What role did social media play in engaging tourists at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, and what impact will their perceptions play in future recommendations of the country as a tourist destination? Those are among the questions that William Paterson communication professor Kyung-Hyan “Angie” Yoo will explore as part of a research project that took her to South Korea during this year’s XXIII Olympic Winter Games.
Yoo, a specialist in the use of digital communication and social media, traveled to South Korea where she surveyed Korean attendees and English-speaking attendees from around the world about how they used social media channels, including official Olympic social media platforms, prior to, during, and after the Olympics. She also planned to explore how much social media communication influenced the visitors’ perceived image of the Olympics and the host city, their choice of event activities, accommodations, and restaurants, and their behavioral intentions— For example, would they recommend South Korea as a travel destination for family and friends.
Yoo is collaborating on the project with Byung Cheol Lee, an associate professor at Kyonggi University in South Korea, and Agnis Stibe, a professor at Paris ESLSCA Business School and a postdoctoral associate at MIT Media Lab.
“Event-induced tourism has been growing fast in recent decades, and social media platforms have emerged as a dominant online marketing communication channel for mega-events such as the Olympics,” says Yoo. “However, there is a lack of empirical data on social media use by tourists and its impact on their perceptions and decision-making. The field is changing every moment, and this information will give both scholars and practitioners information about real-time social media use at an international sports event.”
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