Business in Thailand are running their businesses with the new strategic of food quality and ambience with creative menu selections. Nowadays, the e-marketing provides an opportunity channel for promotion. Some of the e-marketing platforms used by restaurants in Thailand to run their e-marketing operations are: social media, electronic brochure, e-magazines, the internet, the company’s emails and websites (Phenomeno, 2012).

These platforms are used to analyzed the number of wine restaurant growth that was from the customer centric of wine restaurant’s customers who preferred to party after work and they wanted to express themselves with location, pictures, and food appearing in social media (Wongpitakroj, 2017). Mobile marketing has positively influenced on marketing strategies for wine restaurant business as promotion is higher with social media.

Technologies can play a central role in tourism in Asia. Technological innoviations used by the tourism and hospitality in e-marketing operations are Social medias (like facebook, twitter), Blogs, Wikis and Web 2.0 (Bertella, 2010).

Users of these e-marketing platforms use it to engage in different online activities such as: build community around the product or service, interaction with customers publish information immediately, allows employees to chat amongst themselves to foster unity and a sense of family among them, serve as lines of communications between managers and employees (and vice versa) and helps communicate the firm’s culture and brand personality throughout the organization.

For example, India which is one of the dream destinations in the world, is slowly climbing up on the popularity charts of travellers in world of tourism. Hotels in India offer the best accommodation facilities to travellers from across the globe. The only e-marketing platform used by the hotel industry is social media.

E-marketing application by SMEs is very important for enhancing marketing practices in order to gain and sustain competitiveness. However, this technology seems to be new for the SMEs in the developing countries where lack knowledge of proper implementation is a great setback (Sheikh, Shahzad, & Ishak, 2016). Thus, leading to its limited application of ICTs for e-marketing.

For example, the ICTs used by tourism enterprises in Kenya for e-marketing are the telephone, internet, mobile apps, social media, laptops, tablets, TV, Worldwide net (web sites, online chats/forums, email, blogs). E-marketing is playing a vital role regarding the SMEs’ performance and competitiveness.

Njau & Karugu (2014) found that limited application of e-marketing by the majority of SMEs in Kenya is due to the high development costs and lack of knowledge on how it improves business performance.

In Cameroon, the emergence of ICTs that is more compatible with third-generation (3G) mobile technology (smartphones and tablets). (Mbondo, 2013). Information technology (IT) adopted by tourism enterprises in Cameroon for e-marketing operations include: social media, Amadeus, mobile apps, telephone and e-commerce, tablets, computers, printers, interactive online white boards, data storage tools (CD cards and flash drivers) and online learning platforms (LMS and MOOC among others) The most popular e-marketing platform use are social media, website, emails and mobile apps, hardware systems like: PC sales, cell phones, smartphones, data storage, gaming hardware telephone subscription, wireless industry, VoIP, digital media like: TV, internet video, music, radio, gaming, online news, blogging, social networking, electronic commerce: Internet advertising, online finance, online travel, online health care and the types of e-commerce systems (B2C, B2B) (Raoul & Marienne, 2020).

Tourism companies in Cameroon that involved e-marketing in their business operations are: Goshen Tour Operator, Global Bush Travel and Tourism Agency, Hilton hotel, Mount Febe, Mountain hotel, the Delegation of Tourism and Leisure for Cameroon among others. Wunnava and Leiter (2008) notes that the rate of e-marketing adoption in Cameron is very slow.

Due to the following challenges: insufficient technological awareness, and scares resources. The same scenario is common with tourism enterprises in Limbe as they faced enormous challenges in the adoption of e-marketing to the growth of tourism enterprises in Limbe.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Electronic-marketing (e-marketing) is one of the fastest growing forms of digital marketing in both developed and developing countries (Kalu, Nto & Nwadighoha, 2017). It provides opportunities for business enterprises to attract new customers and reach the existing ones more effectively (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). Telecommunications and e-marketing based businesses are today’s most dynamic and fast-growing sectors in the world economy.

A global ICT index has ranks 52 countries employ the use of ICT infrastructure e-marketing due to the extent to which governments, businesses and consumers make use of connectivity technologies to enhance social and economic prosperity, so called “useful connectivity” Etoundi et al (2016). unfortunely, Cameroon and Limbe in particular is not yet part of the Connectivity scorecard because of the following problems.

The problems limiting the adoption of e-marketing in Limbe are: lack of awareness, lack of synergy among various sectors, insufficient of information service providers and intermediaries to assist tourism enterprises in Limbe, limited finance, insufficient trained experts to explore ICTs technologies for e-marketing, computational complexity and system complexity. Etoundi et al (2016) added that insufficient/lack of transmission capacity to cover certain contractual region is a challenge to e-marketing adoption.

These challenges are making it extremely difficult for tourism enterprises in Limbe to effectively use e-marketing in their businesses. If these lapses are not solved, it will have negative consequences to the tourism enterprises in Limbe such as: it will lead to economic backwardness, slow development in the country, slow the e-commerce activities operations management leading to poor customer satisfaction in tourism services rendered by tourism enterprises in Limbe, poor training and development, ineffective use of an online platform for selection and recruitment leading to inefficiency of workers (Piabuo, Piendiah, Njamnshi & Tieguhong 2017).

Furthermore, there is little research on e-marketing. A previous study by Etoundi et al (2016) focused only on “Challenges and Perspectives of Developing a Digital Economy in Cameroon:” but did not address the state of E-marketing adoption in Limbe which the current study hopes to fill.

Other studies like that of Ndille & Belle (2014) focused on “Managing the Limbe Floods” but did not delve into the role of e-marketing to the growth of tourism enterprises in limbe.

It is only recently that the attention of researchers has been drawn to the issues of E-Marketing in the tourism and hospitality enterprises. Few studies such as: Truong & Bhuiyan, (2009) have identified the Determinants of E-Marketing Adoption by Small and Medium Enterprises in African Countries.

No studies have worked on the role of e-marketing to the growth of tourism enterprises in Limbe. These research differences have prevented the sustainable development of historical tourism.

1.3 Research Questions

1.3.1 General Question

What is the role played by e-marketing in the growth of selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.

1.3.2 Specific Question

  1. What is the state of e-marketing adoption by selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe?
  2. How have e-marketing contributed to the growth of selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe?
  3. What are the challenges plaguing e-marketing adoption by selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe?
  4. Which strategies can be implemented to boost the adoption and effectiveness of e-marketing by selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe?

1.4 Research objectives

1.4.1 General Objective

To assess the potential of e-marketing in the growth of selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

  1. To examine the state of e-marketing adoption by selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.
  2. To assess the contributions of e-marketing to the growth of selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.
  3. To investigate challenges plaguing e-marketing adoption by selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.
  4. To propose strategies that can be implemented to boost the adoption and effectiveness of e-marketing by selected tourism and hospitality enterprises in Limbe.
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