Proceedings of ECIS 2006 the European Conference on Information Systems. 12-14 June 2006, Goeteborg, Sweden.
Late draft (pdf version)
Abstract: Enabled by Information & Communication Technologies (ICT), online tourism communities are in the process of revolutionizing the way information is shared and distributed in the travel industry. Interpreting online tourism communities as a particular kind of information system, previous research in this area has argued that tourism communities may enhance the quality of information available to tourists, thus improving their subsequent travel experience. Quality was defined in terms of timeliness, completeness, structure and personalization. In this paper, we review this notion of quality and argue that particularly valuable information coming from tourism communities often meets stronger quality characteristics related to information relevance and impact, namely mediation (information helps establish an own, independent perspective on destinations that is not primarily mediated by guide books and travel-related media), expansion (information provided is highly relevant even though it not directly related to the original inquiry to the community) and immediacy (information is not caught in the time-space dilemma of guide books and similarly sedate publications). The three quality characteristics were derived from an empirical investigation of information shared in a well-established online tourism community focusing on traveling in Australia. The paper concludes with a discussion of how mobile information systems, such as laptops and personal digital assistants, are changing the way travelers interact with online communities.revised 10 August 2006