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The Long Tail of Travel (Chris Anderson Oct. 2nd)

Does the long tail concept works also in travel&tourism?

I was actually discussing this topic in Piazza della Riforma (Lugano) with one of my mentors few weeks ago and I personally had the impression that the “Long Tail” concept is only a pure sales and marketing thing.

What I mean is that, Pareto Principle ( is one of the most popular and used principle ever –and  as blogger I would compare its popularity to the Muphry’s law (’s_law)… Anyway I am not so sure that I could maintain this position for a long time… 🙂

Do not get me wrong: I’ve always been a “Long Tail Enthusiastic“: I also wrote a paper about that: Inversini, A., Buhalis, D. (2009).Long Tail and Tourism Destination Websites: A study on information quality and information convergence. In W. Hopken, U. Gretzel & R. Law (Eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2009 – Proceedings of the International Conference in Amsterdam, Netherland (pp. 381-392). Wien: Springer.

BUT the point is: the 80-20 rule (or the principle of factor sparsity) can explain lots of things and I personally use a lot this example with my students to explain that when you think your research is ended because you have analyzed the data (20%)…you still have to spend lots of time (80%) in order to present them, communicate them and build the argumentation to support your study.

Anyway Chris Anderson came up last month with tis interesting study about the long tail in the travel and tourism sector. Interesting hints: (i) the data are available online (but I cannot download the), (ii) the study confirms that THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM LONG TAIL DOES NOT EXISTS!!! 🙂

There is a decrease of 10 points percentage in  the last 10 years on top 50 travel destinations with respect to everywhere else.

What I think is: from 1998 to date what happen is (i) GOOGLE – travellers can now search for destinations, (ii) Development of LOW COST flights carriers – that can bring travellers wherever in Europe (iii) development of new products (e.g. the growth of Croatian summer tourism). Too many external variables are not considered in this “article”. Too few explanations are given.

So, both technological and industry changes happened: internet is dramatically changing travel and tourism, and travel and tourism is dramatically changing by itself.

Finally, if someone is successful in downloading the data, I would like to play a bit with them. What I think is that we should be able to use such data in a more SMART way, trying to incorporate external variables, not trying to have huge marketing and sales claims without clear fundations!

Nice try Chris 🙂


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