ICT (information communication technology), peripherality and smaller hospitality businesses in Scotland.
Anderson, Alistair R.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of information communication technology (ICT) in small rural hospitality businesses. Although ICT is often presented as a means of reducing the impact of being rural, little is known about the extent or level of use of ICT. This paper addresses these issues. Design/methodology/approach – The paper employs both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather and analyse data. The study had two stages: an initial survey to determine the extent and pervasion of ICT; and a second interview stage to explore the role and applications of ICT. Findings – The authors find that 84 per cent of the businesses use ICT effectively, mainly to provide information and improve service quality. In addition, some firms had adopted very successful methods of using the internet for sales and marketing but ignored supply functions. The authors were surprised to find that ICT was seen as a way of enhancing personal service and that rather than a barrier, it was seen to promote quality of service. Moreover the respondents did seem to have used ICT effectively to overcome the disadvantages of location and rurality. Research limitations/implications – The survey was carried out in a single rural environment and this limits its generalisability. Nonetheless, the study develops some interesting issues about the application of ICT in the rural context. Practical implications – The paper identifies the benefits derived from the enthusiasm of some rural business owners. They had recognised the efficacy of computing and can provide lessons in how to apply ICT to overcome distance. Originality/value – The paper addresses a gap in research and offers some insights into the application of ICT in rural areas.