Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

The Relationships among Tourist Novelty, Familiarity, Satisfaction, and Destination Loyalty: Beyond the Novelty-Familiarity Continuum

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

The Relationships among Tourist Novelty, Familiarity, Satisfaction, and Destination Loyalty: Beyond the Novelty-Familiarity Continuum

Article excerpt

Abstract

Novelty and familiarity play an important role in tourists' perceptions, and these have been regarded as contrasting concepts for a long time. However, recent cognitive science literature suggests that novelty and familiarity are separate concepts, independently influencing consumer behavior. Based on this, our study aims to examine the differences between the effects of novelty and familiarity on satisfaction and destination loyalty. These relationships are explored by analyzing the responses of tourists in Takayama City, Japan. The research model was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM) techniques. The results show that both novelty and familiarity contribute to destination loyalty; however, only novelty has an effect on the formation of satisfaction.

Theoretical and managerial implications of these are also discussed.

Keywords: novelty, familiarity, satisfaction, destination loyalty

1. Introduction

As the tourism market becomes increasingly competitive, the importance of customer retention has also increased. Studies indicate that a 5% increase in customer retention could result in company profits rising by 25%-85% over the lifetime of a customer (Reichheld & Sasser, 1990; Shoemaker & Lewis, 1999). In addition, the marketing cost of retaining existing customers is much lower than that of gaining new customers (Rosenberg & Czepiel, 1984). In terms of consumer behavior, customer retention leads to positive word-of-mouth referral for customer's friends, relatives, and other potential customers (Shoemaker & Lewis, 1999). Loyalty is one of the major indicators used to measure customer retention. For tourism destination marketing, tourists' loyalty towards a destination (hereafter referred to as "destination loyalty") can be defined as tourists' intention to revisit and recommend the destination to others (Yoon & Uysal, 2005). Several studies have attempted to identify factors affecting destination loyalty. For example, past studies revealed the effects of satisfaction (Chen & Tsai, 2007; Chi & Qu, 2008; Prayag & Ryan, 2012; Yoon & Uysal, 2005), destination image (Chen & Tsai, 2007), trip quality (Chen & Tsai, 2007; Yamada & Toyama, 2011), previous visitation experience (Petrick & Sirakaya, 2004; Chi, 2012), emotion (Bosque & Martin, 2008; Yamada & Toyama, 2011), motivation (Yoon & Uysal, 2005; Mechinda, Serirat, & Guild, 2009), and destination attachment (Prayag & Ryan, 2012; A. Yuksel, F. Yuksel, & Bilim, 2010) on destination loyalty. Amongst these, satisfaction seems to be the most frequently occurring measure.

However, few studies have investigated the effects of destination familiarity, which plays an important role in tourists' perception. Although Mechinda et al. (2009) showed that familiarity influences destination loyalty, they did not examine the relationships among familiarity, satisfaction, and destination loyalty. If tourists feel a sense of familiarity, it can provide a feeling of security and comfort, which may lead to satisfaction and loyalty. On the one hand, novelty-seeking is regarded as a key component of travel motivation (Crompton, 1979). It is also an antecedent of satisfaction and destination loyalty (Assaker, Vinzi, & O'Connor, 2011; Feng & Jang, 2007).

According to these propositions, even though tourists seek novelty, they prefer to visit familiar destinations. This appears to be inconsistent on the surface. Indeed, novelty and familiarity have been treated as contrasting concepts in tourism research since the 1970s. For example, Cohen (1972) classified four types of tourists based on their preference for either familiarity or novelty. This could be restated as the "novelty-familiarity continuum" (Basala & Klenosky, 2001). However, in recent cognitive science literature, Shimojo (2008) suggested that novelty and familiarity are distinct concepts, which independently influence consumer behavior. …

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