The Social Tricks of Advertising: Discourse Strategies of English-Speaking Tour Operators on Facebook


  • Francesca Bianchi



The current paper is intended to provide a description of the linguistic and discourse strategies displayed by generalised and budget tour operators in Facebook, with particular emphasis on the techniques employed to promote destinations. To this aim, a corpus including 326 posts was created.The posts were analysed by means of corpus linguistics methods–including POS tagging, keyword analysis, and analysis of collocations–, while the images accompanying the posts were analysed within the framework of visual grammar theory.Keyword analysis showed that the posts under investigation, despite being written texts, are closer to spoken communication rather than written informal communication. The analyses also showed ample presence of linguistic and rhetorical techniques typical of tourism promotion. Furthermore, the analyses proved that the tourism operators considered are expert conversation managers who have developed a range of strategies to influence conversation. Finally, comparison between the current results and previous empirical studies suggest that promotional strategies and thus ‘the language of tourism’ varies not only from culture to culture, but also depending on text type (e.g. website vs. Facebook page), tourism service provider (e.g. hotel chains vs. tour operators), and target (e.g. luxury vs. non-luxury tour operator)


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