Information Technology & Tourism

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 49–69 | Cite as

A picture-based approach to recommender systems

  • Julia Neidhardt
  • Leonhard Seyfang
  • Rainer Schuster
  • Hannes Werthner
Original Research


Due to their complexity, tourism products present major challenges to recommender techniques. Especially the assessment of customer preferences in order to get accurate user profiles is a non-trivial task for several reasons: (a) tourism is an “emotional” experience, which is typically hard to capture by using rational terms; (b) particularly in early phases of a travel decision process, users are not able to explicitly express their preferences; (c) and they are often lacking domain knowledge and thus have difficulties to use the right terminology. In this paper we introduce an alternative, i.e., a picture-based approach, as a new method to implicitly elicit user preferences for tourism products. We develop a model in which a user’s travel profile is composed of seven basic factors. The scores of these factors are determined by asking the user to select a number of pictures that are appealing to him or her. The model as well as its implementation into a recommender system are described in detail. First evaluations show that interactions with the system are perceived as inspiring and enjoyable.


Picture-based search Recommender systems Travel personality Preference elicitation Factor analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Neidhardt
    • 1
  • Leonhard Seyfang
    • 1
  • Rainer Schuster
    • 1
  • Hannes Werthner
    • 1
  1. 1.E-commerce Group, Institute of Software Technology and Interactive SystemsVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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