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  1. 1. Uncovering travellers’ expectations through ‘netnography’ An innovative approach to market research ISCONTOUR 2014, Krems, Austria Stefanie Gallob Research Project Manager European Travel Commission
  2. 2. European Travel Commission ETC is an international non profit-making organisation based in Brussels. ETC is responsible for the promotion of Europe as a tourist destination. It represents 33 National Tourist Organisations (NTOs) in Europe. ETC undertakes three basic activities: marketing, research and advocacy. “Work together to build the value of tourism to all the beautiful and diverse countries of Europe through cooperating in areas of sharing best practices, market intelligence and promotion".
  3. 3. MEMBERS
  4. 4. Central to ETC's strategy is the development of a competitive and sustainable European tourism sector, by raising the awareness of and interest in Europe as a tourist destination in long-haul markets. ETC does this by initiating marketing activities to promote pan-European products and themes, which are complementary to the individual marketing actions of its members. Prior market research determines the choice of activities and campaigns in overseas markets – United States, Canada, China and Brazil. Our Strategy
  5. 5. Pan-European marketing approach VisitEurope App Videos Competitions Social media
  6. 6. Market Research Handbooks & Best Practices Trends Watch Dissemination tools A holistic approach to market intelligence
  7. 7. Four megatrends shaping future travel • Growth shifting to new destinations • Shorter trips and short term booking Changing customer needs • Sustainable practices • Increasing price of mobility Infrastructure and mobility • Deeper consumer insight • Multi & cross-channel marketing New technology • Mass customization • Success factor: technology Capabilities for the future Source: The Boston Consulting Group
  8. 8. Four megatrends shaping future travel • Growth shifting to new destinations • Shorter trips and short term booking Changing customer needs • Sustainable practices • Increasing price of mobility Infrastructure and mobility • Deeper consumer insight • Multi & cross-channel marketing New technology • Mass customization • Success factor: technology Capabilities for the future New insights through UGC to improve marketing strategies.
  9. 9. Web 2.0 – From screen to conversations “A group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow for the creation and exchanges of user-generated content.” Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010
  10. 10. Research implications Digital footprints on multiple channels
  11. 11. vast noisy distributed unstructured dynamic Research implications Source: Gundecha & Liu, 2012, Mining Social Media
  12. 12. Big data evolution, application & research Evolution Application BI&A 1.0 DBMS-Based, Structured content BI&A 2.0 Web-Based, Unstructured Content BI&A 3.0 Mobile and Sensor- based Content E-Commerce and Market Intelligence E-Government and Politics 2.0 Science & Technology Smart Health and Wellbeing Security and Public Safety Emerging Research (Big) Data Analytics Text Analytics Web Analytics Network Analytics Mobile Analytics Source: Chen, Chiang, & Storey , 2012, Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact
  13. 13. An innovative and cost-effective research approach Understand the mind of travellers through netnography Netnography = ethnography adapted to the online social world QUALITATIVE text analysis QUANTIATIVE text analysis
  14. 14. Netnography defined “Netnography is ethnography adapted to the study of online communities.” Kozinets, 2002 Ethnography A research method designed to explore cultural phenomena. Researcher observes a community by becoming one of its members. Online communities Social aggregations that emerge from the net when enough people carry on public discussions. Source: Kozinets, 2002, 2006; Rheingold, 1995
  15. 15. sWhat netnography is and what it is not captures themes, preferences and experiences qualitative and nuanced insights on consumers not representative of the entire population frequency ≠ volume
  16. 16. Overt vs. covert netnography unobtrusive natural conversations superficial validation
  17. 17. Examples of netnographic research in tourism Example Study Topic/Themes Data Source Websites/Communities Nimrod (2012) Older adult’s tourism e.g., Mkono (2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2012) Authenticity in cultural touristic experience,,, Ong & Cros (2012) Chinese backpackers tourism in Macau Mofang community Podoshen & Hunt (2011) Holocaust, tourism of sacred sites Janta, Brown, Lugosi & Ladkin (2011) Tourism employment and workplace experiences Unspecified O’Connor (2010) Guest satisfaction and dissatisfaction with hospitality; hotelier responses to WOM Perfetto & Dholakai (2010) Medical tourism cultural contradictions Unspecified Rokka & Moisander (2009) Environmental dialogue in online communities Hsu, Dehuang & Woodside (2009) Urban tourism experiences in China Interpretation of place and people Google searches Osti (2009) Official destination websites, User-Generated- Content Woodside, Cruickshank & Dehuang (2007) Destination brands, destination myths Google searches Source: Mkono, 2013, Netnography in qualitative tourism research
  18. 18. The netnographic research process Selection of appropriate markets Research questions Identification of relevant ‘communities’/sites Manual or automated techniques Entire body of microblogs and blogs Broad keyword searches Content analysis Text analytics - Extraction - Clustering - Association - Visualisation In-depth reading and qualitative analysis Refining Generalising Theorising Publication & presentation Research planning Data collection Data analysis Interpretation & presentation
  19. 19. What is the meaning of travelling? What are drivers and barriers? What is Europe’s appeal? What are the main themes and tourism products? Research planning – Research questions Desk research Profile of the internet user Outbound travel market Netnography Meaning of travel Expectations Appeal and perceptions Values and Behaviour Drivers and barriers Highlights Themes Objectives
  20. 20. Research planning – Communities & Sites relevant active interactive substantial heterogeneous data-rich site characteristics market specific travel-oriented timely
  21. 21. Types of social media Online social networks Blogging Microblogging Wikis Social news Social bookmarking Media sharing Opinions, reviews, ratings Answers Source: Gundecha & Liu, 2012, Mining Social Media vKontakte Qzone Facebook Facebook Tencent Weibo Orkut Odnoglassiniki Sina Weibo Google+ Top social networking sites
  22. 22. Data collection manual • individual conversations • standard programmes and tools • archival data • elicited data • fieldnote data • reflective data automated • extended data corpus • data mining tools and software • dealing with unstructured data • data transformation amountofdata100 - 1,000 millions large noisy dynamic Characteristics of social media
  23. 23. Text analytics in social media Text corpus blogs microblogs social networking sites fora/chats Preprocessing stop word removal stemming Representation reduction to machine readable format Knowledge discovery classification clustering associations sentiment analysis Source: after Hu & Liu, 2012, Text analytics in social media Discovery of knowledge from texts Set of linguistic, statistical, and machine learning techniques that model and structure the information content of textual sources
  24. 24. Qualitative data analysis & interpretation coding noting abstracting and comparing refining generalising theorising Source: Kozinets, 2010, Nentography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online in-depth reading of individual blogs, microblogs, forum posts and other online content nuanced understanding of patterns from quantitative analysis
  25. 25. Advantages & Disadvantages Source: Mkono, 2013, Netnography in qualitative tourism research; Janta, 2013, Presentation on netnography rich data available online geographically dispersed unobtrusive cost-effective downloadable & archival data naturally occurring conversations candid insights anonymity passivity cannot probe or direct content no access to non-verbal cues superficiality representativeness of the market language & geographic boundaries
  26. 26. The Chinese blogosphere – A case study 40% 538 million younger age groups higher socio-economic status
  27. 27. Netnographic research design QUANTITATIVE netnography • Over 50 million microblog posts • Over 20 million blog posts • Search statistics from Internet search engines Baidu and Google • Clustering of bloggers into travel groups and extraction of themes and trends related to travel and Europe QUALITATIVE netnography • In-depth reading of individual blogs, microblogs, forum posts and other online content • Semiotic analysis of over 1,000 photographs • A qualitative analysis of travel types, motivations and behaviour
  28. 28. The new Chinese traveller • Looks for an in-depth travel experience (from standardized group travel to FIT) • Better educated (81% of Chinese outbound travellers hold higher educational degree) • Is skilled with social media and Internet usage (538 million Internet users, 3 times as active in social media as American Internet users) • Is an urban dweller • Remains price sensitive
  29. 29. Planning a trip to Europe Peaceful, quiet and clean environments
  30. 30. ”Take a picture in any direction and it will show a beautiful landscape. Look anywhere and you will see a sky bluer than what you’ve ever seen in Beijing.” Blue skies an underestimated advantage
  31. 31. Experiencing a trip in Europe Cities are peaceful, clean, skies are blue Not crowded Good preservation of historic attractions Environmental protection, clean and beautiful Rich cultural past, sophisticated Delicious and safe food High prices Tedious visa application process Lack of Chinese language information Unable to use Chinese debit cards Bad food in general and bad Chinese food in particular Bad service, shops close early Worse hotel facilities than in China
  32. 32. Authenticity … but only in certain doses ”Does Kiruna have a Chinese restaurant? I don’t care so much but I’m travelling with my mother and I’m afraid she won’t like the local food.”
  33. 33. ”Europe is a shopping heaven, it has all luxury brands, whether Louis Vuitton or Cartier or Hermes. So I go to Europe to get the most choices when buying luxury products.” Chinese Travel Budget 34% shopping 17% air fare 18% accommodation 9% entertainment 3% travel agency service Europe is ”the” place for shopping
  34. 34. ”Renting a bicycle in the Netherlands costs 10 euro per day. For that price I can get a second hand bicycle in China.” Food, accommodation, and transportation are items where most travellers try to save money, whereas entertainment and shopping are allowed to be more costly. Chinese travellers are still price conscious
  35. 35. ”I and my beloved wife travelled to amazing Greece. We experienced the sweetness and romance of the myriad Greek islands, embraced the serendipitous blue sky at the Aegean Sea, kissed in front of temple ruins, and felt the warm breeze on a passionate boat trip. We will forever live happily together.” Courtesy of Chai Ran and Huang Yanfang Mention: +150% p.y. Europe is ideal for honeymoon travel Photography is a central aspect of honeymoon travel.
  36. 36. Choose your tribe …but do not overlook the Traditionalists!
  37. 37. Triangulation of methods netnography deskresearch interviews focus groups questionnaires
  38. 38. Pan-European Themes • History, culture, heritage • Gastronomy • Health and wellbeing • Sporting activities • Religious tourism • Shopping Inspiration through targeted e-marketing activities • Emotional connection ties spurred by movies, music, literature and online content • Collection of pan- European experiences not countries • A must-see destination Capitalise on delights and eliminate barriers • Quality infrastructure • Diversity • Safe • Legal and perceptual barriers Conclusions and next steps…
  39. 39. A glimpse of the future... B2C portal European Portal on Gastronomic Events A refreshed consumer portal and complementary marketing activities Enhance the promotion of transnational thematic tourism products The pan-European experience
  40. 40. Thank you for your attention! Stefanie Gallob Project Manager – Reserach & Development European Travel Commission contact: