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Revista Economica 65:2 (2013) CONSUMER BEHAVIOR IN TOURISM AND THE INFLUENCING FACTORS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS VINEREAN Alexandra 1 Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu Abstract Being part of the tourism industries requires substantial knowledge. Therefore, it is important to be aware of all the factors that influence a tourist to purchase a particular tourism product
   Revista Economica 65:2 (2013) 186   CONSUMER BEHAVIOR IN TOURISM AND THE INFLUENCING FACTORS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS VINEREAN Alexandra 1    Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu Abstract  Being part of the tourism industries requires substantial knowledge. Therefore, it is important to be aware of all the factors that influence a tourist to  purchase a particular tourism product. These complex factors are vital into the final  purchase decision of an offer with emotional value for customers. This paper presents the typologies of tourists and tourism, and in relation to these aspects, the different types of segmentation, as well as several motivators and determinants that tourism companies and tourists should acknowledge in order to provide the premises for a win-win situation. Keywords:   consumer behavior, motivators, market segmentation, determinants, tourists, types of tourism, purchase .   JEL Classification  : M31   1.   Introduction   It is crucial for a tourism manager to research and understand the way in which consumers make decisions and the factors that motivate and encourage tourists to make particular purchases. Also, when analyzing a tourist‟s consumer behavior companies must ta ke into consideration: the needs and habits of the consumers, consumer preferences and requirements, tourism market segmentation, and motivational factors such as cultural, personal, emotional, status, personal development, physical, etc. 1  E-mail:   Revista Economica 65:2 (2013) 187   The subject of consumer behavior in the tourism context is the key to the foundation of all marketing activities which are implemented in order to establish, advertise, and sell tourism products. The success of a marketing activity is primarily related to understand cons umers‟ decision making process to buy or use tourism products. Knowing their behavior patterns and the factors that influence their purchase, tourism companies should fully comprehend when they should get involved in the process in order to obtain the results they want. Also, in this way, organizations will be aware of how to influence their customers to buy different products that fulfill their expectations and needs. 2.   Typologies of Tourists It is important to know that tourism has existed for centuries, therefore this industry can be divided into different types of tourism, such as: business tourism, health tourism, religious tourism, educational tourism, social tourism, cultural tourism, visiting friend and relatives, special interest tourism, and hedonistic tourism. All of these types are included in two main categories- domestic and international tourism, with a subdivision together with inbound and outbound tourist issue. A popular debate regarding tourism is related to the differences  between tourist and traveler. A tourist (Swarbrooke and Horner, 1996) is someone who purchases a package from a tour operator, while the traveler is the person who makes his/her own independent arrangements for their  personal vacation. However, Sharpley (1994) noted that the word “traveler” is usually applied to someone who is travelling for a long period of time, especially back-packing on a limited budget, and it also involves a spirit of freedom, adventure and individuality. On the contrary, the term “tourist” is usually used in a rather depreciative sense to describe those who are involved in mass produced package tourism. Smith (1989) distinguished seven types of tourists: explorers are a small group who travel as anthropologists; elite tourists are experienced travelers who like expensive tailor-made tours; off-beat tourists plan to get away from other tourists; unusual tourists make side trips from organized tours to experience local culture; incipient mass tourists travel in destinations where tourism is not yet completely dominant; mass tourists want the same things they are used to at home; charter tourists have a little or no interest in the   Revista Economica 65:2 (2013) 188   destination itself, as long as the trip will provide them with all the accommodation that they required. 3.   Market Segmentation in Tourism Market segmentation is defined as a process of dividing a large homogenous market into groups of people who have similar needs, wants, or demands. The purpose of the segmentation is to provide the basis for creating a marketing mix that will perfectly correspond to the expectations of clients in the targeted segment. This explains the fact that market segmentation is a form of consumer classification used to provide support for the marketing function in a tourism organization.( Dibb,2001) Segmentation is aimed to serve the need of marketers, as Middleton and Clarke (2001) believe that: „Market segmentation and product formulation are mirror images if they are correctly matched ‟ . Certainly, segmentation is designed to improve the work regarding all four Ps of the marketing mix (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place). However, organizations must take into consideration that successful marketing is not all about one method of segmentation alone, it is important to use and combine all five types of segmentation (or six in tourism) in order to accomplish the profit or result that the company is expecting. In the following sections, different types of market segmentation for tourism are developed. In this context, potential or existing customers can be divided by five main criteria, into groups who have similar characteristics as  buyers. 3.1.   Geographical Segmentation Geographical segmentation is based on collecting and analyzing information according to the physical location of the customer (Swarbrooke and Horner, 2003). Also, this type of segmentation divides markets into different geographical areas by region, country, city, population, climate. For example, a tourism company can segment its customers as urban or rural consumers, clients who live north-west countries or more specifically near the mountains, etc. in order to have a specific perspective profile of their target audience.   Revista Economica 65:2 (2013) 189   3.2.   Socioeconomic Segmentation This method inquires to subdivide markets by different socioeconomic variables. For instance, in the UK society is separated into six groups, based on occupation and defined by the letters A, B, C1, C2, D and E. Socioeconomic variables are represented by: income, occupation, education, lifestyle, price sensitivity, and brand preference (Swarbrooke and Horner, 1999). For example, a tourism company may be interested to examine a target group who only acquires products from a competitor, a tourism  product purchased only by customers who have an average income, or a target group who wants to spend a few days away from the urban turbulence. 3.3.   Demographic Segmentation This form of segmentation is based on different characteristics and is really important for tour operators and travel agents to better understand their customers who are planning a trip (Swarbrooke and Horner, 1995), such as:    Sex  –   men are known for their passion for sports, while women love to shop;    Age  –   tourism companies usually divides the market in three main categories: young teenagers, adults and older generation;    Religion  –   expedition or mission market,    Family status  –   according to some research, the place in the family cycle of the consumers is decisive for purchasing different products or services, especially in tourism, for example: teenagers will spend their holiday in a place where they could have fun, separately from their  parents, enjoying their independence, while a family with small children would want to spend their vacation in a place that provides for their children all the utilities, but also to allows them to relax under a dispensable budget. 3.4.   Psychographic Segmentation This form of segmentation is considered to be a modern technique that already has begun to influence different areas, including clothing, food,  perfume, cars, jewelry, drink and tourism (Swarbrooke and Horner, 2007).
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