Burgess, S, Sellitto, S, Cox, C & Buultjens, J 2009, 'User-generated content (UGC) in tourism: benefits and concerns of online consumers', in S Newell, E Whitley, N Pouloudi, J Wareham & L Mathiassen (eds), Information systems in a globalising world: challenges, ethics and practices: Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Information Systems, Verona, Italy, 8-10 June, Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
This paper examines the views of travel consumers that search for information online in relation to the specific benefits and concerns identified with user-generated content (UGC). Real contrasts in relation to views about UGC content were identified in the literature. For instance, UGC is perceived as being ‘credible’ or ‘not credible’ as an information source depending upon the view of the user. The paper reports research that examined the use of UGC by online travel consumers, sourced from an Australian tourism organisation’s online subscriber database. The study highlighted a similar range of areas that were seen as benefits and concerns in the use of UGC to support travel decisions as identified in the literature – and also similar contrasts. The most notable of these is the level of trustworthiness and reliability that is associated with the postings – they can be trusted because they are 'real' experiences by 'real' people who are independent – but can also be not trustworthy because the content that is posted may be faked by someone with a vested interest. Similar paradoxes existed elsewhere. One of the theoretical contributions of the paper is the derivation of a matrix for classifying recommendations associated with online UGC.