Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

William C. Norman

Committee Member

Lauren Duffy

Committee Member

Kenneth Backman

Committee Member

William Bridges


Despite the previous smartphone research in the context of travel and tourism, there is limited research based on a strong theoretical background that seeks to understand how tourists are motivated and satisfied via smartphone use. This study extended previous studies by systematically investigating and quantitatively measuring how and to what extent tourists are gratified (satisfied) by the use of smartphones during their trips based on the Uses and Gratifications Theory.

According to this theory, individuals choose a media platform with the anticipation that it will aid them in realizing a specific intention, the satisfaction of this need being referred to as gratification (Green 2014; Logan, 2017; Stacks & Salwen, 2009). This study investigated four constructs in terms of antecedents (i.e., motivations of using smartphones by tourists) and consequences (i.e., satisfaction with smartphones use by tourists, satisfaction referred to as gratifications). This study adopted the Uses and Gratifications Theory as a theoretical framework to explore the use of smartphones by tourists and to measure quantitatively their touristic satisfaction. U&G motivations (Social Interaction, Entertainment, Convenience, and Information) and hypotheses were developed. The respondents of the main study were tourists traveling in downtown Greenville, South Carolina, who have experiences using smartphones at the destination.

To test the model for the study, a multilevel analysis (multilevel SEM) was employed to avoid statistical biases caused by common traits within group tourists and to measure potential group effects. This study also analyzed multilevel mediation in the structural equation model. It was hypothesized that the attitude construct mediates the relationship between motivations of using smartphones by tourists (independent variable or predictors) and satisfactions with smartphones use by tourists (dependent variable) in the structural model. Moreover, the relationships among constructs were tested and examined based on the theoretical background developed through a review of the literature.

This study provides a classification of motivations of using smartphone use by tourists (U&G motivations) and a newly developed scale to measure satisfaction with smartphone use by tourists and their experiences, and thus it may enhance deeper our understanding of motivations of using smartphone by tourists, attitude toward the smartphone use by tourists and satisfactions with smartphone use by tourists. This study addressed specific aspects of tourism experiences.

The results suggest that U&G motivations have a significant effect on tourists’ attitude toward smartphone use, which, in turn, significantly affects e-tourist satisfaction at the individual level. However, there was no group effect among U&G motivations, the attitude toward smartphone use and e-tourist satisfaction. Based on the results from this study, the most important reason that tourists used their smartphones was to obtain information during their trips to Greenville, SC. The results of this study provide practical and theoretical implications for e- tourism communication and tourism marketing.



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