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Micol Mieli



Tourist information behaviour on site: smartphones and planned serendipity


  • Micol Mieli

Summary, in English

Smartphones have become one of the main tools for travel information search, especially on site, during the trip. The use of mobile technologies and ubiquitous internet connectivity do not only allow tourists to access information anywhere, at any time, but have deep impacts on tourists’ behaviours and on their whole tourist experience.
The study suggests an interpretation of tourists’ information behaviour on site through the concept of “planned serendipity”, which offers a view of tourist behaviour that overcomes the dry juxtaposition of spontaneity and planning. The concept is developed through an empirical investigation on tourists’ behaviour on site. In a qualitative research design, experience sampling method (ESM) was used to collect tourists’ behaviour and emotions during the trip, and a follow-up interview expanded on the ESM results.
Through the concept of planned serendipity, this study shows that it has become difficult to distinguish between planned and unplanned behaviour. The constant access to, and search for, information have created a condition for the tourist where their experience is both planned and serendipitous at the same time. Mobile information technologies allow a degree of spontaneity even in structured plans, and vice-versa: even in spontaneous behaviour, there is often a degree of information search and planning carried out on site. Moreover, while previous research suggested that the boundaries between the different stages of travel are becoming blurred, I argue that such phases are still clearly and logically distinguishable, but the information needs and behaviours traditionally associated with pre- and post- trip phases are now concentrated in the on-site phase. It is therefore important to understand tourists’ information behaviour during the trip, and possibly identify further micro-phases in the during-trip stage.


  • Institutionen för tjänstevetenskap






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Media and Communications
  • Sociology

Conference name

29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research

Conference date

2021-09-21 - 2021-09-23

Conference place

Akureyri, Iceland