Tourist information channels as consumer choice: the value of tourist guidebooks in the digital age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research aims at understanding the value of travel guidebooks as an object of consumption in the context of the digital age. It does so by applying a consumer value perspective to an object that has traditionally been studied as an information channel or as a cultural text and not as an object of consumption. Holbrook’s consumer value framework was adopted to identify the value dimensions associated with guidebooks, and the underlying reasons for their use. Given the explorative nature of the study, a qualitative study design was chosen, and fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted. The results suggest that the use and value of guidebooks are strongly connected to emerging Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Information needs are evolving due to technological development: the constant availability of online information has caused the temporal dimension of tourists’ information needs to shift so that decisions can be postponed until right before consumption, making information search more serendipitous. Several types of value were identified which go beyond information needs, and they are: efficiency, excellence, play, aesthetics, status, esteem, spirituality and ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-48
Number of pages21
JournalScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
Issue number1
Early online date2020 Feb 4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic Geography

Free keywords

  • consumer value
  • digitalisation
  • guidebooks
  • serendipity
  • tourism information


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