The role of user-generated content in tourists' travel planning behaviour
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This article reports on research that investigates how websites containing user-generated content (UGC) are used by consumers and the role they have on their information search and travel behavior. The research, conducted via an online survey, represents the views of more than 12,000 hospitality and tourism consumers. The results suggest that although these sites are popular, they are not yet considered to be as credible or trustworthy as existing sources of travel information such as government-sponsored tourism websites. UGC (or Web 2.0 sites, as they are also known) appear to act as an additional source of information that travelers consider as part of their information search process, rather than as the only source of information. The study is significant in that it appears to be one of the few investigations that captures the perceptions of the travel consumer and the way they relate to the information value associated with Web 2.0 sites.
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