Online Information Search: Differences between Goal-Directed and Experiential Search

Authors: Dickinger, Astrid; Stangl, Brigitte

Source: Information Technology & Tourism, Volume 13, Number 3, March 2011 , pp. 239-257(19)

Publisher: Cognizant Communication Corporation

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Abstract:

Travelers' use of the Internet as an information source has been the subject of research in the past. Most studies focus on the search process; however, the influence of the actual search goal on search behavior has been neglected. Travelers' interactions with a website may depend on whether they search for precise factual information or rather stimulus driven and unplanned. This article provides an overview of literature on information search and shows how searchers who are browsing a website just for fun or are searching for factual information differ in their perception. A survey among 445 travelers will give insight into search behavior depending on the search setting. The results indicate that the main drivers for value and satisfaction for a goal-directed search are content quality followed by usefulness. These effects are attenuated for the experiential search. Further, ease of use is only significant for the goal-directed search group while enjoyment only exhibits effects for experiential searchers.
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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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