عنوان مقاله [English]
Despite the relative acceptance of the functions of the dissemination of high quality information on social media, on the formation of a desirable mental image for the users and the significant impact of this mental image on users’ intention to buy in the domestic tourism literature, the quality and features of the content of published information on social media have received little attention by the researchers. Therefore, given the application and benefits of social media in various industries such as tourism industry, it is important to publish high quality information on social networks in order to gain a competitive advantage in the tourism industry. Moreover, there are very few studies investigating the impact of the quality of published information regarding the tourist destinations on social media on the formation of tourists’ mental image and the intention to buy. Hence, the purpose of this article is to provide answers to the following questions: “what are the factors influencing the formation of tourists’ behavioral image of tourist destinations on social media?”, “which of the following factors have the greatest impact on tourists’ behavioral image of tourist destinations on social media?”, and “what are the decision-making rules to predict the tourists’ behavioral image of tourist destinations on social media?”
This research is descriptive-survey in terms of the purpose is based on consecutive exploratory research in term of strategy. It also uses both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis. In the first phase, based on the literature review and using the Delphi method, the conceptual research model was extracted and finalized according to the experts. And then, quantitative data were collected by distributing the questionnaires among the selected sample of the tourists. In the second phase, using Rough Sets Theory, the decision rules were extracted from the collected quantitative data. The research was conducted in the city of Tehran in autumn and winter of 2018. The statistical population of the qualitative part of the research consists of university experts and tourism industry activists, and 11 individuals were selected to take part in the present research based on purposeful sampling (considering some prerequisits such as academic knowledge or practical experience and expertise in social media marketing). In the quantitative part of the study, the target population includes the tourists who use social media to choose and buy their trip.
Related tourism information, up-to-date and comprehensiveness of the published information about tourist destinations and the facilities and travel amenities on social networks, are reported to have the strongest effects, respectively, on the formation of a cognitive mental image of tourist destinations among the tourists. In addition, attractiveness of the information and value-added information about tourist destinations and the travel facilities and amenities on social networks, are reported to have strong effects on the formation of an emotional mental image of tourist destinations among the tourists. The amount of information and the design of a website about tourist destinations and their facilities and travel amenities on social networks are considerd to have weak effects on the formation of cognitive and emotional mental image of tourist destinations among the tourists. The findings indicate that the cognitive image created from tourist destinations, in the minds of the tourists, affects the formation of emotional image of the tourist destination. There is a positive relationshipbetween the quality of tourism information on social media and the destination image. Moreover, tourists use social media as an effective source of tourism information. The relevance of tourism information has a significantly positive impact on the formation of the cognitive and emotional image of the destination. Up-to-date tourist information has a significantly positive effect on the formation of cognitive and emotional image of the destination. The comprehensiveness of tourism information has a significantly positive effect on the formation of the cognitive and emotional image of the destination. And finally, attarctive and invaluable information have a relatively significant effect on formation of the emotional image of the tourist destination.
Among the possible models of the Rough Sets Theory in the present study, it is shown that the relevance, up-to-date and comprehensiveness of destination information on social media should be the first priority of the owners and managers of tourism pages on social networks. Besides, it is necessary to focus on the production of attractive and valuable information content related to tourism on social media, with an emphasis on the functional features of content and visual, phonetic and other sensory attractions.