Mobile Ethnography in Tourism and Hospitality: Concept, Tools, and Applications

Elaine Yulan Zhang, Dan Wang, Sut Ieng Lei

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Digital consumers rely on smartphones and the mobile Internet for different tasks in their daily lives. Travel activities as an essential part of life for many people are greatly supported by a variety of connected mobile devices. In turn, these mobile devices and applications capture the digital footprint of tourists, which reflects their behaviors, preferences, and intentions. As a result, mobile ethnography has emerged as a valid and insightful method for researching tourist behavior.Mobile ethnography is distinct from classical ethnography in terms of data collection tools and procedures. Researchers collect data captured by mobile devices to understand the behavior of targeted groups, and participants can share insightful information such as their locations, photos, videos, and data points that indicate their emotions with the researchers. Mobile ethnography provides researchers with a variety of new tools and instruments to capture tourists’ behaviors and opinions from multiple perspectives. This chapter introduces the concept of mobile ethnography, the tools and instruments for data collection and analysis, and the applications of mobile ethnography in tourism and hospitality research. This chapter also discusses the opportunities and challenges such as ethical and privacy concerns in mobile ethnography research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of e-Tourism
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030486525
ISBN (Print)9783030486518
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Data mining
  • Experience sampling
  • Mobile ethnography
  • Real-time data collection
  • Smartphones
  • Wearable devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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