Social Media Geographic Information in Tourism Planning
AbstractSocial media are playing an increasingly important role as information resource in tourism both for customers (i.e. the tourists), who gather trustworthy information supporting the choice of destinations and services from peers, and for businesses, which can use the same information for improving their marketing strategies. The use of social media data can also offer new opportunities for decision-support in tourism planning. With improved understanding of the motivations of tourists and tailoring tourism service supply, decision making can be facilitated by emphasizing the strengths of tourist destinations for past and potential visitors. However, this kind of information about tourists perceptions and opinions is not always properly analysed by planners. Understanding the user satisfaction, which depends on factors related to both the location and the services that the local industry proposes, may offer valuable information in tourism planning at regional and local level. In the light of the above premises, the goal of the study presented in this paper is to propose an integrated approach to investigate the relationships between tourists satisfaction, destination resources and tourism industry for supporting design and decision-making in regional tourism planning. The methodology developed in the study includes data collection from popular tourism social media platforms (i.e. Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com.com), and their integration with territorial and tourism data. Spatial and statistical analysis techniques are then applied to elicit insights from tourists perceptions on success factors which may be used in decision-making and planning support. The case study demonstrates the value of social media data and computational social science techniques in tourism planning. The paper concludes with a critical discussion on the potential of using such an approach in more general urban and regional planning setting.
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