Travel Opinion Leaders and Seekers
While opinion leadership has been recognised as important in tourism, there has been very little empirical research investigating the phenomenon. Given new developments in social media technologies, it is especially important to understand whether travel opinion leadership and seeking are drivers of specific social media perceptions and behaviours. Based on an online survey of US online travellers, this paper seeks to identify travel opinion leaders and seekers and their characteristics. Further, the research conducted investigated linkages between travel opinion leadership seeking and travel social media use. The findings suggest that travel opinion leadership and seeking are distinct but connected. Both opinion leaders and seekers are technology savvy, young, educated, involved in travel planning and engaged in social media use for travel. What distingiushes opinion leaders is their greater travel experience and greater trust in official sources of travel information.