Impact of Consumer-Generated Content (CGC) on Travel-Related Decisions

Impact of Consumer-Generated Content (CGC) on Travel-Related Decisions

Ankush Ambardar (Kurukshetra University, India) and Himanshu Malik (Chandigarh University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8434-6.ch015

Abstract

While online portals have improved accessibility of resources and information to potential travelers and tourists, there is less existing literature about the impact of consumer-generated content on travel decisions. The chapter has analyzed the factors of motivation for creating, accessing, and using consumer-generated content in order to have a better planned travel decision, which results in a memorable trip. The research resulted in ranking the factors of motivation for creating, accessing, and using consumer-generated content in order to identify the need of today's traveler.
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Introduction

The direct contribution Indian travel and tourism industry in 2016 was INR 4809.8bn towards GDP which is 3.3% of GDP. This contribution is forecasted to rise by 6.9%to INR 5141.1bnin 2017 it is also expected that there will be a growth of 6.8% per annum to INR 9,948.5bn i.e. 3,5% of GDP by 2027 (WTTC, 2017). Ministry of Tourism (2018) in the annual report states that FTAs in India in 2017 witnessed a growth rate of 15.6% whereas in 2016 the number of FTAs was 8.8 million showing a growth rate of 9.7% over 2015. The report further states that in term of FEE 2017 experienced a growth rate of 17% with a FEE of INR 1,80,379 crore compared to INR 1,54,146 crore in 2016 with a growth rate of 14%.

Over the years word of mouth has been used a prominent source of marketing in Indian travel industry. The general inspiration and motivation to travel came from experiences which were shared by friends and relatives about their travel related decisions. The advice of friends played vital role in making a travel related decision if they have traveled to the specific destination. This tool of marketing for travel industry has evolved with the increased use and accessibility of internet and other forms electronic media. Travel alongside has also become a social status rather than a need. The traveler today doesn’t only travel out of necessity but also to show his friends and relatives, connected to him on his social media accounts, that where he is travelling and what all he is experiencing during his/her trip. The way of sharing word of mouth has changed from verbal to digital the same has also increased its availability to access through online platforms. The word of mouth has become electronic word of mouth (Mukherjee and Nagabhushanam, 2016). E-Commerce also has drastically changed tourist behavior as of late. The travel and lodging arrangements has been especially influenced by this convenient method. A large number of tourists now make travel arrangements straightforwardly on the web, while they have controlled the habit of taking service of a travel and tour operator for the same as they used to (Ye, Q., Law, R., Gu, B., & Chen, W. 2011). There is a variety of online portals available for the tourists to access and compare various offers available online. While these online portals have provided a sea of opportunities for both tourists and service providers there is also a less explored side of the same. These portals also give access to consumer generated content which has an impact on travel decisions made by a tourist. Bhusal (2016) mentioned in his study that consumer generated content plays a very important role in creating E-WOM (Electronic word of Mouth) in Indian tourism industry which can result in changed preferences of a traveler for his future travel plans.

With the advancement in technology and its increased use in general day to day life has enabled the user to access and use this technology and platforms provided by the technology are widely accessed by the user to share their routine experiences with the help of mobile devices and social networking sites along with portals and platforms created by the service providers. In this context researcher Shukla (2016) while conducting research on electronic word of mouth, consumer behavior and travel industry in India, explored that the Indian traveler has become more aware about use of online portals, social networking websites and links on service providers website. In order to find out the quality service provided by any specific service providers or the level of services available to and from any particular destination the travelers use the reviews made available by early travelers. These reviews are available in the form of text massages, star rating, videos or pictures. The traveler today is not only using this electronic word of mouth to access the information about quality of services but he/she is also using these online platforms to share their experiences in the form of consumer generated content. Client created substance can demonstrate helpful in the movement area as it accompanies the capacity to feature human feelings and relate these to singular brand encounters.

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