Foundations of search engine marketing for tourist destinations

Authored by: Zheng Xiang , Bing Pan , Daniel R. Fesenmaier

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415597036
eBook ISBN: 9781315858265
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936206


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The Internet has redefined the tourism industry in a number of important ways (Werthner and Klein 1999). On the demand side, most travellers rely on the Internet to look for information as part of the trip planning effort (USTA 2011), whereas on the supply side, tourism businesses and organizations have adopted the Internet as one of the primary communication channels for gaining and retaining visitors (Buhalis and Law 2008; Gretzel and Fesenmaier 2000). Indeed, reports by the US Travel Association indicate that search engines are becoming one of the most important channels used by a huge majority of online US travellers for vacation planning (USTA 2011). Additionally, studies indicate that the generation of online traffic to hospitality websites has led to a substantial number of direct bookings (Hopkins 2008; Prescott 2006). It was estimated that the value of the North America search engine marketing industry was worth US$16.6 billion in 2010 (eConsultancy 2010). Thus, search engine marketing has emerged as one of the most important strategic tools for marketing tourism destinations.

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