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Title: Understanding the factors that attract travellers to use airline websites for purchasing air tickets
Author: Bukhari, Saleh Mohammed Fadel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 1366
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2015
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In order for e-commerce businesses to attract customers and consequently increase revenue, it is essential to understand the behaviour of online consumers. This involves understanding how consumers react to website elements, and what could influence the adoption of online channels. Given the applied nature of this research area, a number of studies have been carried out by marketers and information systems experts in order to develop a better understanding of consumer behaviour and web elements impact on adoption of online services. However, as web services continue to expand, so does the need for further research concentrating on specific types of products or services. Many academic articles have been published to cater for specific web portals such as retailing, banking, governmental transactions, hotel booking, and many other areas. Whilst this is the case, there remains a lack of research examining customer behaviour when using airline websites. Given the specific nature of online consumers, and the amount of business surrounding e-ticketing, it is imperative that this gap in research is addressed. Multi-faceted limitations surrounding online consumer behaviour within the airlines industry emerge from the literature. For example, the majority of previous research has relied solely upon traditional theories and as such, other important perspectives related to travel warrant investigation. Additionally, apparent links between website qualities and website adoption remain under investigated in the context of the airline industry. Another gap in research relates to the investigation of the moderating role of travellers’ characteristics such as their demographics, internet experiences, and travel habits. Based on these limitations, this research aims to develop a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary (i.e. consumer behaviour, information systems, travel and tourism) theoretical model that is capable of examining the factors that influence travellers’ online satisfaction and intention to purchase air tickets from airline websites. In developing this model, this research adopts a positivist, deductive, and quantitative approach. Thus, based on the analysis and synthesis of literature, a conceptual model comprised of nine constructs is proposed. Inspired by the Information Systems Success Model, e-satisfaction is centralised in the model and suggested as the main predictor of intention to purchase airline tickets. Information web qualities and system web qualities are considered as antecedents of e-satisfaction. The two constructs from the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use) are also integrated into the model. Other important factors such as e-trust, airline reputation, and price perception are also embedded. The suggested model has been validated using a measurement scale based on previously validated items. This research adopts an online survey that targets real travellers from Saudi Arabia who have used airline websites. Interviews, focus groups, and a pilot study were conducted to validate the survey items. Data collection procedures utilized the social media channels for the two operating airlines in Saudi Arabia as well as a snowball method. Data analysis techniques including exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modelling were used to validate the relationships and to test overarching research hypotheses. Additionally, group comparison techniques including invariance analysis were used to explore the moderation effect of demographic characteristics (i.e. gender, age, education level, monthly income, occupation, and location), internet experience, and travel habits (i.e. origin of the airline used, actual tickets purchase, travel frequency, motivation for travel, type of travel, and type of funding). The results from this research suggest that the most influential factors motivating travellers to purchase online are e-satisfaction followed by website trust. Furthermore, travellers’ perceptions of website quality also played an important role in influencing e-satisfaction. Price was the next influential factor. Several other factors appeared to have direct and indirect associations with intention to purchase and e-satisfaction. Additionally, findings emanating from group analysis suggest that some demographic factors and travel habits have a moderating influence over the research hypotheses. As such, this research makes several contributions to the consumer behaviour and web quality literature within the travel and tourism context. The findings from this research can assist airlines in shaping their web development priorities and enable them to focus on the most influential factors. This thesis concludes with a discussion of the application of these findings, an evaluation of the studies undertaken, and suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Ghoneim, A. ; Dennis, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Online consumer behaviour ; E-satisfaction ; Airlines web quality ; E-commerce ; E-ticketing