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Adoption of social media as distribution channels in tourism marketing: A qualitative analysis of consumers’ experiences

Chryssoula Chatzigeorgiou, International Hellenic University, Greece & Evangelos Christou, International Hellenic University, Greece
Published online: 30 January 2020, JTHSM, 6(1), pp.25-32.

URN: urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-66267-7, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3603355

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Abstract:

Purpose: The study reported in this paper explores consumers’ experiences with technology-assisted social media service encounters by investigating the applicability of Mick and Fournier’s paradoxes of technology adoption to the social media as distribution channel in tourism scenario. This industry sector was selected because online technological innovations have significantly changed how tourism organisations like hotels and airlines deliver their services.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted to explore consumers’ experiences when using social media distribution services and the results were compared to those of Mick and Fournier. A sample of 36 Facebook users was selected as informants who currently use social media for online travel purchases, via a snowballing technique.

Results: The findings are similar to those of Mick and Fournier, suggesting that when consumers adopt online technology like social media, they can simultaneously develop positive and negative attitudes. The findings of this study also suggest that the nature of some of the paradoxes experienced by consumers may depend on the industry (tourism in this study) and the technology (social media in this study) being investigated.

Implications: Findings indicate that when consumers use social media technology-assisted service encounters for hotels’ and airlines’ services they are most likely to experience control/chaos, freedom/enslavement, competence/incompetence, efficiency/ inefficiency, engaging/disengaging, assimilation/isolation paradoxes and least likely to experience the new/obsolete paradox.

Keywords:

Adoption of technological innovations, social media, distribution channels,
consumer attitudes, tourism marketing

JEL Classification:

L83, M1, O14, Z33

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