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Ecotourism experiences reported online: Classification of satisfaction attributes


  • Lu, Weilin
  • Stepchenkova, Svetlana


This study proposed a quantitative method for evaluating ecotourism experiences reported online by U.S. travelers to Costa Rica. The user-generated content (UGC) used in this study was 373 reviews extracted from TripAdvisor®. By applying the content analysis technique, 26 attributes that influence ecotourists’ satisfaction with their ecolodge stays were identified and further aggregated into seven categories: ecolodge settings, room, nature, service, food, location, and value for money. A two-step non-parametric statistical procedure was developed to quantitatively support the classification of attributes into satisfiers, dissatisfiers, criticals, and neutrals, the typology first proposed by Cadotte and Turgeon [(1988). Dissatisfiers and satisfiers: suggestions from consumer complaints and compliments. Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, 1(1), 74–79]. The proposed procedure is considered an original contribution of the article to the literature. The authors hope that the results from this study can be useful to ecolodge managers to evaluate performance in critical areas and develop strategies to maximize customer satisfaction through better utilization of limited resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Lu, Weilin & Stepchenkova, Svetlana, 2012. "Ecotourism experiences reported online: Classification of satisfaction attributes," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 702-712.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:touman:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:702-712
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2011.08.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chrysanthos Dellarocas, 2003. "The Digitization of Word of Mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(10), pages 1407-1424, October.
    2. Dellarocas, Chrysanthos, 2003. "The Digitization of Word-of-mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Working papers 4296-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    1. Stepchenkova, Svetlana & Zhan, Fangzi, 2013. "Visual destination images of Peru: Comparative content analysis of DMO and user-generated photography," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 590-601.
    2. Koen Arts & Maiara Thaisa Oliveira Rabelo & Daniela Maimoni De Figueiredo & Georgina Maffey & Antonio Augusto Rossotto Ioris & Pierre Girard, 2018. "Online and Offline Representations of Biocultural Diversity: A Political Ecology Perspective on Nature-Based Tourism and Indigenous Communities in the Brazilian Pantanal," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-20, October.
    3. F. J. Cristófol & Gorka Zamarreño Aramendia & Jordi de-San-Eugenio-Vela, 2020. "Effects of Social Media on Enotourism. Two Cases Study: Okanagan Valley (Canada) and Somontano (Spain)," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-19, August.
    4. Guerreiro, Cátia & Viegas, Margarida & Guerreiro, Manuela, 2019. "Social Networks And Digital Influencers: Their Role In Customer Decision Journey In Tourism," Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, Cinturs - Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being, University of Algarve, vol. 7(3), pages 240-260.
    5. Xiang, Zheng & Du, Qianzhou & Ma, Yufeng & Fan, Weiguo, 2017. "A comparative analysis of major online review platforms: Implications for social media analytics in hospitality and tourism," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 51-65.
    6. Jaime Armando Alcocer Lizcano, 2013. "Competitividad en el sector turístico: una revisión de la literatura," Revista Lebret, Universidad Santo Tomás - Bucaramanga, vol. 5, pages 271-291, December.
    7. Guo, Yue & Barnes, Stuart J. & Jia, Qiong, 2017. "Mining meaning from online ratings and reviews: Tourist satisfaction analysis using latent dirichlet allocation," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 467-483.
    8. Berné Manero, Carmen & Ciobanu, Andreea V. & Pedraja Iglesias, Marta, 2020. "The electronic word of mouth as a context variable in the hotel management decision-making process," Cuadernos de Gestión, Universidad del País Vasco - Instituto de Economía Aplicada a la Empresa (IEAE).
    9. Wu, Mao-Ying & Pearce, Philip L., 2014. "Chinese recreational vehicle users in Australia: A netnographic study of tourist motivation," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 22-35.
    10. Hany Kim & Hyo Jae Joun & Yeongbae Choe & Ashley Schroeder, 2019. "How Can a Destination Better Manage Its Offering to Visitors? Observing Visitor Experiences via Online Reviews," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(17), pages 1-19, August.
    11. Sanyé-Mengual, Esther & Romanos, Héctor & Molina, Catalina & Oliver, M. Antònia & Ruiz, Núria & Pérez, Marta & Carreras, David & Boada, Martí & Garcia-Orellana, Jordi & Duch, Jordi & Rieradevall, Joan, 2014. "Environmental and self-sufficiency assessment of the energy metabolism of tourist hubs on Mediterranean Islands: The case of Menorca (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 377-387.
    12. Wu, Mao-Ying & Wall, Geoffrey & Pearce, Philip L., 2014. "Shopping experiences: International tourists in Beijing's Silk Market," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 96-106.
    13. Baka, Vasiliki, 2016. "The becoming of user-generated reviews: Looking at the past to understand the future of managing reputation in the travel sector," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 148-162.
    14. Jarvis, Diane & Stoeckl, Natalie & Liu, Hong-Bo, 2016. "The impact of economic, social and environmental factors on trip satisfaction and the likelihood of visitors returning," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-18.
    15. Zhang, Hong-yu & Ji, Pu & Wang, Jian-qiang & Chen, Xiao-hong, 2017. "A novel decision support model for satisfactory restaurants utilizing social information: A case study of," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 281-297.
    16. Phillips, Paul & Zigan, Krystin & Santos Silva, Maria Manuela & Schegg, Roland, 2015. "The interactive effects of online reviews on the determinants of Swiss hotel performance: A neural network analysis," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 130-141.
    17. Pulina, Manuela & Santoni , Valentina, 2018. "Hotel online pricing policy: A review and a regional case study," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 42, pages 93-111.
    18. Zhang, Ye & Cole, Shu Tian, 2016. "Dimensions of lodging guest satisfaction among guests with mobility challenges: A mixed-method analysis of web-based texts," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 13-27.
    19. Alaa Shoukry & Fares Aldeek, 2020. "Attributes prediction from IoT consumer reviews in the hotel sectors using conventional neural network: deep learning techniques," Electronic Commerce Research, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 223-240, June.
    20. Li Li & Shen mei Yuan & Nan Jiang, 2014. "An Analysis of the Influencing Factors of Customer Retention in Tourism Resort Industry: A Case Study of Lingnan Impression Park, Guangzhou, China," Eurasian Journal of Business and Management, Eurasian Publications, vol. 2(2), pages 1-13.
    21. Sparks, Beverley A. & Perkins, Helen E. & Buckley, Ralf, 2013. "Online travel reviews as persuasive communication: The effects of content type, source, and certification logos on consumer behavior," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-9.
    22. Mehrbakhsh Nilashi & Abbas Mardani & Huchang Liao & Hossein Ahmadi & Azizah Abdul Manaf & Wafa Almukadi, 2019. "A Hybrid Method with TOPSIS and Machine Learning Techniques for Sustainable Development of Green Hotels Considering Online Reviews," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(21), pages 1-21, October.
    23. Huang, Chun-Che & Liang, Wen-Yau & Tseng, Tzu-Liang (Bill) & Wong, Ruo-Yin, 2015. "A rough set-based corporate memory for the case of ecotourism," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 22-33.


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