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DeAscaniis_Tritto_Adukaite_TTRA_APac2014

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Silvia De Ascaniis, Angela Tritto, Asta Adukaite

“Potential and implications for destination management of Online Travel Reviews’argumentative analysis. The case of domestic and international tourism market inJiuzhaigou National Park, China.”

TTRA APac Annual Conference Dec 4-5 2014

DeAscaniis_Tritto_Adukaite_TTRA_APac2014

  1. 1. Silvia De Ascaniisa, Angela Trittob, & Asta Adukaitea a Università della Svizzera Italiana – USI, Lugano (Switzerland) b City University of Hong Kong 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014
  2. 2. RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Tourism information sources TOPIC AND  Approximately every Google search result page has a reference to a social media website  Social media websites provide up-to-date contents and have a complex link structure with other websites  Official and unofficial sources are equally important in search engines ranking, and most of the unofficial websites are constituted by User Generated Contents (UGC)  Search engines such as Google are dominated by a handful of ‘big players’ (tripadvisor.com, virtualtourist.com, igougo.com)  Online Travel Reviews (OTR) are the prevalent and most accessible source of UGC 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 2
  3. 3. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Research questions TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION GENERAL RQS  What is the role of User Generated Contents – and Online Travel Reviews in particular – in the perceived image of a destination/attraction?  How can we use UGC to improve tourism management practices? CASE-RELATED RQS  What is the image of Jiuzhaigou National Park according to online “voices”?  Which aspects of Jiuzhaigou management needs to be improved?  Are visitors sensitive to environmental issues and eco-friendly solutions adopted in the park? 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 3
  4. 4. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Characteristics of OTR TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION  Communicative goal: provide travel advice  Content: accounts of personal experiences  Authors: usually written by non-professionals; many voices to be compared  Addressee: an audience presumably made up of peers  Textual characteristics: monographic texts of different length, one-way information flow with the possibility to leave comments, writing style is spontaneous and rich in emotions How do OTR help prospective tourists to make travel decisions? Why are they an influential opinion source?  when a ‘sensitive’ decision has to be taken, word-of-mouth represents a more influential source of information than impersonal or official media sources.  OTR are written by people ‘in a position to know’ ( = witnesses) 8/26/2014 IDEAL summer school, Lugano 4
  5. 5. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Destination image and opinionated discourses Consumer behaviour theories Literature about destination image Opinions given by tourists online = ARGUMENTS ≠ information INTRODUCTION opinionated information = the “result” of a critical thinking process (comparison among alternatives, choice, reflection upon experience) 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 5
  6. 6. INTRODUCTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS OTR as opinionated discourses Information, logistic advice 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 6
  7. 7. INTRODUCTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS OTR as opinionated discourses CLAIM ARGUMENTS 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 7
  8. 8. INTRODUCTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Argumentation is the process of putting forward reasons (arguments) for justifying or rejecting a claim (standpoint). It is “a process by which you seek the best possible choices within a context of uncertainty and ambiguity” (Rieke, Sillars and Peterson 2005) Stdp 1 Stdp 2 Arguments “I recommend you to visit/not visit x” “My opinion of x is y” “The reasons why my opinion of x is y are z₁, z₂, ….” 8 The argumentative structure of OTR References: Aristotle. Rhetoric. + Topics. Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1969. The new Rhetoric: a treatise on argumentation Toulmin, 1969. The uses of argument.
  9. 9. RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS About Jiuzhaigou - location Located in Northern Sichuan Province in China, Min Shan Mountain TOPIC AND 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 9
  10. 10. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS About Jiuzhaigou - context TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION  One of the most famous and popular natural heritage sites in China, listed in 1992 as WHS and as a MAB in 1997  The first Chinese natural reserve to achieve the Green Globe 21 certificate of ecotourism  Its name means “Valley of the 9 villages”. Of these 9 villages only 6 remain nowadays, some of which can be visited 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 10
  11. 11. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS About Jiuzhaigou - visitors TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION N° of tourists: from 27,529 in 1984 to 2.187 millions in 2006 3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 Visitors in Jiuzhaigou National Natural Reserve 1984 1991 1995 1997 1999 2000 2002 2003 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Number of visitors Year 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 11
  12. 12. About tourism in China  Mass tourism  Large, unmanaged crowds  80/20 rule  High seasonality  Littering, pollution NEED FOR SUSTAINABILITY 12 TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS
  13. 13.  325 OTR on Jiuzhaigou National Park published on Tripadvisor, collected going backwards from 30th October 2014 to reach 10% of all the reviews published in any language  198 OTR in English, 127 OTR translated into English from: Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Bahasa Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese  distinguished according to reviewer’s country of origin (a) and rating (b) TTRA APac 2014 13 TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS The sample of analysis (b) Review rating 1/5 3 2/5 2 3/5 9 4/5 73 5/5 238 Tot. 325 (a) Reviewer’s origin China 117 Rest of Asia 87 Europe 40 USA + Canada 39 Oceania 14 Middle East 6 Latina America 5 Africa 1 Unknown 16 Tot. 325 Domestic visitors = 117 Outbound tourists = 192
  14. 14. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Analytical procedure 1. Analysis performed with UAM Corpus Tool, a software for text annotation and analysis 2. Classification according to review rating and reviewer’s country of origin 3. Classification of arguments: i. Category building I: distinction between positive and negative arguments ii. Category building II: distinction among arguments about tourism in China, arguments about the area outside the park, and arguments about the park itself iii. Category building III: bottom-up process until saturation  taxonomy of arguments 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 14
  15. 15. Analysis procedure TAXONOMY OF ARGUMENTS 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 15
  16. 16. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Inter-coder reliability Conducted by two researchers on 15% of randomly selected reviews from the sample. A value of:  2 was assigned when the same text segments were annotated with the same category  1 was assigned when the same text segments were annotated with different categories  0 was assigned when neither the segment nor the category corresponded 2 = 82,3% 1 = 13,4 % 0 = 4,3 % Differently annotated segments were discussed to reach an agreement on the category 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 16
  17. 17. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Distribution of argument types 967 arguments identified and classified:  663 (69%) positive  304 (31%) negative  7 concerned tourism in China  61 concerned the area outside the park  899 (93%) concerned the park itself  316 (32.5%) from domestic visitors  651 (67%) from outbound visitors 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 17
  18. 18. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Distribution of argument types Type of argument A. Domestic tourists B. Foreigners C. Total Positive scenery 87 (37%*) 136 (34.5%**) 223 (35%***) colors 49 (21%) 65 (16.5%) 114 (18%) atmosphere 29 (13%) 15 (4%) 44 (7%) services 17 (7%) 62 (15.5%) 79 (12.5%) comparison 15 (6.5%) 44 (11%) 59 (9%) Total positive arg. 236 395 631 Negative crowded 19 (31%) 72 (35%) 91 (34%) tourists’ behavior 6 (10%) 39 (19%) 45 (17%) services 15 (24.5%) 24 (11.5%) 39 (14.5%) organization 4 (6.5%) 26 (12.5%) 30 (11%) Total negative arg. 61 207 268 * percentages in column A are calculated against the N° of positive resp. negative arg. about the park advanced by domestic visitors. ** percentages in column B are calculated against the N° of positive resp. negative arg. about the park advanced by foreign visitors. *** percentages in column C are calculated against the total number of positive resp. negative arguments about the park. 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 18
  19. 19. TTRA APac 2014 19 TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Keywords in positive arguments DOMESTIC VISITORS INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Ex. - “The landscape is like a painting." - " (…) gives you a feeling of some kind of mystical dream“ - “Dark blue, light blue, green, dark green, is simply a natural painter magic paintbrush flowers out.” Ex. - “The turquoise waters were stunning.” - “The waterfalls, the ponds, the lakes, the “streams are just breath-taking.”
  20. 20. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Keywords in negative arguments DOMESTIC VISITORS INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Ex. - “The entrance and bus tickets are very expensive.” - “The food in the Park restaurant is a rip and low quality.” c Ex. - “It’s a pity you have to share it with hordes and hordes of screaming, pushing and littering fellow tourists.” - “The especially bad thing is that no one speaks English.” 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 20
  21. 21. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Environmental awareness 48 arguments identified in the sample: 39 positive e.g. “Not a single person smoking in sight or litter to be found is testament to its value as one of the last natural sanctuaries.” “Nowadays the scenic area management has many more rules, green buses and wooden boardwalks.» 9 negative e.g. “MUST go before this nature reserve gets polluted and ruin by tourists.” “Currently, the park does not impose any limits to the number of visitors admitted (…) which we think would be a great move.” 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 21
  22. 22. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Implications for management For the park’s management, OTRs can:  Help to better identify visitors’ needs  And also to identify specific needs of a certain group vs needs of the majority (i.e. Domestic and International Tourists)  Provide an overview of how visitors perceive certain kinds of facilities, services or behaviours  Provide useful insights on visitors experience both within and outside the park  Know the management’s strengths and weaknesses  Expose cases of park law violation (i.e. people providing accommodation within the park or overcharging and frauds)  Demonstrate how visitor are increasingly becoming more environmentally conscious and therefore environmental management is becoming very important 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 22
  23. 23. RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTS Conclusions “OTR can not only been employed in private tourism companies TOPIC AND but can also serve to evaluate the management of World Heritage Sites. The case of Jiuzhaigou demonstrates how visitors reviews provide useful insights for improving tourism management and the overall visitors experience. They also show how people are becoming increasingly environmentally aware, and how a good environmental management is actually appreciated by tourists.” 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 23
  24. 24. TOPIC AND RESEARCH QUESTION THEORETICAL BACKGROUND CASE STUDY METHDOLOGY RESULTA References Cantoni, L., & Tardini, S. (2010). The internet and the web. In D. Albertazzi & P. Cobley (eds), The Media. An Introduction (3rd ed.), New York et al., Longman, 220-232. De Ascaniis S., Gretzel Ulrike. (2013) Communicative functions of Online Travel Review titles. A pragmatic and linguistic investigation of destination and attraction OTR titles. Studies in Communication Sciences, 13(2), 156-165. De Ascaniis S., Bischof N., Cantoni L. (2013) Building Destination Image through Online Opinionated Discourses. The Case of Swiss Mountain Destinations. in L. Cantoni & Zheng Xiang (eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2013 (Proceedings of the International Conference in Innsbruck, Austria, January 22-25), Springer, Berlin – Heidelberg 2013. De Ascaniis, S., & Greco Morasso, S. (2011). When tourists give their reasons on the web. The argumentative significance of tourism related UGC. In R. Law, M. Fuchs & F. Ricci (eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011 (pp. 125-137), Springer, Wien/New York. Gretzel, U., K. H. Yoo, & Purifoy, M. (2007). Online travel review study: Role and impact of online travel reviews. Laboratory for Intelligent Systems in Tourism, Texas A&M University. Tritto, A. (2014). Towards a sustainable tourism industry in China: an analysis of the use of eco-innovation in the management of Jiuzhaigou World Heritage Site. Proceedings of Heritage 2014, Guimarães, Portugal. Yoo, K. H., & Gretzel, U. (2009). Antecedents and impacts of trust in travel-related consumer generated media. Information Technology and Tourism, 12(2), 139-152. 12/05/2014 TTRA APac 2014 24

Editor's Notes

  • On the top right corner of this map you see China and the Sichuan province highlighted, which borders with Tibet.
    As you can see, Jiuzhaigou is located in the Northern part of the Sichuan Province of China, on the Western edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 mt, and it takes about 8 to 10 hour journey from Chengdu to reach it. This road was severely affected by the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, and this caused a sharp decrease in the number of tourists. Nowadays, the ruins of these earthquake have become part of the attraction, as mentioned also in some of the reviews that we analysed. Apart from reaching it by road, an airport was built in 2003. However, the price of a flight is quite expensive, especially for the average Chinese tourist. This limitation in terms of accessibility of the park has been quite a blessing, as nowadays this park receives already more than 2 million tourists per year.
  • Although not so many people may have heard of it, in China Jiuzhaigou is one of the must see tourism destinations. There is even a saying that was quoted in many of the reviews translated from Chinese that goes: “Once you return back from the Yellow Mountain, you’ll never see mountains again; and after coming back from Jiuzhaigou, you will never see water again”, meaning that after seeing such beautiful water no other lake or see will compare to it.
    It was enlisted as World Heritage Site in 1992, added to the MAB Biosphere Network in 1997 and it was the first Chinese natural reserve to achieve the Green Globe 21 certificate of ecotourism in 2001
    Jiuzhaigou literally means “Valley of the 9 villages”. Of these 9 villages only 6 remain nowadays and some of them even offer accommodation inside the park, which is not allowed by the park’s regulation. The population within the park comprises of approximately 1,000 people, almost entirely of Tibetan ethnicity
  • What previously mentioned about accessibility is also exemplified by this graph.

    In 1984, the year this valley was opened as a national reserve, it received about 27 thousand and ½ visitors. In 2006 it received more than 2 millions visitors.
    In 2001, the visitors’ number was capped at 12,000 per day, although this is probably not enforced, as clearly in contrast with the 20,000 visitors declared in other sources such as the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve Administrative and the Aba tibetan Prefecture.
    The site has also a high seasonality, and about 80% of the park’s profits are made between June and October, putting under strong pressure the ecosystem of the reserve. The revenues from tourists also grew tremendously, reaching 453 million RMB in 2007 from 4.5 million in 1996. Nevertheless, the park is still heavily relying on domestic visitors, which constitute about 80-90% of the overall tourists arrivals, and the tours within the park are offered in Chinese.

  • Heritage managers in China have to deal with millions of visitors who generally try to condensate as much as possible into a visit, therefore the Pareto law as usually been applied to these kind of cases saying that 80% of the crowds are concentrated into 20% of the places.
    Another characteristic of tourism in China is its high seasonality: many people in the reviews we analysed mentioned the Golden week and other national holidays in which everywhere is crowded with tourists.
    As a final remark, not so many people have a high environmental awareness, and in many places like Jiuzhaigou you can see people littering around or smoking.
    All these conditions make it so that it is indispensable to enforce a good managerial structure in order to mitigate impact of tourist, promote environmental conservation, preservation of local cultures and tradition and, more in general, sustainability
  • The statement “the percentages in column A are calculated against the number of positive resp. negative arguments about the park advanced by domestic visitors" means that, for instance, positive argument scenery by domestic visitors corresponds to the 37% of all types of positive arguments advanced by domestic visitors (that are 236).
     
    If column B is considered: e.g. positive arguments scenery given by foreigners amount to 34,5% of the total number of positive arguments (any types, not only the main arguments types) advanced by foreigners (that are 395).
     
    If column C is considered: e.g. positive arguments scenery (advanced by anyone) correspond to the 35% of all the positive arguments types in the sample.  
     
    "resp." is the abbreviation for "respectively«.
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