Argumentation in tourism-related User-Generated-Contents

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Description of this research area

Argumentation in tourism-related User-Generated-Contents is one of the recent research lines of It stays in the overlapping area between argumentation studies and eTourism. Within this research line, argumentation constitutes the analytical approach used to treat UGC, with the goal of gaining a precise and deep understanding of people’s opinions on tourism products and services. An ‘argument’ is intended as a reason given by a person to support his/her opinion, in order to make it convincing in front of an interlocutor. UGC about destinations, attractions and hospitality services are analyzed, allowing to unveil the core of tourists delight and expectations as well as the values connected to the tourism/hospitality experience. In this way, areas for improving promotional and managerial interventions can be pointed out.


argumentation, online opinions, tourism experience, decision-making, discourse analysis, Online Travel Reviews, online complaint, reasoning schemes, destination management, hotel complaint management

Institution laboratory; Institute for Communication Technologies; Università della Svizzera Italiana


Dr. Silvia De Ascaniis

Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Cantoni

Research projects in this research area

Definition of Online Travel Reviews as an emergent textual genre

Identification and analysis of argument schemes (i.e. reasoning patterns) in the online tourism domain

The characteristics of Online Travel Reviews titles as meta-data and their influence on users’ first impression of online information sources

Analysis of the arguments used in Online Travel Reviews about UNESCO World Heritage natural Sites (the case of Jiuzhaigou National Park, China)

Analysis of the strategies used by hotel managers to monitor online comments and to deal with online complaints

Publications published by this institute characterizing this research area

Journals peer reviewed

De Ascaniis S., and Gretzel, U. (2013). Communicative functions of Online Travel Review titles. A pragmatic and linguistic investigation of destination and attraction OTR titles. Studies in Communication Sciences, 13, pp. 156-165.

De Ascaniis, S. (2009). Integrating Content Analysis and Argumentative Analysis to reconstruct a Media-supported Public Debate. Studies in Communication Sciences 9(2), pp. 113-130.

Books chapters

De Ascaniis, S. (2014). Argomentazione nel turismo. In A. Inversini and L. Cantoni (eds.), Nuovi media nella comunicazione turistica. Dante Alighieri, Roma, pp. 303 – 325.

De Ascaniis, S. (2012). Criteria for designing and evaluating argument diagramming tools from the point of view of argumentation theory. In N. Pinkwart, and B. McLaren (eds), Educational Technologies for Teaching Argumentation Skills, Bentham Science, eBook.

Conferences with proceedings

De Ascaniis, S., Borrè, A., Marchiori, E., Cantoni, L. (in press). Listen to your customers. How hotels manage online travel reviews: the case of hotels in Lugano. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2015 (Proceedings of the International Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, February 3-6), Springer, Berlin – Heidelberg.

De Ascaniis, S., Bischof, N., and Cantoni, L. (2013). Building Destination Image through Online Opinionated Discourses. The Case of Swiss Mountain Destinations. In L. Cantoni & Zheng Xiang (eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2013 (Proceedings of the International Conference in Innsbruck, Austria, January 22-25), Springer, Berlin – Heidelberg 2013, pp. 94-106.

De Ascaniis, S. and Gretzel, U. (2012). What’s in a review title? In M. Fuchs, F. Ricci and L. Cantoni (Eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2012 (Proceedings of the 19th International Conference in Helsingborg, Sweden, January 24-27, 2012), Springer, Wien – New York 2012, pp. 494-505.

De Ascaniis, S., Cantoni, L. and Tardini, S. (2011). Argumentation in Tourism: an analysis of User-Generated-Contents about Lugano (Switzerland). In Frans H. van Eemeren, Bart Garssen, David Godden, Gordon Mitchell (eds.), Proceedings of the 7th Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, Amsterdam: SicSat, pp. 335-347.

De Ascaniis, S. and Greco Morasso, S. (2011). When tourists give their reasons on the web. The argumentative significance of tourism related UGC. In R. Law, M. Fuchs and F. Ricci (eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011 (Proceedings of the International Conference in Innsbruck, Austria, January 26-28, 2011), Springer, Wien – New York 2011, pp. 125-137.

Fedele, S., De Ascaniis, S., Cantoni, L. (2011). Destination Marketing and Users’ Appraisal. Looking for the reasons why tourists like a destination. In R. Law, M. Fuchs and F. Ricci (eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011 (Proceedings of the International Conference in Innsbruck, Austria, January 26-28, 2011), Springer, Wien – New York 2011, pp. 151-163.

Contributions to conferences

Tritto, A., De Ascaniis, S. and Adukaite, A. (2014). Potential and implications for destination management of Online Travel Reviews’ argumentative analysis. The case of domestic and international tourism market in Jiuzhaigou National Park, China. 2014 Asia Pacific (APac) Chapter Conference, December 4 - 5, 2014, Melbourne, Australia

White papers

Borrè, A., De Ascaniis, S., Marchiori, E. & Cantoni, L. (2014). Le Recensioni Online degli Hotel. Pratiche di Ascolto e di Dialogo., Università della Svizzera italiana, USI, Lugano. Cantoni L., Fedele S., De Ascaniis S. (2010). Destination marketing: why do tourists like a destination?, Università della Svizzera italiana, USI, Lugano.