How 'social' are destinations? Examining European DMO social media usage


Usakli A., Koc B., Sonmez S.

JOURNAL OF DESTINATION MARKETING & MANAGEMENT, vol.6, no.2, pp.136-149, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jdmm.2017.02.001
  • Journal Name: JOURNAL OF DESTINATION MARKETING & MANAGEMENT
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.136-149
  • Keywords: Social media, DMOs, Europe, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WORD-OF-MOUTH, MARKETING TOOL, TOURISM, FACEBOOK, CONSUMER, HOSPITALITY, ONLINE, ORGANIZATIONS, COMMUNICATION, STRATEGIES
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

This study explores how European DMOs use social media to promote and market their destinations and extends extant research on social media in tourism by: (1) using a larger sample size of 50 European countries, (2) including two additional social media platforms (Instagram and YouTube) to current investigations that commonly focus on Facebook and Twitter, (3) extending the scope of measures used in the content analysis, and (4) investigating social media platforms over a longer time period of a full year. Content analysis of measures used to examine European DMO social media usage revealed seven categories: (1) content, (2) major theme, (3) information type, (4) engagement, (5) interactivity, (6) promotion and (7) customer service. Based on content analysis of a systematic random sample of 3546 social media postings, results clearly indicate that social media is of interest to European DMOs. Among all European destinations, Turkey, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands and Spain were found to have a higher level of engagement, whereas France, Cyprus, Russia, Luxembourg and Norway were found to be more interactive. Findings suggest that European DMOs utilize social media as a traditional marketing tool, rather than exploiting it as a customer service tool to mitigate potential customer problems.