Can tourists’ privacy be affected in the highly personalised experience economy we are currently living in? Also known as the personalisation-privacy paradox, this is exactly what we asked ourselves in a recent study. As memorable and personal experiences are co-created by the tourist and tourism provider, it is interesting to research the tourist awareness of data-driven personalisation and their behaviour in sharing their personal details in this context.
The personalisation-privacy paradox
The personalisation-privacy paradox is a rather controversial phenomenon in data-driven services. Smart technologies continue to evolve and improve their offerings. At the same time, tourists prefer personalised over non-personalised offerings. This has recently raised the concern regarding tourists’ privacy and security. The threats of privacy intrusion and frauds through data-driven personalisation have been exposed through legal regulation such as the General Data Protections Regulation (GDPR). In addition, data breaches and misuses by Cambridge Analytica, Cathey Pacific, Marriott and other tech-savvy companies confirmed this concern.
For that reason, this study aimed to explore tourist awareness and understanding of the value they get from using data-driven personalisation offers on travel information websites.
To assess the tourist awareness effects, the study applied an experimental research design. It combined eye-tracking and self-report data to pinpoint changes in tourist value co-creation behaviour as influenced by personalised websites. Two groups were created: the treatment group (TG) was informed about the value of personalisation and the control group (CG) remained unaware of personalisation value. Through a fake website for attraction, the experiment for both groups was compared. Furthermore, Tobii Pro X2 – 60 eye-tracker was used after the experiment combined with a behavioural intention scale, to assess the results. Finally, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted to gain insights into the participants’ motivation and co-creation behaviour, including the participant’s willingness to share personal data and the perceived value linked to personalisation services.
The main findings of the study suggest that if tourists are aware of a personalised offer, they experience more awareness and concern about their privacy. In addition, the aware tourists demonstrated great attention to the personal data agreement page, although did not actively change or control their persona data apart from that. As value co-creators, tourists have the power to start changes in the co-creation process. Motivated by the value proposition of the tourism provider, while also experiencing concerns of data misuse, tourists do tend to invest additional time in understanding get the promised value.
What about you? How much is your personal experience worth in terms of sharing personal data?
Volchek, K., Yu, J., Neuhofer, B., Egger, R., & Rainoldi, M. (2021). Co-creating personalised experiences in the context of the personalisation-privacy paradox. In Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2021: Proceedings of the ENTER 2021 eTourism Conference, January 19–22, 2021 (pp. 95-108). Springer International Publishing.
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