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The impact of social networking mediums on the decision making process of tourists: A case study of Stray Ltd and Spaceships New Zealand Ltd

This thesis examines tourist decision making in relation to the use of blogs and social networking sites. Specifically, the research examines the tourist behaviour involving these mediums in the pre-experience decision making phase of the travel experience through case studies of two New Zealand tourism businesses which involve backpacker and fully independent tourists as their customers (Stray Ltd and Spaceships New Zealand Ltd). The thesis research used both quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to examine the influence of blogs and social networking sites on tourists‘ decision making. The quantitative data comprised of 206 semi-structured surveys completed by customers of the two companies. Qualitative data consisted of the collection of 330 photographs posted on the companies‘ websites which had been taken by customers, 19 customer videos, customer comments from both companies‘ websites, the content of the companies‘ Facebook and Twitter social networking sites, and a semi-structured interview with a representative from both companies. Analysis of the data revealed that Facebook is the most commonly used social networking site, with the usage of social networking sites being higher than that of blogs. However, neither Facebook nor blogs featured strongly when used by customers to make decisions, with travel ratings websites and official destination websites being more commonly used. Analysis of the qualitative data showed a difference in language, structure and time between the social networking site content and customer comment data. Customer comment data features more descriptions of a customers‘ trips and why they would recommend the company, rather than when the customers are going on the trip and what they are looking forward to, which was a characteristic of social networking site content. Analysis of the photographic and video data revealed differences between the two customer types, suggesting there is a clear difference between backpackers and fully independent travellers and their motivations for travel. This thesis contributes to the previous attention given to the role of technology in tourist decision making and trip bookings through focusing on the use of social networking sites and blogs and how this applies to tourism businesses.
Type of thesis
Jenkin, H. J. (2010). The impact of social networking mediums on the decision making process of tourists: A case study of Stray Ltd and Spaceships New Zealand Ltd (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4985
University of Waikato
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