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Tourism sector has been of increasingly important in both developed and developing countries due to the vital role it plays in their economies and the nature of growth experienced by the sector. Thus the service providers and intermediaries in this sector have the responsibility to uphold the high level of quality services so as to satisfy the customers’ expectation. The services providers and intermediaries mainly include, accommodation and catering services provides (hotels), tour operators and travel agents.
Service providers and intermediaries play very important roles in the rapidly growing tourism sector by performing very vital functions like, offering information to the clients, provide transport services, providing accommodation and catering service, offering entertainment services, giving guidance the tourist tour agents (Cousins 2007). These important functions need performed with diligence by players in this industry since tourist visit a place for a life time experience so the services and products offered must be of the highest quality.
Although service providers have been able to meet the demands of their clients which is key to success witnessed in the tourism sector, there is a reason behind this success which can be attributed to continuous innovations and technological advancement. The development of spas in Britain in the seventeenth century which later spread to parts other of Europe was one of earliest instance ancillary service giving rise to growth of seaside resort in the nineteenth century. Later still in the nineteenth century the introduction of steamships was one greatest achievement in development of infrastructure that would later be used by tour seaside resort was developed. This was followed by the innovation of the rail transport and introduction of hotel chains by some railway companies which had developed special trains to ferry leisure travelers (Davidson 1998). Today aircrafts and tour vans have dominated in the transportation of tourist these transportation improvements are historical development in the tourism service providers.
Emergence of mountaineering sport and ski resorts have also offered diversification in tourist destination this helped service providers and intermediaries in forming a wide range of product available to the tourist, these has also lead to decrease in seaside resort.
Technological advancements have also emerged as one the historic development in the tourism sector. Service providers can be able to market the product online thanks to the innovations of internet also they can receive payment via internet banking.
Emergence of paid holidays where employers pay’s holidays for their employees have also emerged as a historical development. This act like boost to tourism sector as employees fully takes advantage of this offer by their employer
Improvement in communication infrastructure has helped the service providers through online bookings thus they are able to plan on every stay at their facilities on matters like resources which tourist will use at his stay (Wall and Wall 2007 ).
According to Harvard dictionary tourism is defined as “The activity of travelling for pleasure, to see sights, for recreation etc.” People travel or visit certain places for leisure, business or to visit relatives and friends.
For leisure the main motivators for people to travel to a certain place may include the reasons; one people may travel to certain places for holidays so that they can have a break away from their daily responsibility. Second, culture and religion of a certain community may motivate one to travel from their homes to the habitat of the community to so as to enjoy culture associated with that community. Third, sports motivate people to travel so as to participate, like witnessed in the last year football world cup in South Africa. Lastly people are motivated by social and spiritual believes to travel this can be showcased where Muslims travel to Mecca from parts of the world due to their spiritual believes.
Visiting relative and friends seems like social norm in our society, people do to visit the elderly in our society, to enjoy celebrations with our loved be it for weddings or funeral or just to visit friends. Business tourism have also become increasingly popular this may be motivated by reasons like to attend meetings, trade fairs and exhibitions, business seminars and conferences.
Tourism service providers and intermediaries plays vita role in the fast growing tourism sector in the world, as earlier indicated in these paper the success of the tourism industry depends on how effective, efficient and reliable they service and products are. Tourism being one of the most dynamic sectors of an economy after telecommunication sector continuous improvements and innovations are not only necessary but also sufficient for success.
Tourism service provider or an intermediary can increase market share through inculcating an innovative culture so always to gain a competitive advantage over competitors this can be done conducting market research and indentifying specific needs of a customer so to gain customer loyalty through offering the customer just what they want (Seth 2008).
Human capital is essential in service providing. A service provider or an intermediary needs a work force that is competent and highly skilled so as to be to meet demands of different customers. A firm can build a high rich foundation of human capital through training and capacity building on its own employees. In order to increase market intermediaries need be networking that is he or she should always cooperate with other market plays, also these may foster innovations through brainstorming.
The tourism sector is always characterized by information asymmetry between customers and services providers or intermediaries. Players in the sector should aim at avoiding situation of information asymmetry. This would decrease operation cost thus reducing service cost which would result to increased market share.
Service providers and intermediaries need to employ strategic management techniques in managing their business. Strategic management includes, total quality management and value chain management this helps the management to improve on quality of services and products offered to tourist thus gaining loyalty from existing customers while attracting new customers eventually increasing they market share.
Terrorism activities and security of tourist have raised a lot of concern. A service provider for example hotel owner must to offer security to customers so maintain the existing customer and attract others while aero plane owner should make sure that lives of tourists are not in danger.
Intermediaries and services providers need to carry out advertising campaigns aimed marketing their product and services to the areas the have not yet penetrated, this would increase their market share (Khan 2005). Also they should always adopt strategies to the cost of their cost so as to offer their product and services at a cheaper price, while improving quality this due to the fact that price is a determinant factor in tourist choice of the destination to visit (Chang, Hsu and Williams 2008).
In conclusion tourism service providers and intermediaries play an important role in success of tourism sector through improvements in transportation, communication and technological improvement tourism has been transformed into a dynamic sector that needs continuous improvements and innovations so as achieve economical goals.