YouTube is one of the emerging technologies that impact consumer behavior. In the tourism sector, travel video blogs (travel vlogs) have become increasingly popular since they are highly influential in influencing travel behavior. Similarly, YouTube travel vlogs are highly engaging and provide consumers with destination experiences. This study determines how consumer behavior expressed through emerging technologies, such as travel vlogs on YouTube, can influence travel intention and electronic-Word of Mouth (e-WOM) behavior. By incorporating the use and gratification (U&G) perspective, this study examines the role of information seeking and entertainment as motivational factors for watching travel vlogs as a source of satisfaction. It will, in turn, lead to a greater degree of engagement. The current study investigated the emotional and presence aspects of travel videos to determine engagement. To evaluate the research hypothesis, we collected data from 300 respondents who had traveled to a destination after watching a travel vlog. We tested the hypothesis by utilizing structural equation modeling, a feature of the Smart-PLS 3.0 software. The results indicate that consumer motivations for watching travel vlogs, including the desire for information and entertainment, significantly impact customer engagement, both emotion and presence. Customers who are emotionally engaged and perceive travel vlogs as having a high presence will significantly affect their travel intention behavior and influence them to share e-WOM. In addition, the current study provides insight into tourism managers and academics on how travel vlogs as emerging technologies influence consumer behavior.

1. Introduction

YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms [1] and the largest video-sharing site on the web [2]. This platform contains videos that serve as an effective means of communication with the audience. YouTube provides users with different benefits, such as information, entertainment, and social interaction [3]. According to data reports in 2021, YouTube has active users of 94%, with 98.5% of online video content activities [4]. A primary function of YouTube is creating and searching for content [5], allowing users to manage videos more efficiently [6]. Video content categories vary considerably depending on the types of content used. One of them is the popularity of vlog content among the public and in various fields, with 74.3% of users [4]. YouTube vlog content categories include frame aesthetics, video editing, fandom, humor, and travel experiences [7]. Travel vlogs are videos that share narration and images of travel experiences. The videos produced by vloggers will enable them to present a clearer picture of destinations to the audience [7]. Vloggers are travelers who share their travel experiences through video. The video content seen by consumers can be from destinations, community, culinary, or natural scenery [8]. This travel experience will allow the vlogger to receive feedback from the audience, possibly even persuading or inspiring them to do the same thing. Consumers will choose and use tourism information in their travel planning [9]. As a result, travel vlogs can provide authentic experiences for destination marketing [8]. These factors will ultimately influence consumers’ travel decisions and behavior [6]. Tourism marketers can use travel vlogs, whether public or private tourism agents. By using travel vlogs as a source of tourism promotion and information, they will be able to provide a more specific view of consumer behavior [10, 11], as well as promote the growth of the tourism industry more broadly [12]. Thus, travel vlogs can significantly impact the success of the tourism industry nowadays [8].

Travel videos are one of the most relevant consumer purchase decisions [13]. Vloggers post video content depicting tourist destinations, ranging from nature tourism to community interaction [8]. In addition to the variety of content, consumers can also use the site as a resource for tourist information that provides a concise description of the destination [7]. Consumers learn more about tourist destinations based on their perceptions [2]. The perception related to posting travel vlog content significantly influences consumers’ travel intentions [14, 15]. This can be observed in consumer choices and tourism information during travel planning. As a result of this planning, consumers will be more likely to make a purchase decision regarding a specific location [16]. Therefore, travel vlogs can be an effective tool for general destination marketing [8].

Travel vlog content can be created by travelers/vloggers and destination marketing organizations [7, 8]. This vlog discusses nature tourism, culture, cuisine, and other topics which may resonate with the viewer on several levels. The narration and visual presentation of tourist destinations with high-quality videos increase the likelihood of the audience forming positive associations with the destination. Ultimately, this will influence the audience’s travel intentions [7]. As influencers have a large number of followers, a vlog describing a travel experience may generate a response from an audience interested in visiting the destination. Furthermore, audio-visual and nonvisual elements, such as language and music, can attract consumers to video content and even influence their travel behavior [8]. In the tourism industry, travel vlogs are an essential medium for destination marketing [8].

Several studies have examined travel intention through online media, mainly YouTube travel vlogs. Using resonance theory, Cheng et al. [6] used vlogs to increase the intention to visit by connecting the experience of watching to the experience of watching travel videos. In Tafesse’s study [17], the effect of video optimization practices on viewer engagement is examined after watching a travel vlog. Gamage et al. [18] suggest that social satisfaction, process, and content influence tourist choices. The current study has identified a research gap in applying the U&G perspective to YouTube travel videos to investigate travel behaviors. The present study proposes motivational factors for satisfaction in watching YouTube travel vlogs based on information seeking and entertainment to fill the research gap. Furthermore, the current research integrates U&G and engagement to visit and the intention to e-WOM. Moreover, the present study identifies engagement based on emotional and social presence.

This study is based on the use and gratification (U&G) perspective. Through U&G, the present study can better understand why consumers use travel vlogs on YouTube, needs for using it, and what they obtain [19]. Consumers choose the travel vlog on YouTube they operate according to their motivation to meet specific needs [20]. Motivation based on the U&G is essential for tourism marketers to determine specific needs of using travel vlogs on YouTube as it affects consumer behavior [21]. Consumers’ motivation will determine the decision-making process and the primary impetus for purchase behavior [22, 23]. There are several reasons why consumers use travel vlogs on YouTube investigated in the present study, including the need for information, entertainment, and interaction with others [2427]. In travel vlogs on YouTube, consumers fulfill their needs based on motivation, such as seeking information and entertainment from video content [28, 29]. The satisfaction or gratification achieved is represented by content (information), process (entertainment), and social satisfaction (interaction with users) [30]. Upon meeting audience satisfaction based on the motivation to watch travel vlogs, the audience will perceive the engagement [67], through the likes, comments, and shares of vlog videos or subscriptions to the YouTube travel vlog channel [3]. As a result, the U&G approach and the way engagement is perceived can predict the outcome of consumer behavior that can be used as an illustration by tourism marketers, namely, intention to visit and e-WOM interest [6, 15, 31].

From a U&G perspective, social media can be employed to support a wide range of activities, especially in the tourism sector. Consumers use YouTube travel vlogs for various reasons [20]. According to their motivations for using YouTube travel video blogs, they are seeking vacation information and entertainment to plan a vacation [24, 32]. The consumer will seek and obtain reliable, accurate, and comprehensive information [29]. Additionally, consumers will seek entertainment and enjoyment from a video content that meets their needs [32]. Therefore, the U&G perspective may be used to investigate consumers’ motivation to achieve their needs in their tourism decision-making [33]. By incorporating the use and gratification (U&G) perspective into this study, we can examine the role of information seeking and entertainment as motivational factors for watching travel vlogs to obtain satisfaction [29, 34].

This study examines how travel vlog video content contributes to consumers’ intention to travel and e-WOM behavior. Information seeking and entertainment will form the basis of customer engagement. The level of customer engagement shown after viewing a travel video with emotional and social dimensions will determine the consumer’s intention to travel and the e-WOM. To examine the influence and relationship between variables, structural equation modeling (SEM) was used as the analytical tool. The research is focused on destinations in North Sumatra. The north of Sumatra is a destination with beautiful natural tourism appeal. There are many destinations that attract tourists in the form of natural scenery, tourist activities, history, cuisine, culture, and others that can leave an impression on them. Thus, North Sumatra has the potential and deserves to be developed as a tourism province by investigating the usefulness of YouTube travel vlogs in the tourism sector. As a result, from the perspective of U&G and engagement that is tested to influence consumer behavior, this would be an entirely new output for tourism marketers. Additionally, tourism marketers can develop marketing strategies to promote tourism content, increasing the number of tourists visiting North Sumatra.

According to the study, both U&G and consumer engagement contributed to engagement analysis from a managerial and research perspective. Consumers use YouTube travel vlogs based on other viewers’ entertainment searches. As a result, the consumer’s desire to seek entertainment through travel vlogs will raise engagement. As a result, to cultivate e-WOM and create an intention to visit, consumers must be engaged through an emotional and social presence in travel vlog content. Customer engagement can be expressed in several ways, including an intention to return in the future or by sharing travel vlog information through electronic word of mouth. The present study contributes to the management of tourism agencies and destination marketing organizations, whether public or private. Travel vlogs have proven effective as a medium for destination marketing to influence consumer interest in visiting and share plans to visit.

The U&G perspective can improve customer engagement in two ways, namely, through information seeking and entertainment. Therefore, tourism managers and destination marketing organizations can utilize YouTube travel vlogs as a destination marketing medium. This is because YouTube is a medium for helping develop marketing strategies for introducing their products and services. Furthermore, emotional and social presence may significantly affect consumer behavior. In light of these findings, tourism managers should emphasize creating experiential and social content in travel vlogs by conveying the enthusiasm and enthusiasm inherent in introducing potential tourist destinations. This research is not without limitations as evidenced by the use of the U&G perspective dimensions, which have been widely used in previous studies. Furthermore, emotional engagement has not been specifically identified as a dimension of customer engagement. In order to improve future research models, it is hoped that further analysis of the limitations of this study will provide a more complete picture of consumer behavior.

Part of this work can be summarized as follows, namely, Section 2, which deals with the theoretical basis of previous research. In Section 3, we discuss the formation of hypotheses and the development of a conceptual framework. Next, Section 4 reviews the research methodology, including method, operationalization, questionnaire item development, sampling techniques, data collection methods, and SEM statistical analysis techniques. In Section 5, the research findings and conclusions are presented. In Section 6, this study present discussion according to the research findings. Finally, in Sections 7 and 8, we present the implication and direction for future research.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Related Work

In previous research, consumers have provided information regarding their experience watching travel video blogs. Table 1 summarizes the related works. The study by Cheng et al. [6] was among the first to examine the factors contributing to consumer attachment to travel vlogs. In this study, resonance theory identifies the cognitive and emotional factors that affect consumers’ perceptions of WOM. The study shows that emotional aspects positively impact the main behavioral manifestations of customer engagement behavior (WOM). Accordingly, consumers are more likely to be influenced by their emotions than rational information. It provides an opportunity for hospitality and tourism management to examine the main behavioral manifestations of CEB. This study, however, only focuses on one major behavioral manifestation of CEB, namely, WOM. In addition, Tafesse examines audience engagement after watching a travel vlog. This study was aimed at determining which factors, including the availability of information and the intensity of emotional sentiments, drive the viewing of travel vlogs. Nevertheless, the study results were not adequate in discussing what motivates viewers to watch travel vlogs. Gamage et al. [18] apply a use and gratification (U&G) perspective to identify why and how tourists make travel decisions influenced by social satisfaction, process, and content.

Based on the results of these previous studies, it is necessary to investigate further why consumers watch travel videos, which form attachments and develop into behavior leading to visiting interest and e-WOM. In this study, the principal contribution is to provide insight for tourism managers and academics on how travel vlogs can be used as a marketing technique to influence consumer behavior. There are several content categories in the travel vlog, including nature tourism and other tours. This study examines the motivational factors for watching travel vlogs through information seeking and entertainment as a source of consumer satisfaction using the use and gratification (U&G) perspective. The motivation of consumers to manage this video content, which includes the desire for information and entertainment, significantly influences their engagement. This leads to a higher degree of attachment. Therefore, consumers who are emotionally attached and consider travel vlogs to have a high social presence will significantly impact their intention to travel and share e-WOM. In this regard, destination marketing organizations and tourism managers could use YouTube travel vlogs as a tool for developing marketing campaigns.

2.2. Tourism Content on YouTube Travel Vlog

Social media platforms play a significant role nowadays, specifically in the tourism industry which can be used as information seeking, promotion, interaction, travel planning, and decision-making [3537]. YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms for assessing tourism information [38]. Besides being a source of information, YouTube also provides entertainment and social interactions that make consumers interested in the service [3]. YouTube is primarily a video creation and distribution platform, making it a social media platform offering these two essential functions [5]. The most popular video content among users is vlogs [39]. Consumers will be interested in watching vlog content, which will ultimately influence the decision process [16]. Thus, vlogs can be an effective marketing tool [40, 41].

The content categories of YouTube vlogs include frame aesthetics, video editing, fandoms, humor, and travel experiences [7]. Travel vlogs provide experiences through narration and images on videos which are uploaded by vloggers on YouTube [6]. Travel vlogs can serve as a promotional tool and share travel information. Through videos, vloggers can provide consumers with a clear picture of destinations. The content seen and heard by consumers includes information about destinations visited, interactions with the community, culinary experiences, and natural scenery. Following this, the vlogger will receive feedback from consumers, which may persuade or inspire them to follow suit. Furthermore, consumers will use tourism information to plan their trips. As a result of watching travel vlogs, consumers are likely to make decisions based on their plans [42]. Based on the benefits they receive from watching travel videos from a use and gratification (U&G) perspective, the motivational factor is crucial to tourism and consumer behavior. Therefore, travel vlogs have great potential for destination marketing by offering real experiences. As a result, this will affect consumers’ travel intentions [6, 11]. Both public tourism agencies and private tourism agents have the potential to use travel vlogs. From the point of view of tourism promotion and information travel vlogs can provide a more precise picture of consumer behavior and contribute to the tourism industry’s growth [10, 12]. Therefore, travel vlogs are very influential in the successful development of the tourism industry.

2.3. Use and Gratification (U&G)

In the 1940s, psychologist Herzog reported that the use and gratification (U&G) perspective used to examine why consumers engage with mass media [43]. In the early 1970s, this paradigm evolved to emphasize audience reasons and the satisfaction of social and psychological needs. Similarly, consumers have a role in using media according to the social and psychological needs that are satisfied in overcoming various problems [19]. Taking an active role implies that the audience controls the media used, interprets, and integrates the media into their lives [44]. The U&G perspective allows the present study to investigate why consumers use travel vlogs on YouTube and their need for it [19]. As a result, U&G is used to explain the “how and why” of media use from the consumers’ perspective [45, 46].

Consumers are characterized as intelligent, motivated, and active [47]. Motivation from a U&G perspective plays a significant role in tourism and consumer behavior [21]. Moreover, consumer motivation plays an essential role in decision-making and is the driving force behind consumer behavior [42]. Consumers use travel vlogs to obtain information and entertainment and interact with others [20, 21]. Hence, motivation is the primary driving force behind the behavior, which is sought for the satisfaction of watching the travel vlogs [48]. Gratification is an aspect of satisfaction obtained by individuals from active media use [30]. There are three types of gratification sought, namely, content satisfaction (self-documentation and information sharing), process satisfaction (entertainment, time elapsed, and self-expression), and social satisfaction (interactions with others) [30]. This will provide a deeper understanding of users and their satisfaction with social media [49]. Understanding the satisfaction to seek and obtain something from media provides a much broader picture of consumer behavior [29].

The present study investigates consumers’ U&G for using travel vlogs based on information seeking and entertainment [33, 50]. Information seeking refers to travel vlogs on YouTube where consumers are provided with information about destinations [44]. Consumers actively choose information to address their specific needs in visiting which destination [20]. Typically, consumers seek information based on reliable, accurate, and complete topics such as general questions or products, socializing, group discussions, news feeds, or sharing topics. Entertainment refers to seeking entertainment or pleasure through social media [48]. The consumer may seek escapism, distraction, aesthetic pleasure, or emotional release [44]. From the U&G perspective, YouTube travel vlogs can support various activities, especially those related to tourism. Like in YouTube travel videos, consumers choose this medium to meet specific needs and fulfil their specific needs, such as experiencing destinations [20]. The motivation for using YouTube travel vlogs is to find information needed and entertain [24, 25]. Consumers seek and obtain reliable, accurate, and complete information [29]. Moreover, consumers will also seek entertainment and have fun with video content that meets their entertainment needs [32]. Thus, information seeking and entertainment lead to participation and engagement [34, 51], which result in behavioral outcomes such as consumer intention to visit and e-WOM [29, 32].

2.4. Customer Engagement

The engagement has been widely applied in several fields, including marketing and consumer behavior [52, 53]. According to Morgan and Hunt [54], engagement is based on commitment and trust to build long-term relationships. In this sense, the active role of the consumer is evident, as they represent an essential resource for marketers in increasing company effectiveness [52, 53], in addition to knowledge resources (product knowledge, consumer feedback), persuasion resources (customer trust and consumer influence), and network resources (consumer interpersonal bonds and social networks) [17]. Marketers have evolved the relationships with consumers through social media platforms. Thus, consumers can easily access marketers and finally be able to focus on the quality of their relationships with consumers. When consumers believe in marketers, they can provide satisfaction from the existing relationships, which leads to increased consumer engagement [55].

Consumer engagement results from intrinsic motivation [56, 57]. In carrying out an activity, consumers will become actively involved [58]. This activity is founded on the consumer’s emotional state, which includes cognitive processes, reasoning, decision-making, problem-solving, and evaluation, tailored to their motivation [59]. By leveraging this activity, marketers can build more meaningful interactions and even encourage purchase decisions, interactions, and consumer participation [60]. In other words, engagement is referred to by marketers as an attempt to motivate, empower, and measure consumer contributions [53]. It creates an understanding of the behaviors that result from the motivational drivers of consumers [52], which in turn motivate their intentions and behaviors [57]. Following the fundamental U&G perspective, customer engagement results from the influence of motivation [33].

Consumer engagement comprises two dimensions: emotional and social presence [61, 62]. Perceived emotional dimensions contribute to building emotional bonds with destinations [60]. There is an emotional bond between individuals or between individuals and objects [39]. The emotional assessment of situations experienced is influenced by the relative appropriateness or inadequacy of certain stimuli concerning individual goals [63]. Customers are motivated and influenced by emotional responses [64, 65], especially in social media interactions that cause emotional responses. In an interactive environment, consumers will feel emotionally connected to others and will be able to express their feelings. Accordingly, emotional factors represent the style of consumer behavior [66].

With social media, consumers can build warm, personal, and friendly interactions with other consumers. A person’s media choice is determined by his or her level of importance in interpersonal relationships. As a result, social presence can be viewed as a subjective assessment that clarifies dynamic interactions between consumers [67]. Highly personal media use will make interactions more attractive and social, enhancing consumers’ social presence [68]. Consumers can feel this interaction even if they are physically separated [69]. Social presence is defined as how consumers perceive that other people are present face-to-face or through a mediated environment [70]. Providing a sense of warmth and friendliness allows consumers to interact with one another, which impacts their behavioral intentions [71].

With the use of YouTube travel vlogs, consumers can feel the emotional and social presence of the content. In tourism content that has been documented and archived, it is possible for consumers to feel emotions from the expressions and atmosphere that are contained in the video [34]. Therefore, this fulfills their emotional needs [72]. Consumer behavior intentions are strongly influenced by the emotional content perceived by consumers [72, 73]. Next, stories based on relevant personal experiences will make consumers feel the social presence of influential people even though the influential people are not physically nearby [74]. By enabling consumers to interact with each other through actions such as liking, commenting, and even sharing, we are demonstrating interactivity among consumers. This will provide a sense of warmth and friendliness, which influences consumers’ behavioral intentions [71].

2.5. Outcome Behavior of Watching Travel Vlog on YouTube

YouTube travel vlog videos provide unforgettable travel memories for consumers [6]. Consumers can learn about and become familiar with destinations through online videos; thus, the videos they have viewed can influence the way they behave [2]. Based on consumer behavior, there will be an interest in visiting that is embedded based on service quality, customer satisfaction, and positive perceptions of service providers displayed in video content. As a result, consumers’ intention to visit becomes an essential factor in tourist behavior [15]. The emergence of consumer interest in visiting will also lead to an intention to share information or recommend travel vlogs via e-WOM [6, 75]. This enables consumers to interact with others [76]. Consumers share their viewing experiences by providing comments, reviews, opinions, suggestions, and recommendations on social media. Then, it can shape tourism planning behavior and have access to helpful information over a prolonged period of time. Due to this, e-WOM becomes even more attractive, simple, and practical. Hence, consumers can trust tourist reviews in travel vlogs as they are based on first-hand experience rather than professional reviews, and e-WOM is the primary source of information for potential tourists [77].

3. Hypothesis Development and Research Model

3.1. Hypothesis Development
3.1.1. Consumers’ U&G of Travel Vlog and Customer Engagement

Following De Vries et al. [78], travel vlog video content is seen based on consumers’ information-seeking levels [79]. In general, seeking information is to increase awareness and knowledge [3]. Consumers are actively engaged in discovering the meaning of video content and adjusting it according to previously known information [71]. In seeking information, consumers feel a sense of togetherness, social interaction, and the possibility of interacting with new people [34]. Additionally, information seeking will lead consumers to experience a social presence. The concept of social presence has been suggested as an essential concept for consumers seeking to establish warm, personal, and friendly relationships with other consumers [80]. Consumers need to seek relevant, fast, and straightforward information, which leads to consumer interaction [81]. Therefore, this will increase consumers’ feelings of warmth and social presence [71], by experiencing a sense of social presence through warm and personal interactions with other consumers [80]. Following the above explanation, the following hypotheses can be made:

H1,2. When consumers seek information on YouTube, travel vlogs will influence their emotional and social presence.

It has been identified that consumer intention is the strongest predictor based on the intention to entertain or have pleasure [48]. Consumers are more likely to engage with entertaining content [46]. Customers display emotional responses for several reasons, including escape, diversion, aesthetic pleasure, and emotional release [44]. Consumers can experience emotion from the expressions of others in the videos they watch on YouTube as a result of their emotional needs being satisfied [82]. “Emotional” refers to the enjoyment and pleasure tourists derive from their experiences [83]. Consumer experiences may be described as subjective, intense, and salient. Therefore, emotions will motivate and create a psychological connection with the users [70]. Consumer emotions are represented by videos depicting enjoyable, entertaining, and exciting travel experiences. Besides the content of travel vlogs, recommendations can also be derived from the appearance of a relaxed and humorous atmosphere [6]. Based on tourists’ experiences in destinations, consumers may be able to feel happy or emotionally attached when watching video content [83]. Travel vlogs produce a positive response from consumers. As a result, tourists will experience indirect satisfaction. This will provide a clearer picture of a destination’s sense of life. Thus, based on the above explanation, we can form the following hypotheses:

H3,4. When consumers perceive YouTube travel vlogs as highly entertaining, it will influence their emotional and social presence.

3.1.2. Customer Engagement and Outcome Behavior of Watching Travel Vlog

Content recommendations in travel vlogs promote the appearance of a relaxed and funny atmosphere that can make consumers feel happy or emotional [6, 83]. An emotional response to video content can strongly predict consumer behavior [73]. It mainly affects the relationship between the U&G perspective and consumer behavior [31]. Tourist experiences that have been recorded and archived allow consumers to sense the emotions contained within the expressions and atmosphere contained in the video [34]. Therefore, they can satisfy their emotional needs and play an essential role in motivating users [64]. It is a predictor of consumer behavior related to their intention to visit destinations [3, 73]. Additionally, the emotions experienced by consumers may result in electronic word of mouth (e-WOM) [31]. Roy et al. [84] describe how e-WOM is becoming increasingly important in influencing consumer behavior outcomes. Moreover, it can provide convenience through a wider reach and increased trust due to its tourism experience. The comments, reviews, opinions, suggestions, and recommendations for travel vlog content are based on credible and trustworthy information. This might affect consumer behavior directly or indirectly [10]. The satisfaction received from content results in emotions, which have been shown to disseminate information via e-WOM [85]. Accordingly, consumers with an emotional sense tend to publish information through e-WOM [76]. A travel vlog on YouTube is sharing pleasant travel experiences with other consumers [86]. Because the term “sharing” is part of e-WOM, information disseminated may be able to influence the behavior of other consumers. Therefore, the current study proposed the following hypothesis:

H5,6. Consumers’ emotions towards travel vlogs on YouTube will impact to increase intention to visit and e-WOM.

Presence is a psychological factor that can have a significant impact on media use satisfaction and behavior [71]. Social presence is essential to building warm, personal, and friendly interactions with consumers [87]. YouTube provides a higher level of social presence [88]. In particular, travel vlogs that provide satisfaction are based on tourists’ indirect experiences. This provides a comprehensive portrayal of a sense of life or presence concerning the destinations [89]. As a result of the perceived social presence, consumers perceive credibility, influencing their intention to visit destinations [90]. Additionally, social presence positively impacts the development of trust in a social environment [91]. Consumers can establish warm, personal, and friendly interactions with other consumers [87]. Generally, the closer and more trusting the relationship between users, the greater the intensity of the interaction. Consumers can share information e-WOM about travel vlogs due to the perceived closeness. Thus, it will be easier for consumers to describe and understand the vlog viewing experience.

H7,8. The social presence generated from travel vlogs on YouTube will increase the intention to visit and e-WOM.

3.2. Research Model

In this study, the use of the use and gratification (U&G) perspective with the customer engagement (CE) theory on YouTube travel vlogs will be further explored. In order to understand consumer behavior concerning travel intentions and e-WOM, this study intends to examine the influence of the U&G and CE perspectives. The U&G perspective will provide an overview of why consumers choose and use YouTube travel vlogs. Similarly, the CE provides an overview of the engagement formed after watching travel vlog content, influencing and shaping consumer behavior. According to the U&G perspective, consumers use YouTube travel vlogs for a variety of reasons, including information seeking and entertainment. Finally, the CE dimension focuses on consumer attachment to travel vlog content, specifically emotional and social presence. As viewed from the U&G perspective, it will affect the formation of customer engagement, which will impact consumer behavior: consumer behavior that is expressed in the form of intention to visit and e-WOM. Figure 1 illustrates the conceptual framework of the research.

4. Research Method

4.1. Construct Operationalization and Item Development

Information seeking, entertainment, emotional, social presence, visit intention, and e-WOM were used in this study. Furthermore, the measurement items were adapted from previous research. The items are collected and then adjusted according to the research context. Statement items are initially written in English, converted into English, and then translated into Indonesian. The statement items formulated and developed are rated on a 7-point Likert scale ( to ). The operationalization for each construct is the following: (a)Information seeking refers to collecting reliable, accurate, and complete information to increase knowledge [29, 48]. Adaptations in item information seeking have been made by B.K. Kim and K.O. Kim [89] and Hilvert-Bruce et al. [34] with the development of five items(b)Entertainment is defined as seeking pleasure or amusement to satisfy consumer desires to spend time and relax [6]. Entertainment items were adapted from research by Khan [3] and Lai et al. [83] with the development of four items(c)Emotional refers to the interactions between consumers and other objects that cause them to feel happy or emotional [27, 39]. Adapting the Leri and Theodoridis [85] research, three emotional items have been developed(d)Social presence is defined as how consumers perceive that other people are present through a mediated environment [70]. The social presence item was developed using the research of Choi et al. [92] and Liu et al. [93]. The item consists of five items(e)Visit intention refers to consumers’ behavioral intentions to travel to a particular destination [6]. We have adapted the item of intention to visit from Cheng et al. [6] with the development of three items(f)Electronic word of mouth is an informal communication made by consumers through social media by sharing or recommending information that is a determinant in decisions [6]. The following e-WOM items were adapted from research conducted by Leri and Theodoridis [85], Bu et al. [31], and Lai et al. [83] for the development of three items

4.2. Sampling Technique and Data Collection Procedure

This study used a nonprobability sampling method with a purposive sampling method. Following predetermined criteria, the sample is selected based on the research objectives. Participants determined to meet the requirements for filling out the questionnaire included active users of the YouTube platform, viewers of YouTube travel vlogs, and visitors to tourist destinations contained in video content. This study examines consumer e-WOM and consumer visits using a U&G perspective, information seeking, and entertainment, followed by emotional dimensions and social presence. The items that have been developed are compiled into an online questionnaire using Google Forms. We used a link from Google Forms and distributed it through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to distribute the questionnaires. Meanwhile, data collection was conducted over four months, and 300 responses were obtained.

Participants were selected based on the frequency of watching YouTube on a given day and the type of YouTube content viewed. Analysis of the frequency of viewing YouTube videos by respondents who viewed the video two to five times. In addition, the categories of watched travel vlog content consist of both natural scenery and other content. Participants answered online questionnaire items on a 7-Likert scale ( to ). The items were then transformed into Google Forms to collect the data through an online survey. The study used SmartPLS 3.0 software with structural equation modeling (SEM) technique to test the data. This study is similar to Cheng et al. [6] and Ho and See-To [50], which collect data through online surveys and evaluate respondents based on specific criteria. Cheng et al. [6] also used the same analytical method. However, this study differs in how the samples were chosen and determined. Tafesse [17] and Ho and See-To [50] aim to collect a random sample within a given category.

4.3. Analysis Technique

This research was conducted using structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis with Smart-PLS 3.0 software. In this research, structural equation modeling (SEM), which is a fundamental tool of data analysis, includes several steps. Initially, the measurement model was analyzed for convergent and discriminant validity. To determine internal consistency, the Average Variance Extracted (AVE), Composite Reliability (CR), and Cronbach’s alpha (CA) values are used [94]. Additionally, we evaluated discriminant validity using three approaches, including the Fornell-Larcker Criterion, Heterotrait-Monotrait (HTMT), and matrix cross-loadings [95, 96]. Once the validity and reliability requirements have been met, the structural model evaluation is tested using two methods. In order to assess the strength of the model, we first examine the -square () value as the variance of the endogenous variable determined by the exogenous variable) [97]. In addition, evaluate the model fit, including SRMR d_ULS, d_G, and NFI (Hu & Bentler, 1999) [97]. The hypothesis testing will be conducted once the model fit criteria have been met in the structural equation modeling.

5. Results

5.1. Demographic Characteristics

A total of 300 responses were collected from the online survey. A summary of the demographic characteristics of the respondents is presented in Table 2. According to gender, 63.7% of respondents were female. The majority of respondents were 20 to 29 years old (58%). In terms of marital status, 70.7% of respondents are single. According to educational background, 73% are undergraduates. The majority of respondents (53.7%) are undergraduates. The most common frequency of watching travel vlogs on YouTube is two to three times a day, at 33%. 36.3% of respondents viewed YouTube travel vlog content more often than other types of content. Furthermore, there are videos about the activities during the trip, including the accommodation and vehicles. In terms of video content, natural scenery video is the second most popular choice, with 23.3% of respondents.

5.2. Validity and Reliability Assessment

Table 2 summarizes the data processing results regarding construct validity, convergence, and internal consistency. The validity and reliability of the construct are tested in several stages. First, we compare each factor’s loading value, which must be greater than 0.7 [94]. Table 2 illustrates that construct validity has been achieved. Second, we examine the results using an average of the extracted variances (AVE) greater than 0.5 [94]. From Table 3, it appears that the AVE is adequate. In the next step, we examined the internal consistency of the construct using Cronbach’s alpha (CA) values and Composite Reliability (CR) values, both above 0.7 [94]. Based on the results obtained, the constructs covered in the study have a high degree of internal consistency for each item. Accordingly, internal consistency has been achieved.

As a next step, we evaluate discriminant validity using three approaches. First, the Fornell-Larcker criterion is used to determine whether the square roots of AVE are greater than the value of the interconstruct correlation. Table 4 illustrates that the square roots of AVE are greater than the correlation between constructs. Accordingly, the discriminant validity of the Fornell-Larcker criterion approach has been demonstrated [95].

Secondly, the Heterotrait-Monotrait (HTMT) approach is a new, comprehensive approach to measuring discriminant validity, with an HTMT value of 0.85 [96]. Following the results, all HTMT values were less than 0.85 for each construct, as shown in Table 5. Therefore, this study has strong discriminant validity.

Thirdly, the matrix crossloading approach assumes that discriminant validity can be demonstrated when the factor loading item value for one construct is greater than the correlation coefficient for other constructs. The results of the crossloading matrix test are presented in Table 6. Here, all constructs have a factor loading that exceeds the correlation coefficient of other constructs. Accordingly, each construct has good discriminant validity.

5.3. Hypothesis Results

The study employs partial least squares structural modeling (PLS-SEM) with SmartPLS 3.0 software. There are several stages to the modeling process. This study examines how well a research model can test hypotheses. To begin with, we analyze the model strength of the endogenous variables using the path coefficients between constructs. The validity of this approach is tested by comparing values greater than 0.1. This structural model is considered viable if its value is greater than 0.1 or close to 1 [97]. Based on Figure 2, the results of structural modeling indicate that the emotional component has a value of . This is explained by the path coefficients of information seeking and entertainment. Social presence has an value of 0.567. The value of this construct is explained by the path coefficients of information seeking and entertainment. The visit intention was found to have an value of 0.587, explained by the emotional path and social presence coefficients. The e-WOM as an of 0.644, which is explained by the emotional path and social presence coefficients. As a result, this research model was identified as being viable, with the endogenous construct having an value greater than 0.1 [97].

The research hypothesis test results are presented in Figure 2 and Table 7. The results indicate that information seeking significantly impacts emotional and social presence. Thus, H1 and H2 are supported ( and 0.241, and 2.785, respectively). Entertainment significantly affects emotion and social presence. Thus, it supports H3 and H4 ( and 0.562, and 7.283, respectively). Furthermore, the effect of emotion on intention to visit and e-WOM was significant, so that H5 and H6 were supported ( and 0.359, and 5.091, respectively). Lastly, social presence significantly influences visit intention and e-WOM. Thus, it supports H7 and H8 ( and 0.485, and 6.588, respectively).

6. Discussion

This study is aimed at explaining the behavior of tourists visiting specific destinations using YouTube travel vlogs. The evaluation of consumer behavior (intention to visit and word of mouth) is undertaken based on dimensions of the U&G perspective (information seeking and entertainment) as well as customer engagement (emotional and social presence). The U&G perspective explains customer engagement in terms of two dimensions, namely, information seeking and entertainment. In addition, customer engagement explains how emotional and social presence impact the intention to visit and e-WOM. This study describes the role of U&G and customer engagement, specifically, why consumers use YouTube travel videos, followed by how consumer engagement occurs when viewing travel videos. Ultimately, from the standpoint of U&G and customer engagement, it will impact consumer behavior outcomes, which result in intention to visit and word of mouth. We collected data from respondents who watched YouTube travel videos and visited the destinations presented in the videos. Several discussions followed the results of this study.

First, this study uses a perspective from the U&G perspective, namely, information seeking, which is tested on customer engagement (emotional and social presence). It provides insight into how consumers seek and collect specific, educational, helpful, and intellectual information. The results of hypothesis testing have revealed that information seeking (H1) has a significant impact on the emotional state. Consequently, consumers are more likely to seek video content with valuable and educational content. From the information in the video content and comments from other users on the vlogger’s account, it is evident that the vlogger is trustworthy. Therefore, consumers will be able to form an emotional response to video content displayed through interactions while seeking and discovering information. Hilvert-Bruce et al. [34] and Loureiro [73] also support this conclusion, which states that information seeking significantly affects emotionality. Second, the results of the tests conducted indicate that information seeking (H2) significantly influences social presence. If tourists seek information on travel vlog content, it can be interpreted that they are becoming more interactive. As a result, consumers will feel a stronger sense of social presence and warmth. All of the results from Hajli et al. [71] and B.K. Kim and K.O. Kim [89] are consistent with the notion that information seeking can increase consumers’ social presence.

Third, the second component of the U&G perspective concerns entertainment, which is tested for emotional and social presence, which is a factor in customer engagement. In terms of the entertainment dimension, consumers seek and obtain entertainment or pleasure to satisfy their desires during leisure time. Test results indicate that entertainment (H3) significantly affects emotions. In this study, consumers show an emotional sense when searching for entertainment through travel vlog content. As consumers watch travel vlog content that is engaging, entertaining, and interesting, it can reflect their emotional experiences. Previous research has also demonstrated that entertainment plays a significant role in influencing consumers’ emotions [83]. Fourth, the results of this study indicate that entertainment (H4) has a significant impact on social presence. As a consequence of the pleasure generated by vloggers through video content, consumers may feel a sense of satisfaction. Consumers can perceive a human, social, warm, and sensitive connection through travel vlog content, which helps to convey the essence of a sense of life or social presence. B.K. Kim and K.O. Kim [89] also confirmed that entertainment significantly impacts consumers’ perceptions of social presence.

Fifth, we evaluated the influence of customer engagement on customer behavior. This study is aimed at providing an understanding of how the dimensions of customer engagement (emotional and social presence) influence consumer interest in traveling and encourage e-WOM through YouTube travel videos. Based on the results of the hypothesis testing, emotion (H5) had a significant effect on the intention to visit. Through the expressions and atmosphere in the video, the tourist experience displayed in the video enables consumers to feel emotionally moved; as a result, this experience can influence consumer behavior. Accordingly, consumers’ intentions to visit tourist destinations will be evident in travel vlog videos. The results found are consistent with previous research that indicates emotional influences on consumers’ intention to visit [73].

Sixth, this study revealed that emotional factors (H6) significantly affected consumer intentions to participate in e-WOM. The gratuity obtained from content makes consumers emotion become a predictor for information dissemination via e-WOM. Consumers can share or recommend travel vlog content related to fun travel information through social media. In addition to these findings, Yan et al. [76] confirmed that emotional factors are significantly associated with e-WOM. Additionally, it was found that social presence (H7) was a significant predictor of intention to visit. Perceived social presence can indicate credibility for consumers, influencing their intention to visit a destination. Using the test results, Pachucki et al. [90] concluded that social presence impacted the intention to visit. Eighth, the results of the hypothesis testing show that social presence (H8) has a significant impact on consumer e-WOM. In the case of warm, personal, and friendly interactions with other consumers, consumers are more likely to share information via e-WOM about travel vlogs. In this way, consumers will better describe and understand the vlog viewing experience. This result has also been confirmed in previous studies [98].

7. Implication

7.1. Implication for Research

Researchers may benefit from these findings when exploring tourism marketing strategies through social media platforms, including YouTube. In addition, this research contributes to developing an understanding of how humans react to emerging technologies [99]. A framework was designed to analyze the research from an engagement perspective from the standpoint of U&G and customer engagement. This can provide insight into the motivation of consumers to use YouTube and how consumer engagement is formed through travel vlog content, thereby influencing behavior. The study uses two dimensions of the U&G perspective, namely, information seeking and entertainment. The study results confirm that information seeking and entertainment play an essential role in shaping customer engagement. According to this study, consumers watch and use YouTube travel vlogs to fulfill their informational and entertainment needs. If the content of travel vlogs can enrich knowledge and entertain, consumers will be motivated to subscribe to the content. In particular, the entertainment dimension has the most significant impact on customer engagement compared with information seeking. The implication is that consumers use YouTube travel videos based on other viewers’ entertainment searches on the platform. Therefore, consumers’ motivation to seek entertainment through travel vlog content will increase engagement, as was demonstrated in this study.

Customer engagement is considered an effort to motivate, empower, and measure consumer contributions. In this study, customer engagement is measured in two dimensions: emotional and social presence. The analysis results indicate that emotional and social presence plays a significant role in influencing consumer behavior. Thus, to create e-WOM and intention to visit, consumers must form engagement through the emotional and social presence in travel vlog content. Ultimately, consumers are immersed in an interactive environment where they can feel emotionally connected to the expressions and atmosphere contained in the content, which ultimately expresses their emotional feelings. Furthermore, consumers can feel the social presence of other users through relevant personal experience stories that are posted on travel vlogs. It enables consumers to interact with each other by giving likes, comments, and even shares that demonstrate interactivity. Ultimately, consumers will be able to sense the warmth and friendliness of others in the content, which will influence their behavior. Customer engagement is exhibited in the form of intent to visit in the future and the intention to share travel vlog information via e-WOM. Consumers can describe and understand the vlog viewing experience better with the help of these behavioral outcomes.

7.2. Implication for Managerial

There are managerial implications to this study concerning the utility of YouTube travel videos to influence consumer behavior. The use of travel vlogs as an effective marketing medium for destinations provides opportunities to influence visitor interest and consumer sharing intentions. It can be utilized for tourism promotion and information and can provide real-life experiences for destination marketing. As consumers are directed to make purchasing decisions, their behavior regarding travel intentions and word of mouth will be influenced. Additionally, this research examines how consumers fulfill their needs on YouTube based on the motivation to watch travel vlogs to understand consumer buying behaviors and decisions. This study uses a marketing approach to study consumer behavior from travel vlog content. This study contributes to tourism managers, whether public or private tourism agents or destination marketing organizations. In addition, tourism managers can use this platform to promote their products and services, and destination marketing organizations can maintain interaction with consumers through YouTube travel vlogs. In addition, this study explains that YouTube is a technology that has the ability to influence human decision-making [100].

First, the U&G perspective can increase customer engagement in two ways: through information seeking and entertainment. We can interpret consumer motivations for watching and using YouTube travel videos based on these two dimensions. Consumers will be motivated to engage with this content when it can enrich their knowledge and entertain them. According to the findings of this study, entertainment has a more significant impact on customer engagement than information seeking. Therefore, consumers are more likely to seek entertainment to help pass the time, combat boredom, and feel relaxed from travel vlog content that increases engagement. As a result, consumers who feel happy and amused are more likely to recommend them to others and develop an interest in visiting them. In this way, the U&G perspective empowers consumers to choose and selectively use media to satisfy their needs actively. Thus, tourism managers and destination marketing organizations can use YouTube travel vlogs as a tool for destination marketing and as a tool to help develop a marketing strategy to introduce their products and services. In addition, this study contributed to the expansion of the perspective of consumer gratification towards particular forms of media to meet consumer needs [101].

Furthermore, by engaging users through YouTube travel videos, YouTube can influence customer behavior and travel decisions. There are two dimensions to customer engagement, namely, emotional and social presence. Results of the analysis indicate that emotional and social presence significantly influences consumer behavior outcomes. For consumers to form engagement through the emotional and social presence in travel vlog content, it is vital to create travel intention and e-WOM. As consumers participate in an interactive, emotionally connected environment through the expressions and atmosphere contained in the content, they will be able to express their emotional feelings. This emotional feeling will lead to fun, energetic, and entertaining YouTube travel vlog content. In addition, consumers can benefit from other users’ social presence through relevant personal experience stories found on travel vlogs. Consumers can interact with one another through likes, comments, and even shares, demonstrating interactivity between them. The stronger the relationship and trust built between users and other consumers, the more intense the interaction will be. The ability to provide a clear picture of human relationships and a sense of personality, warmth, and sensitivity to travel-related videos is essential. Therefore, tourism managers must emphasize creating consumer engagement through experiential and social content in travel vlogs by conveying their inherent enthusiasm and passion for introducing potential tourism destinations. Thus, it will lead to long-term, quality relationships with consumers, which will lead to the intention to visit and word of mouth.

8. Limitation and Future Research

This study has several limitations. First, the dimensions of the U&G perspective have been widely used in previous studies. Hur et al. [29] also examine the sustainable use of social media and the intentions of sharing information by examining information seeking and entertainment. Ho and See-To [50] found that entertainment and informativeness influenced user perceptions of tourist attractions on fan pages in a recent study. Therefore, further research is needed to investigate different consumer motivations for using YouTube travel videos. Secondly, emotional engagement has not been specifically identified as a dimension of customer engagement. In line with Loureiro’s [73] research, the study identifies three emotions: pleasure, arousal, and dominance, that influence consumer travel intentions. This study focuses on the emotional dimension, which can be explored further. In this way, the development of the dimensions of customer engagement can be studied by examining the immersion dimension, as in Flavián et al. [102], to investigate customer engagement with YouTube travel videos about tourist destinations. Thus, the research model can provide a more detailed description of consumer behavior.

Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request ([email protected]).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare there are no conflict of interest that occurred in this work.