User-Generated Content and Its Influence on Tourists' Choices: How Do the Spanish Make Hotel Reservations Online?

User-Generated Content and Its Influence on Tourists' Choices: How Do the Spanish Make Hotel Reservations Online?

Giacomo Del Chiappa (University of Sassari, Italy), Giuseppe Melis (University of Cagliari, Italy) and Marcello Atzeni (University of Cagliari, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1054-3.ch007
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Abstract

This study aims to analyse referral and conversion traffic from user-generated content (UGC) to other key online/offline information sources and when consumers use UGC along with their information-search and the related cross-visitation. Data were collected by sending a semi-structured questionnaire by e-mail to Spanish consumers aged 18 years and above. A snowball sampling technique was used, and a total of 825 complete questionnaires were returned. Manual coding of open-ended questions and descriptive statistics were applied. Findings revealed that UGC plays a relevant role, along with all the online searching and booking behaviour, particularly UGC within online travel agencies (OTAs), which appears to be significant in the early stage of the tourist information search process. Contributions to the body of knowledge and managerial implications are discussed and suggestions for further research are given.
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Introduction

According to Internet World Stats (2014), in 2014 42.3% of the world’s population (nearly 7.2 billion people) were internet users with significant penetration ratios in countries all over the world. The highest penetration ratio was in North America (87.7%), followed by Oceania (72.9%) and Europe (70.5%), while the weight of the digital divide was felt heavily in Africa (26.5%) and Asia (34.7%). Table 1 (Internet World Stats, 2013; Internet World Stats, 2011) shows the rate of internet penetration in some countries of the World in 2011 and 2013.

Table 1.
Internet penetration rates
CountryPenetration (% Population)CountryPenetration (% Population)
2013201120132011
India15.88.4Iran55.746.9
Indonesia21.716.1Italy58.549.2
Nigeria38.028.3Spain74.862.2
Philippines41.129.2Egypt49.635.6 (2012)
Mexico43.530.7France83.369.5
Vietnam43.932.3United States84.2.78.2
China45.836.3Japan(86.2)78.4
Brazil54.237.4Germany86.279.9
Russia61.443.0South Korea84.880.9
Turkey46.344.4United Kingdom89.882

Source: (Internet World Stats, 2013; Internet World Stats, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

RSS Feeds: Standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information online.

Disintermediation: The phenomenon that occurs when companies sell directly to their customers, for example trough their official website, rather than relying on tourism intermediaries.

Snowball Sampling: Non-probability sampling technique where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances.

Peer-to-Peer Applications: Application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads between peers.

UGC: Any form of content (comment, photo and/or video) created by users and uploaded in social peer-to-peer online platforms.

OTA: Websites offering comprehensive travel shopping and Reservations Solutions to consumers.

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