Organisational Changes for Adopting Virtual Reality in the Sri Lankan Hospitality Industry
Digitalisation has generated a new paradigm shift in the hospitality industry. Hence, hoteliers cannot ignore the emerging technologies that come with digitalisation, such as virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robotics, and so forth. Today, hoteliers tend to adopt these cutting-edge technologies to gain a sustainable competitive advantage, attract new customers, and enhance customer experiences. However, most hoteliers and hotel managers fail to implement digitalisation-enabled development initiatives due to incomprehension about the required organisational changes. In the meantime, the Sri Lankan tourism and hospitality sector experienced a recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Easter attack in 2019. Further, it has shown a resistance to technological changes. To uplift the Sri Lankan tourism industry again, it is essential to utilise the full potential of new digital technologies. The VR technology, which is one of these technologies, could be implemented for this purpose. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify the necessary organisational changes required to adopt VR technology. Accordingly, this research study is expected to provide a clearer picture of required organisational changes for adopting VR. Further, this study is a steppingstone on the road to investigating the required organisational changes for adopting VR as one of the digitalisation trends that can be effectively used within the hospitality industry. Under the qualitative research methodology, the phenomenological approach has been used to capture the respondents’ experiences and knowledge about VR. The data collection was carried out using in-depth semi-structured interviews with eight respondents. From the perspective of tourism and hospitality professionals, the results suggest that the organisations need strategic transformational change, developmental change and structural change to adopt VR technology. These organisational changes are essential to capture the real essence of the new digital transformation and implement the right policies and investment decisions. VR technology is a new booming trend of digitalisation, and when embedding VR into the hospitality industry, new challenges will emerge, and organisations will have to make changes accordingly.
Keywords: Virtual Reality, Digital Transformation, Hospitality Industry,