The University of Tokyo,
Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies
Keywords: marketing strategy in social media, destination image, ephemeral media, inbound tourism to Japan
This research investigates social media as a marketing tool in constructing destination image. This is important because previous studies have demonstrated destination image plays a paramount role in decision-making, but some regions still struggle to promote themselves. Understanding the use of social media can help destination management organizations to achieve their marketing strategy in the competitive travel market.
This research is based on literature review and interviews from the perspective of Taiwan and the United States respectively. For the purpose of this study, in the case of Taiwan, Miyagi prefecture was selected to represent East Japan, and Shimane prefecture as an example of West Japan. Both prefectures experience difficulties in attracting travellers. This research analyses how travel bloggers in Taiwan use social media to promote regional Japan and their impact on travel plans. In the case of the United States, this research examines the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) offices in New York and Los Angeles and how they promote Japan using social media.
This research discovered that Taiwanese rely on social media when setting a travel plan, but in the United States, travel companies have more influence than social media. As a result, JNTO posts bloggers’ travel experiences on their Taiwan website, but the US website does not, remaining information-based.
It also found that the Japanese marketing strategy in the United States relied on stereotypes like “cherry blossoms”, while Taiwanese promotion was more nuanced.