Gender and Other Factors That Influence Tourism Preferences

Gender and Other Factors That Influence Tourism Preferences

Naomi F. Dale (University of Canberra, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6912-1.ch027
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The consumption process of travel decision making, is influenced by a number of factors and a substantial body of decision making literature in the form of the broader ‘models of consumer behaviour' has been adapted to attempt to describe this process. Existing ‘foundation models' present variables such as personal characteristics and attitudes as factors that affect the vacation decision making process, but fail to discuss the extent to which gender and technology preferences influence decisions and destination choice. Economic models are based on utility theory as a decision making framework, however, they do not allow for the other consumer oriented variables. Current models (economic or otherwise) focus on individuals and their decision making process without a combined consideration of information search and technology gendered preferences and the impact they have on choosing a destination for a vacation.
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Gender, Technology And Tourism Buying Behaviour

Models of buying behaviour have been developed since the 1940s in order to understand customers and potential customers through describing and predicting consumer behaviour. The comprehensive ‘multivariable’ models produced, best capture the dynamics of consumer decision making as consumer’s motivations are complex and satisfaction is sought at deeper levels than purely economic (Howard, 1963). Models are a particularly important subcategory of conceptual schemes since visually-portrayed links between variables tend to have considerable power as a mechanism for the communication of ideas (Blalock, 1969).

The major theories developed into ‘grand models’ of consumer behaviour were those of Nicosia (1966), Engel, Kollat and Blackwell (1968, and with Miniard, 1990) and Howard and Sheth (1969, 1963), these theories have been subsequently utilised or transformed by authors interested in tourism choice (Gilbert, 1991; Engel, Kollat & Blackwell, 1968; Engel, Blackwell & Miniard, 1990).

Understanding how technology impacts consumer behaviour (and tourism choices) can aid as a foundation for all businesses to identify and, importantly, create effective marketing communication strategies. Pre-trip travel planning, including consumer information search, can be considered a fundamental component of the trip experience in that a traveler often needs to obtain a substantial amount of information in order to develop a travel plan. As such, information available to individual travelers has significant impact on various aspects of the traveler’s decision making, especially when choosing a destination to visit (Xianga, Magninia & Fesenmaier, 2015).

Travellers’ use of the Internet and other technologies provides great opportunities for businesses to offer various kinds of services targeted to particular markets. Nearly every tourism organisation had developed a website by the early 2000s, and many had gone from a simple “electronic brochure” to a highly interactive system that supports reservations, search, and virtual tours; importantly, a website has become the primary (and in many circumstances, the only) source of contact with potential visitors (Zach, Gretzel, & Xiang 2010). There is an emerging breed of travelers who engage through social media, use of mobile devices, and shop for their travel needs through multiple both online and offline channels. The development of information technology will continue to shape the traveler population and sustained success in the online travel world can only be achieved by understanding and leveraging these emerging areas (Xianga, Magninia & Fesenmaier, 2015). Most importantly, businesses must recognise differences in preferences in both internet use and destination attributes for travel planning among different demographic groups.

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