How to manage tourism consumer behaviour to achieve marketing success Essay Example

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Marketing research allows marketers to formulate marketing strategies, psychological advertisement and mix that are in sync with customer needs. It has been repeated over and over that information is a resource to any organisation. One critical bit that any firm would need to know is about consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour analysis involves examination of the way customers respond to factors like change in price, introduction of a new service and trends of certain market segments among others (Dumitrescu and Vinerean, 2010, p.758). This paper examines how to manage tourism consumer behaviour so as to achieve marketing success. In order to achieve the above desired goal, the paper is divided into three sections. The first looks at what is tourist consumer behaviour. The second explores factors influencing tourism consumer behaviour. The third will be analysis of the concept of tourism marketing.

Tourist Consumer Behaviour

.” According to Gulid, Lertwannawit and Saengchan (2010, p.644) a person’s behaviour is determined by his intention and the intention is a function of attitude towards a behaviour. Moreover, they note that attitude is composed of cognitive, affective, and behavioural. manners or actions that consumers display in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs. Consumer behaviour focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources (time, money, effort) and consumption-related items Tourism forms an important avenue for countries to widen their tax base and for firms to earn income and employ people. A country or firm can gain market leadership in this integral industry by investing in massive marketing programmes if only they understand how the consumers of this service behave (Kotler, 2002, p.12 cited in Dumitrescu and Vinerean, 2010, p.758). Schiffman and Lazar, 2009, p. 4-5 cited in Dumitrescu and Vinerean (2010, p.757) defines behaviour as “

In order to understand how consumers behave, there are numerous theories that explain consumer decision making process. Most theories analyses the psychology of how consumer thinks, feels, reason and choose among options. Others deal with how environmental factors like culture family media and signs influences consumers (Abdallat and El-Emam,n.d, p.1). Moreover, these theories explain behaviours of consumers while doing shopping and other marketing decision. Further, concepts like how consumers’ motivation and decision strategies differ between products. Lastly, aspects like how limited knowledge and or information processing abilities can shape decisions and marketing outcomes (Abdallat and El-Emam,n.d, p.2). This helps firms understand and improve on their marketing tactics by knowing how people decide and spend their disposable resources like time, money and effort on consumption related issues (Abdallat and El-Emam,n.d, p.3).

Dumitrescu and Vinerean (2010, p.758) observes that analysis of consumer is a sub component of marketing research. This gives marketers opportunity to understand consumers; purchasing and consumption habits, attitudes and perception regarding distinct market offers. They further note that all dimensions of consumer behaviour can help firms in tourism industry formulate long and short term strategies. Apart from the later, the process allows for linking of tourist and travel-related service. The resulting information can then be used for market segmentation based on the purpose of travel, needs, buyer’s motivation, benefits sought, buyer & user’s characteristics, price, demographic and economic phenomenon.

Influences on Tourism Consumer Behaviour

Numerous literatures points to different factors that influences tourism consumer behaviour. Further, consumer behaviour is not tied to a single factor but a multi pronged factors that can be both internal and external (Lohmann, 2004, p.3). Strategic Travel Action Resource (2003, p.1) provides a very interesting proposition. This organisation notes that ego plays an important role in shaping ones behaviour. They note that the current tourists while making their decisions would not accept anything less than their standards. Moreover, with the liberation of information, prospective clients will search and look for rates that equal or are less to the ones their friends used (Strategic Travel Action Resource, 2003, p.2). This line of thinking is reinforced by Lohmann (2004, p.6) who notes that domestic or international tourists are interested in a good enough solution.

In addition, Lertwannawit and Saengchan (2010, p.644) builds on theoretical works of Fishbein (1991) to build a conceptual framework that can be used to understand peoples’ behaviour towards visiting a certain place. This theory he calls it theory of planned behaviour. His line of thought is based on the association between behaviour and intention whereby intention is shaped by attitude. The first factor is attitude towards destination. Attitudes include attitude toward each attraction, attitude toward sustainable tourism, attitude toward history/community/lifestyle, and overall attitude toward destination. The second is need/ interest towards the destination. This will compel one to travel or not. The third is perception of the marketing communication. This deals with how the firm presents the facts and other relevant information to prospective buyers of the service. Others are destination equity and behavioural intention (Lertwannawit and Saengchan, 2010, p.644).

Lohmann (2004, p.1) presents an interesting scenario. He first observes decision to travel is a derivative of two factors. The first he calls new demand factors and the second one he calls emerging factors. New demand factors include factors like politics, macro economic factors, demographic factors, threats & crisis and technological innovation. The emerging factors include destination preferences, quality expectations and booking behaviours among others. New demand factors affecting the demand such as the ability to travel in terms of freedom, time, money and fitness and the motivation to travel (Lohmann, 2004, p.1). For instance unfavourable political environment will make few to travel. Moreover, during hash economic time, tourists are likely to travel less because of reduced disposable income.

The other important factor that has bearing over consumer behaviour is loyalty commitment. Strategic Travel Action Resource (2003, p.2 and 3) notes that price loyalty is replacing brand loyalty and this is greatly influencing tourists behaviour. It is noted that tourism industry should adopt the reward system being implemented by air travel firms who reward their loyal customers with low prices and discounts. This makes the switching cost high for the clients. Moreover, it is noted that other factors like family and friends shape tourists behaviour. This is based on simple .phenomenon that one is likely to heed advice from friends and family members. In addition, to the above those who seek to go to new places will operate differently. This is called novelty seeking customers (Strategic Travel Action Resource, 2003, p.4).

Tourism Marketing

The chief objective of any firm is to make profit through provision of products that offer value to their clients, but value is a subjective connotation. What customers’ value now might not be valuable in the next coming years or what different social groups’ values are different. To offer value to the clients, call for proper research about marketing dynamics such as consumer behaviour, target market population, decision making process and distribution channels among others. Marketing plays a chief role of connecting the firm and the product/service to customer. It is the proper marketing that allows any firm to gain market leadership through higher sales return and customer satisfaction (Mathur, 2006, p. 56). According to Wood and Brotherton, 2008, p. 305, hospitality marketing started evolving from 1960s as a result of development of the concept of service marketing which had earlier been dominated by product marketing.

Effective tourism destination marketing based on consumer behaviour begins with acquisition of customer data and formulation of segments. These include preferences and taste, spending power, quantities of purchase, geographical locations, and social class. One area that customer data is very instrumental is in the development of marketing strategy/ mix. The data about clients will guide the marketers and marketing managers in formulation of the best strategy to lock in customers while locking out competitors (Squire, 2010). These strategies are guided by marketing process of understating the market, selection and description of the segment, creation of the product that meets their needs, communicating around the new product, delivery and lastly soliciting of feedback.

The customer data to be utilized includes demographic attributes, geographic attributes, psychographic and behavioural attributes. Customer data is important in formulation of pricing trends where attributes like purchasing power, age and prestige would go a long way in price formulation firms should adopt pricing system of what customers are willing to pay for services under certain conditions by having different pricing approaches. This should be achieved by employing multiple units pricing that allows for those who buy more than one service to receive discount. Lastly, the sector should employ the use of price skimming for most of their services (Squire, 2010).

Process remains one of any organizations’ core concerns. In order to improve on service delivery, customer intimacy, and loyalty, the tourism industry should ensure that their services have a wide collection of options. The process of lean management should be adopted. The idea behind this principle is to create the most value for the end customer by focusing on elimination of waste. It connects with marketing paradigm, as production is linked to the philosophy of value creation for the client who is willing to consume the product or service that offers the highest value. Thus Lean production is centred with the idea of creating value with less amount of effort and fewer resources attached to it (Jackson & Jones, 1996, p.12). The sector should adopt efficiency and have a market niche for their operation. This would allow them to focus their effort to their segment clientele in appropriate way.

Customer data can be used to track the most loyal consumers. Thus, the company can utilize them as reference point. Anywhere in the world, one would wish for physical evidence as a means of referral and indication of product quality. One of the approaches the firm should utilize is the use of testimonials and feedback as a means of physical evidence. This kind of marketing has been found to be an effective approach of locking in clients while at the same time attracting more (chartered institute of marketing, 2009, p. 7). The above can only be attained through customer loyalty management.


The essence for existence of a commercial firm is to earn income. This is attained by producing goods and services that create value to the consumer/ customer. One avenue of attracting and locking in customers is through proper marketing strategies and marketing research. Tourism just as other service based industry need thorough marketing especially due to high levels of competition globally. In psychological perspective, marketing is about producing goods/services that customers are in need of or the process by which firms align their operations according to customer and market trends (Strategic Travel Action Resource, 2003, p.4). Naturalist like Charles Darwin observed that it is not the strong that survive but those who are to adapt to and embrace change that survive.

One way of understanding market trends and customer needs is through marketing and market research. These kinds of research utilizes critical tools like analysis of consumer behaviour to tell the trends and expectations of the clients of a given market segment. Thus, any firm or country that yearns for market leadership should employ the use of consumer behaviour to lock in different market segments of tourists. The underlying principles should be those identified in influences on tourism consumer behaviour (Strategic Travel Action Resource, 2003, p.5).


Abdallat, M. M. A. and Emam, H. E. (n.d). Consumer behaviour models in tourism: analysis study. Retrieved on 25 April 2012 from:

Dumitrescu, L. and Vinerean, S. (2010). International tourism market segmentation based on consumer behaviour. Review of international comparative management, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 757-763.

Gulid, N., Lertwannawit, A. and Saengchan, R. (2010). Tourist consumer behaviour and destination positioning for Chainat Province. Dublin, Ireland: EABR & ETLC conference proceedings.

Jackson, T. L. and Jones, K. R. (1996). Implementing lean management systems, Oregon Portland: productivity Inc.

Lohmann, M. (2004). New demand factors in tourism. A paper presented to the European Tourism Forum Budapest, Hungary. Retrieved on 25 April 2012 from:

Mathur, P. (2006). Sales and Marketing Management, New Delhi: Gyan Books.

Strategic Travel Action Resource (2003). The psychology of travel: consumer behaviour. Retrieved on 25 April 2012 from:

Squire, T. (2010). Albury city tourism and destination marketing strategy 2010-2013. Retrieved on 25 April 2012 from: eting_Strategy_%28FINAL%292.pdf

Wood, R. C. and Brotherton, B, (2008). The sage handbook of hospitality management. London: Sage publication limited