Role of beliefs and past experience in forming resort accommodation purchase behaviour : a study of Australian tourists

Sharma, M 2008, Role of beliefs and past experience in forming resort accommodation purchase behaviour : a study of Australian tourists, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Role of beliefs and past experience in forming resort accommodation purchase behaviour : a study of Australian tourists
Author(s) Sharma, M
Year 2008
Abstract Hospitality industry has a long history of providing accommodation along with recreation facilities. Resorts are a more recent phenomenon in offering similar services. The similarity stops there as the people who use resorts have different expectations and motives to be there. While hotels are mainly used by the business people and are busier during the weekdays, resorts are generally used for vacation and rest and are busy during holiday season. The difference in the clientele's motivations makes it difficult for the resort marketers to effectively position and market the property to the right segment. There have been many studies done primarily on hotel clients, while resorts have largely been neglected.

This study is the first step in evaluating the level of contribution beliefs and past experiences make when Australian tourists decide on their resort accommodation purchase. To achieve this aim the Australian resort market was segmented and then every segment was tested on the model developed for the study.

In this study, 412 people responded by filling out the questionnaires that were put in their rooms, by the participating resorts they were staying in. The study targeted all states and Territories of Australia. Every possible precaution was taken to maintain the anonymity of the respondents and the participating resorts to avoid compromising their financial interests.

The study found four segments of resort tourists. They were named active conventionalists, young conservatives, elite regulars and veterans. The role of beliefs and past experience in purchase decision was found to be of varying degrees amongst the segments. It was also found that benefit beliefs had the bigger role in resort accommodation selection compared to normative beliefs. Control beliefs had the least role in the formation of the purchase behaviour. It was also found that while the Theory of Planned Behaviour was incapable of predicting resort accommodation purchase behaviour on its own, the addition of past behaviour to the mix increased the predictability perceptibly.

The main limitation of the research was that the researcher and the respondents were far removed from each other. It is recommended that in future studies; there must be a provision for qualitative data to complement the quantitative approach. Besides this, there are many more important recommendations made relating to design and application of the questionnaire for future studies. The study also stresses that similar studies should be conducted, preferably on longitudinal basis to confirm or reject the findings of the present study.

The present study contributed to the body of knowledge by providing a theoretical framework and suggesting a resort accommodation purchase predictability model incorporating beliefs and past experience of resort tourists. It also provided resort marketing planners with practical recommendations and implications in terms of attracting the right clients to their resorts as well as how to position their resorts for the intended market segment to get the best returns on their investment in marketing.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) Tourism Australia
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