Presenter Bios

Michael W. Lever (M.Sc., University of Ottawa) is a Ph.D. student at the University of Guelph. He worked as an Analyst at Nielsen Company in Toronto, and is currently pursuing his research interests in consumer behavior, outshopping and place branding.

Michael S. Mulvey (Ph.D., Penn State) is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. He is an expert on the topics of branding, marketing strategy, and consumer research, and has provided marketing consultation and expert witness services to clients in a wide variety of industries.

Statia Elliot (PhD, Carlton University) is Director of the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management. She researches destination image, branding and performance. A member of the Tourism Human Resources Canada Board and Destination Canada’s Research Advisory Committee, she is past Chair of Canada’s Travel and Tourism Research Association Chapter.

Abstract

The rise of the Internet and the proliferation of social media has amplified the importance of understanding the consumer decision-making process. Not surprisingly, travel industry marketers are devoting greater portions of their marketing budgets towards harnessing the power of social media and electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) as a tool to influence consumer preferences. Yet, to accomplish this goal, marketers need to understand that people differ in their motivation to spread eWOM through social media, and there exists a crucial distinction between organic (consumer-initiated) versus incentivized (company-promoted) eWOM. Therefore, the objective of this study is to draw insights from the nascent eWOM literature and interviews with cross-border travelers to investigate heterogeneity in social media use and the differential impact on travel-related intentions and behaviours. Using a conceptual mapping methodology, our preliminary findings demonstrate patterns of social, opinion forming, and trip planning aspects. Implications for marketers are discussed.

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From Hashtags to Shopping Bags: Measuring the Rise of eWOM through Social Media and its Impact on Travelers’ Shopping Patterns

The rise of the Internet and the proliferation of social media has amplified the importance of understanding the consumer decision-making process. Not surprisingly, travel industry marketers are devoting greater portions of their marketing budgets towards harnessing the power of social media and electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) as a tool to influence consumer preferences. Yet, to accomplish this goal, marketers need to understand that people differ in their motivation to spread eWOM through social media, and there exists a crucial distinction between organic (consumer-initiated) versus incentivized (company-promoted) eWOM. Therefore, the objective of this study is to draw insights from the nascent eWOM literature and interviews with cross-border travelers to investigate heterogeneity in social media use and the differential impact on travel-related intentions and behaviours. Using a conceptual mapping methodology, our preliminary findings demonstrate patterns of social, opinion forming, and trip planning aspects. Implications for marketers are discussed.