Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the online presence of Italian destination management organizations (DMOs) by assessing the quality of their web sites through a demand-side heuristic approach. Moreover, given the importance of a clear strategic vision for an efficient and effective use of online media, the paper examines the alignment between tourism development plans and practical implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT). Finally, the possible impact of the adoption of a strategic approach on the overall quality of the web sites under investigation is explored. Design/methodology/approach: A double analysis was conducted. An assessment of the main quality features of the official tourism web sites and an evaluation of the statements of public authorities concerning strategic intentions and guidelines for developing ICT instruments. The two evaluations are compared in order to examine their relationships. A strategic matrix of the technological performance and attitude of Italian regional authorities is proposed. Findings: The quality of the Italian DMOs' web sites is satisfactory, on average. Weaknesses are found in the offer of interactive services and Web 2.0 functions. Moreover, an improvement in the user evaluations with respect to the past demonstrates the attention given to ICTs by the DMOs. As a matter of fact, the strategic plans examined deal, in general, relatively well with ICT issues, while it is also shown that poor strategic vision, as expressed in the promotional plans, is related to poor performance of some web sites. Originality/value: The paper assesses the quality of Italian DMOs' web sites quality as perceived by visitors and, for the first time, relates the evaluations to how ICT strategic plans deal with the issue.
- Destination management
- Web 2.0
- Website evaluation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Computer Science Applications