Consumer Behavior in Tourism
Consumers are those customers who purchase product or service to fulfill their needs or desires. Consumers purchase the product or service after having some knowledge about the product or service. Consumers get information about the product or service from several channels like newspapers, televisions, radio, webpages, relatives, friends, holding boards etc. Sellers (business organizations) sell products and services to the consumers; they disseminate information about the product and services they sell using different media: online and offline. They work very hard to sell their products and services; make advertisements, do different marketing campaigns. Sellers promote their products and services with motive to increase sales volume, to increase profit, to improve customer base, but they may fail to achieve their specified targets; the sale of products will not be up-to the marks. There may be different reasons for sellers not able to achieve the specified targets; and inability to understand the consumer behavior or insufficient information about the consumer behavior may be one of the major reasons for this kind of failure. For any organization to succeed and achieve goals and objective it is necessary to understand consumer behavior and plan and do marketing according to the behavior of the consumers.
Consumer behavior is the set of activities shown by the consumer at the time of purchasing product or service. Different consumers have different behaviors; their thought-process differ from each other. This makes difficult for the seller to sale their services and products. The consumer behavior is influenced by several factors, the major factors are:
Understanding of consumer behavior is very important for all the sectors associated with the tourism and hospitality industry. Understanding behavior of consumers (tourists, guests) of tourism and hospitality industry demands for more insight compared to other business organizations; the nature of products consumed by tourists are different from other products like groceries, clothing, electronic gadgets, vehicles, books etc. Tourist purchases room, holiday packages, foods and beverages, other services; s/he will not get anything in return; what s/he gets is satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the services and products. Tourist makes plan to visits place long before or without planning in urgent.
Classic theories of consumer behavior may not be sufficient to study tourist behavior; purchase process in tourism has some unique features which are different compared to other product purchase process.
Decision of tourist about visiting places, making purchases is influences by his/her own personal characteristics; several factors motivate tourist; price of service, financial condition of the tourist; role of family, other people, culture, social status. There are several reasons for a tourist to visit places different from his/her home town.
People of one generation are different from other generations; they posses’ different history of destination places, show different needs and wishes for the future; follow different criteria to evaluate tourist destination and services; also, each generation may use different sources of information to understand the tourist destination and services. If tourists can be tracked, then their behavior may be captured and tourism organizations can develop and provide services based on the studied tourist behavior. But tracking tourist may not be legal as s/he is an independent human being with right to be private and anonymous. And tourism organizations have not thought of tracking tourists to understand their behaviors.