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An Analysis of Travel Information Searching on the Web

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Abstract:

In this article, the phenomenon of searching for travel information on the Web is reported. The issues of how predominant travel searching is on the Web, how people are searching for travel information on the Web, and what terms people are using to express their travel-related information needs are investigated. In this research, 2,465,145 interactions from 534,507 users of the commercial Web search engine, Dogpile.com, on May 6, 2005 are analyzed employing both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Findings show that, at most, approximately 6.5% of Web queries are for travel searching. Geographical information accounts for nearly 50% of this travel searching, with general travel information accounting for just less than 10%. An analysis of individual terms in travel queries shows there is substantial searching for travel-specific websites such as mapquest, travelocity, and orbitz. Travel searchers appear to target specific events, again showing a strong geographical bias along with a temporal component of the underlying information intent. The distribution of travel topics is skewed, with several topics being "very focused" and others being "very general." A classification scheme for travel-related Web queries was developed, which should be helpful for other researchers in the online travel searching area. The implications for both content providers of travel information and for searchers of travel information on the Web are discussed.

Keywords: TRAVEL INFORMATION SEARCH; TRAVEL QUERIES; TRAVEL QUERY TERMS; TRAVEL SEARCHING; TRAVEL SEARCHING TERMS; WEB SEARCH ENGINES; WEB SEARCHING

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/109830508784913121

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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  • Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.
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