The aim of this study is to develop a better understanding of the use of social media in tourism pre-trip information search patterns for small regional leisure destinations. Only limited research has previously focused on how small regional destinations use and adopt social media strategies. This study addresses this gap in the literature by developing a better understanding of the challenges faced by small regional destinations. The results based on a visitor survey of 986 tourists found that social media was important for 27.9% of respondents when searching for information about their upcoming trip. Surprisingly, only a small number of respondents (15.6%) reported using apps to assist them make travel decisions. The growth in the use of social media allied with increasing ownership levels of smartphones indicates that destination marketing organizations of small regional destinations need to pay greater attention to social media and its delivery systems including smartphones. Implications are discussed for managers and stakeholders of small regional destinations, who may find this study valuable in guiding their future social media marketing efforts.
Pabel, A., & Prideaux, B. (2016). Social media use in pre-trip planning by tourists visiting a small regional leisure destination. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 22(4), 335-348. https://doi.org/10.1177/1356766715618998