City and State



Tourism Consumer Behavior


This paper gives a content analysis of tourism consumer behavior in literature based on participatory involvement, emotional and cultural factors. The objective of the paper is tom highlight on how the three factors influence consumer behavior and how they are applied by businesses in the tourism sector. The content analysis will focus on two prime articles, one from the Journal of Tourism Research and another from the Huffington Post. While one generalizes consumer behavior, the other links it to the tourism sector providing a wider and more informative debate on the subject. Consumer behavior though complex continues to shape economic practices given its imperative function of ascertaining quality service. The findings of this article will provide theoretical support fashioning decision-making, planning, and definition consensuses.


Tourism CB encompasses a variety of activities, decisions, ideas, and experiences that are fused to gratify consumer wants and needs. The dynamic cultural environment in tourism has resulted into a number of modern day challenges to growth in tourism. The divergent nature of backgrounds, personalities in individuals stresses on consumer attitudes and behavior as the determinative factors in hospitality and other service delivery sectors. There exists a knowledge gap when it comes to consumer behavior. The subject remains to be a stressed study domain in tourism in order to facilitate the development of an involvement construct between tourists and service providers. In analysis of the two articles by Vasco Santos and Jonathan Hall in Journal of Tourism Research and the Huffington Post respectively, argument is that there is a cause and effect relation between behavior and decision making employed by consumers. In order to improve service delivery, organizations require more than basic understanding of behavioral models and associative influential factors meant for fashioning tourist satisfaction.

Key Concepts in Tourism Consumer Behavior

According to the Journal of Tourism Research, consumer participatory involvement structures decision making carried out in five phases that are motivation, information research, alternatives, decision implementation, and post implementation behavior. The grand model aligns with the article by Mohammed and Mohammadi who argue consumer behavior is a systematic representation broken down in several stages (Muhammadi & Mohammed 2011, p.7).


The first stage in decision behavior goes to highlight ion why a tourist will opt to travel in order to satisfy his or her psychological and physiological requirements. Attendance motivation is fashioned by the need to escape the challengers of the formal environment or to enable the chance to strengthen certain relationships. Tourists have the urge to belong to a global community thus organizations employ this emotional desire to structure social networking in their services.

Information Research

This refers to evaluation of market trends in order to provide understanding on the type of purchases likely to be made at a given time. According to the Huffington Post, purchase decisions are based most on past shopping experiences and mouth-to-mouth (physical) interaction between close friends and family.


The pre-stage before decision making especially in travelling where the tourist compares and contrasts at hand information with personal preferences and interests. At this point, the determinant factors are time and money that act as evaluative factors.

Decision Implementation

Implementation after the evaluation phase is simple, but can have adverse implications in terms of time if the consumer is unfamiliar with the features of the new environment (Furutani & Fujita 2005, p.2160). Purchasing processes can be simple or lengthy based on consumer knowledge, pricing and distance in the case of travelling.

Post Implementation behavior

Post behavior is significant in consumer behavior as it determines the frequency of continued interaction between the tourist and the service provider. According to Jani, satisfied tourists have more incentives to recommend the service provider to other while equally returning to the same agent (Jani 2011, p.19).
Concerning the five stages of consumer decision making, there is coherence between travelling and leisure activities in the tourism sector. This suggests that tourist CB can employ a standard decision making framework in order to improve the quality of given services. This framework can be employed to overcome the perceptive consumption structured in the modern tourism industry.

Dynamic Challenges based on Individualistic Characteristics

Hall in his evaluation of modern challenges highlights on the various personal attributes that design consumption patterns in the global economy. Integrating the attributes with Santos’ principals of differences and conceptualizations, below are the derived similarities that align with other consumer research articles.


According to Cohen, values are a set of enduring beliefs and modes of conduct that are socially acceptable. In tourism, values are employed to manipulate consumer behavior in terms of product brand and attributes. Choice of travel destination is linked to consumer values given that they guide emotions, judgments, and actions. Two types of values, instrumental, and terminal are external and internal respectively. External values are objective such as situational goals while internal values are subjective and specific (Cohen, Prayag & Moital 2014). There is yet to be an evidence-based link between the subjective and objective values in tourist consumer behaviors. A shifting consumer-purchasing pattern shows a direct change in personal values.

Self Concept and Personality

Consumers patronize services and goods with characteristics harmonious with their self-perception (Swarbrooke & Horner 2009, p.51). The self-concept is the totality of cognitive beliefs that an individual relates with himself or herself. In CB, personality and self-concept is approached to as a multi dimensional construct of aspiration elements, self-identity, and societal aspects. There lacks a self-congruity theory in CB that can match given products and services to specific tourist personalities. The self-concept is a persistent quality in human behavior that given poor stimuli will result in negative responses (Swarbrooke & Horner 2009, p.51). Therefore, the challenge in lacking a matching theory is the structuring of good purchasing stimuli in tourism.

Attitudes and Perceptions

Consumer attitudes remain to be significant determinants in the marketing environment. The factor is simply the degree of favor that a person relates with a certain product or service (Moutinho 2007, p.41). The classical approach is that attitude predicts behavior. Given the diverse and divergent backgrounds of tourists, the stability of attitudes becomes questionable and at times may result in misinterpretations and general inaccurate information. In perception, consumers perceive that which they expect. Perceptions are based on experience, familiarity, and motivations (Moutinho 2007, p.41). Perceptions influence how an individual selects and interprets stimuli that in turn determine how a person develops meaningful relationships. Challenge in perceptive research in CB is that studies focus on cognitive elements ignoring affective factors. Thus, the tourism industry does not recognize how affective and cognitive elements interplay in determination of consumer behavior.

Future Opportune Contexts for Tourism CB

This section highlights on the future key areas in tourism CB structured under the emerging market based on emotions and participatory involvement.

Generation Y

The area refers to a general shift in the cohorts of the tourism labor force as seen in the Anglophonic world (Kozak & Decrop 2009, p.121). The novel generation represents the single primary source behind the destination of tourists. For marketers, this area suggests an elevated purchasing power. Generation Y refers to persons born in the years between 1982 and 2002 (March & Woodside 2005, p.85). These persons share common social perceptions, values, and attitudes suggesting a central tourism behavior. The premise behind the standard social group is the globalization of the modern world developed by technological factors. Therefore, the generation is mono cultural in increasing patterns given technology continues to grow in terms of availability and access.

Ethical Consumption

The global market highlights on the trendy influence of ethics in determination of business and travel destinations. Traditional theories of consumer rationality are suppressed by modern calls for product conscience and justice. For a tourist organization, comprehensions on the motivations for ethical consumption can act as operational advantages in terms of service differentiations and branding (Eisenberg 2015). The area is understood by an analysis of the socio-political climate of the global market.

Consumer Misbehavior

The implicit estimation that consumers will behave according to the acceptable lines of conduct acts against human nature. Misbehavior is understood by the study of consumer dissatisfaction, emotions, perceptions, and attitudes (Chen 2011, p.11). Divergence in the study is that all criteria are analyzed from the negative aspects.


Understanding consumer behavior is imperative in improving product and service delivery quality. Despite the significance, there exist insufficient information in tourism CB given the dynamic natures of human personalities and the global market. Consumer behavior is systematic encompassing five phases of decision-making. The systematic approach to behavior fashions modern day challenges in the tourism industry because shifting factors. These elements exist both in the internal (personal) and in external (social) levels. Implications of these changes in consumer behavior are the emergence of novel study areas that can be advantageous to marketers given early and proper understanding.




Chen, Yuan-Ho, 2011, The Service Quality And Consumer Behaviour Analysis In Taiwan, Social And Behavioral Sciences, vol. 21, no. 12, pp. 16-24.

Cohen, S, Prayag, G & Moital, M 2014, Consumer Behaviour in Tourism: Concepts, Influences and Opportunities, Current Issues in Tourism, viewed 23 June 2015, <>

Eisenberg, N 2015, 10 Ways Restaurants Manipulate Our Spending and Eating Habits, The Huffing Post, viewed 23 June 2015, <>

Furutani, T & Fujita, A 2005,  A Study On Foreign Tourists’ behavior And Consumer Satisfaction In Kamakura, Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, Vol. 6, pp. 2154 – 2169.

Hall, J 2015, New Era Challenges to Growth, The Huffington Post, viewed 23 June 2015, <>

Jani, D 2011, the Influence of Personality on Tourist Information Behaviour, E-Review of Tourism Research, Vol.9, pp. 88-95.

Kozak, M & Decrop, A 2009, Handbook Of Tourist Behavior: Theory & Practice, Routledge, New York.

March, R & Woodside, G 2005, Tourism Behaviour: Travelers’ Decisions and Actions, CABI Pub, Wallingford UK.

Mohammadi, B & Mohammed, A 2011, Applying Consumer Behaviour Theory and Grand Models to Attendees Behaviour In Conference Industry, International Conference On Tourism & Management Studies, vol. 1, pp. 1-9.

Moutinho, L 2007, Consumer Behaviour in Tourism, MCB University Press, Bradford, England.

Santos, V 2015, Consumer Behaviour in Tourism: A Content Analysis of Relationship between Involvement and Emotions, Journal of Tourism Research, viewed 23 June 2015, <>

Swarbrooke, J & Horner, S 2009, Consumer Behaviour in Tourism, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

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