Clustering Tourists Based on Reason for Destination Choice: Case of Izmir

Clustering Tourists Based on Reason for Destination Choice: Case of Izmir

Ulas Akkucuk (Uşak University) and Serhat Ata (Düzce University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8970-9.ch019
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This study aims to explore the factors affecting destination choice for tourism travelers. For this purpose, a survey conducted in the İzmir province has been used to collect data as to what factors drive travelers to choose the İzmir destination. The survey contains demographic questions in addition to questions concerning the reasons for visiting İzmir. 10 multiple choice questions are used in the demographic and descriptive profile. Previous literature has been consulted in order to form 16 questions for the intent to visit İzmir. The questions on the reasons for visiting Izmir have been scaled as (1) does not influence my decision and (5) influence(s) my decision very much. Finally using cluster analysis technique, the visitors are separated into five clusters. A K-means clustering technique is applied by varying k from 2 to 10. The interpretations of the clusters are provided and shed light on the main intentions for the travelers. The cluster interpretations could be used in the area of tourism marketing. The chapter highlights the area of choosing the optimal number of clusters.
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Destination is a concept that is defined by the wishes and demand for visiting a particular place, and also by travel planning, reasons for visiting, past history, culture, education and age as critical factors (Buhalis, 2000). The main reason why travelers choose a particular destination is the attractions in that destination. Among the factors that differentiate a region from another are cultural and historical values, arts activities, sports activities, entertainment and shopping facilities and the region’s local cuisine (Selwood, 2003). Attraction in a general sense is the focus of individual’s requests and preferences (Kutvan & Kutvan, 2013). For this reason, destination identity as a multidimensional framework can be defined as “human related attributes for a specific tourism destination” (Hosany, Ekinci, & Uysal, 2006). The factors that affect the formation of a touristic region could be evaluated in two different parts, tourism related components and components unrelated to tourism. Components unrelated to tourism are natural traits, certain values, activities and infrastructure. Tourism related elements are the associations and institutions that directly produce tourism related products. These associations and institutions are; the public services related to tourism, transportation related institutions, lodging institutions, institutions that produce exceptional goods and services, marketing and advertising companies, and other institutions that support tourism activities (Kozak, 2006). Although tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global market, the ability of a destination to maintain its place in the international market depends on its ability to maintain or improve its elements that make it attractive for tourists (Özdemir, 2007). Today, in tourism activities, cultural and traditional values come to the fore and tourist priorities are directed towards destinations that maintain local values (Sünnetçioğlu, Can, & Özkaya, 2012). However, since tourism is not just tourists and the activities they desire in a destination, but a complicated formation which includes also the local population, the success of a touristic destination depends on the fact that the local population has a decent standard of living (Özdemir, 2007). Baloğlu and McCleary (1999); have organized the relationship between destination perception and personal stimulating factors as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Destination perception framework

Source: Baloğlu & McCleary, 1999

Factors that may be effective in the choice of destination for tourism travelers include, as shown in Figure 1, the individual's personal factors, and the perceptions for the choice of destination. Psychological factors belonging to personal factors include the value created by the destination, the motivation of the individual in traveling and decision-making, and the personality characteristics of the individual. Another personal factor, sociological factors, consists of age, education, marital status of the individual as demographic and personal characteristics. These characteristics can cause perceptual, sensation / emotional conditioning in the perception and image of the destination as well as information sources about the destination which are the stimulating factors. Where the information comes from, what kind of it is available and how much intensity it stimulates is remembered from previous travel experiences and these are the factors affecting the perception of the destination.


Relationships Between Service Quality, Customer Satisaction And Revisit Intent For The Destination

Customer satisfaction could be defined as the effect felt by the customer at the service or after the use of the product (Cadotte, Woodruff, & Jenkins, 1987). Oliver (1997) defines satisfaction as the reaction shown by the customer in response to the good or service they consume.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Destination Image: Is the collection of general perceptions about the place visited by the individuals. These perceptions are influenced by many factors such as age, education, income, culture.

Izmir: Turkey’s third largest city on the Aegean coast.

Clustering: A group of mathematical methods to divide the objects (such as customers) into different groups. Could be a technique to perform market segmentation.

K-Means Clustering: Is an iterative divisive clustering technique that results in k specified clusters.

Destination Choice: Is the choice of a particular touristic region for travelling to.

Cluster Selection: Criteria used to decide the optimal number of clusters in a k -means clustering analysis.

Sustainable Tourism: Practicing tourism in a way that respects natural resources supports the local population and consumes little resources.

Tourism: The practice of traveling for recreation.

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