Developing a comprehensive life cycle framework for social media research in hospitality and tourism: A bibliometric method 2002-2018

Khaldoon Nusair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to provide a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of the current state of social media literature by examining co-word network analysis and thematic keyword analysis of both scholars and hospitality and tourism journals in three sub-periods (2002-2006, 2007-2012 and 2013-2018). Design/methodology/approach: This research used a bibliometric analysis of social media literature in the field of hospitality and tourism by synthesizing the literature of a large sample of 601 studies over an extended time period (2002-2018). Findings: The jump in the number of examined contexts, platforms, methodological approaches and research implications during 2007-2012 has marked the start of social media as a new phenomenon in hospitality and tourism research. Interestingly, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management was a leading contributor to social media research between 2017 and 2018. The period 2013-2018 has witnessed newly emerging trends such as “big data,” “e-tourism,” “green experience” and “smart tourism.” This study’s analysis indicated that few keywords in social media appeared in the maturity stage. New platforms such as “Expedia,” “Foursquare,” “Flickr,” “Pinterest,” “Couchsurfing” and “Twitter” appeared between 2013 and 2018. Originality/value: The scope of past research on the evolution of social media was limited to either a few of the most popular cited journals and/or analysis within a narrow time span. In contrast, the present study aims to uncover the rapid progress in social media research between 2002 and 2018, addressing growth in breadth and depth of thematic areas. Finally, this paper concluded with the proposal of knowledge-based life cycle framework that identifies key themes related to social media research. This framework provided insights into what has been addressed in previous literature (maturity and decline stages) and reported the topics that have been under-researched (introduction and growth stages).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1066
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Keyword and co-word analysis
  • Life cycle framework
  • Social media
  • Systematic literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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