Complexity and Simplification in Understanding Travel Preferences Among Tourists
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Travel preferences are complex phenomena, and thus cumbersome to deal with in full width in diagnostic and strategic planning processes. The aim of the present investigation was to explore to what extent individual preferences can be simplified into structures, and if tourists can be grouped into preference clusters that are viable and practically applicable for tourism planning. Building on prior studies that have validated survey instruments designed to measure different tourist role orientations, we used a factor analytical approach to develop a simplified structure of individual preferences, and a standard clustering technique for grouping tourists into preference clusters. Further analyses indicated that preference clusters based on reduced factor preference-data are to some extent related to context-specific valuations, perceptions, and revisit intentions; however, the magnitude of differences between groups was rather small. Overall findings provide reason to suggest that the identified preference clusters are insufficient when it comes to explaining variability in which aspects tourists emphasize as part of their vacation. Possible managerial implications and methodological limitations of the present investigation are noted.