ASSESSING THE LEVEL OF E-BUSINESS ADOPTION AMONG THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN GHANA: A CASE OF SOME SELECTED HOTELS IN GHANA

ABSTRACT
The evolution and increasing adoption of Electronic Business across sectors and continents has influenced businesses in many ways including, improvement in their operational efficiency, profitability, and to strengthen their competitive position globally. As a result, Ghana has supported this new wave through the enactment and establishment of legislations and institutions respectively. With the hospitality industry, particularly hotels, in Ghana increasingly adopting different models of e-business, this study looks at the most common types of e-business applications, the common concerns of implementation and the general benefits associated with e-business adoption. The study adopted purposive sampling technique and used both primary and secondary data through questionnaires, interviews and various desk reviews. Amid other findings, the study shows that whiles e-business improves fast exchange of documents and information and general customer services, its associated costs (such as computers, internet cost) presents a major barrier to its adoption. The study recommends further government interventions through improvement in telecommunication infrastructure such as fiber optic cables and the potential introduction of a price ceiling for the cost of internet connectivity Ghana.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION 
1.1 Background of the Study
The evolution and increasing adoption of Electronic Business across sectors and continents has influenced businesses in many ways including, their strategies, performances, marketing, etc. Today, we see customers and business operators use ICT and other electronic media (such as the internet) to conduct commercial transactions, communicate, obtain feedback, store information, market products, and even manage day to day operations. The adoption of E-business, however differ across sectors, organizations, and geographical horizons based on its intended objectives, benefits, and existing infrastructure (Daniel and Wilson 2003; Eikebrokk and Olsen 2007; Tallant 2011). These factors include the enactment of clear national legislative framework that allows for easy accessibility to ICT infrastructure, the availability and accessibility internet and intranet infrastructure, and improved ability of people to use the internet (ibid). In addition to the existing infrastructure and legislative frameworks, some of the perceived benefits of e-business adoption include competitive advantage gains, increased productivity, accomplishing business goals faster, and improvement in customer service and, communications with businesses, and supplier relations, (Baggio, 2004).

The World Trade Organization (WTO) narrowly defines E-business as the production, distribution, marketing, sale or delivery of goods and services by electronic means. Specifically, the internet has become undoubtedly the most prominent tool in today's business environment creating a flatter and more interconnected market. This has been mainly attributed to the recent advances in telecommunications, networking database, data processing, and electronic marketing. On the other hand, the use of internet by business clients, customers, and partners have shown a very rapid growth during the last decade in most parts of the world, but more so in developing countries (reported by Globalization 101, 2014). According to the internet society’s Global Internet Report (2014), the world internet users are estimated at 2.2 billion, with developing countries having more than 50 percent of the mobile broadband subscribers. This means not only has internet accessibility at homes, work, or other internet locations like cafes increased in developing countries but also cell phones and dongles. Interestingly, the growth in the adoption of broadband and access to internet has also shown a responding increase in the GDP of developing countries. Ghana is not an exception to this.

This increase in internet accessibility notwithstanding, Ghana is still considered one of the world’s less digitized countries with a low percentage of its population that actively conduct business online. As of 2011, about 2 million out of its estimated 24 million populations were active internet users representing 8.4 percent (ITU, 2012). The adoption of E-business in Ghana has grown significantly since 2005, after the government of Ghana (GoG) ratified and adopted an ICT policy – Information and Communication Technology for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD). The purpose of the ICT4D was to create the critical drive and strategies to harness the full potential of ICT for the socio-economic development of the country in most industries. Hence, the Internet technologies are important infrastructure for supporting the activities of a number of public and private sector in Ghana.

Following the increasing adoption of internet in Ghana, the recent availability of e-commerce software and supporting legislation and institutions has radically supported the adoption of e-business in different sectors. The hospitality industry, specifically hotels, has increasingly adopted innovative technologies to manage and market their services online. The benefits of e-business adoption may have been known to outweigh its cost (Gibbs et al., 2002). Nonetheless, it has become a necessary condition for hotels to operate effectively and efficiently in order to gain competitive advantage. As a result, it appears a reasonable decision for many hotels to explore e-business opportunities to provide new prospects for business development as globalization of markets and doing business internationally has become gradually important.

In recent times, it is uncommon to find a hotel, which does not have an online presence or not least, a social media presence. Although hotels are becoming increasingly cognizant of the opportunities presented by the adoption of e-business, (including ICT mediated services such as electronic booking, online payment, online customer rating, online marketing, connecting suppliers, partners, etc.), the sustainability of E-business strategies to keep up with global competition remains a challenge. To be competitive in the current internet economy, hotels in Ghana need to adopt successful e-business strategies that maximize the opportunities presented and simultaneously minimize the challenges that come with it. Hence, it is important to understand the current benefits, barriers, challenges faced, and status of hotels that have adopted e-business in Ghana.

1.2 Statement of Problem
The proliferation of the internet has not only provided an opportunity for Hotels to do business electronically but also to be more competitive and get a global exposure and access to cross border markets. Generally, the evolution of e-business and globalization has created a wider global market and competition for all levels of businesses. E-business adoption can be very beneficial to businesses once appropriate measures are put in place prior to its implementation. Despite the growing number of studies on E-business adoption in hotels, there is the need for advancing understanding of the key factors experienced in different contexts around the world. In Ghana, hotel businesses have recently adopted e-businesses with the aim to improve their competitive advantage and increase their sales. However, the few existing literature show that the adoption of e-business (in most part for electronic mail and advertising) have not taking full advantage of e-business technologies when compared to large businesses both locally and foreign (Fillis et al. 2004; Peet et al. 2002; Quayle 2002; Grandon and Pearson 2004). More so, the rapid changing environment, technological advancements and consumer taste and preferences present dynamic challenges to a sustainable e-business. In order to be competitive, hotels in Ghana should ensure e-business aligns with their organizational goals and in turn create positive outcomes for them. Having a well-developed strategy that includes flexibility and adaptability for launching, maintaining, and updating can be crucial.

E-business adoption among hotels is one of the areas that have been less explored. Understanding how hotels have previously benefited from e-business adoption and its implementation will build up literature in this area of study as well as provide informed lessons to e-business implementation in Ghana. This research therefore assesses the level of e-business adoption in some selected hotels in Ghana so as to identify the factors impeding the adoption and the benefits that the early adopters have gained.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 74 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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