Innovations in data collection methods for tourism research

Data collection is a vital part of any research project. In tourism research, a wide range of data collection methods is applied depending on the topic or project at hand. However, the internet, technological innovations, and new applications allow us to collect data in more creative and engaging ways than ever before.

Speeding up the process of data collection with web crawlers

In recent years, the internet has become one of the key sources of information. When it comes to data collection, new technologies, such as web crawlers or web spiders are more commonly applied. Web crawlers are programs used to search the internet for specific keywords or search terms and to compile the collected information in a data file. The use of web crawlers speeds up the process of data collection tremendously.

Collecting information in real time

Smartphones are also widely utilised for data collection. Mobile ethnography tools, such as the ‘’Experiencefellow’’, are used to collect information on, for example, customer experience or customer journey. The app allows participants to record their experiences while on a holiday in real time just like a digital log. Photos, videos and other visual elements can be added. As the app records the GPS location as well, the movement of respondents can be mapped an monitored.

Gathering valuable data for tourism research

Furthermore, mobile phone metadata can be used to monitor visitor numbers, visitor flows with regards to, for instance, specific locations and times. Similarly to the anonymous mobile data, credit card companies and public transportation companies may also provide valuable data for tourism research. The use of drones, cameras for example analysing the spatial distribution of visitors has become more popular lately.

The new technologies are altering the way data is collected in modern day tourism research. Even though the range of possibilities is getting wider, thorough considerations need to be made before selecting a data collection tool with special attention to data privacy and security issues.