When I was thinking about my research on tourism supply chains (TSC), there is a concept of seamless supply chain that came into my mind.
It was the sunny day in Cardiff. I was considering what the best TSC is.
(1) Should it focus on the customers that are the tourists? If so, we have to maximise tourists? satisfaction.
(2) Should it focus on the operational cost? Then, we need to minimise the cost of tourism operations.
(3) Could we do the (1) and (2) simultaneously?
The option (3) seems to be good if we could so. Then, let?s assume that we aim to serve the most happiness to the tourists with the lowest cost possible.
Now we may consider the tourists? satisfaction. At this point, I would call it the ?seamless trip?.
Think about your last trip! What we want in our trip is that everything is like what we plan.
Therefore, the seamless trip refers to the smooth travelling.
No waiting, no flight cancel or delay, fast check-in process at the accommodation, etc. To achieve the above, collaboration between tourism service providers is vital. Hotels, airlines, restaurants should not have an arm-length relationships.
In order to ensure that everything in the plan will be available, supply management is very important. Hotels need to have an appropriate ordering policy to avoid the backlog. Airlines also need to have the effective operations to avoid the delay and cancellation of the flight.
However, achieving the tourists? satisfaction is costly. So it?s a dilemma in TSC.
Tourists? satisfaction vs. Cost of operations
Here comes to the heart of supply chain management.
We MUST know what our customers want! whether it is service quality or Cheap price (cost effective)? Then, we can make the decision whether to maximise service level or to minimise the cost.
Easy example: Five-star hotels always aim for the best service. Even though the cost of operating this service is very expensive but their customers are willing to pay. On the other hand, budget guesthouses may not need to provide the state-of-the-art service since their customers rather aim for the low price. Nevertheless, both five-star hotels and budget guesthouse MUST keep their promise.
Source: Revised from a previous version in TourismLogistics.com on 11.08.2009