Deepening the Use of Social Media and Tourism Travel Behaviour

Deepening the Use of Social Media and Tourism Travel Behaviour

Cláudia Ribeiro de Almeida, Célia M.Q. Ramos, Maria del Mar Alonso Almeida, Paula Odete Fernandes, Lucas Estrada Gamarra
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1947-9.ch005
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The Internet has transformed people's daily lives, not only in the search of information but above all giving the possibility of buying several products and services in a quick and easy way. Social networks have emerged as the quintessential medium for sharing experiences and communicating tourist information to all players in the tourism distribution chain. Today, we can sell, search, consume, connect, and share experiences related to our travel or services on different social media platforms and some online communities that share the same interests. The focus of this chapter is to point out the use of social media along the travel process in order to understand the behaviour of tourists before, during, and after trip. Having in mind the travel decision-making process the authors prepared a questionnaire with several questions spread through Facebook and answered by 95 people. The authors present the results and main conclusions in the chapter.
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The Internet and all the applications that have sprung up within it have helped to change the paradigm of travel for both tourists and holidaymakers (Xiang, 2018; Xiang, Magnini & Fesenmaier, 2015), changing the challenges associated with buying and advertising tourism products.

The new paradigm contributed to the disruption in the communication and marketing of tourism products (Vargas-Sanchez, 2019), making it felt at all stages associated with making a trip, but with more impact when deciding what should be part of the trip through of your purchase.

Information and communication technologies are essential today for those who want to travel, visit a place and learn what the tourist destination offers its visitor. In addition, within ICT, social media has emerged as one of the most useful and widely used platforms for travellers to consult and learn from other tourists' views on the most visited, most recommended locations and the reasons for this recommendation with a view to support the decision making process (Femenia-Serra, Neuhofer, & Ivars-Baidal, 2019).

During the travel decision making process (Xiang & Gretzel, 2010), people use social media for different propose, as for example to collect and share information about places, services, to make comments about different realities but above all to be in contact with others. Besides the importance that social media have at this moment, there is a limited prior research investigating how the enterprises use it to influence the consumers’ decision-making process.

In this chapter, the authors focus their attention in the travel decision-making process and above all in the way that a person use the social media during this all process.

Authors divide this chapter into four parts. First part focuses on the literature review that discuss some findings related to travel behaviour and travel decision-making process. Second part present the methodology used to design the proposed questionnaire and the explanation of the application through Facebook. Third part present the results of the questionnaire and the fourth part the main conclusions and some information regarding future challenges and lines of research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Travel decision-making process: The process a traveller has to go through to purchase all the components of his trip, from finding destination information, selecting the most suitable products to his preferences, to the purchase decision process.

Word-of-Mouth: Shared content on social media that conveys an opinion about a product, which becomes a recommendation for future users looking for testimonials about the same product to support them in the decision-making process.

User-Generated Contents (UGC): Any form of content made by users of an online system or service that has been shared and is publicly available to other users.

Consumer Journey: The collection of several steps that constitute the entire experience a customer has while communicating with an organization or brand.

Consumer Behaviour: This is the focus of studies of consumers and the processes they employ to choose, use (i.e., consume), and dispose of products and services.

Social media: These aggregates of online communications channels can be considered tools that can be used to define new business models strategically, taking into consideration analyses of community user-generated content and information shared with other members of these online communities.

Tourism Experience: This is a set of activities in which individuals engage on their personal terms, such as pleasant and memorable places, allowing each tourist to build his or her own travel experiences so that these satisfy a wide range of personal needs, from pleasure to a search for meaning.

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