Digital transformation has an impact on consumer behavior in tourism. Explore the type, model, importance, and factors influencing their behavior.
Digitalization has transformed the way people live, work, and travel. It also opens up new opportunities for the hospitality and tourism industry to compete in a dynamic market landscape. Moreover, digital transformation has diversely defined consumer behavior in tourism. Consumer behavior is not a new concept for research. However, people find it hard to identify how tourists spend on travel and other leisure activities in a savvy-tech world.
Innovative emerging technologies in tourism have changed business models, so understanding consumer behavior in tourism is essential. This article examines factors influencing consumer behavior in the buying behavior process and its importance to business operations.
Consumer behavior in tourism
Consumer behavior in tourism will involve decisions, activities, thinking, and experiences that satisfy consumer requirements during the journey. Few consumer behavior concepts and models exist in the tourism field. Moutinho reviews the social and psychological influences on consumer behavior in tourism to develop models of consumer behavior. Dimanche and Havitz review ego-involvement, loyalty and commitment, family decision-making, and novelty to advance consumer behavior concepts.
To understand customer behavior in tourism, companies examine interactions amongst influencing elements. Innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality have formed consumer behavior in tourism. Understanding consumer behavior in tourism in the digital transformation has been critical for travel agencies and hoteliers. The companies aim to better influence consumers and leverage digital solutions.
Importance of consumer behavior in the tourism sector
Perceiving the importance of consumer behavior is critical for those working in any business sector. The tourism and hospitality industry is no exception for its substantial impacts on business operations. Hence, service providers will identify the relationship between tourism and customer behavior.
People have different motivations for travel. For example, the allocentric traveler feels relaxed when visiting a solitary destination. Psychological tourism behaves differently as the traveling motivation is different. The behavior of a business traveler and a leisure one is different for the location. Predicting consumer behavior in tourism helps firms serve tourists better and meet their requirements during their stay.
Business owners understand different aspects of consumer behavior and other factors influencing consumer behavior. They include service quality, product quality, price, emotions, seasonality, age, etc. Destinations have attracted four tourist types: first-time main-destination visitors, repeat main-destination visitors, first-time secondary-destination travelers, and repeat secondary-destination travelers. Many firms introduce digital solutions such as voice search and contactless payment to serve tourists on their stay. Outsourcing software development services help business owners in the hospitality industry to turn ideas into digital solutions through mobile apps.
Models of consumer behavior in the travel decision-making process
Authors have formed conceptual models of consumer behavior, so we have to be attentive when applying them. Dimanche and Havitz divided models of consumer behavior into four groups: self-involvement, loyalty, family influence on decision-making, and novelty. When defining models of consumer behavior, researchers identify nine key elements relevant to consumer behavior in tourism.
The decision-making process includes planning and purchases. In some models, the decision-making process is the initial stage; however, others consider it a central component.
In the marketing aspect, values influence the consumer buying behavior process when choosing amongst tour categories, brands, and attributes. Values will drive their actions, buying behaviors, emotions, and judgment.
Different tourists have different motivations for their trips, even in the location. Tourist motivation is vital in marketing strategies such as segmentation, product development, etc.
Self-concept & Personality
Researchers have investigated the influence on destination image and travel intentions. Personality is a part of self-concepts such as attitude changing, perception, and risk-taking. Tour operators turn their ideas into software applications to enhance pre-and-post tourist journeys. That boosts the growth of outsourcing software development services in the hospitality and tourism industry.
A tourist experience that meets the expectations will keep them coming back. Expectations are from past experiences, word of mouth, advertising sources, personal characteristics, and motivations. Using technology in the hospitality and tourism industry is a great way to improve customer experiences. For instance, hoteliers hire offshore development teams to build contactless payments for guests. That makes the payment process more efficient and convenient for guests.
It refers to the relationship amongst attributes such as the characteristics of a tourist destination and a general attitude. Measuring tourist attitudes towards tourism services, attractions, and trademarks of tourism service providers are challenging. Besides, tourism-makers have to consider tourists’ moods and emotions at the measurement time.
Tourism perception focuses on risk and security: crime, terrorism, and epidemics of certain diseases. For example, the covid-19 pandemic has strongly impacted the global tourism and hospitality industry owing to restriction regulations. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality tourism have emerged in the tourism sector for those who want to explore new land and remain safe.
The data after the journey is vital for hoteliers and tourism-makers. Satisfaction defines the assessment of a purchase. Many hoteliers integrate collecting-feedback features into existing software applications. Outsourcing software development services help your firm solve hospitality problems to improve customer satisfaction.
Trust and loyalty
Trust and loyalty are elements in the model of consumer behavior. Researchers mention vertical, horizontal, and experiential loyal tourists.
- Expect higher levels of satisfaction and enjoyment since they see tourism activities as a means of joyfulness.
- Time goes faster.
- They seek a higher level of satisfaction.
- Find a similar tourism experience in a moderate to long time.
- Expect comparatively lower levels of enjoyment since they suffer lots of stress.
- Extrinsic tourists focus on the passage of time.
- They could be apprehensive, which might hinder their joyfulness and relaxation.
- Seek for the same tourism experience in a short time.
Tourism and Consumer Behavior: External Factors & Tourism Company Actions
External factors influencing consumer behavior
Three external factors influencing consumer behavior in tourism include technology, Millennials, and ethical consumption.
Tourists use technology for consumption-related activities such as information research, buying process, experience sharing, and entertainment. Using technology in the hospitality and tourism industry has driven many travelers. Understanding how technology is developing and shaping consumer behavior in tourism is vital. Nowadays, tourists can access travel information and share their experiences through technology-mediated platforms and outlets. They include social networking apps, blogs, video-sharing web applications, etc. Social media, for instance, has changed consumer behavior in tourism. Travelers use social networking sites at all stages of the vacation cycle: pre, on-visit, and post-visit. Recently, research shows that reputation from e-word-of-mouth behavior impacts business performance. Tourism companies define how social media affects consumer behavior in tourism.
Besides, technology has impacts on stages of the decision and consumption process. Digital solutions change tourist experiences such as smartphones influence experiences and how tourists interact with payment software. The use of mobile technology in tourism includes mobile check-in, voice search, etc. Moreover, tourists expand their knowledge of travel behavior through mobile devices.
Demographic — Millennials
Millennials have become the primary source of visitors for some attractions. Understanding their needs and behaviors is a cornerstone of making your business successful. Much of the Millennials’ population are familiar with digitally native solutions. Researchers define this population as consumption-oriented, large social groups in physical and virtual spaces, high discretionary income groups.
Ethical concern in consumption
The ethical concern in consumption is a fundamental factor influencing consumer behavior in tourism. Tourist consumption increasingly bundles with justice and conscience. Ethical consumer behavior refers to how things affect the consumer buying behavior processes and other consumption experiences.
How tourism firms solve consumer behavior challenges
To respond to the dynamic changes in consumer behavior, tourism companies develop business models:
Firms need to analyze previous consumer behaviors and their buying habits. Besides, understanding consumer behavior in tourism is also through their relationship with service providers and distributors. Tourism companies use outsourcing software development services to upgrade their information system software.
Consumer interaction platforms
Tourism companies use consumer interaction platforms and social-networking apps to stimulate communication amongst tourists and service providers. Additionally, those interaction platforms enable travelers to communicate with hoteliers. Using offshore development teams to develop social-networking sites and sharing apps/forums is one of the feasible solutions to enhance tourist interaction.
Diverse business models
Travelers will expect that tourism service providers meet all their needs and requirements on their trip. They also can return or request a refund if companies fail to meet their expectations. Reputation brands are susceptible to different business models and oriented towards consumer behaviors.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Companies need to pay attention to their business models and take responsibility for all partners. It helps create value and stimulates customer behaviors.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM plays a vital role in the business digitalization process. The old business concept is becoming up-to-date owing to the emergence of technology. CRM technology enables firms to implement efficient marketing campaigns to maintain profitable customer relationships. The growth of information and communication technologies has started the rise of e-CRM. It empowers hoteliers and tourism providers to connect with their guests through fierce, personal, and mutually beneficial interactions.
In the savvy digital era, mobile applications have significantly improved the communication between tourism supply and demand. Various mobile applications enable travelers to collect relevant information when planning their trips. Besides, it supports all partners in tourism supply to promote their service and facilitate communications with guests. Tourism providers use outsourcing software development services to solve consumer behavior challenges. Digital solutions such as mobile apps for transport, accommodation, tour guides play a vital part in forming consumer behavior in tourism. Here are digital solutions for firms to improve their services and promote customer satisfaction:
Transport Planning Applications
This digital solution helps travelers keep track of all information on means of transportation in real-time. It can facilitate change and scheduling of alternative transportation in unplanned situations.
Accommodation Planning Apps
The application features a location-based service tourism center. It offers accommodation and lodge booking services.
Tour Guide Apps
The digital solution plays like a city guidebook that shows recommendations for restaurants, stores, shopping sites, nightlife activities, etc. It replaces traditional paper guidebooks for more convenient and additional values. The digital transformation has driven consumer behavior in tourism by using mobile apps instead of traditional guidebooks.
Location-based social-networking apps
Tourists can find friends or those who are traveling alone at the destination. They can discover new places around the location. It helps strengthen the feeling of connection amongst different people, which results in authentic travel experiences.
Tourist Assistance Apps
This mobile app provides travelers with support services such as voice translation for mobile devices and translation through a camera on the mobile device. The tourist assistance services can promote travel experiences and open up possibilities for tourist interactions.
The state-of-the-art digital solutions have boosted the tourism and hospitality industry growth, especially consumer behavior in tourism. Tourism organizations need to understand the consumer buying behavior process in various aspects. It includes models of consumer behavior to factors influencing consumer behavior pre-visit, on-visit, and post-visit. Moreover, tourism companies adapt technological advancement and business trends to promote their operations.