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Place Branding for Smart Cities and Smart Tourism Destinations: Do They Communicate Their Smartness?

Assumpció Huertas, Antonio Moreno and Jordi Pascual
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Assumpció Huertas: Communication Research Group (ASTERISC), Department of Communication, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, 43002 Tarragona, Spain
Antonio Moreno: Department of Computer Engineering and Mathematics, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, 43005 Tarragona, Spain
Jordi Pascual: Intelligent Technologies for Advanced Knowledge Acquisition (ITAKA) Research Group, Computer Engineering and Mathematics Department, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, 43005 Tarragona, Spain

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 19, 1-18

Abstract: Smart cities and smart tourism destinations integrate technological infrastructures and end-user devices with the aim of providing more satisfying experiences. They generate expectations of superior innovation, greater interactivity, participation and a better image. Therefore, they need to communicate their smartness and include it in their branding. The study analyses the smart content present in the tourist and non-tourist official Twitter accounts of a selection of smart cities and smart destinations, through semantic analysis, in order to find out which smart concepts are strategically branded to create a smart tourism destination image. The results show that the best cities in the ranking for each smart topic are not the ones with highest percentages of tweets on that topic. The study also shows that the number and percentage of tweets that communicate smart aspects on the platforms analyzed are low, showing the smartness is not included in their branding. It has also been observed that, almost all cities communicate or do not communicate the same concepts, evincing an undifferentiated branding strategy. The results of this study are interesting for urban policy-makers and tourism destination marketers to improve their branding.

Keywords: place branding; smart city; smart tourism destination; smartness; social media; Twitter; semantic analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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