Fresh research uncovers Wikipedia’s big impact on destination marketing

Utrechyt, The Netherlands - June 12, 2011: A magnifying glass on the start page of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a online free encyclopedia to which volunteers can add articles.

New research has suggested that Wikipedia may be a destination marketer’s best friend.

A study called Wikipedia Matters, from Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy, and ZEW in Mannheim, Germany has revealed that adding a few paragraphs to the Wikipedia entry of a small city can increase the number of nights spent in the city by nine per cent, and increase hotel stays by about 33 per cent.

On average, the research suggests this can equate to almost $200,000 in increased tourism revenue.

The study was conducted by randomly choosing cities across Spain and adding around 2,000 characters (about two paragraphs) as well as high-res images to their Wikipedia pages.

“Our results highlight the importance of online presence,” the authors of the study wrote.

“Ensuring that a city, firm, or product is accurately represented in online information sources of all relevant languages is relatively cheap, i.e. almost free or a few hundred dollars in mainly one-time costs.”

The results suggest it would be beneficial for destination marketers, or anyone in the tourism industry, really, to ensure there is plenty of free, accessible information on their destination or product online.

For the authors of the study, in some cases this was as simple as just translating Spanish Wikipedia pages onto the French and Italian equivalents.

“The amount of information available in different languages varies significantly,” the authors said.

“Our results imply that this may lead to large differences in economic decisions and economic outcomes as well.”

Image: iStock/zmeel

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