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Analysis of factors affecting the decision to purchase holiday packages by tourists through travel agencies.


The tour-operator travel agency trades in organizing and selling services packages or their components, directly or through its dealers.

Lately, the changes that have taken place on the tourist market have given birth to new ways of purchasing holiday packages. We can mention here the internet, on line booking services, the systems of global distribution and the electronic systems of distribution.The decision to buy tourist packages through a travel agency depends on a series of factors, such as: the price of the tourist product, if the agency is considered reliable or not, promotional offers, the quality of the product, facilities and free services offered by the agency, recommendations from relatives and friends.

Taking into account all these elements, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the factors that can influence the decision to purchase holiday packages. We would like to do this research because we have the belief that the identification of these factors and the measurement of their importance will help the travel agencies to understand their consumers better. Only through this approach the travel agency could maintain its position as a major distributor of the holiday packages.

The creation of the decision to purchase the tourist services is studied with a great deal of interest along the time. Thus, (Wearne, N. & Baker,K., 2002) sustains that people, according to their personality, choose different tourist products. Furthermore, the pressure coming from their relatives and friends represents another factor which influences the process of purchasing in tourism (Holloway, Ch., 2004).

The research made in the field of motivation and decision to purchase in tourism revealed two factors, " the distance to the holiday destination" and " the price of the destination" ( Nicolau, J. & Mas, Fr., 2006) as being decisive for consumers in most of the cases. The research on decisions to purchase holiday packages made by parents and their adolescent children (Carr, N., 2006) shows that these choose holidays according to different factors. Thus, while parents want a safe holiday destination, teenagers do not want anything organised in advance or they have no exaggerated expectations. The relations between the purchasing behaviour of the tourists, the quality of the services and satisfaction coming after experimenting the tourist product were studied by (Bigne, J., 2001). He concluded that satisfaction is in strict connection with the offered quality, and the wish to purchase tourist services is related to satisfaction. Analysing the actual stage of knowledge in this field, it can be observed an evolution of the perspectives on consummer's behaviour, the motivation and the factors that influence the decision to purchase a tourist product. But, the factors must be understood and taken into account in the development of the tourist activities, according to (Marin-Pantelescu, A & Maniu, L, 2007).


The research on the factors affecting the decision to purchase the holiday package was made using the computerized program SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) wich reports the frequence of responses, the valid percentages cumulated to each question in the questionnaire. Defining the decisional problem--The problem we made the moment we started this study was to identify the factors that affect the decision to purchase tourist products, if these differ as importance and what impact could have their identification on the activity of the travel agencies. The purpose of the research The general purpose to achieve through this research was to identify, measure and put them in a hierarchy according to their importance. The objectives of the research--to identify the decisional factors to purchase a tourist product and to measure and put each of them in a hierarchy according to their importance. Specific hypotesis were the price and the quality of the offered products are the most important factors that affect the decision to purchase tourist products and the recommendations from relatives and friends became more and more important in purchasing a holiday package.

The study was made at the stand of a travel agency from Bucharest participating at that moment to the International Tourist Fair at Romexpo, Bucharest, the 19th Edition, within the period of 27-30 March 2008, through a questionnaire of 27 questions, out of which 4 questions were open and 24 close. The sample of the survey was made appealing to an aleatory method of sampling--simple aleatory sampling method, whose implementation led to a number of 318 questionnaires.


Regarding the profile of the responding people, it was observed the various regions the ressponding people come from, however, most of them being from Moldavia (23%) and Bucharest (20%). Regarding their repartition on gender, 49% of them are males and 51% are females. Their repartition on age is that approximately 46% of the responding people are under 35 years old, 59% are married, 43% have high education and only 7% have no school. Finally, regarding their standard of living, 25% have incomes within 751-950 Euro.

Given the socio-demographic coordination described above, it can be made the analysis of the results of the direct marketing research.

Thus, the decision to purchase tourist products was studied in connection with a series of features, such as: the reliability offered by the travel agency, the promotions offered, the facilities and gratuitousness given, the price of the tourist product, its originality and diversity, and its degree of individuality.

The final result for each factor was calculated using the semantic differential in five stages (1 representing the fact that they appreciate that factor very little, and 5 that they appreciate it very much), and the results are presented in the graph below:

The values coming after this analysis, close to the maximum of 5, prove the importance of these factors in taking the decision to purchase the holiday package through a travel agency. The highest score was obtained by the price of the tourist product (4,8), this being the most important decisional factor.

The Romanian are very affected by the price and for this reason the travel agency has to take into account the contracts negotiated with the providers of tourist services and the amount of the commission applied to these services. On the second place there are the recommendations from relatives and friends (4,6) because the tourist services are immaterial and thus, the important thing is to experience the product and share this with the others.

The most reliable persons in tourism are those who went to a specific destination and share this experience. If these are friends, relatives or colleagues they are even more reliable and their opinion matters.

On the third place there is the reliability offered by the agency (4,4). This thing happens because not in rare occasions the tourists faced problems at the holiday destination or the airport and they could not complain to anybody or could not take the money back, etc.

The facilities and gratuitousness are on the fourth place and obtain a good score of 4,1 owning to the Romanians incomes which are inferior to those in other countries, and this determine them to give a great importance to those elements.

The diversity of the products represents the fifth factor to affect the decision with a score of 3,9. It is normal for a tourist product rich with entertainment and tourist attractions to be more attractive than another one that offers only accommodation.

The promotions, which represent an important technique in sales are on the sixth place, with a score of 3,8. On the seventh place there is the factor related to the originality of the product, with a score of 3,6.

A new tourist product creates, at the beginning, a little reticence from tourists because they do not know what expectations to have related to the holiday destination. After this psychological limit is surmounted , they will experience it. In the end, on the last place there is the factor related to the individualisation of the product, with a score of only 3,2, which means that the tourists are indifferent to this factor.

The consumers do not take into account the individuality of the product when they take the decision to buy it. We believe that for taking into account this factor, consumers must have a certain standard of living , a certain tourist experience which are not determinant in our country at this moment.


The research on the modality the consummers take the decision to buy the tourist product has evolved considerably in the recent years.

In the marketing study it could have been seen wich are the most important factors that affect the decision to purchase the holiday package through a travel agency.

We created a hierarchy according to the score obtained through the semantic differential and We commented each factor. Thus, as the research showed, the order of the factors that affect the decision to purchase the holiday package through a travel agency is the following: the price of the tourist product, recommendations from relatives and friends, the reliability offered by the agency, facilities and gratuitousness, the diversity of the services included in the holiday package, the promotions, the originality of the product and the level of individualisation.

We hope that this research will represent a starting point for the travel agencies that want to know better their consumers. We hope that the travel agency will maintain its major role as a distributor of holidays, but for this, it needs to offer reliability, high quality services at attractive prices and new and various products.

Even if our research achieved its goal, future marketing studies must be done in order to observe the evolution of the factor referring to the individualisation of the tourist products. Maybe, in the future, the Romanian tourists will appreciate more this factor.


Bigne, J. (2001). Tourism image, evaluation variables and after purchase behaviour: inter-relationship, Tourism Management, Elsevier, Vol. 22., No. 6, December 2001, pp. 607- 616, ISSN 0261-5177

Carr, N. (2006). A comparison of adolescents' and parents' holiday motivations and desires, The Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, , Vol. 6, No. 2, Feb. 2006, pp.129- 143, ISSN 1467-3584

Holloway, Ch. (2004). The marketing for tourism, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0 273 68229 6, London

Marin-Pantelescu, A (2007). Diversifying tourist services and personalizing them with the help of travel agencies, The 2007 International Conference on Tourism, pp. 26-28, ISBN: 978-973-594-991-4, Bucharest, November 22- 24, 2007, Romania

Marin-Pantelescu, A.; Maniu, L., (2007). The integration of the Romanian travel services within the European travel market, The 2007 International Conference on Tourism, pp. 24-25, ISBN: 978-973-594-991-4, Bucharest, November 22- 24, 2007, Romania

Nicolau, J.; Mas, Fr. (2006). The influence of distance and prices on the choice of tourist destinations: The moderating role of motivation, Tourism Management, Elsevier, Vol. 27, No. 5, October 2006, p.982-996, ISSN 0261-5177

Wearne, N.; Baker, K. (2002). Hospitality Marketing in the e-Commerce Age, 2nd Edition, Hospitality Press, ISBN 1 86250 511 X, Australia
Fig.1. Decision making system

To decide to purchase a tourist product through a travel
agency, how much it matters to you:

the individualisation of the tourist product 3,2
the diversity of the products 3,9
the price of the product 4,8
the promotions 3,8
the recommendations from relatives and friends 4,6
the reliability 4,4
the facilities and gratuitousness given 4,1
the originality of the product 3,6

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Marin-Pantelescu, Andreea; Maniu, Laura
Publication:Annals of DAAAM & Proceedings
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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