A new study has discovered that making small changes in Wikipedia can hugely increase tourist revenue for small cities and large towns.
As reported by The Guardian, the findings suggest that it makes more sense for small cities to just update their Wikipedia pages, rather than employing marketing agencies or publishing glossy brochures inviting people to visit.
The research was conducted by Assistant Professor Marit Hinnosaar at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy and involving NEW in Mannheim, Germany.
The study discovered that making small improvements to city’s pages can have a really sizeable impact on tourists’ choices, leading to an increase in hotel stays of 9%—an annual increase in tourist revenue of $129,000.
The authors randomly selected Spanish cities and then added content to those city’s Wikipedia pages. This included uploading high-quality photos of the region and adding information—a few paragraphs—on local history and attractions.
Crucially, it didn’t take an expert to write the changes and most of the words were taken from the Spanish Wikipedia pages and simply translated into English, German, Italian or Dutch.
The study is called Wikipedia Matters and is important because it proves how online user-generated content can actually lead to real-world economic results.
“If we extend this to the entire tourism industry, the impact is large,” said the authors, Marit Hinnosaar, Toomas Hinnosaar, Michael Kummer and Olga Slivko (quoted in The Guardian). “Its impact could be in billions of euros.”
However, it was clear during the research that there is one major snag in using Wikipedia