Category Archives: Lecture

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!

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.

ENTER 2021 – we are coming!

I am proud of the research I can do with my Master’s students. Next week we will be presenting no less than 4 papers – including a best paper nomination at the ENTER-Conference 2021 (Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism).

The proceedings will be published as open access this year. Check:

#research #tourism #students #science #


How to structure a scientific paper?

This week my students had to analyze 30 different papers from the journal “Tourism Management“. The aim was to find out which content elements should be written at which point of the paper.  They had to mark the different elements in each paper section accordingly (Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion & Conclusion). Their notes were collected in a form and now analyzed by me.

The results are shown below. I hope that they will help students to structure their articles even better in the future.

For this interactive visualization, you can click the “play” button below, to walk through the paper from the Abstract to the Discussion. You see the importance of the different terms in the timeline if you hoover them. You can also regulate the speed, add new terms to be displayed etc.

The following Streamgraph is somehow a walkthrough of all analyzed papers. It clearly shows that the abstract covers most of the elements on the very left, we can see the domination of “data” in the methodology and results section. But more important for students is to see the combination of the different elements in each section and the dominance of these elements. Eg. The contribution is important in the abstract, a bit in the introduction and at the discussion and conclusion (click to enlarge).


This scatterplot shows somehow the “landscape” of paper-elements. It was done by calculating the TF-IDF of the whole corpus and using t-SNE algorithm to plot it in 2D. One can clearly see the different Topic-Clusters (click to enlarge) t-SNE built.


Finally, Wordclouds and Term-Networks from each structure element (click to enlarge)





Literature review:






Discussion & Conclusion:


I hope this helps students to get a better feeling when writing a scientific paper. Please note, that this is not a research project, it´s just a quick and dirty analysis based on the data my students identified. And of course, each topic/paper has it´s own requirements and Journals have slightly different requirements as well. But still, this should provide a rough overview.

ENTER-Conference: 2nd Place – Best Paper Award

At the international ENTER conference, the world’s largest eTourism conference, which took place this year in Guildford at the University of Surrey in the UK, our Masterprogram achieved great success, as we were awarded second place in the Best Paper Award for their paper entitled “Exploring the Impact of Multisensory VR on Travel Recommendation: A Presence Perspective”.


left to right: Roman Egger, Jasmin Hopf, Melina Scholl, Barbara Neuhofer

Roman Egger and Barbara Neuhofer had submitted a paper from the Research Seminar together with Master students. “With a rejection rate of 60%, ENTER is considered very selective. The fact that we were then nominated and even achieved second place makes us all the happier”, reports Roman Egger, head of the eTourism department and head of the Key Competencies & Research Methods. “In addition, you have to bear in mind that there were no other Master’s students presenting at the conference, so the competition was definitely very strong,” he adds.

The innovative study brings together the topics of eTourism and experience design. “We have researched how VR can be enriched with all senses in the future, resulting in an immersive experience for the participants”, says Barbara Neuhofer

Over the course of several semesters, the Master’s students work on a research project and the publication, which can then be submitted to a conference. This is a good opportunity to get students interested in research. The successful supervision of the scientific work is confirmed by this. Already in 2019 students could present their paper at the ENTER conference in Cyprus.

The participation gives students an insight into the academic world and has already inspired some of our students to continue with PhD studies.

The Rectorate and International Office of the FH Salzburg supported the students financially, so that they could present their publication on site. The next ENTER Conference will take place in China in 2021.
More information:


ISCONTOUR 2019, 8th International Student Conference in Tourism Research

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This year’s International Student Conference on Tourism Research (ISCONTOUR), organized jointly by FH-Krems and MCI Innsbruck, attracted about 300 participants from over 30 nations to Innsbruck to present their accepted papers.

Master’s students of the program Innovation and Management in Tourism (IMT) were also represented. The articles from the research seminar series “eTourism Research” (Prof. Roman Egger and Prof. Barbara Neuhofer) were submitted and all six papers were assessed in a tripple-blind-review procedure, despite a 50% rejection rate. Thus, the entire 4th semester of the Master students was on site to present their results at the ISCONTOUR.

The culmination of the event was the Best-Paper Award. Two groups won first and second place in the Best ICT Paper Award at the international competition. Victory was won by the study group Augmented Reality. They developed an AR prototype for the Salzburg Zoo to provide information about animals living in the zoo and tested the acceptance of such a solution. Second place went to the Virtual Reality group. In an experiment and with the help of biofeedback (heart rate, skin conduction ), they examined how 4D Virtual Reality (as additional stimuli, smells, wind, heat, etc.) differed from classic virtual reality in a holiday scenario with respect to the construct “presence”.

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!

Connecting Big Data and Service Quality Evaluation

Development of a Service Quality Map of the Austrian Hospitality Industry through the Application of Big Data

by Julia Beck, Margarita Danilenko, Laura Sperber and Brenda Wiersma

The travel industry is characterized by a big volume of differently structured data. Every reservation, hotel stay, flight or train ticket can be seen as a data trail that in the end form a body of big data. The concept of big data is then defined as a large volume of complex, unstructured digital data generated through a variety of sources and requiring special database software to process volumes of data in a timely manner.

Within this research big data consists of user-generated content (UGC), namely online user reviews. Thus, online user reviews are used in order to fully explore travellers` judgement of service quality within the Austrian hospitality sector. Indeed, topic of service quality nowadays significantly gains in importance. With the current development of the hospitality industry and often overwhelming variety of options to choose from, it is a key decisive factor when it comes to planning a trip and choosing one accommodation over another. Thus, service quality is of high relevance for both – customers and entrepreneurs. However, authors of the research would like to introduce other potential beneficiaries of the project, such as destination management organisations (DMOs) and governmental organisations. The research should then emphasize the importance of big data in regard to the service quality from another perspective – focusing on the potential benefits for the aforementioned institutions.

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Consequently, the key purpose of the study is to generate an interactive service quality map of the Austrian hospitality industry by applying the concepts of big data and service quality. Thus, big data – comprising vast volume of online user reviews that in turn depict service quality – lies in the foundation of the service quality map. This map could then represent a powerful tool for governmental institutions and DMOs to assist them in the decision making process for future planning. The developed prototype can also be of interest for other stakeholders, such as banks, potential investors, and other parties willing to engage with the Austrian hospitality sector. This tool accumulates intelligent data and generates profound overview of the service quality of the Austrian hospitality industry. The user has the possibility to conduct specific queries and get the result visualized as a density map. This allows the user to evaluate how a specific type of tourist perceives a certain dimension of service quality in Austria or in a particular part of Austria. Furthermore, the prototype also allows extraction of the structured data to be further interpreted and analysed through other software like SPSS, MS Excel and others.

Digital Divide in Tourism

Differences among Generation X and Y towards Online travel reviews writing
By Alice Bekk, Chiara Dalponte and Anna Zsófia Höfler

1        Introduction
With the diffusion of the Web 2.0 in the last decade, user-generated contents (UGCs) such as online travel reviews have become a key tool for both tourists and tourism managers. On one hand, researchers proved in a study that more than a third (36%) of respondents between 25 and 39 engaged in providing reviews and evaluations (Fotis, et al., 2012), characterizing electronic Word-Of-Mouth (eWOM) as a constantly growing trend (Xiang, et al., 2015). On the other hand, such UGC, when properly analysed, can provide tourism enterprises with valuable market intelligence and on-going research opportunities. In addition, travel blogs can be used by tourism managers for customer profiling, customer acquisition, customer engagement, brand awareness, brand reinforcement, reputation management and customer service, bearing a great potential for the industry (Akehurst, 2009). As a direct effect of this phenomenon for the single tourism providers, positive online reviews can significantly increase the number of bookings in a hotel (Ye, et al., 2009), which should push managers to deepen their knowledge about their customers’ behaviour towards the writing of online travel reviews. As a matter of fact, according to a previous study concerning the impact of online travel reviews, generational differences occurred across a variety of perceptions and usage behaviours. The results of the study confirm the importance for tourism enterprises of considering demographic variables when modelling information search behaviour (Gretzel and Yoo, 2008).

The scope of this research is to find relevant differences between Generations X and Y in the writing of online travel reviews. These two generations were specifically chosen because they are defined by Li et al. (2013) as being characterized by more active travellers. As a result, this study explores the tourism consumer behaviour of these two generations towards online travel reviews writing on a deeper level, while accepting that there are some similarities, but at the same time aiming at discovering some possible differences in their approaches. The research was not limited to the pure action of writing online travel reviews, but aspired also at the investigation of some relevant insights related to this fact

Therefore, the purpose of this research is to provide tourism managers with a deeper insight into the online behaviour of their customers. As it has been stated previously, the significance of travel reviews goes beyond the mere writing action and has a high potential for the industry, with the consequence of developing, for example, market approaches aiming at improving online reputation (Milano, et al., 2011).

In the literature review the authors focused on three main domains, which characterize the topic of the research, that is to say digital divide, generations X and Y and online travel reviews. From the theoretical background the following 5 hypotheses were derived:

H1: Generation Y writes more online travel reviews than Generation X.

H2: Generation Y reads more online travel reviews than Generation X.

H3: Generation X writes online travel reviews mainly in order to express feelings, whereas Generation Y writes online travel reviews mainly for the greater good (e.g. helping the company, concern for other consumers).

H4: Generation Y’s reason not to write online travel reviews is laziness.

H5: If tourists were asked to write an online travel review, the majority would answer with “yes”.

2        Methodology
2.1 Research Design

In order to test the hypotheses, a survey research design was adopted. The authors chose to employ structured interviews, as the goal of this style of interviewing is to ensure that interviewees’ replies can be aggregated (Bryman, 2012). As a result, a questionnaire was developed, including questions about demographics and the behaviour towards online travel reviews writing, but also questions indirectly related to this. The questionnaire was composed of 20 questions in total, whereby some of them were only for the respondents who ever wrote at least one online travel review, while others had to be answered only by those respondents who never wrote one. Furthermore, as the authors expected a high amount of German speakers among the participants, the questionnaire was firstly created in English and subsequently translated into German. Finally, before the beginning of the data collection, a pre-test of the questionnaire was done to ensure the right comprehension of the questions by the interviewees and according to this some final adjustments were done.

2.2 Data Collection, Sampling and Data Analysis

The data collection, thus the administration of the survey, took place in November 2015, when face-to-face structured interviews were carried out in the city centre of Salzburg using the web application LimeSurvey. As the beneficiaries of the study are tourism providers operating in Salzburg, the authors approached exclusively tourists during the data collection. The interviewees were free to choose the language in which the questionnaire was completed, either German or English. Moreover, as a prerequisite for taking part to the survey, they had to be born either between 1965 and 1980, thus Generation X, or between 1981 and 1990, thus Generation Y (Li, et al., 2013). The sampling method was in the form of a quota sample. This was done in order to avoid the gender of the respondents to influence the findings. At the end, the collected valid questionnaires were in total 228. Among them, 57 respondents (25%) were Generation X male, 57 (25%) were Generation X female, 57 (25%) were Generation Y male and 57 (25%) were Generation Y female. In total, the majority of the respondents, about 30%, came from Germany, followed by Austria (about 8%), USA (7%) and Italy (about 5%). In total, 52 nationalities from all over the world were encountered. The analysis of the data was done using the software SPSS, and out of it a statistical summary was created, reporting data about each question of the survey. The variable defining the generations was cross-tabulated with all the other variables in order to visualize the resulting differences concerning online travel reviews writing. Finally, the hypotheses derived from the literature were tested and the respective significance values were interpreted.

3        Results and Discussion
The results of this study can be of utmost importance for tourism providers operating in the city of Salzburg. In fact, the growing phenomenon of online travel reviews can be considered as a form of interactive marketing for the hospitality industry, and its economic potential lies essentially in the use of information from the customer rather than about the customer (Gretzel, et al., 2000). As a result, getting a deeper insight of who one hotel’s customers are and what is their approach towards online travel reviews writing can be crucial for the development of the right marketing strategy.

The first hypothesis, being confirmed, can be interpreted with the fact that Generation Y grew up in a time with further technological development than Generation X, meaning Generation Y is overall more technologically involved and present. Therefore operators in the tourism industry could implement their already existing marketing strategy, with further elements on how to increase the involvement of Generation X, as well as the engagement for Generation Y.

To continue, the result of the second hypothesis, which has been neglected, shows that Generation X is more involved with reading and observing online travel reviews, though they were the ones who wrote less online travel reviews. It is interesting for tourism providers to see that this generation is more silently taking part to online travel platforms, which could be a reason for tourism providers to motivate Generation X more and trying to reach out to them. Furthermore the reading of online travel reviews does not necessarily mean that tourists are going to write one afterwards. Visitors should be persuaded to write a review, no matter if positive or negative, due to the strong influence of these platforms. By encouraging more tourists to write, both consumers and suppliers can gain a competitive advantage out of it.

In the third hypothesis it is interesting to see that both Generations X and Y mainly write online travel reviews to express their positive feelings towards the experience or service provided. Therefore tourism operators could take advantage of this to enforce positive experience with further services or products.

Seeing that laziness is in fact the main reason for Generation Y not to write online travel reviews, tourism operators can now focus on this problem. One possibility could be to motivate them with further give-aways, discounts on the next trip, or other advantages. It should not be forgotten that Generation Y is still the one, which writes more online travel reviews in comparison with Generation X. Therefore, the motivation of both generations is in fact a barrier for tourism providers. Not only tourism operators, but also travel review platforms can benefit from this finding, since they rely on visitors exchanging actively, in order to be successful on a long period.

To conclude, being the wide majority of the respondents ready to write a review if they would be asked to by tourism suppliers, these latter should feel encouraged to maintain an authentic and lasting relationship with the customer, even after the departure, which would also lead to an increase in the customer loyalty.

3.1 Limitations of the results

The first and biggest limitation of the study is that it cannot be generalised, meaning that the results cannot be extended onto the wider population. This occurred because of the small sample size selected for the survey, which was influenced also by time-constrains and lack of resources. A further limitation, influencing the results, relies in the nationality of the participants, since the wide majority is clearly from Germany, then from Austria and the USA. What is more, during the data collection it was noticeably difficult to gather information from Asian tourists, due to following reasons: Asian tourists in Salzburg were mainly moving in groups and could not be talked to individually, since they were on a guided tour. Furthermore, the lack of English knowledge was also a barrier that held Asian tourists back to participate in the questionnaire, since the communication was not easy to hold upon effortless. Moreover, an additional weakness needs to be pointed out concerning the method of triangulation used by the authors: the online reviews platform This website is mostly used by German speaking travellers, so it cannot be considered representative for the whole tourism population.

The aim of this research was to find out differences between Generation X and Generation Y towards online travel reviews (OTRs) writing. Related to this, the findings demonstrated that the behaviour of these two generations actually differs, not only in the writing of OTRs, but more generally in the overall attitude towards this trend. Even if the results are not significant, there is a visible trend. Further investigations of the differences between Generation X and Generation Y towards travel behaviour in general are a possibility to use this research effectively, by building up on it. In addition, the reasons for users to write online travel reviews can be further researched, in order to optimize the usability of these online platforms. Another suggested piece of research based on this one is if there is an optimal reaction of tourism accommodators to online travel platforms of any kind in order to leave a positive impression on the customer.

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Akehurst, G., (2009), “User generated content: The use of blogs for tourism organisations and tourism consumers”, Service Business, Vol. 3 No 1, pp.51–61.

Bryman, A., (2012), “Social research methods”, Oxford University Press, New York.

Fotis, J., Buhalis, D. and Rossides, N., (2012), “Social media use and impact during the holiday travel planning process”, Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism, Springer, Wien, pp. 13–24.

Gretzel, U. and Yoo, K., (2008), “Use and impact of online travel reviews”, Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2008, Springer, Wien, pp. 35-46.

Gretzel, U., Yuan, Y. and Fesenmaier, R., (2000), “Preparing for the New Economy: Advertising Strategies and Change in Destination Marketing Organizations”, Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 39, pp.146-156.

Li, X., Li, X. and Hudson, S., (2013), “The application of generational theory to tourism consumer behavior: An American perspective”, Tourism Management, Vol. 37, pp.147–164.

Milano, R., Baggio, R. and Piattelli, R., (2011), “The effects of online social media on tourism websites”, Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011, Springer, Wien, pp.471-483.

Xiang, Z., Magnini, V.P. and Fesenmaier, D.R., (2015), “Information technology and consumer behavior in travel and tourism : Insights from travel planning using the internet”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol. 22, pp.244–249.

Ye, Q., Law, R. and Gu, B., (2009), “The impact of online user reviews on hotel room sales”, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No 1, pp.180–182.

Yoo, K., and Gretzel, U., (2008), “What motivates consumers to write online travel reviews?”, Information Technology & Tourism, Vol. 10 No 4, pp.283-295.