Popularly origin of ideal sources that affects consumers’ opinions,

Popularly
described as information commuting amongst groups of people, word-of-mouth (WOM) could be considered as a crucial origin of ideal sources that affects
consumers’ opinions, attitudes and decisions because people are likely to confide information in comrade and
acquaintance (Feick
and Price 1987; Jurvetson 2000). It can be
clear that WOM is the procedure of information exchanging to have clearer image of
destination between two or more groups, individuals without the hand of any
businesses (Taylor et. Al, 2012). Since the Internet booming grown in the
last two decades, WOM has been leveled up to another advanced stage, it is not
only limited to individuals commuting. Toward social network massive developing
platform, every single mistake could be found and spread widely over the world.
It can even eliminate communication function of traditional devices such as
telephones, mobile devices, or mails (Ho, J.Y., & Dempsey 2010). Specifically, E-WOM could be separated as two typical perspectives:
personal and commercial, which are totally different from traditional WOM.
Within traditional concept, WOM did not include commerce or trades. In the
modern definition, both commercial and non-commercial is classified mostly
based on particular “online information platform providers”. While
there are “netizens” using information for their own purposes – which
is personal aspect, enterprises using internet as weapon to spread their
messages or to collect information – which is commercial aspect (Cox,
Burgess, Sellito, Buultjen, 2009). This advanced evolution has been led by the swift evolution of the
electronic communication technology which mutated people from passive to active
stage and consumers can easily to receive positive or negative comments to
decide whether is their suitable product, service, or destination and intention
of travelling.

 

The
advances in web-based technologies, as well as the increasing interest in social
networking systems prompt industry to reconsider the way for planning and consuming
tourism products and services. As a consequence, there is a wide potential for
marketers to use internet for tourism purposes. Internet plays a new role as intermediary,
by overcoming the traditional role of tour operators and travel agencies and
providing tourist the possibility to buy several tourist products and services
by themselves (Buhalis and Law, 2008). For instance, half of European internet
users makes decisions on their travel plans using eMarketer, which implies that
out of every three European tourists two use the internet to upload their blogs
and share reviews about their holidays with other people (Li and Bernoff,
2008).

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In
particular, the social network offers new powerful tools which can be exploited
in tourism contexts for the promotion of local resources in a global perspective
in a fast and innovative way. Social networks are becoming an efficient tool
for IT-based business, by providing several services for tourism market. In
fact, through the social network, the way people plan for, buy and consume
tourist products and services dramatically change the role of tourism
intermediaries (Buhalis and Law, 2008; Kracht and Wang, 2009). Tourists can
post their thoughts and opinions about holidays and past experiences, by making
them available to the global community of internet users (Dellarocas, 2003). On
the other hand, internet increases the productivity and efficiency of hotels’
marketing efforts, allowing hospitality companies to reach their customers directly
in order to offer them promotions and sales (Law and Lau, 2005; Pantanoet al., 2011;
Tse, 2003), as well as to improve the role of traditional tour operators and
travel agencies (Yeet al., 2011). For instance, in February 2010, Twitter
attracted an average of 21 million unique visitors over the month, and sent
about 50 million tweets every day (TechCrunch.com, 2010). This information
sharing process includes the increasing use of social network to link actors
across market boundaries, to share common knowledge (Cheng, 2010), and to
create new connections among users and between firm and clients (Boyd and
Ellison, 2007). In fact, these virtual and free spaces play an important role
in information diffusion among tourists capable of influencing their
behavioural intentions (de Valck et al., 2009; Pantano and Servidio, 2011) as
well as on the creation of a common topic-oriented knowledge. As a consequence,
the communication mediated by social networks has positive or negative effects
for tourist’s judgments and on their subsequent decisions (Knights and Willmott,
2007; Pantano et al., 2011).

The use
of social network for tourism purposes is a topic relatively new (Kasavanaet
al., 2010). For instance, in the Italian context, to what extend Italian
tourists uses social networks for the choice of tourism destinations is still
under investigated. Since tourists prefer enhanced graphical web site design
and ease of use tools for their choice (Pantano et al., 2011; Stringam and
Gerdes, 2010), travel agencies and destination marketers are prompted to
provide several high quality photos and videos of destination through social
network for attracting more consumers’ interest. In this scenario, social networks
increases the traditional tools offered by web-based technologies, due to the interactivity
and their free and fast access from everywhere (Isacsson and Gretzel, 2011; Machlouzarides,
2010; Pantano and Servidio, 2011; Tatsiopoulos and Boutsinas, 2010). Social
networks can be a technology more appealing if compared to the ones more
oriented to tourism sector, capable of catching consumers’ interest and
influencing their decision.

The aim of this paper is to model the use of social networks as powerful
tool for the choice of tourism destinations, by extending the use of technology
acceptance model (TAM). In particular, the first part of this paper analyses
the most important evidences on TAM model and on the influence of perceived
enjoyment and e-word of mouth (eWOM) communication on tourist decision choices,
whereas the second one is devoted to a quantitative analysis which involves
1397 experience users in order to predict their intention to use social network
as tool for supporting their decision choice of tourism destinations

·      
Research objectives

Firstly, this study elaborating how electronic word of
mouth effects tourists’ attitude toward a determinant destination. Secondly,
this study elaborating how electronic word of mouth effects travel intention. Finally,
this study elaborating how tourists’ attitude effects travel intention.

·       Research questions

This study examines the influence of electronic word
of mouth on tourists’ attitude toward a determinant destination and travel
intention when they plan a trip. This study question attempt to find answers
based on the following questions:

i.           
Does e-WOM affect tourists’ attitude toward a
certain destination?

ii.          
Does e-WOM affect tourists’ travel intention?

iii.        
Visitor attitude from e-WOM effect their
intention to choose a destination?

x

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