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    An empirical study on customer engagement practices in tourism industry An empirical study on customer engagement practices in tourism industry Document Transcript

    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 26 AN EMPIRICAL STUDY ON CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT PRACTICES IN TOURISM INDUSTRY Dr. A P Hosamani, Vadiraj J S ABSTRACT Online travel intermediary services have simplified travelers’ vacation panning process by providing comprehensive travel services related information at travelers’ fingertips. Global online travel industry is witnessing rapid growth and Indian online travel industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Customer engagement generated through User Generated content (UGC) and Online Travel Review (OTR) could be one of the most important factors which is contributing to the travel industry’s rapid growth.Through this study researcher attempts to describe critical parameters considered by a travel enthusiast while deciding about a vacation and to determine themost engaging activity on Social media/ Travel portal from a travel enthusiast’ point of view. The study finds that, most important parameter considered by travelers while making a decision about vacation is Hotel Reviews and ratings on the internet and mode of travel and cost. And viewing photographs on travel portals or social media is the most engaging travel related engagement activity for the travel enthusiasts. Key words:User Generated Content (UGC), Travel marketing, Customer engagement, Digital marketing. 1. INTRODUCTION There is an increasing preference of travelers to design their personalized tour itineraries online (Sigala M 2010a). Today’s technology savvy, global, demanding customers’ travel plans are thoroughly researched and personalized. Consumer preferences for travel destinations have always been influenced by media, word of mouth and recommendations from travelers and booking agents. But broadcast media’s influence is shrinking as channels diverge to serve ever smaller segments of the market. Internet has become the foremost influencing media on the consumer’s purchase process and decision making related to travel and it continues to grow every year. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARKETING AND HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (IJMHRM) ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print) ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online) Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013), pp. 26-39 © IAEME: www.iaeme.com/ijmhrm.asp Journal Impact Factor (2013): 4.6901 (Calculated by GISI) www.jifactor.com IJMHRM © I A E M E
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 27 Impact of Internet on Travel Business Internet in India has evolved as a utilitarian medium where consumers research about brands, learn about brands, share peer reviews, advocate brands and propagate against brands that are not transparent. Co-creation has come to the fore in a manner, unimaginable in the past. As a result, it’s become more difficult to carefully craft a marketing strategy for the marketer. This change has important implications for business, especially for the travel sector, which has embraced the web as a marketing and selling mechanism. The implications of user generated content has a stronger meaning for travel business as hotel reviews, destination reviews and general perception created on the web is redefining travel intermediary’s brand image every moment. The Web is shifting from a business- to-consumer marketing to a peer-to-peer model for the sharing of information. All tourism businesses are thus facing the need to implement strategies and tools based on user generated contents and to incorporate these new technologies to generate positive business impact. Travel Planning Process Travel planning is a complex process involving multiple collaborators (at different times and/or places) and consisting of six stages (Moutinho L, 1987). Problem identification (i.e. generating ideas for trip itineraries and activities), information search, information evaluation (negotiation and assessment),choice (choosing and designing), book (execute) and post choice (review and reflection). However global travel intermediary services have simplified this complex process by providing comprehensive information at travelers’ fingertips with the help of online travel portals. As a result online travel industryis experiencing strong growth and also boosting travel industry business overall. 1.1 Online travel Industry Global online travel industry is showing a rapid growth, Table 1. Explainsglobal online travel industry’s revenue growth from 2010 to 2016. Table1: Global online sales growth Year Year on year % growth Sales Volume 2010 10% $309 billion 2011 10% $340 billion 2012(Projected) 10% $374 billion 2013 (Projected) 9% $408 billion 2014 (Projected) 9% $446 billion 2015 (Projected) 8% $483 billion 2016 (Projected) 8% $523 billion Source:European Travel commission new media trend watch, 2012. India's travel intermediaries industry is estimated to reach Rs1.21tn ($24.76bn) in 2016 from Rs 679.9bn ($13.82bn) in 2012, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.7%, according to a new BRIC data report. The travel and tourism business in India currently contributes 6.23% to the country's national gross domestic product (GDP) and represents 8.78% of the its total employment . According to the report, tourist volumes in the country increased from 466.8 million in 2006 to 710.6 million in 2010, growing at a CAGR of 11.03%. Online travel sales Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in selected countries for the period 2011-2016 indicates the following figures: India: 30.6%, - South Korea: 19.8%, - Brazil: 18.2%, - China: 14.1%, - Russia: 9.8%, Australia: 7.4%, - US: 7.2%. It indicates India’s online Travel industry is one of fastest growing industries(http://www.newmediatrendwatch.com).
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 28 Indian online travel industry has undergone a transformation in the last decade by becoming one stop solutions for all types of travel needs, merging online and offline travel booking, creating online ecosystem and by global expansion of operations. Increasing Internet and credit card penetration, increased foreign travelers to India and growth in civil aviation market helped these travel portals to maximize their revenues. 1.2 Key Challenges Today The business projections of Indian online travel portal industry looks very green on the other hand industry players would have to deal with some important challenges like low operating margins, fierce competition, limited reach in Tier-II and Tier-III cities and many marketing challenges. With the advent of new media, today the marketing emphasis is on effective marketing communications rather than focusing on efficiency. Media consumption is extremely fragmented and traditional media is diminishing. Today there is a huge variety of content available for fewer people and it costs very less to distribute the content, this is referred as ‘narrowcasting. Instead of dedicating a large chunk of marketing budgeton mass media channels such as network television and large circulation print media vehicles;marketer isinvesting in creating brand experience and focusing on tactical executions through a variety of new media. Website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel are all owned media for marketer today, that allow him to engage the consumer in suitable and desirable way , he can distribute marketing information when and where the customerlooks for information. This relationship building approach can deliver a richer brand experiences and nurtures consumer advocacy and word-of-mouth recommendations that carry great weight and credibility. Today mass media is playing a role of growing and maintaining momentum created by engaging customerson internet rather than playing the lead media role. 1.3 New marketing philosophy The goal is to really connect with consumers and leverage on their attentiveness, receptivity to ideas, conversations and buzzes potential – and help deliver on an authentic brand experience. This is a significant change in communications philosophy – one that diverts media resources to deeper, richer exchanges with smaller audiences and engages them positively. There are very limited research studies available to understand how internet and user generated content are impacting travel enthusiasts’ decision making related to travel purchases. Through this work researcher attempts to describe critical parameters considered by a travel enthusiast while deciding about a vacation and to determine themost engaging activity on Social media/ Travel portal from a travel enthusiast’ point of view. This research work would be helpful for online travel industry stake holders to understand the usability of customer engagement and User Generated Content. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW To understand the relationship between the proposed research and prior research work, a detailed literature review was carried out. Research papers published in the area of user generated content (UGC), Online Travel Review (OTR), customer engagement, Geo-portals/Geo-collaborative portals and Digital media’s impact on consumer behavior theories have been studied. Literature review studied is divided into 4 parts and reviewed as follows.
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 29 2.1 User Generated content (UGC) and Online Travel Review(OTR) Internet in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries is not only part of the main stream industry management and marketing but also has changed market structures, practices, communication and distribution channels (Koumelis T, 2008). Online travel review (OTR) is one of the most prominent forms of travel-related consumer-generated content. OTR includes product ratings and short reviews about travel destination, accommodation and services described by travelers. Posting pictures and videos of the tourism destination, sharing social profile of the destination/travel portal are some other forms of travel-related consumer-generated content. User generated content (UGC) constitutes the data, information or media produced by the general public (rather than by professionals) on the internet (Arriga M &Levina N 2008). In all UGC activities, the user is the central point being not only the consumer but also such content contributor, simultaneously playing the roles of producer as well as consumer of the content on the internet (Arriga M &Levina N 2008). UGC such as online travel reviews written by tourists and posted to virtual communities are being used more frequently to communicate and share travel related information (Gretzel U &Yoo K.H. 2008). UGC is changing the dynamics of the travel industry profoundly through its global word-of-mouth forces (Laboy, F. &Torchio, P 2007). Today consumers are using e-word of mouth (e-WOM) websites more and more to share opinions and experiences about product and service (Rezabaksh, B.Bornemann, D.Hansen& U Schrader 2006). Travelers are getting in touch directly with other travelers who have similar destination interest through social networking content such as online travel reviews,consumer-generated content such as online travel reviews written by tourists on virtual communities are more available and used frequently to transmit travel-related decision (Gretzel U &Yoo K.H. 2008). 2.2 Digital media is also changing consumer behavior theories Traditionally, marketers modeled consumers’ buying decision as they progressed from awareness through, consideration, preference, action and loyalty; this is called as marketing funnel. David Rogers, 2011, proposed the following rethinking the marketing funnel in a world of social- media (David Rogers, 2011). Fig 1: Marketing funnels Source: Rethinking the Marketing Funnel in a World of Social Media: David Rogers, 2011.
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 30 Marketers’ job was to move prospects from larger end to smaller end of the funnel, but the funnel has outlived its usefulness. Today marketers don’t dictate the path people take and they don’t lead the dialogue of marketing communication (www.goldmine.corp.adobe). Though the primary act of awareness is still created by the marketer to communicate to the buyer that a particular brand exists and what are the key features of his specific brand. But factors like recommendations from friends and family, experts’ product reviews, word of mouth (WOM) on social media, competitive claims, first hand experiences expressed by consumer and many more factors are not controlled by a marketer. Specially the online media, where the whole world of avenues are at a customer’s finger tips it is very difficult for a marketer to understand what kind of communication is being spread about his brand. Customer engagement (CE) is the solution that marketers have devised in order to come to terms with the social, technological and dynamic young consumer who consumes media differently. In a nutshell, it is an attempt to create an engaging dialogue with target consumers and stimulate their engagement with the brand. 2.3 Customer engagement Definition Customer engagement: Hollebeek (2010) (9): The level of expression of an individual customer’s motivational, brand-related & context-dependent state of mind characterized by a degree of activation, Identification & absorption in brand interactions. Bowden (2009a) Customer engagement (2): A psychological process that models the underlying mechanisms by which Customer loyalty forms for new customers of a service brand, as well as the mechanisms by which loyalty may be maintained for repeat purchase customers of a service brand. Van Doorn et al. (2010) (2): Customer engagement behavior: Customers’ behavioral manifestation towards a brand or firm, beyond purchase, resulting from motivational drivers, including word-of-mouth, activity, recommendations, helping other customers, blogging & writing reviews. 2.4 Geo-portals/Geo-collaborative portals There has been a comprehensive research work done on how geo-portals have an influence on travelers’ trip related decision making process. Maguire and Logeley(Maguire DJ and Longley PA 2005)have defined geoportals as the gateways that organize geographic content and services- capabilities such as directories, search tools, community information, support resources, data applications. Being WWW gateways portals, geoportals provide web environments for an organization or a community of information providers and users to; aggregate and share content and information flow; and build consensus (Magurie DJ and Longley PA 2005) . Geo-portals facilitate the storage, sharing, discovery of and access to geospatial resources (that are either offline or online Geospatial content) that are desired and searched by metadata. By using GCP (Geo-collaborative portals)travelers can more quickly , precisely and accurately find and evaluate geo-information for organizing travel itineraries and activities(Ilies G and Ilies M 2006). GCP can transform the trip planning from a frustrating to a more enjoyable and efficient experience (Pan B and Fesenmailer D 2006) as well as a solitarian to a social collaborative process (Pan B, Crotts JC and Muller B 2007). Visual representations depicted on Geo-portals increases cognitive resources, reduce search complexities, ease the pattern determination and fasten the perceptual inferences (Thomas JJ and Cook KA 2005: Zhang J and Norman DA 1994).
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 31 3 SCOPE AND OBJECTIVE OF THE RESEARCH User generated content in the travel business in India has witnessed a gradual growth; however the customer engagement on online travel portals pertaining to the traveler’s experience has a lot of scope for betterment. Corporate travel and tour companies in India haven’t substantially exploited and integrated the whole concept of user generated content for their customer, in order to retain strong customer engagement through user generated content. The travel industry has a varied response to the emergence of user-generated content. While travelers appear to be embracing the concept, travel industry members are still somewhat unsure of how to respond to itclearly; however there are very limited research studies to understand this subject clearly. Researcher through this work attempts to understand what is the consumption pattern of user generated content and what is the impact of user generated content on consumers’ travel related purchase decisions. This research work would be helpful for online travel industry stake holders to understand the usability of customer engagement and User Generated Content. Objectives of the study 1) To determine themost engaging activity on Social media/ Travel portal from a travel enthusiast’s point of view. 2) To understand how travel enthusiasts prefer to share their travel experience. 3) To describecritical parameters considered by a travel enthusiast while deciding about Vacation. 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY RESEARCH DESIGN Research Design: With the help of survey based technique this descriptive research tries to explore and provide clarity to understand how different travel portals are engaging customers, consumption pattern of user generated content and impact of user generated content on consumers’ travel related purchase decisions. Sampling Plan:127 travel enthusiasts from age group of 18-45, who have used travel portals and travel social networking sites from Pan India were selected as the sample for the desired study. Data collection: Questionnaire technique was used to collect responses, the medium opted to receive responses was online medium. Instrument design:The questionnaireconsisting of14 questions, with 15 Likert scale statementsand 1 ranking scale question was framed to achieve the desired results. Pilot testing: A pilot survey was conducted on 14 respondents and necessary changes were incorporated in the final survey. Data Analysis: Researcher has used IBM SPSS Data Editor, version 20 to analyze the data. Relevant statistical tests like Weighted Average,Factor analysis, t-test are applied to analyze the data comprehensively.
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 32 5. DATA ANALYSIS 5.1) Most engaging activity on Social media/ Travel portal To understand which engagement activity on social media/travel portals is the most engaging activity, respondents were asked to rank the following 10 engagement activities, with the help of weighted average method most preferred engagement activity is derived. Table 2: Weighted Average on Most preferred online travel activity Viewin g Photog raph Reading reviews on destinati on Searchi ng for famous tourist spots Flighttic ket Booking Hotel Booki ng Ratings on Hotels/ Restaur ants/ tourist Destinat ion Writin gRevie -ws on restaur ants Post reviews on travel forums and Blogs contribute my travel experienc e Choose to become a destinatio n expert 1 39 27 8 17 7 4 6 10 5 5 2 18 28 16 12 19 9 9 6 8 3 3 19 20 23 6 23 12 7 5 5 8 4 17 12 29 12 18 14 13 4 7 2 5 9 11 17 19 16 10 18 11 11 6 6 6 6 13 18 20 21 18 8 11 7 7 5 12 4 14 7 26 16 18 13 13 8 2 2 7 8 8 13 11 41 25 11 9 2 5 8 15 5 14 16 16 30 17 10 11 5 3 7 5 5 14 9 13 56 Weighted Avg. Score 3.62 3.76 4.52 4.77 4.82 5.62 6.13 6.65 6.9 7.93 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Source: Author’s Research With the help of weighted average test, we can conclude that viewing photographs on travel portals or social media is the most engaging travel related engagement activity for the travel enthusiasts, followed by “reading reviews on destination” and “Searching for famous tourist spots”. A tourism marketer can engage travel enthusiasts positively by providing exciting photographs and by generating positive reviews. With the help of focused SEO (Search Engine Optimization) a tourism marketer can increase visibility. 5.2 ) Parameters considered while deciding about Vacation To understand the important parameters that a travel enthusiast considers while deciding about his vacation researcher frames 6, five point Likert scale questions and with the help of t-test following table explains the important parameters that a travel enthusiast considers while deciding about his vacation.
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 33 Table No. 3: t -Test Source: Author’s Research With the help of t-test we can conclude that most important parameters considered by travelers while making a decision about vacation are Hotel Reviews and ratings on the internet and Mode of travel and cost.A hotel marketer can focus his marketing efforts to generate positive reviews and ratings and if he can design cost effective packages and communicate the same to the target audience it would be a meaningful marketing activity. However which are the critical parameters that generate positive reviews and ratings could be understood with the help of a separate study. Null Hypothesis H0 T DF Sig. (2- Tailed) Hypothesis Testing Hotel Reviews and ratings is not an important parameter while deciding on vacation -5.731 127 .000 Reject H0 Mode of travel and cost is not an important parameter while deciding on vacation -4.673 127 .000 Reject H0 Information on the city/town/hill station is not an important parameter while deciding on vacation -1.310 127 .192 Don’t reject H0 Pictures of a particular tourist location is not an important parameter while deciding on vacation 1.284 127 .201 Don’t reject H0 Tourist attractions and famous places to visit are not important parameters while deciding on vacation .625 127 .533 Don’t reject H0 Package deals offered by tour and travel companies/ travel agents are not an important parameters while deciding on vacation 1.192 127 .236 Don’t reject H0
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 34 5.3 Sharing Travel experience To understand how the travel enthusiast prefers to share his travel experience, researches frames 5, five point Likert scale questions and with the help of t-test following table explains the enthusiasts’ most preferred way of sharing his travel experience. Table No. 4 t -Test Source: Author’s Research With the help of t-test we can conclude that travel enthusiasts would like to share their travel experience by word of mouth, writing reviews on travel portals, Uploading pictures in an order of preference. A travel marketer should emphasize his marketing efforts to engage and facilitate provisions for writing reviews on travel portals, Uploading pictures and generate a positive image on the portals. Null Hypothesis H0 T DF Sig. (2- Tailed) Hypothesis Testing Travel enthusiasts don’t share their travel experience by word of mouth -11.353 127 .000 Reject H0 Travel enthusiasts don’t share their travel experience by Writing review on travel portals 3.157 127 .002 Reject H0 Travel enthusiasts don’t share their travel experience by Uploading pictures -2.947 127 .004 Reject H0 Travel enthusiasts don’t share their travel experience on social networking sites -.517 127 .606 Don’t reject H0 Travel enthusiasts don’t share their travel experience by giving most number of likes/stars to their favorite destination 1,541 127 .126 Don’t reject H0
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 35 5.4) Factor Analysis Table No.5 : KMO and Bartlett's Test Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. .671 Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 341.354 Df 105 Sig. .000 Source: Author’s Research Table No.6: Total Variance Explained Component Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings Total % of Variance Cumulat ive % Total % of Varian ce Cumulativ e % Total % of Variance Cumulati ve % 1 3.147 20.982 20.982 3.147 20.98 2 20.982 1.909 12.727 12.727 2 1.871 12.471 33.453 1.871 12.47 1 33.453 1.841 12.273 25.000 3 1.454 9.694 43.147 1.454 9.694 43.147 1.735 11.564 36.564 4 1.181 7.875 51.021 1.181 7.875 51.021 1.724 11.493 48.057 5 1.150 7.665 58.686 1.150 7.665 58.686 1.594 10.629 58.686 6 .932 6.215 64.902 7 .886 5.909 70.811 8 .755 5.032 75.842 9 .724 4.824 80.666 10 .633 4.222 84.888 11 .568 3.789 88.677 12 .503 3.353 92.030 13 .427 2.845 94.875 14 .401 2.674 97.549 15 .368 2.451 100.000 Source: Author’s Research- Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 36 Table No.7: Rotated Component Matrix Components 1 2 3 4 5 I consider Hotel Rates/Reviews to plan my vacation .297 .132 -.228 .034 .722 Mode of travel and cost of travel are very important parameters to plan a trip .249 .520 .090 -.120 .212 I consider information about the city/town/hill station as an important parameter to decide about a vacation -.182 .083 .232 .016 .770 I refer to Pictures of a particular place while deciding about a vacation .066 .329 .490 .048 .399 I consider tourist attractions & famous places to visit while deciding about a vacation -.120 .594 .284 .210 .270 I evaluate Package deals offered by tour and travel companies/ travel agents while deciding about a vacation .124 .647 -.206 .326 .238 I would like to share my travel experience through Word of mouth -.037 .650 .063 -.180 -.123 I would like to share my travel experience by Writing review on travel portals .717 -.314 .129 .058 .215 I would like to share my travel experience by Uploading pictures .220 -.022 .794 -.089 .077 I would like to share my travel experience through Social networking sites .053 .093 .701 .360 -.111 I would Give most number of likes/stars to your favorite destination .399 .142 .174 .355 .165 During a conversation about travel, I am likely to mention my experience on a travel social networking website .727 .326 -.014 .049 -.191 The authenticity of the review provided by the traveler on the online social travel networking site is credible. .280 .013 -.096 .745 .055 More honest and reliable reviews will encourage me to visit the online travel portal again to help me plan my vacation. .023 -.087 .198 .768 -.027 I am convinced by the information offered by the travel portal it encourages me to will purchase my vacation through the website. .599 .054 .189 .331 -.011 Source: Author’s Research
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 37 Table No. 8: Factors Factor Components Factor loadings Factor 1 Expert Adviser I would like to share my travel experience by Writing review on travel portals .717 During a conversation about travel, I am likely to mention my experience on a travel social networking website .727 I am convinced by the information offered by the travel portal; it encourages me to purchase my vacation through the website. .599 Factor Value Seeker I consider tourist attractions & famous places to visit while deciding about a vacation .594 I evaluate Package deals offered by tour and travel companies/ travel agents while deciding about a vacation .647 I would like to share my travel experience through Word of mouth .650 Factor 3 Propagator I would like to share my travel experience by Uploading pictures .794 I would like to share my travel experience through Social networking sites .701 Factor 4 Credibility Seeker The authenticity of the review provided by the traveler on the online social travel networking site is credible. .745 More honest and reliable reviews will encourage me to visit the online travel portal again to help me plan my vacation. .768 Factor 5 Digital reviewer I consider Hotel Rates/Reviews to plan my vacation .722 I consider information about the city/town/hill station as an important parameter to decide about a vacation .770 Source: Author’s Research Interpretation: The factor loadings for various components are shown in the tables above. And we can interpret these factors as follows, customers who are travel enthusiasts and use social media and other forms of digital media to learn about various travel related information can be divided into following 5 factors. Factor 1: Expert Adviser- Who believes firmly about the information shared on travel portals, he writes reviews on travel portals,shares experience on a travel social networking website. Factor 2: Value Seeker - Who evaluates Package deals offered by tour and travel companies/ travel agents, considers tourist attractions & famous places to visit. Through various means he evaluates all aspects related to vacation and finds most valuable deal. Factor 3: Propagator- One who would like to share his travel experience by Uploading pictures and through Social networking sites. His level of expertise is not at an expert adviser level.
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 38 Factor 4:Credibility Seeker- He believes in honest and reliable reviews which will encourage him to visit the online travel portal to plan his vacation. And he has a conviction that authenticity of the review provided by the traveler on the online social travel networking site is credible. Factor 5: Digital reviewer- He considers information about the city/town/hill station and hotel Rates/Reviews as an important parameter to decide about a vacation. With the help of Table No. 7 we can infer that Expert Advisers(Factor 1, 21%) , Value Seekers (Factor 2, 12%) and propagators (Factor 2, 10%)constitutearound 43%of the travel enthusiasts. Travel marketer should design travel services and communication according to these psychographic attributes and engage them positively. 6. CONCLUSION With the help of the empirical research findings we can conclude that User generated content (UGC) and online travel reviews (OTR) have a significant impact on the travel planning process of consumers, the current empirical study proves thatmost important parameters considered by travelers while making a decision about vacation are Hotel Reviews and ratingson the internet(Gretzel U &Yoo K.H., 2008) and Mode of travel and cost.The empirical research also proves that consumers are using e-word of mouth (e-WOM) websites to share opinions and experiences about tourism product and service( Rezabaksh, B.Bornemann, D.Hansen& U Schrader 2006). Another important finding from research is, viewing photographs on travel portals or on social media is the most engaging travel related engagement activity for the travel enthusiasts.By redesigning customer engagement tools and generating positive reviews and ratings on the portals and on social media a travel marketing company can generate positive results in its favor. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Arriga M &Levina N 2008 social dynamics of online cultural friends, presented at the meeting of 29th international conference on information systems (ICIS ’08), 2008, Paris. 2. Bowden, J.L.H. 2009. The process of customer engagement: A conceptual framework, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 17 (1), 63-74. 3. Brian Haven and Suresh Vittal, 2008 . Measuring Engagement. http://www.adobe.com/engagement/pdfs/measuring_engagement.pdf 4. Brian Haven and Suresh Vittal with Christine Spivey Overby and Evadne Cokeh, 2008. Five Tools And Technologies To Measure Engagement; http://www.adobe.com/engagement/pdfs/five_tools_and_tech_to_measure.pdf 5. Gretzel U &Yoo K.H.(2008). Use and impact of online travel review. In P.O’Connnor, W.Hopken& U Gretzel(Eds.) Information and communication Technologies in Tourism 2008(pp.35-46).Innsbruck:Springer 6. Ilies G and Ilies M (2006) Trends in 3D tourism mapping. GeopraphiaTechnica 58(2), 55-59. 7. Koumelis T (2008)e-tourism futures forum to explore the informationcommunication technologies revolution. Retrieved 27/03/2008. From www.traveldailynews.com/pages/print/25090 8. Laboy, F. &Torchio, P.(2007). Web 2.0 for the travel marketer and consumer. Retrieved 17/12/2007, from www.esitemarketing.com/web2-travel-marketing.php 9. Linda D. Hollebeek, 2010. The Customer Engagement/Value Interface: Conceptual Model & Research Implications. 10. Moutinho L (1987) consumer behavior in tourism , Europian journal of Marketing 21(10) , 3-44
    • International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management (IJMHRM), ISSN 0976 – 6421 (Print), ISSN 0976 – 643X (Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, May - August (2013) 39 11. Magurie DJ and Longley PA(2005) The emergence of geoportals and their role in spatial data infrastructure. Computers, Environment and Urban System 29(1), 3-14. 12. Pan B and Fesenmailer D (2006) Online information search and vacation planning process. Annals of tourism research 33(3), 809-832. 13. Pan B, Crotts JC and Muller B (2007) Developing web based tourist information tools using Google map. In information and communication Technologies in Tourism 2007 (Sigala M, Mich L and Murphy J, Eds) pp 503-512, springer verlag, Vienna. 14. Rezabaksh, B.Bornemann, D.Hansen& U Schrader (2006) Consumer power; a comparison of the old economy and internet economy. Journal of consumer policy, 29(3), 3-36. 15. Sigala M (2010a) Mass communication model for travel and tourism information e-services: interrelationships between system design and customer value. International Journal of Information systems In the service sector2 (2), 48-69. 16. Thomas JJ and Cook KA (2005) illuminating the path: the research and development agenda for visual analytics. National visualization and Analytics Centre 17. Zhang J and Norman DA (1994) Representations in distributed cognitive tasks. Cognitive Science 18(1),87-122 WEBILIOGRAPHY 18. http://www.newmediatrendwatch.com/world-overview/91-online-travel-market?start=1 19. http://www.hotelmanagement-network.com/news/newsindias-travel-intermediaries-industry- to-reach-2476bn-in-2016 20. http://redseerconsulting.com/sites/default/files/India%20Online%20Travel%20Market.pdf 21. http://davidrogers.biz/blog/rethinking-the-marketing-funnel-in-a-world-of-social-media/ 22. https://www.adobe.com/engagement/pdfs/measuring_engagement.pdf