Episode 06: It’s not easy being green

We’ve all seen the signs in hotel bathrooms – if you want to be environmentally friendly, hang your towels up when you are done and the housekeeping staff won’t wash them. This is just one program that many hotels utilize to be more ‘green,’ and it has the additional benefit of saving them money as they have to do less laundry. What about other green activities that hotels are doing? Are there programs we don’t know about as consumers? How do they communicate with us about what they are doing? Do travelers even care? My guest today is Rawan Nimri, a Ph.D. student at Griffith University in Australia. Her research focuses on understanding tourists perceptions of the things that hotels are doing to be green, and she’s made some fascinating discoveries about the effectiveness of hotel’s communications about them:

Episode 05 – Film tourism

What do Iceland, New Zealand, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Mount Airy, North Carolina have in common? They’re all popular film tourism sites. A big portion of Game of Thrones was filmed in Iceland, The Lord of the Rings films were shot in New Zealand, Breaking Bad was filmed in Albuquerque, and Mount Airy has transformed itself into Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. Film induced travel is big business, and a lot of destinations across the globe are cashing in…but how do you know which ones are legitimate and which ones are not being entirely truthful about their silver screen pedigree? My guest today is Dr. Stefanie Benjamin, an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee. She has been researching film induced tourism for the past several years, and has some great tips for finding the real deal and being a good tourist if you want to check out the filming locations of your favorite movie or TV show.

Episode 04 – How and why we learn when we travel

People travel for all sorts of reasons. To escape, to relax, to impress, or to learn. This episode is all about how and why we learn during our travels. From elementary school class trips to study abroad, educational tourism focuses on learning while traveling, but where do the benefits to students really come from? Do regular travelers gain the same skills as students during their travels? My guest today is Dr. Matthew Stone, an assistant professor at Cal State University Chico. Matthew has researched education and tourism over the past several years, and he has made some interesting observations about what travelers and the tourism industry can do to promote learning while we travel.

Episode 03: The ethics of involving animals in tourism

In our travels around the world, we are liable to encounter animals in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they’re the main attraction. Zoos and aquariums are built around featured animals for the public to see. In other instances, animals like horses, camels, or mules are used as transportation to and from our primary destination. Yet still, sometimes animals are the centerpiece of culinary tourism experiences with iconic dishes like foie gras, osso buco, and blue crab boils drawing tourists from across the globe. The thing about animals in tourism, however, is that nobody has asked them if they want to participate. In this episode, The Trip Doctor interviews Dr. Carol Kline, an associate professor at Appalachian State University. She recently edited a book called Animals, Food, and Tourism, and is a co-founder of the website Fanimal.co, a membership site for animal lovers to laugh, learn, and make a difference. In this interview, we’ll be discussing the ethical implications of involving animals in tourism and what you can do to be a better consumer of animal based tourism experiences, as in many cases the experience for the animals involved can be extremely negative.

Episode 02: Do anticipated social media likes influence where we travel?

Think about the images you’re bombarded with every day on social media. Chances are, you’ve got friends, family, and random celebrities constantly posting pictures of themselves in larger than life travel destinations across the globe, doing anything but the mundane tasks we all engage in during the vast majority of our days at home and work. It turns out, people may actually be traveling to those destinations we see on social media specifically because they think you’ll like their posts. In this episode, The Trip Doctor interviews Dr. Bynum Boley about his findings from a paper titled: “Social return and intent to travel” in the journal Tourism Management. In this study, Dr. Boley asked the question: does the number of likes or comments we think we’ll get on a picture of our travels influence the places that we go? It turns out, it does.

Episode 01: Looking for the truth in AirBnB reviews

So – you’re booking a trip, and have decided to use AirBnB to find your accommodations. You put in your destination, your dates, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need; and you get back a couple of places that all fit what you’re looking for. You’re trying to decide which one to pick, but almost all of them have a slew of 5-star ratings. How do you know which place is going to be the best? It turns out, review comments may reveal more than the 5-star ratings that each of these properties has. In this episode, The Trip Doctor interviews Dr. Camilla Vasquez about her article titled: “If nearly all Airbnb reviews are positive, does that make them meaningless?” in the journal Current Issues in Tourism. In her analysis of the language people use in their AirBnB reviews, she made some interesting discoveries.