Use of information and communication technology (ICT) and e-commerce in small remote hospitality establishments in KwaZulu-Natal
The advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) coupled with sophisticated network channels and applications have unveiled new avenues for small organizations and those in the hospitality industry must be included. However, there is limited industry specific research activity on the impact of adoption and utilisation of ICTs on business specifically with regard to the hospitality industry in developing countries. This report records the findings of an analysis into ICT and e-commerce adoption and use in small remote hospitality establishments in the Natal Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The research used a mixed methods approach involving questionnaires, observations and interviews. The participants were drawn from three case areas namely Curry’s Post, Nottingham Road and Lions River. From each case area, two restaurants, two wedding venues, two lodges and two curio shops participated. The findings indicate that most establishment acknowledged the need to adopt and utilise ICT and e-commerce. The links between ICT adoption and level of business success were marked. The challenges to adoption and utilisation of ICT were found to centre on cost, owners’ lack of familiarity with ICTs, and a corresponding lack of ICT skills amongst staff. The inability of imported software packages to suit local needs also emerged as a significant issue. Recommendations involve targeted sponsorships of ICT courses, language accessibility initiatives, and adaptation of software packages to local needs, along with advantages in starting small and adopting more sophisticated ICT as the business grows.