Co-creating high-value hospitality services in the tourism ecosystem: Towards a paradigm shift?
Antonios Giannopoulos, University of the Aegean, Greece, George Skourtis, Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom, Alexandra Kalliga, Hellenic Open University, Greece, Dimitrios-Michail Dontas-Chrysis, Hellenic Open University, Greece & Dimitrios Paschalidis, Region of South Aegean, Greece
Published online: 30 May 2020, JTHSM, 6(2), pp.3-11.
Purpose: Adopting the service-ecosystem perspective, this is the first empirical study conceptualising tourism as an ecosystem. Based on the institutional theory and focusing on high-value hospitality services, it aims to unveil the components of the multilayer tourism ecosystem that enable stakeholders’ interactions at and between different levels.
Methods: Applying a qualitative research design in Rhodes, the study focuses on value co-creation to explore the structure of the tourism ecosystem and its underlying mechanisms. Triangulation and bracketing were employed to ensure the reliability of the data collected through ten semi-structured interviews with high-ranking tourism policy-makers and hotel/restaurant managers.
Results: The results led to the identification of the three-level service ecosystem (micro, meso, macro) that incorporates myriads of actions and interactions shaping tourism activity in order to provide high-value hospitality services. The analysis also revealed the institutional logic that permeates all levels (rules, norms, practices, meanings and symbols).
Implications: The study goes beyond the destination-visitor and firm-guest interactions to incorporate multiple stakeholders co-creating value in the tourism ecosystem, including tourists, locals and employees, hotels and restaurants, DMOs and other organisations supporting the tourism value chain. It sheds light on the new paradigm shift from the notion of tourism industry to the concept of an inclusive tourism ecosystem, paving the way for future research to address global challenges in the COVID-19 era.
Keywords: tourism marketing, hospitality services, institutional theory, service ecosystem, value co-creation
JEL Classification: L83, L8, Q57