Profiling Italian street travel agencies based on their attitudes towards social media

Giacomo Del Chiappa, Marcello Atzeni, Jessica Mei Pung


User Generated Content (UGC) exerts a great influence on tourists’ choices, sometimes driving them to change the accommodation previously suggested by a street travel agency. In this context travel agencies need to proactively use both the Internet and UGC to build and maintain their competi-tive advantage. Despite this, there is no published paper profiling travel agencies based on how they use social media (SM). This study was therefore carried out to profile a sample of 281 Italian street travel agencies based on their perceived strategic value, perceived usefulness, emotional engagement, perceived ease of use, intention to use, satisfaction and intention to recommend SM use to others. Four segments were identified, namely: “Passive users”, “Enthusiasts”, “Strategically myopics” and “Active users”. Hence, chi square analysis was run to ascertain significant differences among clusters based on business-related variables. Findings show that significant differences among clus-ters exist only based on the frequency of SM use and the overall travel agencies’ attitude towards the importance of marketing and promotion tools for their competitiveness. Theoretical contributions and managerial implications are discussed, providing suggestions for further research.


social media; travel agencies; Italy

Full Text:



Abou-Shouk, M., Megicks, P., & Lim, W. M. (2013). Perceived Benefits and E-Commerce Adoption by SME Travel Agents in Developing Countries: Evidence from Egypt. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 37(4), 490-515. doi: 10.1177/1096348012442544

Alarcón-del-Amo, M. C., Lorenzo-Romero, C., Gómez-Borja, M. A. (2011). Classifying and profiling Social Networking Site users: A latent segmentation approach. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(9): 547-553, doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0346.

Alcázar, M. C. H., Piñero, M. S., & Maya, S. R. (2014). The effect of user-generated content on tourist behavior: the mediating role of destination image. Tourism & Management Studies, 10, 158-164.

Al-Qirim, N. (2007). A research trilogy into e-commerce adoption in small businesses in New Zealand. Electronic Markets, 17, 263-285.

Álvarez, L., Martín, A., & Casielles, R. (2007). Relationship marketing and information and communication technologies: Analysis of retail travel agencies. Journal of Travel Research, 45, 453-463.

Bigné, J. E., Aldás, J., Andreu, L. (2008). B2B services: IT adoption in travel agency supply chains. Journal of Services Marketing, 22(6), 454-464,

Brouthers, K. D., Nakos, G., & Dimitratos, P. (2015). SME entrepreneurial orientation, international performance, and the moderating role of strategic alliances. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(5), 1161-1187.

Buhalis, D., & Licata, M.C. (2002). The future eTourism intermediaries. Tourism Management, 23(3), 207-220. doi: 10.1016/S0261-5177(01)00085-1

Camilleri, C. M. (2018). The SMEs’ technology acceptance of digital media for stakeholder engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development,

Chen, J., & McQueen, R. (2008). Factors affecting e-commerce stages of growth in small Chinese firms in New Zealand: An analysis of adoption motivators and inhibitors. Journal of Global Information Management, 16(1), 26-60.

Cheng, S., & Cho, V. (2011). An integrated model of employees’ behavioral intention toward innovative information and communication technologies in travel agencies. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, 35(4), 488-510.

Cho, S., & Huh, J. (2010). Content analysis of corporate blogs as a relationship management tool. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 15(1), 30–48.

Cioppi, M., & Buratti, A. (2014). La dimensione relazionale nei siti web delle agenzie di viaggio online. Piccola Impresa/Small Business, 2, 13-26.

Cioppi, M., Curina, I., Forlani, F., & Pencarelli, T. (2016). La visibilità online delle imprese alberghiere: un possibile modello di misurazione. Piccola Impresa/Small Business, 1, 78-98.

Collins, C., Buhalis, D., & Peters, M. (2003). Enhancing SMTEs business performance through the Internet and e-learning platforms. Education + Training, 45, 483-494.

Daniel, E., & Wilson, H. (2002). Adoption intensions and benefits realised: A study of e-commerce in UK SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 9, 331-348.

Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and user acceptance of Information Technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319-340.

Davis, F. D., Bagozzi, R. P., Warshaw, P. R. (1989). User acceptance of computer technology: A comparison of two theoretical models. Management Science, 35(8), 982-1003.

Del Chiappa, G. (2011). Trustworthiness of Travel 2.0 applications and their influence on tourists’ behaviour: an empirical investigation in Italy. In R. Law, M. Fuchis, F. Ricci (Eds.) Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011, Proceedings of the international conference in Innsbruck, Vienna, Springer, 331–342.

Del Chiappa, G. (2013). Internet versus travel agencies: The perception of different groups of Italian online buyers. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 19(1), 1-12.

Del Chiappa, G., Lorenzo-Romero, C., & Gallarza, M. (2014). Attitude toward disintermediation in hotel reservations: Spanish travellers profile. European Journal of Tourism Research, 9, 129–143.

Del Chiappa, G., Lorenzo-Romero, C., & Alarcón-del-Amo, M. (2018). Profiling Tourists Based on Their Perceptions of the Trustworthiness of Different Types of Peer-to-Peer Applications. Current Issues in Tourism, 21(3), 259-276.

Durkin, M., McGowan, P., & McKeown, N. (2013). Exploring social media adoption in small to medium-sized enterprises in Ireland. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 20(4), 716-734.

Eurostat (2012). Travel agency and tour operator statistics – NACE Rev.2. Retrieved from:

Fotis, J., Buhalis, D., & Rossides, N. (2012) Social Media Use and Impact During the Holiday Travel Planning Process. In M. Fuchs, F. Ricci, L. Cantoni (Eds.), Information and communication technologies in tourism, Proceedings of the international conference in Helsinborg, Sweden, January 25–27, Springer, Vienna, 13-24.

Grandon, E., & Pearson, J. (2003). Strategic value and adoption of electronic commerce: an empirical study of Chilean small and medium businesses. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 6(3), 22-43.

Grandon, E., & Pearson, J. (2004). Electronic commerce adoption: an empirical study of small and medium US businesses. Information and Management, 42, 197-216.

Gretzel U., & Yoo, K. H. (2008). Use and Impact of online travel reviews. In: O’Connor, P., Höpken, W., Gretzel, U., (Eds.) Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism proceedings of the international conference in Innsbruck (pp. 35-46). Vienna: Springer-Verlag.

Gupta, P., Seetharaman, A., & Raj, J. R. (2013). The usage and adoption of cloud computing by small and medium businesses. International Journal of Information Management, 33(5), 861-874.

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2010). Multivariate data analysis: A global perspective (7th ed.). New Jersey, NJ: Pearson.

Hallak, R., Assaker, G. & Lee, C. (2015). Tourism Entrepeneurship Performance: The Effects of Place Identity, Self-Efficacy, and Gender. Journal of Travel Research, 54(1), 36-51.

Harindranath, G., Dyerson, R., & Barnes, D. (2008). ICT adoption and use in UK SMEs: A failure of initiatives? Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, 11, 91-96.

Hills, J. R., & Cairncross, G. (2011). Small accommodation providers and UGC web sites: perceptions and practices. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 23(1), 26-43.

Huang, L. (2012). Social Media as a New Play in a Marketing Channel Strategy: Evidence from Taiwan Travel Agencies' Blogs. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 17(6), 615-634. DOI: 10.1080/10941665.2011.635664

Jay, L., & Schaper, M. (2003). Which advisers do micro‐firms use? Some Australian evidence. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 10(2), 136-143.

Kajogbola, D. (2004). The impact of information technology on the Nigerian economy: A study of manufacturing and services sectors in the South Western and South Eastern Zones of Nigeria (ATPS Working paper Series No. 39).

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

Karagozoglu, N., & Lindell, M. (2004). Electronic commerce strategy, operations, and performance in small and medium sized enterprises. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 11, 290-301.

Kartiwi, M., & MacGregor, R. (2007). Electronic commerce adoption barriers in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developed and developing countries: A cross country comparison. Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organization, 5(3), 35-51.

Kotler, P., Bowen, J.T., & Makens, J.C. (2010). Marketing for hospitality and tourism. (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Kvainauskaite, V., Sarapovas, T., & Cvilikas, A. (2005). Selection and assessment of e-commerce models in SMEs. Engineering Economics, 4(44), 64-70.

Law, R., Buhalis, D., & Cobanoglu, C. (2014). Progress on information and communication technologies in hospitality and tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 26(5), 727-750.

Law, R., Leung, K., & Wong, J. (2004). The impact of the Internet on travel agencies. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 16, 100-107

Lefebvre, L., Lefebvre, É., Elia, E., & Boeck, H. (2005). Exploring B-to-B commerce adoption trajectories in manufacturing SMEs. Technovation, 25(12), 1443-1456.

Levy, M., & Powell, P. (2005). Strategies for Growth in SMEs - The Role of Information and Information Systems. Information Systems Series (ISS). Oxford: Elsevier.

Litvin, S. W., Goldsmith, R. E., & Pan, B. (2008). Electronic word-of-mouth in hospitality and tourism management. Tourism Management, 29(3), 458-468. doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2007.05.011

Meske, C., & Stieglitz, S. (2013). Adoption and use of social media in small and medium-sized enterprises. In working conference on practice-driven research on enterprise transformation, June, pp. 61-75. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Michaelidou, N., Siamagka, N. T., & Christodoulides, G. (2011). Usage, Barriers and Measurement of Social Media Marketing: A n Exploratory Investigation of Small and Medium B2B Brands. Industrial Marketing Management, 40 (4), 1153-1159.

Migiro, S., & Ocholla, D. (2005). Information and communication technologies in small and medium scale tourism enterprises in Durban, South Africa. Information Development, 21, 283-294.

Nie, J. (2007). A study of information technology adoption for small and medium sized enterprises strategic competitiveness. Paper presented at the 2007 International Conference on Wireless Communications, Networking and Mobile Computing, WiCOM 2007, Shanghai.

O'Brien, H. L. and Toms, E. G. (2008), What is user engagement? A conceptual framework for defining user engagement with technology. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 59(6), 938-955. doi:10.1002/asi.20801

Park, J., & Oh, I. (2012). A Case Study of Social Media Marketing by Travel Agency: The Salience of Social Media Marketing in the Tourism Industry, International Journal of Tourism Sciences, 12(1), 93-106, doi: 10.1080/15980634.2012.11434654

Pencarelli, T., Cioppi, M., & Forlani, F. (2015). L’impatto del Web 2.0 sul marketing delle piccole imprese alberghiere. Piccola Impresa/Small Business, 2, 11-32.

Prayag, G., & Del Chiappa, G. (2014). Hotel disintermediation in France: Perceptions of students from Generation Y. Anatolia—An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 25(3), 417-430.

Quayle, M. (2002). E-commerce: the challenge for UK SMEs in the twenty-first century. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 22(10), 1148-1161.

Rogerson, C. (2005). Unpacking tourism SMMEs in South Africa: Structure, support needs and policy responses. Development South Africa, 22(5), 623–642.

Roult, R., Gaudette, M., Auger, D., & Adjizian, J. (2016). Site Management and Use of Social Media by Tourism Businesses: The Case of Quebec, Czech Journal of Tourism, 5(1), 21-34. doi:

Saffu, K., Walker, J. H., & Hinson, R. (2008). Strategic value and electronic commerce adoption among small and medium-sized enterprises in a transitional economy. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 23(6), 395-404,

Schumacher, P., & Morahan-Martin, J. (2001). Gender, Internet and computer attitudes and experiences. Computers in Human Behavior, 17, 95–110.

Shah Alam, S. (2009). Adoption of internet in Malaysian SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 16(2), 240-255.

Simpson, M., & Docherty, A. (2004). E-commerce adoption support and advice for UK SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 11, 315-328.

Sin Tan, K., Choy Chong, S., Lin, B., & Uchenna, C. E. (2010). Internet-based ICT adoption among SMEs: Demographic versus benefits, barriers, and adoption intention. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 23(1), 27-55.

Spencer, A. J., Buhalis, D., & Moital, M. (2012). A hierarchical model of technology adoption for small owner-managed travel firms: an organizational decision-making and leadership perspective. Tourism Management, 33(5), 1195-1208.

Stamboulis, Y., & Skayannis, P. (2003). Innovation strategies and technology for experience-based tourism. Tourism Management, 24(1), 35-43. doi: 10.1016/S0261-5177(02)00047-X

Stansfield, M., & Grant, K. (2003a). Barriers to the take-up of electronic commerce among small-medium sized enterprises. Informing Science, 737-745.

Suárez Álvarez, L., Diaz Martín, A. M., & Vázquez Casielles, R. (2007). Relationship marketing and information and communication technologies. Analysis of retail travel agencies. Journal of Travel Research, 45(4), 453-463. doi: 10.1177/0047287507299593

Taiminen, H.M., & Karjaluoto, H. (2015). The usage of digital marketing channels in SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 22(4), 633-651.

Taylor, M., & Murphy, A. (2004). SMEs and e-business. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 11(3), 280-289.

Teo, T., Lin, S., & Lai, K. (2009). Adopters and non-adopters of e-procurement in Singapore: An empirical study. Omega, 37, 972-987.

Thomas, R., Shaw, G., & Page, S. J. (2011). Understanding small firms in tourism: A perspective on research trends and challenges. Tourism Management, 32, 963-976.

Trusov, M., Bucklin, R., & Pauwels, K. (2009). Effects of Word-of-Mouth Versus Traditional Marketing: Findings from an Internet Social Networking Site, Journal of Marketing, 73 (5), 90-102.

UNWTO (2016). Global Report on the Power of Youth Travel 2016. Madrid: World Tourism Organisation.

Vermunt, J. K., Magidson, J. (2005). Latent GOLD 4.0 User’s Guide. Belmont, Massachusetts: Statistical Innovations Inc.

Weber, L. (2007). Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.

Indra Cellular. (2020). Indra Cellular - Tips Dan Trik Smartphone Terkini. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2020].

Xiang, Z., Magnini, V. P., & Fesenmaier, D. R. (2015). Information technology and consumer behavior in travel and tourism: Insights from travel planning using the internet. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 22, 244–249.

Zeithaml, V. A., Berry L. L., & Parasuraman, A. (1996). The behavioral consequences of service quality. Journal of Marketing, 60, 31-46.

Zelenka, J. (2009). Information and communication technologies in tourism. Influence, dynamics, trends. E&M Economics and Management, 9(1), 123-132.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

eISSN: 2421-5724