Marketing professionals in tourism are increasingly aware of the need to understand how their consumers make their decisions to purchase a particular product. Currently, the research conducted by tourism organizations about consumer behaviour is only beginning to tackle this subject seriously.
It would therefore be fortuitous if the academic models could be used by marketers. An appreciation of how consumers make decisions would help marketers develop their marketing plans in relation to the following, for example:
- When to attempt to influence consumers, in other words, focusing marketing activities at the time when most consumers are making decisions to buy a particular product
- The choice of advertising media based on which media the majority of consumers use to gain information about tourism products
- The selection of appropriate distribution channels or marketing intermediaries. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves, are the models reliable enough so they could be used in this way. Perhaps not, for, as we noted previously, we must remember that many of the models are at least fifteen years old.
Marketing professionals who want to see if they can put these models into practice to guide their activities, need to see if there is any link between them and the technique of market segmentation. For, in a sense, these techniques represent an attempt to explain purchase decisions by reference to various characteristics of the tourist.
In other words, segmentation splits the population into subgroups who share the same purchase characteristics. It suggests that the decision of everyone in the subgroup is primarily determined by one set of influences. These influences, in classic marketing theory, are divided into four criteria: