What influences your decision-making process? Your eyes tell the truth!

An eye tracking study on TripAdvisor hotel reviews

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During the first semester of our master programme, we were divided into groups and assigned each a relevant topic about e-tourism. My group, represented by Erminio, Stanislava and I, Serena, chose the topic eye tracking and tourism marketing as we strongly believed that a deep research in this field would have been fascinating and could have brought answers to significant questions concerning the area.

By means of several meetings and profound thinking we developed the final idea: we decided to focus on the investigation of what catches the user’s attention while visiting a website. More precisely, we wanted to analyse whether people are more attracted by the pictures or the reviews as well as whether people were more influenced by negative or positive review prior booking.

Since our general topic was eye tracking applied in the tourism marketing, we selected a hotel page as a website, particularly on TripAdvisor. For those who are not yet familiar with the term eye tracking, an eye tracker is a device that allows to measure both eye positions and eye movement.

Based on the literature review, the research question was formulated as follows:

Is there any difference between the impact of positive and negative comments on the final consumer while accompanied by a picture of a hotel?

 

In order to answer the above research question, we formulated the following hypotheses:
H1: People pay more attention to the reviews than to the pictures.
H2: People remember more information from negative reviews than from positive ones.
H3: People are more influenced by reviews than pictures when booking a hotel room.

We implemented the usage of the eye tracking device together with a brief questionnaire. In such manner, we aimed to gather more consistent data since we were able to compare the results of what people were claiming to look at while visiting the webpage (questionnaire) with the results of what they were actually looking at (eye tracking). Also, looking at the answers given in the questionnaire, we managed to observe whether the participants would have booked or not booked the hotel and for what reasons.

We settled two pre -tests to improve the questionnaire and the scenario introducing the eye tracking test. Having two conferences held at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, we had the opportunity to test numerous participants, all selected randomly.

Finally, for the purpose of our research, we managed to have 39 relevant eye tracking records and related questionnaires. In order to analyse the data, we employed two statistical programs, namely Excel and Gretl.

Our final conclusions are the following:
people pay more attention to the pictures than to the reviews (H1 rejected);
people remember more information from positive reviews than negative ones (H2 rejected);
people are more influenced by pictures than reviews when booking a hotel room (H3 rejected).

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The results of this study underline the importance of the user generated content (any form of content created by the users) in shaping the consumer’s decision. Hoteliers should keep in mind that both pictures and reviews are important to obtain a positive online reputation.


You can watch us on YouTube too:

Eye-Tracking and Marketing Group

 

 

GPS-Tracking of Tourists

A group of Students from Master-Programme worked on GPS-Tracking of Tourists in order to analyze their geo-spatial-behaviour. 200 visitors of the Freilichtmuseum Salzburg (Open Air Museum) were equipped with GPS-Trackers and their waypoints and trajectories were analyzed. The interpretation of the data helps the museum to opimize visitor flows and enhance the tourist experience.
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One Thesis, two Awards

Julia Beck, a Master Student of our Programme Innovation and Management in Tourism recently won two awards for her thesis “Virtual Reality as a Tool to Trigger Emotions in Tourism Marketing – Subjective and Objective Measurements to Investigate the Impact of Virtual Reality” (You can read our blog artice about that topic here). Julia got second at the Austrian National Tourism Research Award “Tourissimus” and won the Best ICT-Paper Award at the ISCONTOUR 2017. Congratulations – well done!

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Presentation at INVTOUR

Igor Gula recently presented our paper on open innovation at the INVTUR Conference at the University of Aveiro in Portugal. The paper “Open Tourism – Structuring opening ovements in the tourism industry using the Contribution-Utilization-Matrix” was written by Roman Egger, Igor Gula and Dominik Walcher. You can download the paper here and the presentation from Igor here: INVTUR2017_Egger, Gula, Walcher_Open Tourism.

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Igor Gula with Dimitrios Buhalis

The Future of Wearable Devices on Site

This year IMTE-Master-Students presented their research at the ENTER Conference in Rome. Here is an extended abstract of what they did and what they found out….

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This study is the first of its kind to apply the scenario technique approach to explore the future of wearable technologies in tourism. Nowadays, mobile devices have become central in the tourism industry, addressing not only the inspiration and planning stage, but also the experience on-site (Neuhofer, Buhalis, & Ladkin, 2014). Recently a new form of technology has emerged in tourism: wearable devices. This technology is expected to have an effect on how tourists would look, communicate and interact with their environment in the future, mediating their experience by facilitating practical functions such as communication, navigation, information search and health monitoring (Tussyadiah, 2013). Although they are not claimed to replace smartphones any time soon, wearables are considered to be the technology of the future that will transform the way people interact with the surroundings (Prabu, 2012; Dickey, 2013).

Given the changing roles wearables might play in the future of tourism, this research adopts the scenario technique approach to propose plausible and possible future scenarios of use of wearable devices on-site. As starting point of the Scenario technique approach, focus groups were conducted to gain an understanding of the core factors influencing the future use of wearable devices in an on-site tourism context. Software, Hardware, Network & Infrastructure, Comfort & Embodiment, Functions & Usages, Reliability and Third Party Access were identified as the most influential factors. Out of a vast number of possible scenarios generated combining all the future developments of the identified factors, four scenarios were chosen based on the most plausible and contrasting combinations of the most influential driving forces (Schüll & Schröter, 2013). The four scenarios, which are presented through narratives named as Awesome, Meh, Grumpy and Evil, depict not only why and how wearable devices such as smartglasses and smartwatches might be used in the near future by tourists on-site, but also outline how the visitor’s experience might be affected. While one scenario presents a situation where embracing technology enhances the tourist’s experience, hence maximising customer values and enriching user’s skills (Neuhofer et al. 2014; Tussyadiah, 2015), the other scenarios depict alternative situations where wearable devices fail to enable meaningful positive experiences.

Get a preview of the article here

eTourism Research – Final Presentations

This week the students from the 3rd Semester Masters had to present their final project results. They have been woking on their topic for a year now.

The topics cover:

The groups also did a short video to present their project – click on the link to watch the video

Seven out of these papers are going to be presented at the ISCONTOUR 2017 conference!

Online Travel Distribution Expert

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designed and conducted in cooperation with Booking.com and Expedia we offer the following elective course for our students!

Why to apply?

Tourism is considered to be one of the largest industries worldwide and has witnessed a dramatic change since the emergence of the internet. According to a survey undertaken by TripAdvisor in October 2015, 65% of users (across generations) book their accommodations online. Travel intermediaries have seen disintermediation, followed by reintermediation and new market players have entered the “agora”. Huge mergers & acquisitions are happening on a daily basis and the interconnections are hardly comprehensible.

New circumstances require a new set of skills and give room to new perspectives to all those seeking an international career in eTourism, where analytical thinking, foreign language proficiency as well as sales and negotiation skills are a great asset.

The aim of the Online Travel Distribution elective course is to bring light into this highly complex and fast changing topic, by inviting industry experts giving students the chance to
learn from leading professionals and hear which insights they share with us! The course is designed in close cooperation with our official partners Expedia and Booking.com which are as such also listed on the final certificate that the participants will obtain. Three of the trainers from the mentioned companies will provide a transfer of knowledge straight from practice. Not only does the course offer an in-depth content complementary to the  existing curriculum on the BA and MA level, but can also be seen as a sort of assessment center of two of the largest players in the field of online booking.


What can you expect?

Diverse content with a focus on market structure, analytical skills as well as a sales and communication training which are directly related to the requirements of OTAs.

With the following teachers and trainers:

  • Corinna Dullnig: Hotels Senior Account Manager, booking.com
  • Fritz Oberhumer: Strategic Account Director, expedia
  • Wolfgang Pagl: Director of Market Management Eastern Europe, expedia
  • Dominik Sobotka: further information available at: http://onmari.com/ueber-uns/ 

 Component 1: Market Structure

Market structure: Supply – Intermediaries – Demand, benefits of  intermediaries for facility owners and hotels  as well as guests.

Component 2: Analytical Skills

Business case exercise

Session1:                                                                                                                                  

  • Business case introduction
  • Sharing of techniques on how to build the case & build a strategy
  • Research and outline of the case structure (group work)

Session2:

  • Checkpoint on the progress of individual groups
  • Pitch formalizing

Session3:  Pitch presentation and feedback

Component 3: Sales Training & Communication

  • Theory behind sales vs. consulting
  • Techniques of starting a conversation (Communication cycle) – group work with practical exercises
  • Techniques of handling objections including role plays

Who can apply and how?

Bachelor level: 6th semester students (imtb/imte)

Master level: 2nd and 4th semester students

Admission requirements: GPA 2,2 or more

Please apply by submitting a letter of motivation to office.imte@fh-salzburg.ac.at

by February 28th, 2017


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For further information do not hesitate to contact us at office.imte@fh.salzburg.ac.at

 

Copy & paste for hotel mobile websites? Or: The power of screen sizes

 

heatmap.fwThis is a project-summary from Melanie Fraiss, Sofiya Iliycheva, Mattia Rainoldi and Roman Egger

The growing popularity of mobile devices and their extended usage for travel and accommodation booking, have affected both the behavior of consumer and the development of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Buhalis & Law, 2008; Egger & Buhalis, 2008; Neuhofer, Buhalis & Ladkin, 2012). During their analysis in 2015, eMarketer predicted that by 2016 that 51.8% of all travel online bookings will come from mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets (eMarketer, 2015).  All this together possesses a big challenge for the developers of hotel mobile websites. Using responsive website design (RWD) to tailor the content of hotel websites to devices with different screen sizes might not be enough. Due to the fact that little attention has been given to the importance of hotel mobile websites, the aim of this paper is to explore the differences of usability and content of hotel mobile websites in the context of devices with different screen sizes. By means of a true experiment involving an eye-tracking study, think aloud protocols and semi-structured interviews, the findings of this research show that while hotel websites used RWD to ensure a uniform visual appearance on both smartphones and tablets, some major differences still emerged in terms of content importance and usability. It is recommended that in order to ensure customer satisfaction, hotel mobile websites should be designed separately for different mobile devices.

Emerging Technologies in Tourism

The technology wheel seems to spinn fast again, as we are entering the new year soon. Sabre Labs (which is the travel and technology lab within Sabre) just published a new study on emerging technologies, challenging the tourism industry within the next decade. This report is for agencies, airlines, hoteliers and travelers, and aims to provide an overview which specific actions you should consider in the near future.

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Download the full report here