Collaborative information searching is common for people when planning their group trip. However, little research has explored how tourists collaborate during information search. Existing tourism Web portals or search engines rarely support tourists’ collaborative information search activities. Taking advantage of previous studies of collaborative tourism information search behavior, in the current paper the purpose of this paper is to propose the design of a collaborative search system collaborative tourism information search (ColTIS) to support online information search and travel planning.
ColTIS was evaluated and compared with Google Talk-embedded Tripadvisor.com through a user study involving 18 pairs of participants. The data included pre- and post-search questionnaires, web search logs and chat history. For quantitative measurement, statistical analysis was performed using SPSS; for log data and the qualitative feedback from participants, the content analysis was employed.
Results suggest that collaborative query formulation, division of search tasks, chatting and results sharing are important means to facilitate tourists’ collaborative search. ColTIS was found to outperform Tripadvisor significantly regarding the ease of use, collaborative support and system usefulness.
The innovation of the study lies in the development of an integrated real-time collaborative tourism information search system with unique features. These features include collaborative query reformulation, travel planner and automatic result and query sharing that assist multiple people search for holiday information together. For system designers and tourism practitioners, implications are provided.
Mohammad Arif, A.S. and Du, J.T. (2019), "Understanding collaborative tourism information searching to support online travel planning", Online Information Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 369-386. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-05-2017-0141
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