PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (10): 1511-1519.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.10.009

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Progress in travel blog research and its implications

CHEN Jing, ZHANG Jinhe, LIU Zehua, ZHOU Jing, YANG Lu   

  1. Department of Land Resource and Tourism Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2013-03-01 Revised:2013-07-01 Online:2013-10-25 Published:2013-10-24
  • Contact: 章锦河(1970- ),男,安徽望江人,博士,教授,主要从事旅游规划、区域旅游影响研究。E-mail:

Abstract: Travel blogs can provide a virtual platform of sharing travel experiences and feelings for tourists, and is becoming a reliable source of information for tourists' decision-making, which has received extensive attentions from the academia circle and tourism professionals. Thus travel blogs have become a new tourism research object. This paper attempted to make a comprehensive analysis of relevant literature regarding travel blogs from 2005 to 2012 at home and abroad. The analysis procedures and results were as follows: (1) Domestic and foreign research started relatively late, but developed rapidly. Achievements were mainly published on tourism marketing and management journals. (2) The major research contents were categorized. Bloggers, blog's content and travel-blogging techniques were the main research subjects. Firstly, the analysis of bloggers included blogger's demographic characteristics, writing of blogs, and blogger's travel behavior. Writing of blogs was analyzed in terms of writing motivation, writing time, writing skills and blog's sharing. Blogger's travel behavior was analyzed in terms of travel motivation, travel spatial behavior and satisfaction level. Secondly, the analysis of blog's content included its effect on potential tourists, image construction of tourist destinations, and tourist destination marketing. Thirdly, travel-blogging techniques were proposed to solve the problems with blog-using, including information searching, information extraction, information sharing and writing application. Foreign studies have made considerable amount of progress on these subjects, and mainly focused on blogger's travel behavior, blog's effect on destination marketing and blogging techniques. Domestic research has been only focused on blog's influence on image construction and marketing of travel destination. (3) Main research methods were analyzed comprehensively in terms of their characteristics and the insufficiency. Firstly, in the aspect of information searching methods, searching on the Internet has been widely used. The paper listed the searching websites and made a comparison between Website searching and online survey methods in term of the cost, amount of information, authenticity, integrity, operability and so on. Secondly, in the aspect of analysis methods, there were abundant methods to analyze the content of blogs at home and abroad, including word frequency analysis, semantic network analysis, discourse analysis, interpretative analysis, narrative analysis, digital ethnography analysis, phenomenology analysis, stance-shift analysis and so on, among which content analysis and narrative analysis have been most widely used. The paper also made a comparison between content analysis and narrative analysis in term of their advantages and disadvantages. (4) The paper looked into the possible directions of future development from three aspects, namely, research scales, research contents and research methods, providing references and enlightenment for further application and study. In the aspect of research scales, it was suggested that the comparative study of different scales should be enhanced. In the aspect of research contents, it was suggested that the perspective of local community should be considered, and other contents in blogs could also be analysis objects, such as pictures and videos. And the results should be complemented by field research because bloggers are not representative of all tourists. In the aspect of methods, domestic study should learn the advanced theory and research paradigm from foreign research, as well as strengthen regional research constantly, in the hope to construct China-style travel blog research system.

Key words: blog’s content, blogger, blogging techniques, content analysis, narrative analysis, travel blog