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Topic Modelling of Tourist Dining Experiences Based on the GLOBE Model

We presented our paper today at the ENTER 2022 conference

The needs of travellers vary across cultures. When it comes to culinary aspects, there is a strong connection between gastronomy and culture. To optimise service offerings, investigation of the essential aspects of dining experiences in relation to cultural backgrounds is of great importance. In the age of digitalisation, tourists share their dining experiences throughout their multiphasic travel journey via online platforms. By considering nine distinct cultural backgrounds, this research aims to investigate tourist experiences based on TripAdvisor restaurant reviews through topic modelling, using the city of Salzburg as its study context. Depending on one’s cultural circumstances, the findings demonstrate that the most important aspects include staff, food-menu items, value for money, restaurant physical appearance, food authenticity, overall service, menu offers, food quality, atmosphere, and recommendations. This study advances the state-of-the-art knowledge of societal culture as a variable in the target market analysis of restaurant customers. Findings allow restaurant owners, other tourism service providers, and destination management organisations to analyse and adapt their service offerings and strategies accordingly.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

Destination Image of DMO and UGC on Instagram: A Machine-Learning Approach

Our paper was presented today at the ENTER 2022 conference.

Social media plays a key role in shaping the image of a destination. Although recent research has investigated factors influencing online users’ perception towards destination image, limited studies encompass and compare social media content shared by tourists and destination management organisations (DMOs) at the same time. This paper aims to determine whether the projected image of DMOs corresponds with the destination image perceived by tourists. By taking the Austrian Alpine resort Saalbach-Hinterglemm as a case, a netnographic approach was applied to analyse the visual and textual posts of DMO and user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram using machine learning. The findings reveal themes that are not covered in the posts published by marketers but do appear in UGC. This study adds to the existing literature by providing a deeper insight into destination image formation and uses a qualitative approach to assess destination brand image. It further highlights practical implications for the industry regarding DMOs’ social media marketing strategy.

The full paper is available here

The Usage of Emoji in Tourism-Related Instagram Posts: Suggestions from a Marketing Perspective

Our paper was presented today at the ENTER 2022 conference.

The relevance of emoji in social media marketing has attracted tremendous interest from academics and marketing professionals alike ever since emoji became a fixed component in user-to-user and business-to-user communication on online platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Using a quantitative research approach in the form of a self-administered online survey in an experimental setting, the purpose of this study is to investigate what type of emoji positively impacts consumer behaviour, purchase intention, and user interaction in tourism-related Instagram posts. This research is novel in that it bridges the usage of emoji in the context of social media and tourism. The findings support tourism managers in the practical use of emoji for social media marketing campaigns on Instagram and show that (positive) face emoji evoke more positive emotions than non-face emoji.

the full paper is available here.

A netnography study of Saalbach Hinterglemm, based on Instagram Data

An eTourism Research project by: Veronika SurkicRichard Mükisch, Elza KaiumovaOguzcan Gumus blog1

A large proportion of people use social media to find travel ideas. In this blog article, it is made clear how important it is to know which brand image the customers have of the respective company or the destination to be traveled to. It is much more common with just a few clicks on Instagram to search for a destination and make about experience and impressions there. We illustrate with the help of a content analysis on Instagram why this can be of great benefit in the private sector. According to mediakix, Instagram is one of the most used social media platforms in the world. 

The number of Instagram followers is soaring by the second. According to the Influencer Marketing Survey, Instagram has been nominated as the most strategically important social media channel for influencer marketing by 2019. It would be reckless not to leverage such a “live” platform for the interests of one’s business, considering that the major social networks have long been used more than successfully to promote brands. Naturally, the tourism industry has not missed out on this opportunity to promote tourist destinations. 

The importance of Instagram

Importance from the economic point of view
According to Varkaris (2017), it is a fact that customers form a credible picture of their future destination. However, to distance ourselves from the theory here, let’s take a look at the business figures. According to Brandwatch (2020), by 2020 there were approximately 1 billion monthly active users and 95 million photos are generated on a daily basis. It is also clear in this context that user-generated content is considered very honest and reliable by customers. (Mangan, 2021) Furthermore, we can make use of financially important key figures such as return on investment via the reputations of social media. The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens has already taken its steps in this regard, incorporating social media into its financials, marketing and customer support (Adrian Stehr, 2021).

The promotion of tourist destinations is time-consuming and requires a large-scale analysis. The positive leverage the range of the DMO, UGC content can be used which is not covered by the DMO but still matches the desired Image. 

This should be repeated and carried out over certain periods and not only in the initiation phase. Social media marketing professionals know how much effort and what impact actions and campaigns have on customer buying power. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others” is one of the reasons why we have conducted a case study of Ski Resort Saalbach Hinterglemm. This aimed to analyze the content, which was posted on Instagram. As a basis for this, data from Destinations Management Saalbach and User Generated Content, which was collected in the period of the winter season 19/20. 

As the proverb says, “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others” 

Recommendations & Research Approach
To conclude the theoretical part here, we can confirm that the brand image has been adopted by users in their content. This is clearly illustrated in the following example using an image of a Word Cloud. The basis for this example is the image description of each user. To increase the credibility of the brand and thus the intention of the users, the story offered by the users should match the one offered by the DMO. This also increases the rate to visit the destination again or recommend it to others (Jiménez-Barreto et al., 2020). 

Basic word cloud overview of the DMO textual descriptions shows that the topics are winter and snow, promotion of Salzburgerland and Skicircus areas, the slogan ‘Home of lässig’ and the events FIS Alpine World Cup in Saalbach and the Freeride World Tour. 


As a recommendation from our side, we can pronounce the following. The first step should be market research on the brand image of the destination. In the next point, the exact wording of a # or slogan should be determined. This must then be memorized in the minds of users and guests over a period of time. After several campaigns have been completed, the final step of data analysis can be done to show how successful the market research and marketing campaigns have been in the past. 

This was our Research Workflow:
Our research design was quite complex, as we analyzed image data and textual data with machine learning approaches.


Click image to enlarge


Adrian Stehr, M. B. (20. 01 2021). Killarney Hotels Limited. Von The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens: 

Larsen, H. (2018, June 1). The ‘mental topography’ of the Shanghai city brand: A netnographic approach to formulating city brand positioning strategies. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, pp. 90-101. 

Jiménez-Barreto, J., Rubio, N., Campo, S., & Molinillo, S. (2020). Linking  the online  destination  brand   experience and brand  credibility with tourists’  behavioral  intentions toward a destination. Tourism Management, 79, 104101 

Lund, N., Cohen, S., & Scarles, C. (2018, June 1). The power of social  media  storytelling  in  destination  branding.  Journal  of Destination Marketing & Management, pp. 271-280. 

Mangan, M. (2021, January 21). Hospitality Net. Retrieved  from Hospitality Net: 

Varkaris, E., & Neuhofer, B. (2017, January 1).  The influence  of social media on the consumers’ hotel decision journey. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, pp. 101-118. 

TripAdvisor Restaurant Reviews: Topic Modelling of Tourists’ Dining Aspects based on GLOBE Model societal Culture

An eTourism Research Project by: Angela Pagiri, Ruihong Liu, Barbara Prodinger, Fabian Wettinger, and Inna Milashevskaia  

Most of our lives are greatly impacted by tourism. And not just because we have been studying it for three semesters. No, living in Salzburg we are surrounded by tourists (well, maybe not now, but you know what we mean), we work in tourism, we hear about it in the news and we spend our spare time travelling. Dealing with tourism so much, we couldn’t but wonder about how satisfied our guests really are. When they dine out in restaurants, do they get the experience they wished for? Do they all want the same, or does the lady from Tokyo pay attention to different things than the student from Barcelona? How are we going to know? That’s where our idea started forming. We realized that there are ways to find out. Even better, they are actually very accessible! Think of TripAdvisor. You can find thousands of reviews of restaurants in Salzburg there. If only one had the time to read them all. This is how we started to learn everything about getting hold of large amounts of data. How to source them from travel review portals, how to analyse them with machine learning and how to build a tool from it for everyday use in restaurants or at destination management organisations. 


The question that had outlined the process of our research and study was the following: “Which aspects of the dining experience are important for visitors in the city of Salzburg according to their cultural backgrounds?”

Therefore, we as students and authors, took reviews from TripAdvisor to hand. Within these reviews tourists express their dining experiences, so-called “user-generated content”. A software called “Octoparse” allowed us to extract the data. For the analysis, the summer season 2019 (1st of May to 31st of October) has been taken into account. With the extracted data, machine learning came into place. A software named “Orange” allowed us to analyse the unstructured text document. With an open-source data visualization and topic modelling, distinct themes could be formed. The “GLOBE” cultural framework was then taken to group the review data into cultural/societal clusters. These were used for the analysis of the results and findings to explore the particular aspects that have been mentioned the most in each cultural cluster. 


What our workflow looked like in Orange

The study demonstrated that overall, the most important aspects are (as we called them) “staff”, “food-menu items”, “value for money”, “restaurant physical appearance”, “food authenticity”, “overall service”, “menu offers”, “food quality”, “atmosphere” and “recommendation”. The priority of these aspects varies in the ten distinct cultural clusters by GLOBE. Such information is highly valuable for restaurant owners and other tourism providers as well as Destination Management Organisations. Now, their products and services can be adapted, customer service improved, and promotional texts, images and videos tailored to the different preferences with unprecedented precision. Further studies could be expanded nationally or internationally and other fields, such as accommodation providers or attraction managers could benefit from this research in similar ways. 

What makes a destination beautiful? – An analysis of Instagram pictures

An eTourism Research Project by: Diana Hauser, Antonia Leopold, Leonie Hauser, Hasini Uthpala Ganewita


Does beauty really lie in the eye of the beholder? This question already indicates that beauty and aesthetics are highly subjective. But is this really true? When comparing a sunny picture of a beach with a dark photo of a mountain, which one will be perceived as more aesthetic and generate more likes on social media? This question has been asked throughout history and the research community has dealt with aesthetics in various areas of studies, such as architecture, marketing, or landscape analysis. However, in tourism, not many researchers have yet explored the relationship between destination pictures and aesthetics.

That´s where our contribution comes in. We were looking at 400 selected images posted on Instagram with the hashtag #beautifuldestantions, which was chosen because 49,7 million posts were tagged with this caption. The large number of posts shows the great popularity of using the hashtag to describe beautiful destination pictures. In a survey 200 participants were asked to rate these images according to how aesthetically pleasing they perceive the content of the pictures, e.g., a bridge, a beach, or a river. In addition, participants were asked to rate their perceived influence of five chosen visual elements of design: colour, focus, angle of view, line, and light.

In our analysis we found out that pictures showing natural elements such as nature, mountain, wave, watercourse, ocean, and beach were perceived as more aesthetically pleasing than pictures representing human-made elements such as architecture, landmark, and city. The findings suggest that the content of pictures subconsciously influences perceived aesthetic perception. Additionally, we discovered that the visual elements light, colour, angle of view, focus and line have different levels of influence for different picture contents. For example, while light seems to influence pictures showing a watercourse, it does not do so for pictures displaying a coast. Overall, colour was found to be the most influential element, while focus was the least influential.

Putting the findings into practice, they can be used by DMOs to improve their social media presence and increase their online coverage by having the knowledge of what exactly in a destination picture is perceived as aesthetically pleasing. When taking pictures, content specific images can be combined with new knowledge about their combination with visual design elements and can therefore create more likes.

Can VR substitute travel during COVID-19? Our presentation at ENTER21

The fourth and last presentation at the ENTER21 Conference was entitled: “Virtual Reality as a travel substitution tool during COVID-19” and presented by Daniel Sarkady. This research uses a structural equation model to analyze if VR has the potential to substitute travel during the pandemic. Well done Daniel! The full paper can be downloaded here!

Best Paper Award – 2nd Place

Yesterday Joanne presented our paper “Tourist experiences at overcrowded attractions: A text analytics approch” at ENTER 2021 and already today we can be happy about the 2nd place at the Best Full Paper Award. It fills me with pride when I see what kind of achievements you can bring your students to, especially when you consider that master students can prevail against old-established professors.


Tourist Experiences at Overcrowded Attractions: A Text Analytics Approch – the Presentation @ ENTER21

Joanne Yu presented our paper “Tourist Experiences at Overcrowded Attractions: A Text Analytics Approch” at the ENTER 21 Conference. We did an analysis of 5000 English TripAdvisor posts each, for the most 10 popular tourist attractions in Paris. We did an Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and Sentiment Analysis (Vader) and got some quite interesting insights… Just have a look!

If you want to reach our full paper (nominated for the Best Paper Award this year), download it here.

Motivation to post on Instagram while traveling – the ENTER 21 presentation

Sintija Kursite just did a great presentation on behalf of her research group (eTourism Research – 3rd Semester Master) and me. We did a Structural Equation Modeling and a Cluster Analysis about Instagramers and their motivation to post on Instagram while traveling.  The ENTER Prodeedings are open access this year, so just download our paper here.