Motivations for Sharing Tourism Experiences through

Tourism Social Media
Transforming Tourism practices
Ana María Munar
Center for Leisure and Culture Services
Tourlex Conference, 30 October, 2014
• How and why do tourists contribute to social
media? A case of mass tourism.
• What do digital review making tell us about
the heritage experience? A case of cultural
Study 1 - Objectives
1. When, where and
types of content
2. Motives for sharing
3. New method – (not
online panel) but an
route exit survey.
Destination based.
Acknowledging complexity in social media surveys
The approach of the study
Combination of the
multiple categories’:
diferentiation of type of
site, control of audience
and between textual and
visual content
Comparison with nonelectronic media and with
Web 1.0 media.
Relevance of
nationality and type of
Motivation schemes of experiencesharing in tourism social media
Social cognitive theory: Individual actions in specific
environments are based on personal cognition (Hsu
et al 2007).
Personal cognition
E-literacy, Individualism
Personal outcome
expectations that may lead to
Motivation schemes of experiencesharing in tourism social media
Social capital
Pleasure &
Efficiency and
Helping the
community to achieve
its goals or to continue
Social support
Denmark & Norway
Among the world
highest ICT use and
high levels of English
The study is based on
questionnaires in
Danish and Norwegian
Sample: In total 434 respondents travelling with scheduled and charter flights
57% females, 50% has higher education
Selected respondent characteristics and e-literacy (%)
Results: Involvement
• Facebook (and similar sites with control of
audiences) most popular
• Social media more important for sharing
(specially visual content) than for decisionmaking
• More lurkers than posters (78% have a FB
profile only 42% shared visual content)
• More important as platforms of sociability
than as information sources
involvement in social media (UGC)
Resilience of
practices in
Poor real-time
Results Motivation
Dominance of community-centred expectations
Despite the popularity of rewards/ranking systems, increased
social recognition is not important
Motivation and IT use for trip
Membership , usage of social media and age matters
for self-centred expectations
Discussion & conclusion (1)
1. Increase use of social media for experience
sharing and as information source, but weak
relevance for decision-making
2. Resilience of personal non-electronic sources
and Web 1.0. Relevance of accommodation
(also related to social media review sites)
3. Social media type matters; involvement
differs depending of type and genre.
4. Clear preference for sharing visual content
Discussion & conclusion (2)
5. Overestimated ‘real-time’ effect
6. Younger and self-centred motivations:
Generational divide matters - younger tourists
consider self-centred motivations to be more
7- Intensive IT users and self-centred motivations:
Self-efficiency matters - tourists with intensive
social media and internet use consider selfcentred motivations to be more important
What do digital review
making tell us about the
heritage experience?
Research streams
1. NOVELTY: The heritage product is unique, part of the
tourist’s quest for cultural authenticity and local
2. FAMILIARITY: Tourists want to experience authenticity
based on their own preconceived images of what is
authentic about a particular destination
3. MANAGEMENT: the heritage site must be accessible
and meaningfully conserved.
4. POLITICS & NATIONHOOD: Heritage sites are often
used to represent and symbolize a society and
culture; they are even used as social engineering
Case & Method
Tourist Review
1: Partial views on heritage
• Tourists’ reviews are not centred on cultural or
historical expertise but on personal
• Historical knowledge is to be found elsewhere
• Experiential value is expressed as a type of
lifeworld knowledge/daily life knowledge
I will not go on about the individual buildings as others
have already described them far better than I can do.
(Acropolis, WestSaxon)
Tourist Review
2: Immediacy and authenticity
• Reflex vs. reflection
• Raw emotionality
All I can say is WOW WOW WOW, it is one of the most
amazing places I have been to.
(Forbidden City, Aussielea)
The forbidden city is SO disappointing!
(Forbidden City, CRSM)
Tourist Review
3: The practical tourist
• Risk reduction: physical and emotional anxiety
• ‘embodiment’ of the heritage experience
Just one important reminder wear comfortable shoes and
take some water!!! Enjoy ...
1. Joint-affirmation
• Shaping and Reaffirmation of preconceptions
• Ritualization of the tourism experience
A visit here certainly makes you feel like you can check
a box in your ‘Things to See Before You Die’ list.
(Acropolis, uncvic)
2. Socialization and meritocracy
• free revealing innovators
• collaborative online systems that reward
expertise and merit
3: Paradox
This is a big area to view and there are many big groups of
tourists, often wearing matching baseballs caps and moving
as one, like ants on the march!
TripAdvisor, Forbidden City, elizalily
(Munar and Ooi, 2011)
• Complementarity of different types of
knowledge on the historical site
• Missing voices: The host should get lost!
• The quality of the content remains an issue
• By concentrating on the uniqueness of the
heritage, promoters are ignoring tourists’
concerns and the imagination and
embodiment of tourism, which are an
important part of the heritage experience
Thank you!
[email protected]

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