Understanding Blogging Behaviour and Motivation in Narrative Construction of the Tourist Experience at the Pre-visit, On-site and Post-visit Stages: The Malaysian Travel Blogger and Tourist Perspective

Author:

W Ab Rahman, N Alia, 2016 Understanding Blogging Behaviour and Motivation in Narrative Construction of the Tourist Experience at the Pre-visit, On-site and Post-visit Stages: The Malaysian Travel Blogger and Tourist Perspective, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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Abstract

The focus of the research is on the mechanisms and structures of the motivations for engagement of tourists with travel blogs and how those behaviours and motivations influence the three different stages of the tourist experience: pre-visit; on-site; and post-visit. The study examines this issue by focusing on Malaysian travel bloggers, using in-depth interviews with travel bloggers and narrative and content analysis of respondents’ blogs (i.e. texts, photos and videos). The findings of this study show that tourist bloggers had diverse blogging behaviours at the three stages of the tourist experience. At the pre-visit stage, tourists were merely passive consumers seeking more reliable and realistic information and seeking the lived authentic stories of others’ tourist experiences with the planned destination(s). At the on-site stage, tourists generally did not engage with travel blogs, but tourists became more active users of travel blogs at the post-visit stage, motivated by the opportunity for instrumental, hedonic and social responsibility motivations. The research suggests that potential tourists merely browse and read travel blogs at the pre-visit stage. This blogging behaviour is motivated by instrumental motivation which influences the pre-visit experience by supporting decision-making and providing inspiration for travel destinations, and enabling the tourists to narrow down their choices. The tourist experience is enhanced through interaction within the blogosphere, where tourists communicate with the readers, allowing the tourists to form a more realistic understanding (the image and perception) of the destination, leading to increased excitement as they anticipate their impending travels. Posting behaviours sees tourists producing and interacting with the blogs’ readers. This engagement is motivated by factors (including hedonic and social responsibility), which all have the substantial potential to shape and influence the narrative construction of the tourist experience. These are important elements in the essence of narrative construction of the tourist experience. Content creation and interaction within the blogosphere enables the tourist to create and contextualise potential tourist experiences and can contribute significantly to the overall positive tourist experience. The findings highlight ‒ through texts, photos and videos ‒ how tourists construct their experience based on: emotional expression; novelty and otherness; media representation; and learning and reflection. The research makes a significant contribution towards assisting commercial and governmental tourism stakeholders to develop a more strategic and effective approach to developing targeted and sustainable marketing plans.

Keywords: travel blogs, travel narratives, blogging motivation.
Subject: Humanities thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2016
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Dr Sean Kim