Topic: Evaluate the effects (positive and negative) of user generated data on tourism decision making. The tourism industry is a rapidly thriving industry that accounts as the main source of revenue for many regions worldwide. As the industry grows, more and more attention is being paid to the use of user generated data to enhance the decision making process in a tourism perspective. The use of user generated data in a tourism discipline is somewhat interesting as many organizations utilise user generated data for a vvariety of motives, however the central focus being for decision making.
In the ollowing paragraphs, an evaluation of both the positive and negative impacts of user generated data on decision making will be addressed with particular consideration to the tourism industry and a take on social media influences. User generated data encompasses a different vvariety of media content in the scope of modern communications technology that is used in a series of applications (Ayeh, Au, & Law, 2013).
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User generated data is also gathered via ddigital media technologies and open source free software. Nevertheless, research by Hvass and Munar (2012) suggest that in the last decade there has seen a huge shift in user generated data nd content towards an interest in social media. Social media is now more than ever a vital marketing tool for tourism operators as it acts as a gateway for tourism organizations to interact directly with consumers via internet.
Due to the fact that technology is a rising and fundamental resource today with more people gaining access to the internet through technology devices, it is reasonable that social media have been adopted by consumers to seek recommendations and references of tourism based products and services. The greatest benefit of user generated data xtracted by tourism organizations is the for the primary use of conducting and creating tourism products and services based on user generated data (Law, Leung, & Buhalts, 2009). Big data is a valuable asset to any organization within the tourism industry as well as outside of tourism based operators.
As study (Ye, Law, Gu, & Chen, 2011) indicates, each individual will generate an immense amount of data each day over communication and interaction to the extent that the information generated becomes useful and even sometimes beneficial to businesspersons especially to the tourism industry, with regards to decision making. This great deal of data is also referred to as user generated data in the sense that each individual is a user whom generates data eltner Tor a speclTlc purpose or Vla stanaara communlcatea information.
Furthermore a positive impact of user generated data on tourism decision making is the fact that the huge amount of personal data is used to improve on services and enhance product for consumers. In addition to this, user generated data is unique for creating opportunities for visitors to produce memorable tourism experiences, involving other tourism businesses to build significant destination mages and better engagement with social media.
However, other study (Law & Xiang, 2013) too shows that big data can also be regarded as a liability for many tourism organizations. User generated data at most times can be counted as misleading and untruthful data that can be time consuming and costly for many tourism operators. Thus the importance of tourism based operators to take into consideration the level of accuracy of user generated data and whether or not the data gathered is relevant to the subject of matter. Social media is a suitable example of this as many people tend to generate data via the internet.
As mentioned previously, social media is a major case in point of user generated data whereby the bulk of tourists seek for suggestions and ideas through social networks such as facebook, twitter, or travel websites that include expedia, trip advisor and many more (Leung, Law, van Hoof, & Buhalis, 2013). Besides this, other study by Hudson and Thal (2013) imply that social media is used as a strategic approach for tourism operators and in the last decade there has seen a dramatic change of consumer preferences and decision process of engaging in tourism products and services due to social media information.
Hudson and Thal (2013) further point out the benefits tourism marketers are gaining in social media engagement and the costs that come with it. To illustrate, additional research (Tham, Croy, & Mair, 2013) suggest that social media spreads “word of mouth” automatically. This is drawn from users attempting to make public all the wholesome and poor experiences an individual consumes with a product service or at a destination.
Despite this, the study concludes with the fact that “word of mouth” can get the worse of tourism operators whom primarily seek the development of roducts and services mainly though social media and user generated data which possibly will result in an inadequate expansion. To conclude, user generated data like any other source of information, contains both its benefits and costs to any tourism organization and its decision making process. The matter of the fact is, it depends on the liability of the data consumed that could possibly make or break a tourism operator.