Narratives on Facebook: the impact of user-generated content on visiting attitudes, visiting intention and perceptions of destination risk

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Information Technology and Tourism


© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Through an experiment, this paper investigates the impact of online page popularity and message valences of user-generated content in social media on pro-Iran visiting attitudes and behavioural intention as well as perceptions of destination risk. Moreover, the mediating role of perceived risk and visiting attitudes in the effect of page popularity and message valences on visiting intention is examined. Six different versions of pro-Iran visiting community Facebook pages with three different message valences and two levels of popularity were created. One hundred twenty participants were randomly exposed to one of the six Facebook pages and then asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed demographic data; visiting attitude; visiting intention; travel risk type; and perceived risk index. The perceived risk index was developed by this study through conducting online open-ended interviews. The findings show that success stories and high popularity lead to more positive attitude, higher level of intention to visit, and lower perceptions of destination risk than failure stories and low popularity. Popularity dampens the negative effect of failure stories on users’ visiting attitudes. Moreover, perceived risk underlies the pathway of page popularity and message valences to individuals’ visiting attitude and intention.

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