Adoption and usage of mobile marketing practices to promote domestic tourism: a case of Zimbabwe’s hospitality sector.
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The escalated global use of the mobile phone and mobile internet presents endless opportunities for dynamic marketers. Elsewhere, research on the adoption and use of mobile devices to harness marketing opportunities has been growing steadily, while lagging in Zimbabwe. Despite the problem of declining foreign tourist arrivals, the Zimbabwean tourism and hospitality sector has not harnessed mobile marketing (MM) practices to promote its domestic tourism market for sustainability. The main purpose of the study was to establish the readiness of Zimbabwe's hospitality marketing employees to adopt and use mobile marketing practices to promote domestic tourism. Guided by the research objectives, the study analysed extant literature on mobile marketing adoption, acceptance and use, benefits of specific mobile marketing practices and tools, domestic tourism and hospitality marketing, to come up with theoretical constructs of the hypothesized model. A quantitative research methodology approach and cross-sectional design were adopted. Data was collected from 264 respondents in major tourist destinations of Zimbabwe using a self-completion, mainly structured questionnaire in a survey. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modelling.The findings indicate that Awareness and nowledge; Experience; Social Networking habits and Perceived Usefulness(PU) positively influence behaviour intention (BI) to use mobile marketing (MM) practices amongst hospitality marketing employees in Zimbabwe. Perceived ease of use(PEOU); Management support; Company mobile technology infrastructure and Technology accessibility had no significant influence on BI. There was a significant indirect effect of Awareness Knowledge to Behaviour Intention mediated by PU and PEOU. Lastly, the results confirmed that BI had a significant positive influence on actual usage behaviour (AUB). The study recommends that marketing management in Zimbabwe’s tourism and hospitality sector should implement MM practice by providing marketing employees with mobile communication devices and mobile internet (Wi-Fi). These MM practices include use of mobile social media tactics like live streaming of tourism destinations and hospitality facilities, GPS enabled location-specific messages and targeted mobile messages via WhatsApp and SMS. Collaborations with mobile network operators would allow hospitality companies access to customer databases that can be used to recruit potential domestic tourists. The study contributes new knowledge by integrating constructs from technology acceptance and use theories and making an initial examination of these from the perspectives of marketing employees in the context of Zimbabwe’s domestic tourism and hospitality sector.