Tourism Reputation in the Age of Social Media


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  • we focus on fulfilling the promises
  • They review our facilitiesThey give feedback about our servicesDellarocas
  • Virtual:We do not know himIs maybe not buying our product/experience We do not feel her/him as real
  • Conceptualizing online reputation is not an easy task, because as Marchiori and Cantoni (2012) noted in their review of the literature, over the years different disciplines approached the issues such as (i) psychology (e.g. Bergler, 1948) which considers reputation as cognitive association related to an object that drives stakeholder behaviour; (ii) sociology which sees reputation as a social construct (e.g. Camic, 1992; Lang and Lang, 1988); (iii) economics which considers reputation as a cognitive interpretation of an organization’s performance gathered by stakeholders (e.g. Allen, 1984; Weigelt and Camerer, 1988); (iv) marketing which considers reputation as perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describes the firms overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared with other competitors (Dowling, 2008; Fombrun, 1996; Fombrun et al., 1999). Finally, they add a linguistic/ethimological perspective defining, analysing the prefix “re” – which means iteration of something and “puto” - which implies a evaluative dimension.  Reputation is in other words a sociological construct (i.e. sociology) based on cognitive interpretations and association of a brand or an organization performance gathered by stakeholders (i.e. psychology and economics), past actions and future prospects that describe the firm/brand/organization overall appeal when compared to other competitors (i.e. marketing) and that drive stakeholder behaviour (i.e. psychology). Reputation implies an iterative and long lasting evaluation (i.e. opinion) of relevant stakeholders part of a given social group (i.e. linguistic).
  • As travel and tourism are experience-based activities (e.g. Tussyadiah & Fesenmaier, 2008) such experiences need to be communicated. Communities, blogs, travel review websites and social media in general offer publication outlets to help information sharing among users (Arsal et al., 2008). These websites increasingly gain substantial popularity in online travellers’ use of the internet (Gretzel, 2006; Pan et al., 2007).web2.0 does not provide any new protocol or completely new technologies (although a range of related technologies has been developed around it, like Ajax). It represents mainly a different use of the web itself, characterized by different expectations, goals and practices (Kolbitsch and Maurer, 2006): (i) the web is conceived more as a public square where to connect and exchange opinions instead of a library, (ii) the possibility of publishing contents has been widespread thanks to easy-to-use websites and applications and (iii) the availability of large bandwidth connections makes possible a wider use of multimedia, leading to good quality, interactive content provided by the users themselves (Cantoni and Tardini, 2009).
  • Social media, are playing an increasingly important role as information sources for travelers as they increasingly appear in search engine results in the context of travel-related searches (Hays, Page, Buhalis, 2012). Social media constitute a substantial part of the search results and therefore traditional providers of travel-related information will have to ensure that they include social media in their online marketing (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010). Looking forward, successful tourism organisations will increasingly need to rapidly identify consumer needs and to interact with prospective clients by using online, comprehensive, personalised and up-to-date communication media for the design of products that satisfy tourism demand.
  • Xiang and Gretzel (2010) shows that social media constitute a substantial part of the search results in search engines. Their results clearly indicates that search engines can likely direct travellers to social media sites. The study describes the results of ten different searches performed with the popular search engine Google in nine US cities. The relevant results for each query were the ones contained in the first ten pages (10,383 results). The findings demonstrated that there is a great amount of User Generated Content populating the organic results of the popular search engine Google (11%) distributed in the following categories: virtual communities 40% (e.g., review sites 27% (e.g. and, blogs 15% (e.g. and, networking site 9% (e.g. and, media sharing 7% (e.g.,, others 2% (e.g. and One other interesting finding regards the fact that different keywords generate different social media (e.g. nightlife is very social media friendly - Xiang and Gretzel, 2009). This study also demonstrated that social media are gaining substantial popularity within the online tourism domain (Gretzel, 2006; Pan et al., 2007). The importance of social media in online tourism lies in the fact that they are populating the search engine listing and apparently tourism businesses have little control.
  • Among the brand definitions ( I can quote few other s and the use this one) here this seems to be suited for our purposes: " a brand is a cluster of rational and emotional values that enable stakeholders to recognise a promise about a unique experience" (Christodoulies and Chernatony, 2002) + intangible setting - Therefore a brand has (i) emotional and (ii) functional values leading to a promise experience (Chernatony and Christodoulies 2004) - Two concepts are crucial for understanding a brand (i) identity, that is the collection of all the brand attributes and (ii) image, that is how relevant stakeholders perceive the brand --> different stakeholders (industry related, customers…)  can have different perceptions of the same brand, therefore different images may exists.  (e.g. Argenti & Druckenmiller, 2004).- Reputation is a collective representation of multiple stakeholders' image of the brand built over time.  - Brand Management is a Marketing issue, while Reputation Management is a communication issue.- Reputation was assessed thanks to survey to relevant stakeholder (already in the chapter) before the web2.0
  • Tourism Reputation in the Age of Social Media

    1. 1. Reputationin the Age of Social MediaDr. Alessandro InversiniProf. Dimitrios BuhalisSchool of TourismBourbemouth UniversityDr. Alessandro 22nd 2013
    2. 2.…travel & tourism…• based on promises & experiences– “we” sell promises– “they” buy experiences
    3. 3.“they” comment on their experiences…often!
    4. 4.“We” are not very interested…
    5. 5. media empowered the consumers
    6. 6. aggregation of online feedbackmechanisms that use internet bidirectionalcommunication to share opinions about awide range of topics such as: products,services and eventsDellarocas, 2003The aggregation of all these onlinefeedbacks creates the web reputation ofthe products service or event (and of thedestination)Dellarocas, 2001 and 2005;Bolton et al, 2004
    7. 7.…so what?
    8. 8. 1…the virtual customer
    9. 9. 2…becomesreal…
    10. 10. 3should we care?
    11. 11. is reputation?ReputationPsychologySociologyEconomicsMarketingLinguisticMarchioriandCantoni(2012)
    12. 12. Online ReputationP1 • The social web perspectiveP2 • The web search perspectiveP3 • Firms & brand management
    13. 13. social web perspectivei) the web is conceived more as a public square where to connect and exchangeopinions instead of a library;ii) the possibility of publishing contents has been widespread thanks to easy-to-usewebsites and applications;iii) the availability of large bandwidth connections makes possible a wider use ofmultimedia, leading to good quality, interactive content provided by the usersthemselves. (Cantoni and Tardini, 2009).
    14. 14. social web perspectiveSocial Media are: “media impressions created by consumers, typically informed byrelevant experience, and archived or shared online for easy access by otherimpressionable consumers” (Blackshaw, 2006)They represent “a mixture of fact and opinion, impression and sentiment, foundedand unfounded tidbits, experiences, and even rumor” (Blackshaw & Nazarro, 2006)Social media are important as they help spread within the web the electronic Wordof Mouth. (Litvin, Goldsmith, & Pan, 2008)
    15. 15. web search perspectiveThe issue of online information search (Jang, 2004) has attracted the interest ofacademics and practitioners in the last decades.Ramsey (2007) estimated that 61% of adult internet users conduct travel searchon the web.Recent developments in the online information search research (Xiang et al., 2008)demonstrated that travellers spend time to locate correct information on theinternet, checking different information providers (Inversini and Buhalis, 2009)before making online reservations (Vermeulen and Seegers, 2009).Most of the research has focused on the technical aspectsand on users’ behaviour aspects of online informationsearch (Brin & Page 1998; Jansen & Molina 2006).
    16. 16. web search perspective• Social Media are SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY• Intrinsic Characteristic (Gretzel, 2006)• Social Media are popultating Search Engines• 11% in 2010 (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010)XiangandGretzel,2010
    17. 17. & brand management• Two concepts are crucial for understanding a brand:• Brand identity, that is the collection of all the brand attributes;• Brand image, that is how relevant stakeholders perceive the brand.Reputation can be understood as acollective representation of multiplestakeholders image of the brand builtover time.…but… different stakeholders can havedifferent perceptions of the same brand,therefore different images may exists. (e.g.Argenti & Druckenmiller, 2004).
    18. 18. is a pervasive communication issue, which affect allthe company’s departments.Firms & brand management
    19. 19. & brand management• Before Social Media– Reputation was assessed thanks to structuredsurveys (Fombrun et al. 1999) and modelssuch as the Reputation Quotinet and theRepTrack (• What about now???– eWord of Mouth– …
    20. 20. can be considered as the aggregationof feedbacks and feelings (Mandelli and Cantoni,2010) of stakeholders about a givenorganization, product and/or brand.Experiences such as Destination OnlineReputation Model (DORM)- Web search- Content analysis- Sentiment detectionInversinietal.,2010
    21. 21. Reputation Space
    22. 22.
    23. 23. & Engage
    24. 24.
    25. 25.
    26. 26. Stories
    27. 27.
    28. 28.
    29. 29.
    30. 30.
    31. 31.
    32. 32.
    33. 33. personalized experiences
    34. 34.
    35. 35.
    36. 36. Reputationin the Age of Social MediaDr. Alessandro InversiniProf. Dimitrios BuhalisSchool of TourismBourbemouth UniversityDr. Alessandro 22nd 2013