Research on user-generated photos in tourism and hospitality: A systematic review and way forward

Hengyun Li, Lingyan Zhang, Cathy H.C. Hsu

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Visual content has become an integral component of consumers' experience sharing. People increasingly search for visual content posted by others prior to making purchase decisions. This work adopts a systematic review methodology to examine user-generated photo–related tourism and hospitality research published in academic journals between 2006 and 2021 by topics, methods, and theoretical underpinnings. The 106 articles analyzed fall under four themes: 1) motivation for photo sharing; 2) tourists' destination image perception; 3) tourists’ spatiotemporal behavior; and 4) impact of user-generated photos. Analytical methods have progressed in their abilities to collect, process, and analyze large volumes of imagery data. Techniques range from traditional manual qualitative content–semiotic analysis to advanced spatial analysis and artificial intelligence–based quantitative approaches. Theoretical development has varied topically given the descriptive nature of research questions in some domains. A multi-dimensional framework is developed to offer a holistic view of the progress, limitation, and future directions for user-generated photo research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104714
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Systematic literature review
  • Thematic analysis
  • Theoretical progression
  • User-generated photos
  • Visual data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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