chapter  2
12 Pages

Consumer decision making and tourist motivation

Many chapters on the subject of decision making start by presenting the history of research in consumer behaviour. They examine the early monadic models of buying behaviour which assume that consumers are rational decision makers who make purchases after lengthy decision making, before introducing the later multi-variable models which recognise the importance of exogenous factors such as culture, society, motivation and personality. Invariably, these chapters address the inadequacies of the traditional approaches, and explain what their authors believe to be the missing link or the ‘next big thing’, which sometimes incorporates their own model or a unique additional factor(s) that will finally, once and for all, explain consumer decision making. Whilst it is easy to criticise such a well-trodden path that seems to promise little, there are merits to this approach not only is it important to acknowledge the history of consumer research because it informs our current understanding of tourist decision making, but also previous studies make a significant contribution to understanding the behaviour of consumers faced with extraordinarily complex consumption choices in the 21st century. With this in mind, this chapter starts with an overview of research in con-

sumer behaviour, before evaluating the literature on tourist motivation and decision making. The chapter discusses the ‘grand models’ of decision making and considers why they have proven unsatisfactory in explaining both consumer and also tourist decision making. The chapter continues with an examination of key variables that have been used to explore tourist motivations, such as consideration sets, involvement, attitudes and values. It discusses their influence on consumer behaviour and investigates their link with tourist decision making and motivation. The chapter concludes with an introduction to the concept of values and provides an overview of value studies in tourism.