A framework for understanding the website preferences of Egyptian online travel consumers

Wegdan Hagag, Lillian Clark, Colin Nigel Wheeler

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    Abstract

    The Internet has transformed marketing dramatically, in particular by providing interaction with consumers in any part of the world and in any language. Even in the early days of ecommerce, it was noted that users were three times more likely to buy a service or product when the web content was in their own language (DePalma, 1998). However, simply providing appropriate translations of web sites is insufficient for effective in-country digital marketing strategies, as cultural factors (the group of beliefs and values shared by a group) can also affect consumer interaction and need to be reflected in interface design. Providing such “Culturally congruent” (Luna et al., 2002, p. 400) content facilitates the consumer’s processing of information and leads to more favourable attitudes towards the site and consequently the products/services being offered. This sensitivity to the consumer’s culture also assists in personalisation of content, which leads to increased loyalty and sales (Singh et al., 2006; Tixier, 2005), while failure to reflect cultural values can lead to lost opportunities in attracting and keeping visitors engaged with content (Singh and Pereira, 2005b). This cultural sensitivity is of importance to the online travel market in Egypt, where both national and international travel companies seek to engage the growing Egyptian online consumer sector.

    In order to understand how cultural values can be recognised and incorporated into digital offerings, a number of researchers and practitioners have tried to adapt various existing cultural frameworks, in particular those of Hofstede (1980), Hall (1977 and 1984) or Schwartz (1999), to online consumer behaviour and web design. The drawback to such an approach is that these cultural frameworks originally emerged from studies of organisational behaviour or communications theory, rather than consumer behaviour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)68-82
    JournalInternational Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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