The role of stories in travel posts to social media

Pearce, John, and Moscardo, Gianna (2021) The role of stories in travel posts to social media. In: Mansson, Maria, Buchmann, Anne, Cassinger, Cecilia, and Eskilsson, Lena, (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Media and Tourism. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, pp. 349-358.

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In 2018, a major international tourism business, used a marketing campaign spread across multiple media and social networking platforms, based on the tagline "These are our stories. What will be yours? Book your next story". This campaign highlighted two contemporary trends in tourism marketing – an explicit call to tourists to experience a story while they travel, and the dominance of online, especially social, media for customer communication in tourism. Some might argue that one of the defining features of these first decades of the twenty-first century is the widespread adoption of online social media combined with mobile communication technologies. Tourism is no exception. In tourism the massive growth in user generated content (UGC) in travel blogs, reviews and posts to social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Weibo and Snapchat has been acknowledged as an important feature of destination image and promotion, and travel decision-making (Amaro, Duartes & Henriques, 2016; Kim, Lee, Shin & Yang, 2017). Many destination marketing organizations now regularly use this UGC in their destination marketing strategies. To date tourism research into this UGC about travel has focused on descriptions of the content and what it means for destination and tourism business image and performance. Very little attention has been paid to the structure of this content or the role that UGC plays for the users. Despite the focus of tourism research on the content of UGC, a small number of studies have noted the value of UGC that is structured as a story (Hsiao, Lu & Lan, 2013; Tussyadiah & Fesenmaier, 2008; Moscardo, 2017a; Volo, 2010). The importance of stories in social media has been recognized by tourism practitioners but not yet by tourism researchers.

The present chapter therefore focusses on stories in social media and argues that stories are embedded in human thought and action and a better understanding of the roles that stories play in tourist experiences may provide insights both into the nature of tourism as a social phenomenon and its value to those that travel. The chapter seeks to contribute to both tourism and mediatization research by developing a conceptual framework that identifies the various ways in which stories exist in tourist experiences and their reports on those experiences. To develop this conceptual framework the chapter will synthesize research from psychology and sociology on the roles that stories play in human thought and action with research in tourism on stories, to identify where tourist stories posted to social media exist within the larger tourism system. It will then briefly review work in uses and gratifications theory applied to social media use to describe a set of possible roles that social media travel stories may play for the tourist storyteller. The chapter will then integrate all these areas to present an expanded conceptual model of storytelling in tourism. The chapter will conclude with a discussion of the implications of this framework for tourism research.

Item ID: 67585
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-138-36628-2
Keywords: social media, travel posts, mediatization, stories
Copyright Information: (C) Routledge
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 01:22
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350806 Tourist behaviour and visitor experience @ 100%
SEO Codes: 11 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 1104 Tourism services > 110402 Socio-cultural issues in tourism @ 100%
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