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How information foraging styles relate to tourism demographics and behaviours

Murphy, J. and Olaru, D. (2009) How information foraging styles relate to tourism demographics and behaviours. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 15 (4). pp. 299-309.

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Scholars have investigated information search in tourism for decades and recently, the web’s role in information search. Rather than information search with a particular source, this study adds to the literature by focusing on information foraging across multiple sources including the web. Drawing on an analogy of animals foraging among different foods, tourists forage among different information sources. A cluster analysis of 882 tourists’ information foraging prior to visiting Yellowstone National Park reveals three styles. One cluster has little hunger for information; the two other clusters tend to forage for information aggressively or passively. The aggressive foragers resemble sharks and hunt constantly for information, particularly external information. The passive foragers resemble spiders, waiting for personal information that comes their way or drawing on internal information. Similar to past information gathering research, the three clusters differ signifi cantly in demographic and behavioural characteristics. Finally, rather than being a distinct source, the web serves as an additional and complementary food in the sharks’ information diet.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Sage Publications
Copyright: The Author(s), 2009.
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