The Use of social media and its impacts on consumer behaviour: the context of holiday travel.

Fotis, J. N, 2015. The Use of social media and its impacts on consumer behaviour: the context of holiday travel. Doctorate Thesis (Doctorate). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

Social media enjoy a phenomenal success in terms of adoption and usage levels. They cause paradigm shifts on how people connect and communicate with each other, on how they express and share ideas, and even on how they engage with products, brands, and organizations. Moreover, social media became significant networks of consumer knowledge. In travel and tourism, the impacts of social media have already been described as tremendous, primarily due to the experiential nature of tourism products, and especially of holiday trips: purchases are considered risky and therefore decision making processes are information intensive. An adequate number of studies attempt to reveal the role and impact of social media on aspects of consumer behaviour during the travel process that is before, during, and after the trip. However, almost all employ a micro approach, focusing either on a specific type of social medium (e.g. consumer review and rating websites), or on a specific application (e.g. TripAdvisor), or on a specific stage of the decision making process (e.g. information search), or on a specific stage of the travel process (e.g. before travel). Despite the advantages of such micro approaches, still the overall picture on how consumers use social media and their impact as a whole, during all phases of the travel process and throughout all stages of the decision making process remains unclear. To address this gap, this study aims to explore use and impacts of social media on consumer behaviour with particular focus on holiday travel. To meet this aim, a qualitative methodology was designed to provide an insider’s perspective on how consumers use social media throughout the holiday travel process and the impacts of such use on consumer behaviour. Seven focus groups were carried out with fifty-one active social media users who have been on a holiday trip during the last twelve months. It was revealed that social media are used during all stages of the travel process, and also during all stages of holiday related decision making processes. Through thematic analysis six themes have been constructed that provide a range of insights on how social media are used and their impacts. This study makes four contributions to knowledge. First, to consumer behaviour theory by proposing information exchange as an enlarged consumer behaviour construct consisting of nine components. Second, to the theory of technology fluidity. Fluidity, from being a characteristic of a specific technology, is now proposed as a characteristic of the sets of behaviours and cognitive functions associated with the use of the specific technology or medium. Third, to social media related research in the context of holiday travel by identifying six functional spaces that enclose active users’ specific behaviours and cognitive functions: inspiration, collaboration, decision making, self-expression, communication, and entertainment. Fourth, by proposing the social media enabled travel process model as a framework for understanding use and impact of social media throughout the holiday travel process. A number

Item Type:Thesis (Doctorate)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social media ; Consumer behaviour ; Impact ; Holiday travel ; Vacations ; Travel process ; Decision making
Subjects:UNSPECIFIED
Group:Faculty of Management
ID Code:22506
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:25 Sep 2015 14:47
Last Modified:02 Aug 2016 11:53

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