The ubiquity of the internet has impacted the marketing of tourism organizations, which in turn impacted the tourism sector. Organizations as city marketers and cities themselves are now able to advertise for relatively inexpensive costs while reaching a big audience all over the world. Consumers also benefit from the development as they can now share their experiences, but also read reviews of other travelers to gain information about a destination. Those reviews are user-generated content (UGC) and function as the electronic version of word-of-mouth. It affects the destination image and thus the decision making process of potential tourists. Previous research investigated how user-generated blogs written by travelers can be used for the marketing strategy of city marketers. This study analyzed the perceived destination image of locals through blogs, to investigate if this destination image differs from that of tourist and city marketers, and if the blogs written by locals could be used in the marketing strategy of destination organizations. The online information sources about Rotterdam were analyzed, to investigate this phenomenon and answer the research question “What is the relation between the online destination image presented by user-generated content and promotional tourism websites?” The UGC that was analyzed are travel blogs written by tourists and locals. The promotional tourism websites that were included in this research are from destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and Rotterdam Tourist Information (RTI). A semantic network analysis was employed, to obtain a graphic representation of the relationships of the most frequently used words in the data of the sources. The most frequently used words were then coded using content analysis to subtract themes regarding the destination image of the online sources. The results indicate that the presented destination image varies between the analyzed information sources. The DMOs frequently mention words related to attractions and activities, while the locals and RTI mostly describe themes related to food and beverages. The travel blogs from the tourists present a varied destination image, but accommodations are the richest theme. Practical implications and recommendations for future research were discussed in the conclusion.

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Uribe Sandoval, A.
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Boussard, Naomi. (2019, July). The Online Destination Image Representation Rotterdam through the eyes of tourists, locals, city marketers and the municipality. Media & Business. Retrieved from