Title of Paper

Analysing European tourists’ use of e-tourism platforms through social networks

Presenter Bios (50 Words)

Arminda Almeida Santana is part of the research staff at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria since 2013. She is part of the Institute of Tourism Studies and Economic and Sustainable Development (Tides). Her research interests focus on Loyalty, Branding, Brand Management, Consumer Behavior, Hospitality Marketing, Destination Marketing and Management, Customer Experience and Satisfaction, Social Media and Digital Destinations.

Juan Hernandez is Associate professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. His main line of research is the development and application of quantitative methods to natural resource economics, such as tourism and fisheries. He is particularly interested in the application of the complex network perspective to analyze trade and tourism systems.

Sergio Moreno Gil is Director of Institutional Relations UNESCO Chair of Tourism Planning and Sustainable Development. ULPGC. Director of marketing and destination development at TIDES Tourism and Sustainable Development Institute. University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In the past, he has worked for Hilton Hotels in Germany; TUI Group Spain, in the quality department; and as a visiting researcher at World Tourism Research Centre (U of Calgary – Canada).

He has written more than 20 books and book chapters, 25 international papers (Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, Journal of Travel Research, International Journal of Tourism Research, Tourism Economics, Journal of Vacation Marketing, International Journal of Hospitality and Leisure Marketing, etc.).

Abstract (150 Words)

This paper analyses the use of the main e-tourism platforms by European tourists. A computer-aided Web interview (CAWI) was used to conduct the research in 19 European countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. The final sample consisted of 13,243 tourists.

Through the methodology of Social Network Analysis (SNA), the study focuses on detecting key network players (social media, OTAs, etc.) in the e-tourism ecosystem. The network analysis reveals the structural characteristics of the network of networks in the European e-tourism ecosystem: number of platforms (473), centrality degree and betweenness, and the specific characteristics of the networks by country.

The results show an e-tourism network of platforms following a pattern known as core-periphery. Four platforms show a predominant role: Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google, and Booking. These ‘big four’ ego-networks are graphically represented to better understand the e-tourism network. The results also show that different networks are formed by country according to the use of e-tourism platforms.

This study helps understand in a novel way the behaviour of European tourists when using e-tourism platforms to choose their travel destination. The results obtained are useful for companies and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), understanding how e-tourism platforms are connected in order to design their segmentation and promotion strategy through e-tourism platforms in the European market.

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Analysing European tourists’ use of e-tourism platforms through social networks

This paper analyses the use of the main e-tourism platforms by European tourists. A computer-aided Web interview (CAWI) was used to conduct the research in 19 European countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. The final sample consisted of 13,243 tourists.

Through the methodology of Social Network Analysis (SNA), the study focuses on detecting key network players (social media, OTAs, etc.) in the e-tourism ecosystem. The network analysis reveals the structural characteristics of the network of networks in the European e-tourism ecosystem: number of platforms (473), centrality degree and betweenness, and the specific characteristics of the networks by country.

The results show an e-tourism network of platforms following a pattern known as core-periphery. Four platforms show a predominant role: Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google, and Booking. These ‘big four’ ego-networks are graphically represented to better understand the e-tourism network. The results also show that different networks are formed by country according to the use of e-tourism platforms.

This study helps understand in a novel way the behaviour of European tourists when using e-tourism platforms to choose their travel destination. The results obtained are useful for companies and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), understanding how e-tourism platforms are connected in order to design their segmentation and promotion strategy through e-tourism platforms in the European market.