Seunghyun "Brian" Park, Assistant Professor of Administration and Economics in The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies, recently conducted research, “Thematic Analysis of Destination Images for Social Media Engagement Marketing,” on how tourism marketing has evolved with technology.
“Destination marketers seek ways to effectively engage travelers, who have become much more selective about where they spend their money due to the pandemic,” explained Dr. Park. “Social media has become more significant for tourism marketing success as many people prefer to do their own research and reservation booking online rather than use a travel agent.”
Dr. Park’s research project collected 8,900 marketer-generated contents published on the official tourism marketing Facebook pages of South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan. Engaging Facebook users is one of the most important goals of travel destination marketers.
Beyond existing suggestions like posting visual content on social media brand pages, Dr. Park’s research focused on unique themes of photo marketing content for social media engagement marketing. Conducting a case study on these three Facebook communities, the conclusion provides useful insights to effectively engage social media users.
The outcomes of this study reveal that several unique image themes are more effective to increase the numbers of likes, comments, and shares for each destination Facebook page. For example, pictures of travelers’ experiences are more effective for social media engagement marketing of South Korea; pictures of historical locations are more effective for Japan; and pictures of festivals are more effective for Hong Kong. This insight will be useful for destination marketers to carefully consider the most representative pictorial themes in social media marketing.