Technology enabled information services use in tourism: An ethnographic study of Chinese backpackers

Brad McKenna, Wenjie Cai, Tuure Tuunanen

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The purpose of this paper is to investigate the previously unexplored theoretical relationship between technology enabled information services (TEIS) and the value created by the use of such services. This paper presents a mixed virtual and multi-sited ethnography to provide a thick description of Chinese backpackers (CBs) use of TEIS. Participant observations and interviews of CBs in three different journeys within Europe were undertaken. Our findings illustrate that additional usage values occur when TEIS are used in a tourism context. Social influences and technical infrastructure play a stronger role than previous research presented. The study contributes to the literature by 1) providing a theoretical understanding of tourists’ TEIS use; 2) documenting a study of a complete package of technologies used by CBs, and 3) proposing a research model which can be used for studying different TEIS use behaviour/patterns, and also in the design of TEIS for specific contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-64
Number of pages28
JournalPacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2018


  • Ethnography
  • Qualitative
  • Chinese Backpacker
  • Technology
  • IT Service

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