Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Creating UGC Areas of Official Destination Websites: Is there a Recipe for Success? An Insight through Netnographic Research

Osti, Linda (2009): Creating UGC Areas of Official Destination Websites: Is there a Recipe for Success? An Insight through Netnographic Research. Published in: TOURISMOS: An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism , Vol. 4, No. 3 (15. November 2009): pp. 99-112.

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Abstract

An analysis of the existing literature has demonstrated the importance of word of mouth as a source of information for potential tourists and service consumers. The growth of the Internet and interactive websites has lead to the creation of online communities that serve as points of reference for word of mouth and in particular for independent, personal and experiential information. Recent articles have noted the growing interest of tourism companies and destinations to include UGC areas in their official websites to provide their users with these types of information and interactivity among each others. However, so far little research has been performed on the success factors of online communities. This paper wants to create a platform for further research on the topic. If destinations want to boost visits to their websites through UGS areas and create a “buzz” through positive word of mouth, it is necessary to know the correct ingredients for success. Some of these ingredients have been discovered through a netnographic analysis of an Italian virtual mountaineering community. The analysis has shown that some of the most important issues when creating online communities are the reliability of information, the ease of finding information and creating threads and posts, the constant appearance of interesting threads and discussions, the respect for other members, the passion of all of the active users for the same topics and a certain homogeneity within the users.

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