Perceived Firm Innovativeness in the Tourism Industry: Dutch Tour Operators and the Effect of Perceived Firm Innovativeness on Firm Credibility, Purchase Intention and Customer Loyalty

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The aim of this research was to investigate whether PFI, by the means of a relatively novel scale, had an effect on firm credibility, purchase intention and customer loyalty with regard to Dutch tour operators in the tourism industry. It was motivated by the fact that this subject had been limited researched in the service context and a new scale had been developed that has a great ability of giving precise recommendations related to this subject. Moreover, as proven in earlier studies, being perceived as innovative is favourable for firms as it stimulates purchase intentions, higher customer loyalty levels and firm credibility. By proving that this also holds for tour operators, tour operators can compete better as competition is fierce and global trends urge firms to come up with innovative ideas. After doing three pilots, a survey was disseminated via an online travelblog. This resulted in a total of 182 respondents who filled out the survey. The results have been analysed by executing different analyses in SPSS even as using a partial least square – structural equation model (PLS-SEM) in ADANCO. The results show that the Norwegian Innovation Index (NII) as utilized scale for PFI of Dutch tour operators is not very accurate. This is based on the fact that there were (almost) no significant effects found among PFI of Dutch tour operators, firm credibility, purchase intention and customer loyalty whereas utilizing the PFI back-up scale does show significant and positive effects. Also, the dimensions of the Norwegian Innovation Index (NII) overlap. However, evidence was found for the fact that customers show more willingness to book a product/make use of a service of Dutch tour operators and do this repeatedly due to a deeply held commitment, when Dutch tour operators are perceived trustful in their disseminated information and capable on delivering this perception. For research implications and limitations, the results suggest that the Norwegian Innovation Index (NII) does not fully work in this context and requires more research (in other contexts). This research confirms the accuracy of the scale of Kunz et al. (2011) for measuring PFI. However, the sample is not found representative and discriminant validity problems were present. For practical implications, the results suggest that managers of tour operators should not excessively focus on PFI as it will not lead to higher extents of firm credibility, purchase intention and customer loyalty. However, it could not do any harm to focus on novel features with regard to the functionality and usefulness of services. Also, it is important to use tangible brand cues that are likable, trustful and show expertise in order to increase firm credibility. Herewith, it is recommended to differentiate advertising campaigns for groups, e.g. age.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen