The image of Barcelona in Online Travel Reviews during 2017 Catalan independence process
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Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Lozano-Monterrubio, N. (Natàlia); Huertas, A. (Assumpció). "The image of Barcelona in Online Travel Reviews during 2017 Catalan independence process". Communication & Society. 33 (3), 2020, 33 - 49
Since the emergence of Online Travel Reviews (OTRs), the collective co-creation of a destination brand image has been more evident than ever before. Stories and emotions expressed in these platforms by experienced tourists can significantly influence other users’ intention to visit. This study explores the extent to which political matters like the incidents that occurred during the last quarter of 2017 related with the Catalan independence process may have a negative impact on the brand image of a destination. This paper has used a specific methodology for content analysis of social media in the field of tourism to study the worst rated OTRs (one-star) of seven different attractions of Barcelona in three social media platforms that are able to geolocate places (TripAdvisor, Google Maps and Facebook) to determine the nature, discourses and the emotions raised. Although most complaints refer to the intrinsic problems of the attractions like high entrance prices and long queues due to tourism overcrowding, results reveal that OTR platforms also include tourists’ personal opinions on such issues as politics and religion. The originality of this research paper is that it delves into users’ co-creation of destination brand image through the analysis of negative OTRs and the emotions expressed in their comments.

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