Platformization of Travel and Tourism Real Estate: A Study on the Operation of Online Tourist Accommodation Booking Platforms in Sri Lanka

Lasika Madhawa Munasinghe, Terans Gunawardhana, N.C. Wickramaarachchi, R.G. Ariyawansa


Tourism enterprises, products and experiences, market environments, and destinations have all undergone major transformations due to digital technologies. The traditional roles of tourism producers and customers have also been changed by digitalisation, with the emerging new roles, partnerships, business models, and competencies. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to these developments to make Sri Lanka a better tourist destination. As such, the present study explores the digital presence of tourist accommodation establishments in Sri Lanka with the intention of providing insights for a National Digital Strategy. The study is exploratory in nature and internet-based research methodology and reviewing of relevant literature. The study found that most Star Class, Unclassified and Boutique Hotels in Sri Lanka have a website and facilitate their customers to book their accommodation through the website equipped with a booking engine. In comparison, most Guest Houses, Heritage Bungalows, Heritage Homes, Home Stay Units, Hostels, Rented Apartments and Rented Homes do not have a website. It was also found that a large and growing proportion of tourist accommodation service providers who provide their services through third party Online Booking Platforms are not registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. This trend has been identified as a standard and compliance risk for all stakeholders in the industry. This study would be helpful for policymakers to understand the growing importance of these platforms and introduce incentives and appropriate guidelines for the sustainability of the tourism industry. 


Platformization; tourist accommodation; online booking platforms; travel and tourism industry; Sri Lanka

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