International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM, TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY LAW mainly due to the online platforms and various smart tourism mobile apps.2 The internet has become an essential tool in tourism and hospitality, facilitating potential tourists to search for information on products and services, compare and evaluate the alternatives and eventually selecting and buying the finalized alternative.3 Rise of the platform economy in almost all relevant sectors, tourism included, has not been enabled solely by technological progress. The phenomena of ‘gamification’ succesfully implemented in many platforms business models significantly contributed to the succes of online platforms. Gamification brings the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service. ‘Gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun’.4 Examples of gamification can be found in Airbnb, where the platform uses badges and travel coupons to engage hosts and accommodation providers (e.g. ‘Superhost‘badge), in Ryanair with the tempting possibility to fly anywhere on the possible lowest price or in where the guest may reach various levels of „Genius ranking“. Gamification implemented by digital platforms helps to improve services and it has been argued that it generates engagement and value for both providers and tourists/users. Through game elements, users are more informed and involved, and they participate in the co-creation of value, while service providers acquire information from users. In addition, sustainable as well as healthy behavior can be promoted by educating and transmitting rules through games.5 Models implementing gamification to transactions executed on the online platform bring an inherent risk that cannot be overlooked. While playing games it is easy to forget about duties and obligations, responsibilities, and liabilities. 2 Kennedy-Eden and Gretzel, 2012, p.47-50. The apps may be divided to categories: Navigation, Social, Mobile Marketing, Security/Emergency, Transactional, Entertainment, and Information. 3 „United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) confirmed in its report that 95 percent of users exploited web channels to gather travel-related information and about 93 percent indicated that they visited tourism web sites while planning for vacations. The entire process has resulted in the emergence of e-tourism reflecting digitization of all processes and value chains in tourism, travel, hospitality and catering industries. European Travel Commission identified the web as the main primary source of information for searching or booking suitable travel destinations. In the last decade, the tourism and hospitality sector is characterized by a wide range of electronic applications (e.g. social networks, review Web sites, blogs, interactive websites and photo- and video-sharing platforms), facilitating interactions among the web- -users.“Vij, 2019. 4 Pasca, Renzi, Di Pietro and Guglielmetti Mugion, 2021, p. 691-737. 5 Ibid.