The Influence of Social Media Content on Youth Tourism: Can Culture Play a Role?
Abstract: This thesis aims to investigate the influence of social media content on youth tourism by assessing the perceptions of youth travelers from four countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to examine the cultural differences of youngsters’ attitudes towards social media use in travel planning. It uses a quantitative research approach. The data was collected using an online survey with 7-point Likert scale questions. Indices were created for the scales of the variables and separate groups of respondents by country were identified. To compare the results of the studied groups, correlation coefficients were used to examine if there is a positive relationship between the variables, and the Fisher’s test was used to determine whether the differences between groups were significant. This thesis consists of four different literature streams. The first one concerns consumer behavior, the second one refers to social media marketing, while the third one gives an overview of current literature on youth tourism. The final stream includes literature on cultural differences in the international context. These literature streams provide a foundation for establishing a theoretical framework for conducting the study. Primary data was gathered by conducting an online survey. In total 311 responses were collected, with each group of respondents roughly making up a quarter of the sample. The respondents were 15 to 29-year-olds who use social media platforms and have traveled abroad or in their home country at least once 12 months prior to the study. The results indicate a positive influence of all variables studied on youngsters’ intention to plan travel by using social media. Also, they tend to perceive social media to be useful for travel planning regardless of their individualism/collectivism and uncertainty avoidance index, so it can be concluded that youngsters' intention to plan travel by using social media platforms is not affected by one’s culture. However, the findings suggest that the intensity of the relationships of Bulgaria and Croatia is slightly more pronounced than the one for Sweden and the Netherlands. This study could be instrumental to managers to help them understand the importance of social media to the youth tourists in adjusting their travel offers. While building their company’s online presence managers could take into account the cultural differences to be able to tailor their products and marketing campaigns.
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