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Intermediaries as Bundlers, Traders and Quality Assessors: The Case of UK Tour Operators

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  • Clerides, Sofronis
  • Nearchou, Paris
  • Pashardes, Panos

Abstract

We study the intermediary role of tour operators in the market for package tourism. Intermediaries often arise in order to facilitate trade in markets characterized by asymmetric information. In the travel industry policy-makers have tried to address information asymmetries by providing hotel ratings. We argue that those ratings are not accurate indicators of quality. Ratings provided by tour operators are more informative and allow for international comparisons. Intermediation by tour operators provides a better matching of quality with price and therefore leads to a more efficient market outcome. There is, nonetheless, scope for government intervention to improve information provision.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5038.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5038

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Keywords: asymmetric information; intermediaries; middlemen; tour operators; tourism industry;

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  1. Wujin Chu & Woosik Chu, 1994. "Signaling Quality by Selling Through a Reputable Retailer: An Example of Renting the Reputation of Another Agent," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(2), pages 177-189.
  2. Fingleton, John, 1997. "Competition among Middlemen When Buyers and Sellers Can Trade Directly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 405-27, December.
  3. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  4. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
  5. Doron Kliger & Oded Sarig, 2000. "The Information Value of Bond Ratings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2879-2902, December.
  6. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2009. "Reputational Incentives for Restaurant Hygiene," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 237-67, February.
  7. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect Of Information On Product Quality: Evidence From Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451, May.
  8. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1987. "Middlemen," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 581-93, August.
  9. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
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