Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2004, 89 Pages
Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract (With Keywords):
Table of Contents:
Statement of Authorship & Declaration by the Supervisor:
List of Figures:
1.1 The Proposed Composite Model:
2.1 The Main Effect:
2.2 The Mediation Effect:
2.3 Full and Partial Mediation:
2.4 The Moderation Effect:
2.5 Mediated Moderation:
2.6 Moderated Mediation:
Chapter 1: Introduction:
1.1 The Background of the Research:
1.2 Research Problems and Hypotheses:
1.3 Justification for the Research:
1.4 Outline of the Report:
Chapter 2:Theoretical Background for the Study: A Review:
2.1 Review of the Disciplines:
2.1.1 Tourist Satisfaction and Loyalty:
2.1.2 Holiday Attachment: A Conceptualization:
2.1.3 Novelty seeking:
2.2 Methodological Literature:
2.2.1 Measurements, Scales and Scale Construction:
2.2.2 Mediation and its Testing:
2.2.3 Moderation and its Testing:
2.2.4 Mediated Moderation and Moderated Mediation:
Chapter 3: Methodology and Research Procedures:
3.1 Justification for the Paradigm and Methodology:
3.2 Research Procedures:
3.2.1 Scale Development Procedure:
3.2.2 Procedure for Hypotheses Testing:
3.3 Ethics and Ethical Considerations:
Chapter 4: Data Analysis:
4.1 Analysis for Scale Construction:
4.1.1 Inter-rater Agreement & Content Validity:
4.1.2 Factor Analysis for Examining Scale Dimensions:
4.1.3 Reliability Analysis for the Scale:
4.1.4 Reliability for Holiday Utility:
4.1.5 Reliability for Holiday Identity:
4.1.6 Reliability for Holiday Contextuality:
4.1.7 Test-retest Reliability:
4.1.8 Convergent Validity:
4.1.9 Discriminant Validity:
4.1.10 Nomological Validity:
4.2 Analysis to Test Hypotheses:
4.2.1 Test of the Main Effect:
4.2.2 Test of the Composite Model:
4.2.3 Test of Moderation:
4.2.4 Test of Mediation:
Chapter 5: Conclusions and Implications:
5.1 Implications for Theory:
5.2 Implications for Practice:
5.3 Limitations of the Study:
5.4 Potential for Further Research:
Appendix I: Initial Items Generated:
Appendix II Questionnaire Used for the Study:
“ A handful know the truth by the sight of it, Yet many would not discern even by sighting it! Few of us do foresee much ahead of all That nothing we behold is the truth abstract! Know, amidst various human races itself, Mind has many directions and dimensions ”
Jnanappana (Chalice Of Wisdom)
---Poonthanam Namboodiri (1547-1640)
Holiday Attachment: The construct, measure, and its relation with customer loyalty
By: Babu P George
Supervisor: A. Sreekumar, Professor in Management Studies, Goa University
Co-Supervisor: Nandakumar Mekoth, Reader in Management Studies, Goa University
ABSTRACT: Given that it is not the individual components constituting a holiday in isolation or in simple additive relationship that determines tourists’ sense of attachment with that holiday as well as that such a method is problematic as a theory of knowledge, the absence of an instrument to capture the effect of the holiday experience in its entirety is but strange. Beginning with a brief inventorying of the current approaches to the measurement of tourists’ connectedness to the diverse components of holidays, the present research attempts to develop a more holistic instrument, “Holiday Attachment”, which can comprehensively measure holidayers’ attachment with the composite holiday experience. The holiday attachment scale has successfully gone through essential tests of validity and reliability.
Holiday attachment is a 3-dimensional scale, its components being “Holiday Utility”, “Holiday Identity”, and “Holiday Contextuality”. Holiday utility is operationalized in terms of how the current holiday compares with alternatives in satisfying the activity level needs of tourists or its ability to facilitate behaviour stemming from such needs. Holiday identity implies affective or emotional attachment to a holiday and is operationalized in terms of a combination of attitudes, values, thoughts, beliefs, meanings, and interpretations that tourists associate with a certain holiday and the behavioral tendencies stemming from these. Holiday contextuality refers to something that increases one’s interest towards the holiday due to contextual particularities. It is may be thought of as those features of a meta-holiday, which influence the selection of a holiday, but do not necessarily form bases for the immediate holiday experience itself. There is something common to holiday utility and holiday contextuality. Broadly, these two together form the materialistic feature of the holiday experience or, what a holiday is for, and is jointly named as “Holiday Dependence”.
It was hypothesized that holiday attachment could be significantly predictive of tourist’s loyalty towards a holiday: higher the holiday attachment, higher the holiday loyalty and vice versa. Analyzing at the components’ level, it was posited that, though each of the dimensions of holiday attachment could have a direct effect upon tourist loyalty, once holiday identity is sufficiently developed, the direct effect of the other two dimensions significantly vanishes. In other words, holiday identity mediates the relationship between holiday dependence and tourists’ loyalty towards the holiday. These conjectures were supported by empirical investigation. In addition, it was detected that “Novelty Seeking” intervenes in the above dynamics as an important moderating variable. However, its moderating function becomes insignificant wherever holiday identity is strong.
Concluding, the content of the thesis may be summarized as follows:
a) Conceptualization, development, and validation of a scale to measure holiday attachment.
b) Examination of holiday attachment as an antecedent of tourist loyalty.
c) Test of the proposed mediation-moderation model involving holiday dependence, holiday identity, novelty seeking, and loyalty.
KEYWORDS: Scale Development, Holiday Attachment, Holiday Utility, Holiday Identity, Holiday Contextuality, Holiday Dependence, Novelty Seeking, Customer Loyalty, Mediation, and Moderation.
Holiday Attachment: The construct, measure, and its relation with customer loyalty
I hereby declare that this submission entitled “ Holiday Attachment: The construct, measure, and its relation with customer loyalty ” is my own work and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, it contains no material previously published or written by another person nor material which to a substantial extent has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma of universities or other institutes of higher learning, except where due acknowledgment has been made in the text.
Place: Goa University (Babu P George)
This is to certify that the Ph.D. thesis entitled “ Holiday Attachment: The construct, measure, and its relation with customer loyalty ” is an original work carried out by Mr. Babu P George under our guidance and that no part of this work has been presented for any other Degree, Diploma, Fellowship or other similar titles.
Place: Goa University (A.Sreekumar, Supervisor) (Nandakumar Mekoth, Co-supervisor)
In preparing this thesis, I was in contact with many people, including researchers, academicians, and practitioners. They have abundantly contributed towards my understanding and thoughts. In particular, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to my main thesis supervisor, Professor (Dr.) A.Sreekumar, for encouragement, guidance, friendship, and above all, his invaluable critiques. Equally, my heartfelt thanks are to Dr. Nandakumar Mekoth, who, in the absence of my main supervisor, constantly rejuvenated me with the much needed excitement and direction. My fellow doctoral students should be recognized for their support. My sincere appreciation extends to them and all others who have provided me assistance at various occasions. Their views and tips were useful indeed. Without their continued support and interest, this thesis would not have been the same as presented here. Unfortunately, it is not possible to list all of them in this limited space.
I am also indebted to the University Grants Commission of India for funding my Ph.D. study.
I am plentifully grateful to all my family members, and those illiterate peasants and agricultural laborers still bound to live in that idyllic little village in Kerala named Ooramana, some of whom are of my age group, who, though did not know for certain what this beloved brethren of them does at the University far away, had aspirations about me and prayed for me.
Its auteur adores this dissertation more than anything for the sheer beauty of a work of art it presents to him that is certainly equal to or more salient than the objective truth it purports to uncover. Were it not for his emotional rubbishness, it would probably have taken a different shape, and have become far less a reflection of his own tastes, though such a shape would have pleased many other learned critics within the community of academics and practitioners.
Let me wind up by noting that it is beyond lexis to thank the Lord in whom I relentlessly believe for all the miraculous ways in which I have been prepared for an eternal cause, this thesis probably not so noteworthy an outcome thereof.
This research project has been undertaken in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies of Goa University.
Though this report of the research may seem to have taken a fairly definable structure, its making has been far from out of a linear process. Moving back and forth, through the field and the literature, sometimes out of utter desperation and sometimes out of real excitement, and through thought experiments guided by intuitive feelings, its finalization is a story of untold influences. In fact, the initial proposal submitted to the university more than a couple of years ago might be seemed to be something noticeably different while comparing it with the present report; and, it truly IS.
The start in the research had been made painful and distasteful because of the circumstances obtaining at that time: no community life, no fellowship to support the research, an overarching administrativism overpowering academic initiatives, and what not! Almost one and half years went by without an “acceptable” research idea, let alone agenda. The adjustment to this slow rate of “progress” over such a long timescale was very hard to live with. University administrative officials often inquired where the six-monthly progress reports are and threatened with punishment, for whom it was utmost indigestible the overturning of fortunes in a niggling moment after a such a long gestation period and finding the inspiring opportunity for a quantum leap. As a research student, it was not only hard to think of new questions, but it was even harder to know if they were sensible questions, and the hardest of all to guess whether their answers were in anyway within the reach of a doctoral level research. However, it came as an immense learning from the present research that one is unbecoming a good research student when he is unwilling to swim across the chaotic initial phase but trying to ambitiously embrace the ugly orderliness of the evident. At this time, it is very much nostalgic to look back and re-experience those initial engagements with the uncertainties and those frequent temptations to talk down to the humdrums.
A major turning point in the research occurred when it came to pass to the researcher that it is not just a single attraction or a set of attractions, transit facilities, accommodation, or any amenity that constitutes a holiday, in isolation or in simple additive combination that determines holidayers’ sense of attachment to the holiday and that there exists no measurement apparatus that aims to grasp the concept of attachment in this spirit. References to the ongoing epistemological debates reaffirmed the researcher’s faith that taking a linear combination of the piecemeal conceptualizations to derive an overall score for a higher level abstraction was at best a poor analytical strategy and a faulty methodology. While talking to foreign tourists visiting destinations in India, it was almost clear to the researcher that feelings of satisfaction or loyalty were expressed rather less in terms of the individual components constituting the holiday than in terms of the holistic holiday experience. It is not that tourists are incapable to speak of these elements of holiday experience as singulars, but that they derive much deeper meanings, both utilitarian and emotional, from an appraisal of the holiday experience in its entirety. At times, even when delight was verbalized in terms of the components, repurchase intentions were manifestly expressed alongside with the articulations of attachment to the holiday as an undivided whole.
A survey of the available tourism research literature exposed that, though a general awareness that the whole is much unlike from the sum of its parts is very much prevalent among academics and researchers, no comprehensive instrument to measure tourists’ attachment to holidays as an indivisible experience has been developed. A few research papers were found to be using a scale by name Place Attachment to measure tourists’ attachment to holiday destinations alone. Available measures of tourist satisfaction like HOLSAT focused upon the instantaneous or short- term effects of a service encounter or so and could be of very limited predictive value in the determination of attitudinal changes and future behaviors. Holiday attachment as constructed in the present research could be a powerful analytical categorization in the service of consumer researchers as a major antecedent of true holiday loyalty. Many studies adopted all-purpose scales available in the general marketing literature to measure customer satisfaction with holidays, which apparently failed to tap the soul of an extremely tourism-centric concept. These factors became the trigger that set-off an extended journey, the culmination of which is the present scale, Holiday Attachment.
Rest of the thesis involves mainly analyses either to illuminate the minutiae of the scale or to examine some of its potential implications. Not all these were preplanned or were part of the original research agenda. For instance, after the data collection phase was over and preliminary analysis begun, an accidental encounter in a city pub that the researcher happened to have with an old high-schoolmate who is currently a doctoral student in Philosophy led to a different line of thought. He argued that once holiday identity is developed, the other two dimensions of holiday attachment might become insignificant (Readers may kindly note that the holiday attachment scale as devised in the present study is composed of three dimensions: holiday utility, holiday contextuality, and holiday identity). It took time to learn that what he was talking of was a concept by name mediation. And, data analysis revealed that the friend was certainly right in his instincts. Another important analysis performed was to examine the relationship between holiday attachment and tourist loyalty to holidays and the moderating role of novelty seeking upon this main effect. This was part of the original design, but certain unexpected nuances were illuminated during detailed analysis. One important observation was that the moderating effect of novelty seeking became insignificant wherever holiday identity had gotten developed adequately. Lastly, it must be stressed that, affirmative results of all these analyses, although indirectly, contributed to further validation of the nascent scale by situating it suitably in the nomological network of the world of related ideas.
The research, primarily, sought to develop a valid and reliable instrument to measure tourists’ attachment to holidays. This was, at the heart of it, an exploratory research endeavor, often guided by imperfect problem formulations and a lack of a priori hypotheses. The following and other leading questions emerged:
- What is wrong with the current approaches to measure tourists’ connectedness with holidays?
- Is it not possible to have more truthful constructs that can embody the antecedents of tourist loyalty to holidays than the currently available ones?
- What should be the nature, scope, and architecture of a holiday attachment scale that can honestly measure such a construct?
Once the scale was developed, it became easier to envisage a number of potential scenarios. However, as part of the doctoral thesis, the following hypotheses were chosen for statistical testing:
H1: There is a positive relation between holiday attachment and holiday loyalty.
H11: There is a positive relation between holiday utility and holiday loyalty.
H12: There is a positive relation between holiday identity and holiday loyalty.
H13: There is a positive relation between holiday contextuality and holiday loyalty.
H3: Holiday identity mediates the relation between holiday dependence and holiday loyalty.
H4: Novelty seeking moderates the relation between holiday dependence and holiday loyalty till holiday identity gets sufficiently developed.
The resulting model is schematized below:
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Figure 1.1 (The Proposed Composite Model)
According to the researcher, this research is justified from the following standpoints (minus certain idiosyncratic arguments like, “ the aesthetics of the model allured me”; or, “well, I had to have my need to get a doctoral degree met, within the university’s restricting guidelines on what constitutes a ‘good’ PhD”, though not listed does not mean that they are any lesser justification):
a. An urgent priority in the study of tourism is investment in research focusing on scale development (Lee & Crompton, 1992). Even today, regarding measurement, tourism as a legitimate field of enquiry appears to have fallen a good way behind other areas of social science investigations. In this regard, the present research conceives and operationalizes the construct of holiday attachment that may become of vital importance in future studies in the domain of tourism. Holiday attachment scale is expected to be a valuable addition to the limited repertoire of measurement apparatus available for tourism research.
b. Hitherto holidays were seen as a linear combination of its constituting modules and tourism researchers were by and large passively employing generic consumer behaviour instruments for measuring tourists’ gratification with these modules one by one and then aggregating these to get measures of overall holiday satisfaction and other relevant outcomes. The purported reason as to why researchers frequently revert to additive constructions is due to certain empiricism or mistrust of theories that they consider premature impels them towards what they believe to be great respect for directly observable facts. This approach is fundamentally flawed at an epistemological level and is a mockery of the nature of social reality (Piaget, 1973). In fact, one of the trends of avant- garde movements in all human sciences is the refutation of this method of gaining at knowledge. The new science of social enquiry begins from an awareness of the whole preceding any construction of its elements (Ornstein, 1972). The whole is a new totality emerging on a higher plane from the assemblage of certain ‘primordial’ elements, which are only monadic, ‘pre-linguistic’, and not themselves measurable. The whole then reacts upon these primordial elements to transform them into measurable elements. Anderson et al. (1994) and Mill & Morrison (1992) realize that customer satisfaction is to be understood as an undivided totality of purchase and consumption experiences over time. With reference to the practice of inter-disciplinary research in tourism, Briassoulis (1991) notes that tourism is not an economic sector in the traditional sector, not even a multi-product industry, but a complex of interrelated and inseparable activities like travel, accommodation, sightseeing, entertainment, and other services (See also Fletcher, 1989). In this context, it was sought to conceive and develop an inclusive and tourism-specific instrument from the position that a holiday is and is to be valued holistically and not in a piecemeal manner.
c. There are a number of other reasons why it would be appropriate to look at extending the measurement of tourist attachment to the more global level of the total holiday bundle. Without pre-empting the nature of this measurement, these reasons include:
i. Millions of dollars are spent each year on holiday marketing by travel agents and tour operators, national and state tourism offices, airlines, and regional tourism bodies. This includes detailed surveys of potential markets as well as extensive advertising and promotional campaigns in source countries. While there is considerable research into the impact of the promotional effort through awareness studies, tracking studies, etc, these all concentrate on the inputs (ie. has the campaign reached its target audience?). What is missing is an understanding of the client’s reaction to the product offering (which is, the holiday in totality), in particularly whether it meets the needs of the target market. This would become an integral part of the understanding what the market(s) is/are seeking.
ii. Outstanding organizations in the tourism industry recognize the need to encourage both new and repeat business. The latter can best be achieved by ensuring that the current offerings are satisfying the needs, expectations, and desires of current tourists at a subaltern level and their propensity to recommend the destination to others.
iii. The measure of holiday attachment could become a barometer of the health of the industry for strategic planning purposes.
iv. The tourism industry itself is grappling with the issue of service quality and recognizes that this is the key to long-term success. At present its focus is on establishing accreditation mechanisms to ensure that individual firms conform to appropriate standards. Monitoring tourists’ delight at the more global level of the whole holiday would provide a valuable framework for this and enable comparison between the efforts of the individual enterprise and those of the industry as a whole.
v. Public funding agencies are now recognizing the value of assessing the success of their support programs in terms of outcomes rather than inputs. As agencies move in this direction the need for the systematic collection of the type of data proposed will increase. In the case of tourism, this is particularly relevant to national, state and regional tourism development bodies responsible for holiday marketing. Using the level of attachment felt by holidaymakers to their countries as a measure of success would transfer the focus rather away from the efforts of the organization towards their achievements.
vi. Recent developments in consumer protection have extended into the area of service performance satisfaction. National governments increasingly implement laws giving tourists the right to obtain compensation from packaged holiday operators in the event that they are dissatisfied with their holiday. The proposed holiday attachment instrument will help to focus the attention of the industry on this issue and provide data on how the industry is going and what needs to be improved.
vii. Governments of all persuasions are looking critically at their financial commitments and questioning whether they should continue the traditionally high level of support. If the industry can demonstrate a relationship between the level of support and the attachment formation in holidaymakers, then the argument for continued support would be strengthened greatly. This would complement other measures such as visitor numbers, expenditure, etc.
d. The study is justifiable also in that it could provide a theoretical framework for the investigation of antecedents of holiday loyalty in terms of the three analytical categories of utility, identity, and contextuality, which is a scheme that has found currency in the general marketing parlance in measuring allied concepts like purchase motivation, consumer involvement, customer satisfaction etc. It must be noted that one of the notable gaps in the existing literature on travel choice behavior is the failure to build on previous studies, in content as well as in form (Pearce, 1982); two decades hence, Pearce’s lamentation remains equally relevant. The present research in addition to mitigating this concern becomes a conciliatory bridge that facilitates exchange between two so far disparate streams of epistemological debates on how to access service quality and customer satisfaction (for a detailed explication of this aspect, look at the subsection titled “Potential for Further Research” in chapter 5).
e. Tourism research is yet to reach high levels of theory and method. A dissection into the nuances of the model attempted at a later stage of the research could be justified in that it helped to uncover the dynamics involved in attachment formation and the various influences in that process. The mediated-moderation and moderated-mediation models are to be appreciated for their practical significance to the tourism marketers as well (for a detailed coverage of this aspect, look at the subsection titled “Implications for Practice” in chapter 5).
This thesis is structured with four major chapters in addition to this introductory chapter. Chapter two is mainly an attempt to relate the present work into the associated body of knowledge spread across disciplinary and methodological schools. In this chapter, it has been attempted to provide a critical summary of the theoretical background, both of methodology and of the study domain, required to appreciate the dissertation in the right perspective. Chapter three details the research procedures adopted for this study and their implications, including ethical. In addition, it endeavors to justify the research paradigm from the standpoint of the personal beliefs held by the researcher. Chapter four reports the results of data analysis and discusses the findings of the study. Finally, chapter five, the concluding chapter of this report, presents the implications of the study, both for the advancement of theory and for the managerial practice of tourism. The concluding segment of this chapter aims to highlight some avenues for the conduct of future research in the area of holiday attachment, too.
Knowledge is cumulative: every piece of research will contribute another piece to it. The review provided below offers the reader with an explanation of the theoretical rationale of the problem being studied, what research has already been done, how the findings relate to the problem at hand, and finally the pertinent methodological literature that was of help in carrying out this study.
It would be worthwhile to conceive the present study in terms of the relevant debates being taken place in the diverse contributory disciplines of tourism. Yet, a strictly disciplinarian review of the literature is not envisaged; instead, the material presented will be in such a manner as to reflect the trans-disciplinary nature of the phenomenon of tourism.
Of the extant notions in the literature, tourist satisfaction and loyalty are the two most important ones that have identifiably close connections with the proposed conceptualization of holiday attachment. Again, it could be seen even from a swift review of literature that marketing researchers have so far expended more of their time and energies upon these than upon all the other researches taken together, thus resulting in a rich and varied repertoire of valuable wisdom. Though, holiday attachment is posited to be different from these concepts in important ways, it would be an ideal starting point to begin our discussion with a review of the debates being taken place around these concepts.
Studies on customer satisfaction and loyalty have always been one of the thrust areas of services marketing research (Anderson & Sullivan, 1997; George & Hegde, 2004). In the specific context of tourism also, many scholars have investigated different dimensions of customer choice and an overview of the previous studies indicates that satisfaction and loyalty are generally accepted as extremely valuable concepts in understanding the performance of holidays. (Backman& Crompton, 1991; Barsky & Nash, 2002; Chen, 1998; Iso-Ahola, 1980; Iwasaki & Havitz, 1998; Mathieson & Wall, 1982; Oppermann, 2000). Satisfaction is defined as a relatively temporary post purchase state that reflects how the service has fulfilled its purpose where as loyalty is often more enduring and involves a deeply held commitment to rebuy or repatronize despite the contrary influences of marketing variables. Situational variables like social preference for products and services affect repurchase behavior, but not necessarily own satisfaction. According to Westbrook & Oliver (1991), loyalty is a long-term consequence only of some types of satisfaction like pleasure and delight, reinforced by ongoing positive experiences and support from the community. Given this, an important insight is that naively positing satisfaction as the antecedent of loyalty could be prone to errorfull predictions. We may probably need to search for another measure that can tap into the deeper and contextual realms of experiences. In this regard, Johnson, et al. (1995) proposed two typologies of satisfaction: transaction specific and cumulative. The former is concerned with satisfaction as an individual, transaction-specific measure or evaluation of a particular product or service experience while the latter is a cumulative, abstract construct that describes customer’s total consumption experience with a product or service. But, it has to be said that available satisfaction scales almost invariably aim to gauge the transaction-specific aspect.
Despite the significantly rich body of knowledge it has generated, customer satisfaction research is a mess of contradictory positions, especially when it comes to the relationship between service quality, satisfaction, and loyalty (Cronin & Taylor, 1994). The dominant-most school of thought in the area of satisfaction research, the GAPs tradition, believes that satisfaction is best fit into one of the expectation-performance gap models (Szymanski & Henard, 2001; Fournier & Mick, 1999). According to Oliver (1993) customer satisfaction is a complex construct with both cognitive and affective components. For some others, satisfaction is that something which mediates the relationship between service quality and customer loyalty (Cronin et al., 2000). There are others who feel that satisfaction does not mediate, but moderates the above relationship, that too in a non-linear manner (Anderson & Mittal, 2000; Taylor, 1997). There is also ample criticism in the literature against the undue importance being given in most of the available satisfaction scales to the attributes and characteristics of the service than to the needs and the interests of the customer (Crompton & Love, 1995).
A number of researchers have studied components of experiences that contribute to tourist satisfaction within different hospitality and tourism contexts like destination recreation, tour and accommodation services (Danaher & Arweiler, 1996; Pizam, et al., 1978). According to Lounsbury & Hoopes (1985) the major sources of holiday satisfaction are (1) the way one’s plans worked out (2) the way a person felt emotionally (3) the way a person felt physically while on vacation (4) the pace of life experienced (5) the holidaymaker’s opportunities for engaging in favorite leisure activities (6) the amount of fun a person had (7) the amount of relaxation a person had and (8)one’s opportunities for engaging in new leisure activities. Holiday satisfaction, thus, is essentially a person-environment fit. Following the consumer behavior models in the general marketing literature (Howard & Sheth, 1978; Blackwell et al., 1982), attempts have been made to model tourists’ holiday satisfaction and associated behavioral consequences. In this tradition, Moutinho (2001) provided a typical vacation tourist behavior model that consists of a flowchart with three parts: (I) Pre-decision and decision process (II) Post-purchase evaluation, and (III) future decision-making. Each part is composed of fields and sub-fields, linked by other concepts related to tourists’ behavioral process. Part I is concerned with the flow of events, from the tourist stimuli to purchase decision. The fields included are: preference structure, decision, and purchase. Part II is composed of post purchase evaluative feedback systems. Post purchase evaluation has the triple purposes of adding to the tourists’ store of experiences, checking on market related decisions, and serving as a basis for future purchase behavior. Part III of the flowchart is about future decision making and is mainly related to the study of the subsequent behaviour of the tourist by analyzing different probabilities for repeat buying a particular vacation.
Aside these, several studies investigate the broader relationship between holiday attributes and tourists’ intention to recommend their holidays and repurchase them in the future (Baker & Crompton, 2000; Kozak & Rimmington, 2000). Giltelson & Crompton (1984) cite five reasons why tourists patronize holiday: risk reduction, socialization with like people, fulfillment of an emotional bond, search for new experiences, and exposure of friends to the holiday. Laudon & Della Bitta (1993) reported findings that suggest that purchases relating to products like tourism correlate highly with self-image. At a generic level, academic approaches to customer loyalty may be grouped roughly in terms of behavioral, attitudinal, cognitive, and value based notions (Jacoby& Chestnut, 1978). Behavioral notion, which is the one most often used, operationalizes loyalty through measures based on the actual consumption, say, the frequency and the intensity of purchase and comparison of the same across time periods; measures based on the probability of repeat purchase; or, measures that examine the associations of the point of time when customers switch to other brands. As for tourist loyalty, repeat visitation is the most commonly employed intentional-behavioral measure, in addition to the willingness to recommend the holiday or its components to others, satisfaction derived from the previous visit(s), proneness to complain, etc. (Hepworth & Mateus, 1994; Oppermann, 1998; Pritchard & Howard, 1997).
However, repeat purchases as an index of loyalty is not always rightly placed. It is probably just a visible outcome of it and not all repeat purchase is due to “true” loyalty. Repeat purchase may or may not tell anything about the intrinsic likeability of the holiday for the tourist. It has been observed that consistency between attitudes and behavior may not exist in situations when there is low involvement and the relationship between these two is stronger when there is high correspondence between the target and action elements of the attitude and belief entities (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1977). Oskamp (1977) says that a big difference between attitudes and behavior is to be expected when external forces induce behavior contrary to the true desires of the individual. In this connection, Mieczkowski (1990) identifies three prerequisites for the actual purchase of a holiday: a relatively high level of disposable income, time budgets adequate for leisure travel, and technologically advanced transportation systems. Often, one may have a favorable underlying attitude towards a holiday but may not partake, and vice versa, for the reason that that many practical constraints do exist (Day, 1969). Continued visitations if taken place in the absence of positive underlying attitudes imply nothing but spurious loyalty. This happens more due to the grace of the externalities and the ineffectiveness of the competitors than due to the competence of the particular destination in question (Reid & Crompton, 1991). All intentional-behavioralist approaches have this limitation since they treat the complex phenomenon of customer loyalty at a superficial level (Allen et al., 1992) and produce only the static outcome of a dynamic process (Dick& Basu, 1994).
Recognition of positive attitudes as the kernel of true loyalty can, however, enrich and probably redeem the behavioral notions by avoiding the trap of situating the motivational forces behind travel decisions extrinsic to the individual decision maker’s true internal leanings (Niininen & Riley, 2003). Tourism analysis in general is benefited by this approach since it brings together the internal, psychological push factors of the tourists and the external, pulling forces of the destination attributes within a single, integrated framework of customer choice (Uysal & Jurowski, 1994). In addition, such a recognition enables the marketer to answer more pragmatic questions like whether merely repurchasing holidaymakers are the desired ones or not: visitors emotionally involved with a destination might be more environmentally and socio-culturally responsible and might be less price-conscious. They may complain less and complement and recommend more irrespective of whether they repurchase the holiday themselves or not.
In the light of this, it is presumed that the construct of holiday attachment that is proposed to develop as part of the present study could stand as a more sensible antecedent measure of tourist loyalty to a holiday than any of the presently employed ones since it is informed by multiple notions of customer preference in a well balanced way. It stresses the overarching significance of the emotional side of attachment as the key to true loyalty, but still accounts for the functional and situational bases of repurchase behavior.
A holiday is the name for that integrated and fully inclusive tourism product, which encompasses the varied experiences of the tourist before, during, and after the trip (Uzzell, 1984). A holiday conjures up images of travel, tour operator, and travel agency; destination attractions, of hotels, and of himself. Holidays may be regarded as society’s institutionalized means of enabling fantasy and reality to be imperceptibly mixed. Holidays are alternatively conceived as narratives, myths, empirical network relationships, marketing objects, and production, information, and consumption systems. Nine holiday types are emerged in a study conducted by Moscardo et al., (1996): Relaxing, Boring, Romantic, Exciting, Disappointing, Expensive, Full of surprises, Physically demanding, Fun, Educational, Enjoyable, Adventurous, Value for money, Excellent food, and Excellent Accommodation. To the question of what holidaymakers actually consume, the answers that literature give are amorphous and often too abstract: for example, places and landscapes, (Sherry, 1998), cultures (Greenwood, 1977; Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, 1998), cities (Judd & Fainstein, 1999), history (Boyer, 1992), tradition (MacCannell, 1994), racialized difference (Rodriguez, 2001) etc are some of the answers. Mayo (1973) examined holiday images and tourist behavior and concluded that the overall image of the holiday is the most critical factor when choosing a holiday. He further pointed out that, whether or not an image is in fact a true representation of what any given holiday has to offer, what is important is the image that exists in the mind of the vacationer.
The tourism industry provides holiday seekers with a complex bundle of tangible objects and intangible experiences designed to satisfy, re-create, and sustain their needs and wants (Leiper, 1995). This bundle includes facilitation of sorts; primarily, in the realization of the moment-of-truth experience at the destination; then, in fulfilling the different information needs (categorized temporally as ongoing, pre-purchase, planning, en-route, and after-trip needs of information) of the tourist; and then, those activities aimed at extending the customer relationship beyond the immediate peripheries of a holiday. The information provision serves as a surrogate of the moment-of-truth experience, by which the travel industry is weaving around the tourist a framework for the positive reception of the destination experience.
Ryan (1997) explores society’s earlier attitudes towards holidaying; motivations for holidays; interaction with service providers as they affect the quality of the tourist experience; and the nature of the holiday location and the events that occur there. Dimanche et al., (1993) presents an examination of the current literature related to four prevalent topical areas associated with holidaymakers’ decision behavior: Ego involvement; loyalty and commitment; family decision making; and, novelty seeking. Again, there are specific attempts to categorize tourists’ purchase decision behavior on the basis of the type of motivation (Thomas, 1964; Gray, 1979; McIntosh & Goeldner, 1995). Available evidence from tourism research says that tourists’ choice set or its structure is not static, but varies across both consumers and circumstances (Dommermuth, 1965; Rewtrakunphaiboon & Oppewal, 2003).
Essentially, a holiday is about the purchase of a benefit, which could be an emotional, intellectual or spiritual experience (See Nickerson & Ellis, 1991). Sometimes, the holiday experience can be cathartic due to it potential to sustain or change peoples’ lifestyles (Hyde, 2003). According to Havitz & Dimanche (1990), the quintessence of a holiday is the psychological state of motivation, arousal, or interest between an individual and recreational activities or related equipment, tourist destinations, and those various amenities offered, characterized by the perception of the elements of importance, pleasure value, sign value, risk probability, and risk consequences. Gray (1970) identified wanderlust and sun-lust as two important motivators triggering touristic pursuit. Krippendorf’s (1989) search for balance, Dann’s (1977) seven elements especially, anomie and ego enhancement, Plog’s (1974) psycho-mid-allo-centric typographies, Cohen’s (1979) search for authenticity, Mannell & Iso-Ahola’s (1987) two-dimensional motivational forces of seeking and escaping, and Pearce’s (1988) travel career ladder are some of the other noteworthy attempt to structure tourist disposition, motivation, and behavior. However, there is little agreement found among researchers regarding the relative positioning of any specific motivator vis-à-vis others or relative importance among these in inspiring tourists of different categories to make holiday purchases.
Besides these, Mathieson & Wall (1982) also attempted to categorize the motivational factors that determine tourists’ holidaying behavior. Their typology is an expansion of Crompton’s (1979) two categories of motivation: socio-physical or push motivator (a combination of the natural and social environments) and cultural or pull motivator. They identified physical, cultural, personal, and prestige-related motivations. These are the tourism specific variants of the generic benefits sought by a typical customer, known in the general marketing literature by wide-ranging names like: (1) functional, practical, and emotional play off (2) instrumental and expressive (3) functional and psychological (4) use, convenience in use, integrative, and economy (5) functional, experiential, and symbolic (Parry, 2000; See also, Park, et al., 1986; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). For that reason, holidaymakers are expected to appreciate the holiday performance along these dimensions (Gilbert & Abdullah, 2002).
In Mathieson & Wall’s classification presented above, the physical motivators are the search for improvement of mind and body: convalescence for health problems; exercise through golfing, playing tennis, and hiking; and relief from psychological enervation by searching out the exciting, the romantic, or the entertaining. Cultural motivations derive from curiosity about unusual places and foreign locales. The main personal motivation for taking a holiday is to visit family or friends. Other personal motivations include the desires: To experience new places and people, to make new friends, to escape a mundane social environment (to leave the house behind, to escape for the weekend, or to reduce stress and relax), and to travel. Leiper (2000) notes that there is no evidence that any destination or attraction ever pulled any tourist in the absence of push factors. That is, the beginning of tourism is with push factors and tourist motivation and decision-making behavior has necessarily to be studied in terms of the buyers’ personal values. Though not originally indented by Mathieson & Wall, along with personal motivators may be added the concept of self or identity. This is because tourists often seek in holidays those concepts existing in their conceptual structures that they believe as truly characterizing them (Lee-Hoxter & Lester, 1988). When every holiday in the choice list offers the same utility or meta-experiential options, consumer behavior becomes an identity project (Thompson & Tambiah, 1999) and identity wholly determines the purchase decision (Holcomb, 1999).
Holidays are purchased and experienced in a meta-experiential setting, though this background itself does not form the experiential product. This background may at the best structure consumer experience in unique ways. It broadly dictates what is preferable and what is to be experienced (Steele, 1981). Cranach (1992) illustrates each one’s cultural context as the background w.r.t. which touristic experiences are interpreted. To raise one’s prestige or status is an oft-cited reason for purchasing a holiday. Again, it is the socio-cultural context that predominantly defines what is prestigious. Normally, prestige is accomplished by fostering socially preferable associations with people, places, or events. Prestige enhancement may also be through the pursuit of hobbies, continuation of education, ego enhancement, and sexual indulgence. Furthermore, this motivation could also include simply doing what is in fashion. In this regard, Bourdieu’s (1984) reflection that consumption in modern societies acts as a symbolic statement about consumers as individuals and about their lifestyles and in this way consumption encourages differentiation based on symbolic capital, is extremely significant.
To fulfill these motivational needs, holidaymakers can purchase a pre-packaged holiday or can even purchase in units and then bundle them together. Packaged holidays are standardized, quality controlled, repeatable offers comprising two or more elements of transport, accommodation, food, destination attractions, other facilities, and services such as travel insurance (Middleton, 1994). Independent holidaymakers essentially purchase the same thing, with the only distinction that they feel for themselves the ownership of the bundling effort as well as the risks and benefits associated with that effort. But, there is no reason to expect that there will be the emergence of any new dimension of purchase motivation in kind for these self-help holidaymakers vis-à-vis the buyers of a fully inclusive holiday. The differences will only be in degrees along the already existing dimensions, say, if there is any motivational value involved in bundling the holiday elements oneself.
Continuing with the preceding discussion, dimensions of holidaymakers’ motivation may be thought of as composed of function or utility; emotion, self or identity; and, symbolism or context. Individuals by and large must be deriving meaning of their holiday consumption along these three dimensions. Moreover, it must be along these dimensions holidaymakers evaluate what they think the holiday can do for them. Zaichkowsky (1985) also seems to be arguing along the same direction while discussing about her involvement construct, developed to capture the concept of individuals’ perceived relevance for products based on inherent needs, values, and interests. Taking cues from Bloch & Richins (1993) and Houston & Rothschild (1978) she categorized involvement into physical, personal, and situational. In fact, it was pondered enough a propos using the phrase ‘ holiday involvement’ instead of ‘ holiday attachment’ for the proposed scale since what was envisaged was to measure something like involvement for the product-service bundle, namely a holiday; but noticing that a critical mass of related studies in the area of leisure, recreation, and tourism has already employed the term ‘ attachment’, it was decided to settle down for the present terminology, holiday attachment. Most of the above mentioned studies are about the place attachment construct (Anderson et al., 1995; Bricker & Kerstetter, 2000; Proshansky et al., 1983; Moore & Graefe, 1994; Stokowski, 1996; Vaske & Kobrin, 2001; Warzecha & Lime, 2001; Williams & Roggenbuck, 1989) which measures the meanings, beliefs, symbols, values, and feelings that individuals or groups associate with a particular locality (Tuan, 1977), say, a tourist destination (Moore & Scott, 2003; George &George, 2005). Additionally, it was felt that supplementary studies could posit holiday attachment as a logical extension of the existing literature on place attachment in particular and the more generic attachment theory (Goldberg et al., 1995) available in the psychology literature. Again, as Schultz et al., (1989) argues, attachment, as opposed to involvement, is directly associated with fundamental self- developmental processes that span the entire life cycle and attachment' s temporal element has no counterpart in involvement. Attachment often has to do with memories and previous self- definitional experiences as well as current or anticipated ones whereas involvement concerns mostly with the present only.
Accordingly, holiday attachment was conceptualized by the researcher in terms of the significance of the holiday to the individual traveler. It is the collection of meanings, beliefs, symbols, values, and feelings that tourists associate with a particular holiday and was constructed with the three dimensions of holiday utility, holiday identity, and holiday contextuality (The scale development process is detailed in chapter 3). Holiday attachment was formally defined in the following way:
A tourist ’ s perceived significance of a holiday based on its ability to fulfill his or her utility, identity, and contextual needs.
Utility refers to the physical components of the holiday that tend to cause dependence or functional association with the holiday. It refers to the more intrinsic advantages of the service consumption and usually corresponds to the product related attributes. It may be operationalized in terms of how the current holiday compares with alternatives in satisfying the activity level needs of tourists or its ability to facilitate behaviour stemming from such needs.
Identity stands for one’s inherent values, beliefs, interests, or needs that constitute one’s conception of own self and that motivate one toward certain types of holidays since such holidays are assumed to be symbolic of these values, beliefs, interests, or needs. Russel Belk says that external objects to which individuals are affectively attached and which are considered as parts of individuality comprise the extended self (Belk, 1988) and these objects are highly congruent with the individual’s sense of self. Holiday identity implies affective or emotional attachment with a holiday. Putting slightly differently, it refers to what it “feels like” to partake in the holiday. Identity may be operationalized in terms of a combination of attitudes, values, thoughts, beliefs, meanings, and interpretations that tourists associate with a certain holiday and the behavioral tendencies stemming from these.
Contextuality refers to something that increases one’s interest towards the holiday due to contextual particularities. It is broadly similar to the concept of situationality developed by Bloch & Richins (1983) and later modified by Deborah & Richard (2000) and the working or activated self concept of McGuire & McGuire (1988), both of which suggest that individuals focus on whatever aspects of themselves that are most relevant in a particular social setting or situation. Context is the information available to a particular individual on a particular occasion for use in the meaning ascription process (Clark & Carlson, 1981). It refers to advantages extrinsic and not immediate to the process of consumption. Its correspondence is to the extra-product related necessities like the need for societal approval and outer-directed self-esteem (Wallendorf & Arnould, 1988), or at times the facilitatory conditions for the actual consumption experience. It may be thought of as those features of a meta-holiday, which influence the selection of a holiday, but do not form bases for the immediate holiday experience. Individuals as decision makers recognize and work within the constraints of the known contextualities in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Individuals may value the prestige, exclusivity, or fashionability of a brand because of how it relates to their outward directed-self (Snyder, 1974; George & Mekoth, 2004). They may behave in manners preferable to the societal context, for instance, and if certain holiday types have higher social preference values in the current context, they may develop attachment towards such holidays.
Holiday Dependence is an ex post facto analytical category brought about by agglomerating holiday utility and holiday contextuality. Apart from the fact that such an act appreciably increased the analytical depth, it is all the more justifiable since the items in the holiday attachment scale constituting these dimensions in general stood for what a holiday is ‘ for’, meaning dependence to the holiday, while those items constituting holiday identity singularly stood for what a holiday ‘ is’ for the holidaymaker. In other words, holiday utility and contextuality stand more along the performance dimension while holiday identity stands more along the attribute dimension of an object of consumption. But, holiday contextuality should be distinguished from holiday utility in that it is not the intrinsic physical or activity based needs per se that causes attachment in the former case, but rather, the situational particularities working behind these needs. Also to be noted is that, since holiday contextuality constitutes the attempts made by individuals for self- cultivation within the context provided by the external environment (Csikszentimihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981), there could be some sort of interaction between holiday contextuality and holiday identity in the longer course of development of one’s self and identity, except for the notable difference that the former is about the propagation of a socially suitable self or about the enhancement of the self-concept through the transfer of socially accepted meanings of products or brands to oneself while the latter is about attempts to experience the intrinsic self as reflected in the objects of consumption.
The above categorization is congruent with the multifaceted, but interrelated concept of the human self. Attachment, a relationship orientation variable, is a multidimensional property representing the types and degrees of linkages between an individual and the object of his consumption, existing neither in him, not in the object, nor in the context, but rather in the intersection of the three (Schultz et al., 1989). Holiday attachment is a holidaymaker’s overall bond of association with a holiday based on the above three components. These components brew together the salient beliefs individuals have (Myers, 1985) about a holiday and their evaluative judgments about those beliefs and are expected to form an important basis for understanding their intentions and behavior, especially loyalty and repurchase behaviour.
Earliest academic references to customer innovativeness, novelty, and variety seeking can be found in Everett Rogers’ diffusion of innovation literature (Rogers, 1962). According to Hirschman (1980), the basic notion underlying the construct of novelty seeking appears to be that, through some internal drive or motivating force the individual is activated to seek out novel information. It also involves the degree to which an individual is receptive to new ideas and makes innovation decisions independently of the communicated experience of others (Midgle & Dowling, 1978). Two of the predominant aspects of novelty seeking are: Seeking information that is altogether new; and, propensity to try out varied items within the already known set (Manning, et al., 1995).
Investigations have resulted in many different conceptualizations and corresponding operationalizations of novelty seeking. Examples include Hirschman’s (1980) novelty seeking scale, Pearson’s (1970) desire for novelty scale, Iso-Ahola & Weissnger’s (1990) leisure boredom scale, Driver’s (1996) recreation experience preference scale, Golsmith & Hofacker’s (1991) consumer innovativeness scale, and, Mehrabien & Russel’s (1974) arousal seeking tendency scale. The sensation seeking scale (Raju, 1980) is another related implement. The common thread linking these conceptualizations is high level of exploratory behavior (Hirschman & Stern, 2001) and the stimulation of pleasurable responses stemming wherefrom.
Bello & Etzel (1985) noted the unique importance of novelty seeking as fundamental to the phenomenon of tourism. Desire for novel experiences among tourists varies along a continuum from novelty seekers to novelty avoiders. According to Cohen (1972) modern man is interested in things, sights, customs, and cultures different from his own, precisely because they are different. Gradually, a new value has evolved: The appreciation of the experience of strangeness and novelty. Integrating this spirit in the context of tourism, novelty seeking may be defined as the difference in the degree and mode of touristic experience sought by the tourist as compared with his previous experience (Lee & Crompton, 1992). This definition accedes that novelty seeking is a more fundamental human trait, something sort of genetic, than product category specific. This is in contrast with the perspective held by some researchers (Gatignon & Robertson, 1985; Subramanian & Mittelstaedt, 1991) that seeking variety and change is product category specific. An operationalization of novelty seeking thus necessarily involves the willingness to take physical, psychological, and social risks for the sake of varied, novel, and complex sensations. Lee & Crompton (1992) operationalized novelty seeking in terms of the four dimensions of thrill, change from routine, boredom alleviation, and surprise.
According to Welker (1961), perception of novelty depends up on the currency, frequency, and the duration of exposure to a stimulus. Hence, the more time spent on a holiday, its constituent objects, people, and the environment, the frequent and recent the purchase of it, the less novel that holiday becomes. High novelty seekers may prefer not to repurchase a holiday, notwithstanding the bond of attachment that they may have for that holiday existing independently of it. This is an incremental improvement upon the classic consumer behavior model (Engel et al., 1995) that suggests a non-problematic relationship between customers’ assessment of holiday performance and their repurchase intention. In technical terms, novelty seeking (moderating variable) may affect the strength of the relation between holiday attachment (independent or predictor variable) and holiday loyalty (dependent or criterion variable).
It may retard not only the repurchase intention, but also the development of attachment itself because a certain degree of sense of connections with a product or service is formed out of a history of continued purchases in the past (Kim et al., 1997; Trijp et al., 1996). The more familiar a holiday becomes, the more positive is its image thus forming an additive feedback loop (Echtner & Richie, 1991&1993; Milman & Pizam, 1995). A step further, the present research empirically establishes that the moderating effect of novelty seeking becomes insignificant once there exists a strong holiday identity. Thus, holiday identity predominantly eclipses the effects of holiday utility, holiday contextuality, and novelty seeking in the determination of holiday loyalty.
This might confront with one of the most influential theory of consumer behavior, Bettman’s (1979) information processing model, which assumed the overwhelming primacy of the rational cognitive processes controlling consumer choice. However, according to MaCcannel (2002), the necessary absence of a rational economic relation is at the heart of a genuine tourist economy. Holiday identity may be the “gap in economic theory” while coming to tourism. With the maturation of holiday identity, it may be that tourists grow beyond the industry-created economic space and charts out their own personal space for social action that is wealthier in subjective meanings than in economic rationality.
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Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 276 Pages
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