Social media use in pre-trip planning by tourists visiting a small regional leisure destination

Anja Pabel, Bruce Prideaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-348
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Vacation Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


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