This paper aims to explore the image of travel destinations after the visit by analysing sentiment orientation of the online reviews, and how this orientation, as well as other electronic word of mouth (eWOM)’s credibility sources, can affect the perceived helpfulness of shared opinions measured through the helpfulness score.
Tourist destinations are increasingly affected by travel-related information shared through the Web. More and more people first check the previous travel experiences of other people to build their own destination image and to help them in their choice of destination. This paper analyses the shared opinions related to the city of Barcelona in a well-known eWOM website. The reviewers’ opinion and the credibility sources of eWOM are extracted from the web using a webscraper, while the sentiment score to analyse the discourse orientation (positive vs negative) is calculated using computer-based sentiment analysis techniques.
Online reviews’ users are reluctant to provide extreme polar opinions (very negative, very positive) to any travel subcategory (hotel, restaurant, attractions and night-life) of a tourist destination. The results obtained also reveal that eWOM’s perceived helpfulness grows with the expertise of the reviewer. However, the helpfulness score given to the reviews posted is not influenced by the sentiment orientation of the author’s opinion.
This research is limited to the case study of Ciao, which is a well-known consumer platform, and the city of Barcelona, which is a top touristic destination. However, the approach proposed can be easily extended to other similar consumer platforms and cities using the same methodology.
Understanding the information posted in the media environment is a major concern in the field of marketing destination planning. Positive and negative eWOM offers potential consumers a clear picture on the tourist destination, and this information can be used by Destination Marketing Organisations to meet customers’ needs and expectations. The perceived helpfulness of reviews analysed in this paper can also help practitioners and scholars to understand those factors that make reviews more trustable.
From a methodological point of view, the main contribution of this research is the utilisation of an unstructured approach to the measurement of the destination image based on the sentiment analysis of shared opinions. From a theoretical point of view, the study relates the post-visit destination image with the pre-visit image formation process, using the sentiment orientation of the former and the perceived helpfulness of the latter.
This work was funded by the Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo, Junta de Andalucia, under the Research Project Ref. No. P12-SEJ-328 and by the Programa Estatal de Investigación, Desarrollo e Inovación Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad, Ministerio de Economia, Gobierno de España, under the Research Project Ref. No. ECO2013-43856-R.
González-Rodríguez, M., Martínez-Torres, R. and Toral, S. (2016), "Post-visit and pre-visit tourist destination image through eWOM sentiment analysis and perceived helpfulness", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No. 11, pp. 2609-2627. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-02-2015-0057Download as .RIS
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