This article examines the gap between travel-related information search and diffusion by online users in order to better understand the important role of visual information in electronic word of mouth (eWOM). Several analyses were conducted to investigate differences in travelers' preferences for particular forms of information. The results suggest that textual-visual information formats (i.e., photos and/or videos combined with text) have a greater influence on motivation to travel than text-only information. On the other hand, experienced travelers tend to contribute text-only information when spreading eWOM. This study discusses the reasons for this gap and the individual differences in travelers' information format preferences when retrieving and diffusing travel-related information online. Managerial implications for destination marketers and user-generated content platform managers are suggested.
Information Technology and Tourism, 2010, Vol 12, Issue 4, p. 351-361