TripAdvisor, Produsage Communities & Brand Equity: How TripAdvisor Challenges the Digital Strategies for First Hotel Twentyseven

Hamzah Waheed

Student thesis: Master thesis


The technological development and alteration over the past years has clearly changed how business organizations operates and thinks. The commotion of Internet and social media has coerced organizations to change its marketing and branding strategies, and the modernized communication model has been challenging organizations across line of businesses. Especially social media establish a platform, which gives unthought-of possibilities and power to consumers and other stakeholders. Social media makes digital interaction among consumers possible, and as a result of this, consumers are committedly engaging in the value production process. They are not passive and omit no more, but they act as a part of bigger brand-creating process that the so-called produsage communities at the different social media sites make possible. In order to understand the theories behind these, an accurate application has been necessary to understand the underlying assumptions and understandings. This master thesis focus on the famous American travel website, TripAdvisor, that has gathered millions of hotels, restaurants and sights on their webpage. In the same time First Hotel Twentyseven in Copenhagen has been used as a case in order to simplify and concretize. The question throughout the thesis has been how the digital evolution with TripAdvisor has created challenges and potentials for a hotel as First Hotel Twentyseven. Because it is absolutely clear that a legitimate transformation has taken place with reference to the marketing and branding strategies. But how can it be explained? This thesis uses mainly two qualitative methods to investigate this topic. The observation study in the form of a netnographic approach on TripAdvisor has given insight into a produsage community where consumers share opinions, experiences and advice for different purposes. The observation and analyzing has been going on for months, and the project has been to understand and explain how users on the website actively can influence strategies and agendas of First Hotel Twentyseven. As it will appear from the thesis the interaction is fascinating and overwhelming in itself, and it’s clear to see how the consumer-to-consumer communication on social media has a severe impact on the final brand equity. Ultimately, consumers use TripAdvisor to feel secure and confident about a certain purchase, and this platform makes it easy and straightforward for users make a decision. The active and dedicated participation from the consumers on social media with regard to brand creation evidently challenges earlier understandings of the same process. In order to oblige to these new tendencies, approaches and patterns, hotels – and other organizations facing the same challenges – needs to adapt accordingly and rapidly. The consequences of neglecting or ignoring the presence of the power of TripAdvisor could mean everything for the future of their business. The other methodical approach used in this master thesis is an interview with the general manager of First Hotel Twentyseven who speaks about the issues from the hotel’s point of view. From the interview it is obvious to see what challenges the hotel faces, and what new situations they have to adjust to in order to stay on the market. Not only in terms of an institutional promise where strange organizational behaviour can influence reliability and legitimacy, but also in terms of staying in the market competition. This master thesis shows a lot of different challenges and potentials First Hotel Twentyseven experiences as a consequence of technological evolution. The produsage communities efficiently emboss the communication processes in terms of brand and marketing, and brand equity is something, which is being searched for on these new social media platforms on completely new terms and conditions.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages101
SupervisorsSøren Schultz Hansen