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If You Travel, I Travel: Testing A Model Of When And How Travel-Related Content Exposure On Facebook Triggers The Intention To Visit A Tourist Destination

Kashmala Latif, Muhammad Yousaf Malik, Abdul Hameed Pitafi, Shamsa Kanwal, Zara Latif

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This study aims to examine the role of exposure to travel-related content posted by friends on Facebook in triggering the intention to visit a tourist destination (IVTD). The study further examines how travel-related content exposure is linked with IVTD, and why some travel consumers, unlike others, tend to trigger more IVTD in response to travel-related content exposure. The sample of the present study included 295 travel consumers who are users of Facebook in Pakistan. The hypothesized model is tested using PROCESS macros in SPSS 24.0. The findings of the study reveal that travel-related content exposure is positively associated with IVTD. The benign envy mediates the relationship between exposure to travel-related content posted by friends on Facebook and IVTD, but the online social identity moderated the relationship between exposure to travel-related content posted by friends on Facebook and IVTD such that high online social identity strengthened the impact of travel-related content exposure on IVTD, thus highlighting the pivotal role of online social identity in the comparison process. The study contributes to the tourism literature on social media and has practical implications for social media travel managers and advertisers. The travel managers and advertisers should develop marketing and communication strategies considering friends’ communications on Facebook as a factor that can influence travel consumers’ behavior and decision making.