Network Analysis of Destination Management Organization Smart Tourism Ecosystem (STE) for E-Branding and Marketing of Tourism Destinations

Network Analysis of Destination Management Organization Smart Tourism Ecosystem (STE) for E-Branding and Marketing of Tourism Destinations

Jeet Dogra (Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Gwalior, India) and Sachin Shivaji Kale (Travel and Tourism Department, Government Polytechnic, Thane, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1947-9.ch001

Abstract

In the current decade, there is a drastic increase in the active social network users which simultaneously raised the interest of destination management organizations (DMOs) to increase their e-visibility on social network sites (SNS), specifically to promote their tourism destinations. The main aim of DMOs is to reach the target market and create a brand image of the destination to increase the tourist footfalls. The purpose of this chapter will be to analyze the utilization of Instagram as a network of smart tourism ecosystem by state tourism boards in India. The network analysis will be done between state tourism boards by using UCINET 6 which is a software package developed for social network analysis. This chapter will give an insight into the Instagram account used by states tourism boards for the promotion of their respective tourist destinations. The findings of the study will help to improve the utilization of SNS for online content creations, managing the social media campaigns, marketing, branding and promotions of tourism destinations.
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Introduction

Internet users’ growth is rapidly increasing, whereas, in the year 2018, it had crossed the 4 billion mark with 7% growth year-on-year and more than 3 billion people around the world is now using social media platforms at their mobile devices (wearesocial.com, 2018). Internet users in India has reached 627 million in 2019 (economictimes, economictimes, 2019) and there will be more than 351 million are social media users in India in 2019 (Statista, 2019). Today, social media is the central part of smart tourism, therefore, all major State Tourism Boards (STB) and National Tourism Organizations (NTO) are focus to increase their presence on social media as a smart tourism networking. Most notably, China and Korea have been driving the smart tourism agenda forward by funding initiatives to build infrastructure and develop interactive digital technologies, all of which constitutes the foundation of a so-called STE stands for Smart Tourism Ecosystem (Gretzel et al., 2015a; Gretzel et al., 2015b; Koo et al., 2013).

Majority of the travel organizations are also making a strong presence on Social Media and used it as an effective marketing tool. Destination Management Organizations (DMO) can develop a strong network and STE by using social media to develop a destination and increase the real-time experience at tourist destination. Under STE, NTOs and DMOs are “the main vehicle to compete and attract visitors to their distinctive place or visitor space” (Pike & Page, 2014, p. 202). The use of Information technology and communication (ICT) dominates tourism industry and turns its total scenario, especially in online destination marketing aspects. Consequently, users' behavior towards using online applications has changed as a result of the new communication technology. Users are “always-on”, carrying their mobile devices all the time (Weber & Rech, 2010). Technology adoption, particularly the use of mobile platforms such as tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices, is of critical importance in use of ICT to engage in dynamic dialogue between consumers and suppliers. ICT reduced uncertainty and risk of trip along with doubt about quality of trip (Fodness & Murray, 1997). ICT empowers both consumer and supplier to deal better way with each other worldwide (Buhalis, 1998). ICTs enable travelers to access reliable and accurate information as well as to undertake reservations in a fraction of time, cost and inconvenience required by conventional methods (O’Connor, 1999). Due to the popularity of Internet applications, most tourism organizations such as hotels, airlines, and travel agencies have embraced Internet technologies as part of their marketing and communication strategies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): All devices, networking components, applications and systems that combined allow people and organizations (i.e., businesses, nonprofit agencies, governments and criminal enterprises) to interact in the digital world.

State Tourism Board (STB): A government organization responsible for promotion and development of tourism within its jurisdiction.

User Generated Content (UGC): It is any form of content, such as images, videos, text and audio, that have been posted by users on online platforms such as social media.

Smart Tourism Ecosystem (STE): As a tourism system that takes advantage of smart technology in creating, managing and delivering intelligent touristic-experiences and it is characterized by intensive information sharing and value co-creation.

Eigenvector Centrality: It indicates the strength of ties and indirect social ties among organization.

Smart Tourism: A specialized type of tourism that supported by advanced technology to collect and exchange information in order to increase the real experience of the traveler.

Degree of Centrality: It Indicates the number of co-affiliated organizations between two state tourism boards.

Social Networking Sites (STE): A different group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content (UGC).

Destination Management Organization (DMO): An organization which is responsible of development and promotion of a tourist destination.

Electronic Word Of Mouth (E-WOM): All informal communication via the Internet addressed to consumers and related to the use or characteristics of goods or services or the sellers thereof.

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