This study introduces consumer socialization agency (CSA; i.e. the act of influencing another about consumption) as the reason why consumers learn through peer communication on social media tourism sites. Based on an online panel of 193 US consumers, the study investigated how a personal connection to a tourism site (i.e. customer engagement [CE]) and a connection with peers on social media (i.e. peer group identification) drives CSA about tourism, which, subsequently, influences learning about tourism-related consumption decisions (i.e. peer communication). Our model establishes that identification with peers on social media and CE with tourism sites are antecedents to consumer socialization. Consumers need to feel engaged with tourism social media sites to participate in socialization and feel connected to their peers on social media in general. Consumer socialization, or the willingness to teach/influence tourism-related skills to friends, influences the willingness to learn new tourism consumer skills, including tourism-related decision-making. We propose that for a tourism site to be successful, it must enable social exchange of knowledge and ideas (through enabling consumer socialization), not just individual user experience.
Journal of Vacation Marketing: An International Journal for the Tourism and Hospitality Industries – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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