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A picture-based approach to recommender systems


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.

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Correspondence to Julia Neidhardt.

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Neidhardt, J., Seyfang, L., Schuster, R. et al. A picture-based approach to recommender systems. Inf Technol Tourism 15, 49–69 (2015).

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