Consumer Behavior in Travel Literature Review

Pages: 15 (4092 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 35  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising


Familial determinants of buying behavior are even stronger than a trusted relationship forged between a merchant and a client (Davidow). Because of this link to the social background of the consumer, a seller can either make many customers through one transaction, or defeat that possibility completely (Salegna & Goodwin). How a buyer views a transaction can have myriad rippling effects.

Consumer Behavior in Travel

The travel market is one of the largest in the United States. The billions of dollars spent every year in the travel industry is a result of factors that range from the adventurous nature of consumers and world-wide availability of destinations to relationships that have been cemented between certain agencies, destinations, and travelers (Schor). Literature is rife with examples of what consumers want in a travel experience and why they choose the experiences that they do.

Consumer Patronage

Consumers have always been willing to experience one poorly constructed buying experience (Windham & Orton), but they are less likely to patronize a shop again if they are not satisfied with what they have experienced the first time. When it comes to travel, buyers are exhibiting a need for safety (because the recognize the danger that exists in the world (van Dijk, Minocha & Laing)), a preference for a self-styled "good" shopping experience the first time, and a more defined need to find a worthy price (Halstead, Jones & Cox).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Literature Review on Consumer Behavior in Travel: This Assignment

Safety can be both a motivation and a behavior. Travel shoppers realize that the world is a more dangerous place than it has been for many decades. In global travel it is the main consumer concern (Richter & Richter). The threats made popular via the 24-hour news cycle have also caused travelers to become more concerned with personal safety as they travel. A short wait to get to an airline gate just a few short years ago for domestic travel has turned into the possibility of an hour or more of standing in line. Customers report that they are less worried about waiting in screening lines than they are worried that they could experience some catastrophic event while traveling (Halstead, Jones & Cox). This behavior transformation has caused the travel industry to respond rapidly to any perceived threat that is either real or implied. He recent changes that have been experienced by travelers as they try to get to their gates in United States airports, are being handled with grace by the vast majority of consumers (Halstead, Jones & Cox).

Travel consumers used to hate any type of delay and expect there to be the occasional bad experience. But, that behavior has also changed. New consumers are moving toward the internet to make their own travel plans, and moving away from traditional methods of designing travel (STAR). The main reason for this behavior shift is that travelers have the availability of many targeted travel websites (Catenazzo & Fragniere), but that is not the only reason. People have become risk sensitive when they travel (Madrigal), but they have become risk takers when it comes to the internet (Milne, Labrecque & Cromer). The internet has become a safe haven, an allows a sense of expression that many travelers crave.

The internet also allows the travel consumer to price every aspect of their travel before they buy (STAR), and to compare travel prices across many different web sites (Catenazzo & Fragniere). The travel industry has had to adjust to this drastic shift in buying behavior. "Up to 1997, about one fourth of traditional travel agencies revenue was raised through airline tickets sales commissions, 67% through other sources such as vacation and other packages sales" (Catenazzo & Fragniere). Since travel agents can no longer be the people who put together packages for most consumers, agencies have become depositories of knowledge. As Catenazzo and Fragniere have observed "The travel agent's job then becomes a knowledge-based service of high added value. A knowledge-based service can be described as a service delivered by highly trained providers that offer a high quality service designed to meet the customers' needs" (2010). A shift in Consumer Behavior, no matter what industry it affects, must be met by the industry or it will die. The travel industry is no exception to this rule.

Generational Travel

It has been shown in the work of many researchers (Dotson, Clark & Dave; Halstead, Jones & Cox; Javalgi, Thomas & Rao) that travel decision is largely a function of both time of life and the era in which one was born. An older person may fit into the allocentric personality group (Madrigal), but due to age they will be adventurous differently than they would have at as a younger person. The second piece of this equation is that generational differences have a make for a great deal of the variance in individual travel. Even for people close to the same age, they may identify more strongly with one generational group or another and thus act differently (Dotson, Clark & Dave).

The three main generational groups that make up much of the travel market are baby boomers (SooCheong, Bai, Hu & Wu), generation X and the millennials (or generation Y) (Dotson, Clark & Dave). A generation is defined by what they have experienced in common, so these groups devote much of their travel time to activities that similar within the generational group (Javalgi, Thomas & Rao).

The boomer generation can be seen as a split group since they are spread from World War II until just prior to the start of the Viet Nam conflict (Littrell, Paige & Song). Although their motivations for travel are widely varied, the group's behaviors proceeding and during travel are remarkably consistent. The older individuals in this group grew up during the Second World War and directly after the end of the Great Depression (Petersen). Therefore they are usually looking for travel that is either cost effective or inexpensive. This is the group that first purchased recreational vehicles in great numbers. They generally like to feel at home during travel experiences (Littrell, Paige & Song; Petersen). The second half of the group grew up during the 1960's and they are somewhat more adventurous. They started the commune and Earth first movements which led this group to invent ecotourism (Pizam & Mansfield). Many in the younger group of boomers are more willing to undertake world travel because they are the first group to whom it was more readily available (Petersen).

As far as generation X and Y "It is vital that hospitality marketers take note of these emerging groups. Further, it may not be appropriate to assume that the travel behavior and preferences of these new groups are similar to the preceding groups" (Dotson, Cark & Dave). Research relates that these groups are savvy to a degree that the previous generations were not. Although "the X generation is called the "doofus" or "nowhere" generation and how this group has had to deal with "techno stress," "political correctness," and has had to be a self-reliant generation" (Dotson, Clark & Dave), they have grown up on entertainment and want that from their travel. These individual grew up as the first to have a television in every home. Many have characterized them as impatient and self-serving in their travel needs (Tate & Rosen), so they will often seek tours and amusement park style atmospheres. One aspect that also sets this group apart is that they allow their children to dictate the trip much of the time (STAR).

The millennial generation group "has a shopaholic mentality and will represent 41% of the U.S. population by the next decade" (Dotson, Clark & Dave). This is a group of intelligent shoppers who largest single behavior is the ability to shop online. It is actually a preference for a group that has grown up with stunning technological advances (Ranteshwar, Mick & Huffman). One behavior characteristic of this consumer group is their desire to be different than their immediate generational predecessors. They are shoppers who are have taken the green movement to new heights "that their grandparents never dreamed of" (Pizam & Mansfield). They are ready, as a group, to have travel experiences that go beyond the norm that their parents set (Dotson, Clark & Dave). The primary behavior among this group is being able to find inexpensive global travel that will satiate a need for adventure.

Types of Travel

Today consumers can enjoy everything from adventure to educational travel, or mix the experiences that they wish to enjoy. Because, many times, there are different generations traveling together as a group, people may want to have different experiences than others with whom they are traveling (Bodger). Educational travel is becoming a type of travel that is much more in demand. SooCheong, Bai, Hu and Wu found "found that both positive and negative affective states have significant impacts on travel motivations and that only positive affect is significantly related to future travel intention. Among motivation factors, novelty-seeking not only can be stimulated by affect but also arouses travel… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Consumer Behavior in Travel" Literature Review in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Consumer Behavior in Travel.  (2010, December 3).  Retrieved September 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Consumer Behavior in Travel."  3 December 2010.  Web.  21 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Consumer Behavior in Travel."  December 3, 2010.  Accessed September 21, 2021.