How Can We Understand the Tourists?. Tourists are the main characters in the tourism industry and the tourism industry exists to cater to their needs. Tourism businesses acknowledge the fact that their success depends also on how much they know and understand their tourists.
Tourists are the main characters in the tourism industry and the tourism industry exists to cater to their needs.
Tourism businesses acknowledge the fact that their success depends also on how much they know and understand their tourists.
A professional understanding of the consumer is at the core of the successful business practice in the tourism industry.
(Goeldner and Ritchie, 2003)
A good grasp of who their tourists are would guide businesses in their operations, marketing and research, and development tasks.
Clearly, a study on the behavior of tourists is very vital to the tourism industry.
Understanding tourists require a background on psychology and consumer behavior.
Tourism businesses should be concerned with what motivates tourists, how they make decisions, what they think of the products they buy, how much they enjoy and learn during their holiday experiences, how they interact with the local people and environment and how they feel about their holidays.
Knowing why tourists travel is the most fundamental question among the study of tourists’ behavior.
Although it is the most basic question, knowing the wants and needs of tourists in traveling is a complicated task.
The wants and needs of tourists are often regarded as travel motivators.
Something that stimulates interest or causes a person to act in a certain way.
This theory by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 work, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” explains that as humans meet basic needs, they seek to satisfy successively higher needs that occupy a set of hierarchy.
This pyramid of five levels represents human needs which Maslow further grouped into two as deficiency needs and growth needs.
Deficiency needs are related to physiological needs while growth needs are related to psychological needs.
The Maslow hierarchy of needs is an explanation of an individual’s behavior.
For example, an individual may join a cruise because of his/her need for friendship. One of the attractions of joining a cruise is the many opportunities it provides its of meeting new people.
The level of needs would provide tourism businesses a guide in understanding their travel market and thus advertise their products effectively.
A cruise liner would emphasize in their advertisement the chances of meeting people instead of traveling to new places.
Second, tourism businesses could come up with different facilities and services with features that attempt to address certain needs of tourists.
Tourism businesses also uses them as their competitive edge over others. The hierarchy of needs guides them in coming up with specific service that they know would be important to their clients. It may not be a main attraction but it may also enhance tourist experience.
For example, services that address needs of belonginess or esteem such as elite programs and frequent visitors program or simple tokens that make the guests realize that the tourism business knows them specifically.
It is assumed that as the tourists become more experienced, they also become more proficient and effective.
Need for basic services (food, space, toilet) for restoration and personal maintenance and repair
Need for excitement and safety (fun and thrill of rides, experience of unusual, out-of the-ordinary settings and different foods and people)
Need to build and extend personal relationships (tenderness, affection, joint fun, joint activities, altruism and being directly involved)
Self-Esteem and Development
Need to develop skills, knowledge and abilities (how others see a person and one’s desire to be competent, in control, respected and productive)
Need to feel peaceful, profoundly happy (magical as if transported to another world, spiritual and totally involved in the setting)
This model emphasizes that the choice of destination of a tourist is driven by two forces: push and pull.
The push refers to a general desire to go and be somewhere else, without specifying where that may be.
This push-and-pull model was exemplified by Lundberg, in an advertisement directed towards potential tourists showing sunny beaches with sunbathers.
Another way of understanding tourists is knowing how they decide on tourism product/services and destinations.
(refer to figure 7. page 24)
Age, education, income, attitude, previous experience and motivations.
Image of destinations’ facilities and services which is based upon the credibility of the source.
Attractions and features of the destination
Distance, trip duration, and perceived risk of the area visited
Evaluation by image
And travel experience
Outcome and evaluation
Hansal and Eislt (2004) provided a simple explanation of the decision-making process of tourists. This process is divided into two phases which are described as:
Planning phase – where travelers decide on the basic parameters concerning their trip. Decisions in this phase are made at home, usually over a significant amount of time prior to the trip. Sometimes initial decisions are subjected to modification or completely revamped.
Modification phase – during which details are decided. This phase covers modifications made during the trip. Examples are choices of specific sites that were advertised in brochures that travelers obtained from tourist information centers or decision to stay at a hotel whose services are announced on a billboard.
Models describing tourist decision-making process would make a long-list. They have basically the same purpose and that is to guide the tourism industry in understanding how tourists get motivated in traveling, what things influence or discourage them to travel, and where they information, and purchase their selected product.
In short, these models have two fundamental roles: to identify factors that influence the decision-making of the tourists and to enumerate the stages of their decision-making
Marketers and planners as well as managers of tourism businesses consider these typologies to guide their marketing, planning, and development and management functions.
Several tourist typology models were developed by tourism experts and scholars. Some of the more popular models include the following:
- Religious pilgrim
Takes photos, buys souvenirs, goes to famous places, stays briefly in one place, does not understand the local people.
Stays briefly in one place, experiments with local food, goes to famous places, takes photos, explores privately.
Takes photos, goes to famous places, is alienated from society, buys souvenirs, contributes to the visited economy.
Lives a life of luxury, is concerned with social status, seeks sensual pleasures, prefers interacting with people of his/her own kind.
Concerned with social status, contributes to the economy, does not take photos, prefers interacting with people of his/her own kind, goes to famous places.
Has language problems, prefers interacting with people of his/her own kind, does not understand the local people, does not live a life of luxury, does not exploit people.
Interested in the environment, does not buy souvenirs, does not exploit the local people, explores places privately, takes photos.
Explores places privately, is interested in the environment, takes physical risks, does not buy souvenirs, keenly observes the visited society.
Does not buy souvenirs, searches for the meaning of life, does not live a life of luxury, does not seek sensual pleasures, keenly observes the visited society.
Experiments with local food, does not exploit the local people, takes photos, keenly observes the visited society, takes physical risks.
Keenly observes the visited society, explores places privately, is interested in the environment, does not buy souvenirs, takes photos.
Does not buy souvenirs, does not live a life of luxury, is not concerned with social status, does not take photos, does not contribute to the economy.
Not alienated from own society, does not exploit the local people, does not understand the local people, explores places privately, searches for the meaning of life.
Takes photos, keenly observes the visited society, goes to famous places, takes physical risks, explores places privately
Searches for the meaning of life, does not live a life of luxury, is not concerned with social status, does not exploit the local people, does not buy souvenirs.
Segmentation is a sort of grouping people with the same characteristics such as geographic, demographic, psychographic, and product-related characteristics.