The role of user-generated content in tourists’ travel planning behavior: evidence from Croatia
User-generated content (UGC) can be found in various forms and on many digital platforms, from pictures and videos to reviews, rating stars, and comments. UGC platforms thrive on the content created by end-users to others like them. The objective of this study is to analyze how Internet users use websites and platforms that contain UGC and what is the role of UGC in trip planning in the form of information collection and perceived impact on their decision. This article investigates differences in influence on travelers between several types of popular UGC platforms – a booking platform, a review platform, and a social networking site (Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Facebook, respectively) and explores how these platforms create interest towards a destination as well as the perceived impact on the decision-making process. Research is extended into the comparison of user perception between user-generated content and business-generated content. The obtained results provide valuable insights for all tourism-related businesses, especially related to the potential of UGC and differences across various types of platforms.