Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Destination Information Sources: A Spatial Study across Time and Expenditure

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Destination Information Sources: A Spatial Study across Time and Expenditure

Article excerpt

Introduction

The diffusion of destination-related information has been well recognized as a strategic tool of tourism marketing. Destination marketers use several information channels to gain mileage in creating awareness, enhancing interest, increasing desire and initiating prompt action amongst the targeted tourists to come and enjoy the resources. So, in the context of destination marketing, the use of information source is of strategic importance (Stabler, 1988; Chon, 1990; Echtner and Ritchie, 1991; Chacko, 1997; Chen and Uysal, 2002; Gallarza et al., 2002; and Sarma, 2003). A number of information sources are trusted by the tourists while forming an image of the destination (Reynolds, 1965; Gunn, 1988; and Fodness and Murray, 1997). However, the level of trust reposed on a particular channel for necessary information might be guided by some characteristics innate to the tourists. Researches show that tourists from divergent backgrounds use different sources of information in evaluating the destinations' image (Sung et al., 2001; Fodness and Murray, 1997; Klenosky and Gitelson, 1998; and Gallarza et al., 2002). Some researchers have also suggested that the process of gathering information starts with visitors' internal knowledge (Fodness and Murray, 1997; Vogt and Fesenmaier, 1998; and Gursoy and Umbreit, 2004). It is also recognized that cultural background bears Research Note influence on the use of information channel (Gursoy and Umbreit, 2004). Moreover, demographic characteristics and referrals play a significant role in shaping the use of a particular contour of information source (Vogt and Fesenmaier, 1998; Smith and Gregory, 2000; and Sarma, 2004). Studies also report that the state of destination image does not remain consistent over a longer period of time (Gartner, 1986; Gartner and Hunt, 1987; Chon, 1991; Echtner and Ritchie, 1991; and Gartner, 1993). Similarly, the effectiveness of information sources in communicating destination-related message also changes over the period (Sung et al., 2001). The degree of use may directly or indirectly show the extent to which an information channel is trusted by prospective tourists. Research can be extended to measure the changes, if any, in the degree of use of information channel over time; to measure the relationships between degree of use of information channel and extent of tourists' expenditures and also to see whether specific tourists profile can be delineated on the basis of age, education, occupation and frequency of travel for degree of use of information channel. This paper tries to address these issues.

Objectives

The broad objectives of this paper include:

* To check the degree of usage of information channels over time. The term degree of usage refers to the extent to which a particular channel is used by discerning tourists for gathering necessary information.

* To check the relationships, if any, between the extent of tourists' expenditure and use of information sources.

* To verify the influence of tourists' age, education, occupation and previous travel experience over the degree of use of information channels for destinations in North-East India.

Research Method

Information Sources Selected for the Study

Tourists trust various sources or channels for acquiring knowledge about different destinations (Morrison et al., 1996; Fodness and Murray, 1997 and 1999; Smith and Gregory, 2000; and Bieger and Laesser, 2004). The usage of these sources in decision making was measured on a 4- point Likert-type scale. The information sources include: destination information brochure, regional information brochure, hotel listing, Tour Operator (TO) brochure, oral information sources like retailer/ agency, railway station, tourist information at destination, National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) at Switzerland, advertisement in newspapers and magazines, travel guidebooks, video, CD-ROM, DVD, trade fair, radio/TV broadcast, video text, Internet, friends and relatives among others. …

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