Use and creation of social media by travellers
Additional Publication Information
In 2006, TIME magazine assigned the title of Person of the Year to "You", the modem online users who create and control information. Since then, these online users have been increasingly empowered by the emergence of a plethora of social media applications that support the creation and use of social media. The growing availability and popularity of these applications have transformed the way people communicate, make decisions, socialize, learn, entertain themselves, interact with each other, or even do their shopping (Constantinides and Fountain 2008). Not surprisingly, these impacts. can also be identified with relation to consumer behaviour in travel and tourism.
Given the experiential nature of tourism, the information created by other travellers is even more important and influential in travellers' information search and decision-making processes. Growing numbers oftravellers search and consume travel information created by other travellers for their travel planning and share their experience after returning from trips (Cox, Burgess, Sellitto and Buultjens 2009). According to a recent report, more than 80 per cent of leisure travel buyers were influenced by various types of user-generated contents including videos, reviews and blogs in the context of travel purchase decisions (PhoCusWright 2008). Similarly, other studies found that 40 per cent of online travel planners consider user-generated contents in their travel decision (JupiterResearch 2008) and 23 per cent of US Internet users' vacation decisions are influenced by social media (Ad-ology Research 2009). In addition, a study by Brown (2009) found that more than one-quarter of US Internet users who followed brands on social networks followed a travel brand. Further, more than half of travel marketers indicated that they continue to invest heavily in social media despite the economic downturn (eMarketer 2009a). Clearly, social media have taken on an important role in shaping the attitudes and behaviours of travel consumers as well as travel and tourism marketers.
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