Chapter 7 Understanding the traveler's needs.
When you have completed this chapter, you should be able to:
* List and describe the steps involved in the process of buying travel products.
* Explain the psychological needs of the leisure traveler.
* Describe patterns of travel psychology using personality, motivation, and behavior classifications.
* Identify barriers to travel.
* Describe the special needs of the business traveler.
To this pointy the focus has been on strategies, systems, and concepts used by the travel industry to create, manage, position, and market its products and services. The remaining six chapters concentrate on the tactics, methods, and techniques for selling these products directly and indirectly to customers.
In order to successfully match suppliers' products with high-potential customers, it is important to understand what motivates them to purchase travel products, what benefits they desire, and what needs must be met.
Consider a busy intersection. You are at an office window on the twenty-first floor looking down at the rush-hour traffic. You see patterns of left turns, right turns, cars changing lanes, buses stopping for passengers. A woman waiting for the traffic light to change cannot seethe same patterns you see from your vantage point. She sees instead an angry exchange between a taxi driver and a pedestrian that causes a minor delay. You see patterns from a distance; she sees close-up emotional causes and effects. The market comprising travel and tourism customers can be looked at in similar ways: from a distance and from dose up.
The distant vantage point is the perspective of those who do market research. In Chapter 3 you learned about many ways to divide the travel and tourism market into segments based on certain characteristics--demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioristic--which are helpful in predicting the market's demand for travel. When considering groups of people in this manner, you can learn a great deal about how and why people use travel products. Such information is essential for developing a marketing plan that works.
For those involved directly in selling travel products, however, the close-up perspective of the market is equally important. Although you should know all about external market conditions when you are selling a product, you must also understand what goes on inside the minds of individual consumers during the buying process. You need to focus your attention on what motivates people to buy products.
Motivations are the internal factors at work in individuals, expressed as needs and desires. Motivation is an intensely personal matter. No two people have exactly the same needs or buying motives because no two people are identical. And the same person can think, feel, and act differently at different times. But there are many similarities in the process of satisfying consumer needs. Each individual has desires and decides what he or she is willing to pay to achieve those desires. Consumers decide which benefits and advantages they want to enjoy, then select those products and services that they feel will deliver the chosen benefits.
It is important for marketing and sales professionals to understand how internal psychological processes influence an individual's choice of a particular vacation destination or of a specific type of product within the destination. By recognizing customer motivations and needs, travel professionals can sell more effectively and can influence buyer choices.
THE STEPS OF THE BUYING PROCESS
People choose specific travel products for all kinds of reasons, some rational, some emotional (see Figure 7-1). Rational decisions may be based on factors such as:
* Cost--A consumer chooses the less expensive of two hotels in the same city.
* Dependability--A customer has found a particular supplier reliable in the past and decides to stay with that supplier.
* Convenience--A customer selects a particular airline because it offers a flight at a convenient time.
* Service--A customer visits a resort known for its excellent service because service is important to that customer.
Purchasing decisions are rarely based on rational reasons alone, however. People's emotions also have a strong influence on their choices of travel products. These motivations concern such highly personal matters as pleasure, relaxation, status, and belonging. For example, one individual might choose a cruise line because he thinks he will fit in easily with the other passengers. Another might choose the same cruise line because she sees it as a status symbol that she can boast about to her friends. In general, rational and emotional motivations overlap when people buy travel products because they have more than one reason for choosing a particular product.
Although the buying motivations of travelers are complex and idiosyncratic, the process of buying travel products (the purchasing decision) can be divided into five general steps:
* Feeling and recognizing a need or desire.
* Seeking information.
* Understanding the value of products.
* Deciding whether to buy.
* Experiencing and evaluating the purchase.
[FIGURE 7-1 OMITTED]
Travel marketing professionals who understand the steps involved in a purchasing decision are better prepared to help customers to select a product and achieve a sale.
Feeling and Recognizing a Need or Desire
The buying process is sparked by feeling a need or desire. The potential customer becomes aware that he or she must travel or wants to travel. For example, an executive learns of an upcoming meeting that she must attend, or a family starts to think about its annual vacation. A psychologist looking at the buying process would explain that people have needs and desires that produce tension. Recognizing that a travel experience will meet these needs is important in addressing this tension, which is relieved when the needs and desires are satisfied. These needs and desires become motivators which require action to reduce the tension.
Needs and desires determine what types of benefits will be sought. The role of the travel sales professional is to identify those products that will produce the benefits that will satisfy the traveler's needs or desires.
After recognizing the need or desire for a travel product, travelers seek information. They often draw on both personal knowledge and external sources of information. Personal knowledge includes past experience and information provided by friends and from the media (newspaper article, television news, etc.). Someone who has had friends recommend a particular resort, for example, and has seen photos of it has personal knowledge (but not personal experience) of the resort. But when personal knowledge is insufficient to determine whether a travel product will meet certain needs, external sources of information are consulted.
External sources include travel agents, books, newspapers, magazines, videos, and Web sites, all of which provide information about travel products. Some people prefer to gather information from printed or electronic sources before making a decision; others are prepared to rely on a travel agent for advice.
When gathering information, people look for products that provide them with benefits that seem likely to satisfy their need or desire. They seek information about the tangible aspects of the product (in the case of a hotel, for example, the location, number and size of rooms, price, and so on) and about the intangible aspects (e.g., quality of service, ambiance, general atmosphere). If the potential buyer is satisfied with the information obtained from internal and external sources, the buying process will continue.
Understanding the Value of Products
People's attitudes and beliefs have a strong influence on the value they attach to products and on how well they think a certain travel experience will satisfy their needs. People value products based on the benefits they will receive by purchasing them. And of course, different people place greater value on different product attributes. Those who value familiarity, for example, would prefer to stay in a Holiday Inn because they know what to expect. Others, who relish new experiences, might favor an independently owned country inn instead.
The value of products is often based more on mental images than on its tangible features. Whether a prospective customer develops a positive or negative image toward a product determines the future direction of the buying process. A positive image will often result in the selection of a travel product, purchase, and the travel experience. A negative image may cause a consumer to avoid the product and seek alternatives. Clearly, the marketer's goal in this part of the decision process is to provide information that will produce a positive image.
Deciding Whether to Buy
The decision to purchase is the most important concern of travel sales professionals. Some purchases all purchases, however, the consumer goes through some sort of decision-making process.
For travel sales and marketing professionals, the important concept to remember is that the decision to purchase is directly linked to motivations, which in turn are linked to the buyer's psychological needs. Motivations may be influenced through marketing efforts, especially product design and promotion.
At the decision stage, the consumer reviews the knowledge gained through the earlier steps of the process and makes a choice. The final decision to select a travel product is based on the traveler's confidence that it will produce the benefits that will satisfy the originally perceived need. This step includes selecting the type of product, the brand, the price, the time, and the distribution outlet. After the travel product is selected, the buying process is not yet completed. A critical step for both the traveler and marketer follows.
Experiencing and Evaluating the Purchase
After the decision to purchase is made, the trip is taken. During this experience, the traveler usually compares (often unconsciously) perceptions and expectations with reality. This includes whether the benefits sought (to meet needs and desires) have been realized. If the desired benefits are experienced, and the expectations and the reality (the actual trip experience) are very similar, then the traveler will be satisfied. Satisfaction leads directly to the final step in the process, which is evaluating the purchase. Did the hotel live up to the consumer's expectations? Was the flight as comfortable as it should have been? Did the resort provide the good time it promised?
The evaluation stage is particularly important in the travel industry. Customers benefit from it by purchasing products to suppliers who gave them good value and by avoiding those who did not. And the travel industry can benefit from this stage by acting on the feedback it receives from both satisfied and dissatisfied customers.
THE NEEDS OF THE LEISURE TRAVELER
The travel industry divides its market, as you know, into two distinct groups: leisure travelers and business travelers. Each group has different motivations, needs, and desires. This section of the chapter focuses on the needs of leisure travelers; those of business travelers are discussed later.
As a leisure traveler progresses through the buying process, several factors help shape the nature of his or her purchasing decision. Marketing has progressed rapidly in its understanding of the relationship between motivation and consumer behavior. Although many psychological aspects of consumer behavior are not fully understood, the following information will help provide a better understanding of the leisure traveler's decision making:
* The fundamental need to travel.
* The wheres and hows of travel.
* Barriers to travel.
The Need to Travel
Ask any group of people why they travel and you will probably hear several reasons. One person might cite a need for a change of pace; another might mention relaxation; another might express a desire to explore different locations.
These are among the more frequent motivations expressed for leisure travel. What they have in common--and what most theories of travel motivation focus on--is that there are basic human needs that travel can satisfy. In other words, the push to travel is intrinsic--it comes from inside a person. Maslow's Theories. The theories of Abraham Maslow provide a logical starting point for discussing the psychology of need satisfaction. Maslow, a psychologist, developed a theory that explains human behavior in terms of its ability to satisfy needs. He divides these needs into hierarchical categories (see Figure 7-2), the first being fundamental needs such as thirst, hunger, and safety. Next in his hierarchy come psychological needs such as belonging, love, self-esteem, and the approval of others. The highest order of needs, according to Maslow, is related to self-actualization, or fulfilling one's full human potential.
[FIGURE 7-2 OMITTED]
Seen from Maslow's motivational perspective, leisure travel can be seen to satisfy needs toward the top of his hierarchy. People might seek travel as a means of enhancing their self-esteem, or gaining the approval of others, but they are unlikely to do so unless they have already met more fundamental needs. Travel is unimportant to those with inadequate food and shelter.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is not, of course, specific to travel motivation. But most theories about basic travel motivation focus on how travel satisfies people's needs, and Maslow's theories offer a general psychological context in which to place other theories.
Kosters's Theory. A motivational theory specific to travel was provided by Marinus Kosters, a Dutch travel researcher. Kosters divided all travel motivation into three basic needs:
* The need to compensate.
* The need to explore.
* The need for status recognition.
According to Kosters, the novelty of travel--the new people and experiences associated with new places--offers compensation for the routine of everyday life. The relaxation afforded by a vacation is a compensation for stress at work or at home.
The need to explore is related to the basic intellectual curiosity of human beings, to their need to learn. As people learn more about cultures and places they've never seen before, their natural curiosity leads them to travel. Travel satisfies their need to explore the unknown and expand their knowledge.
Travel also satisfies the need for status recognition by serving as a conspicuous demonstration of success and/or wealth. Travel destinations and the time and money spent on travel have definite status implications, and for some people, may be a basic motivation for a trip.
Mayo and Jarvis's Theory. Edward Mayo and Lance Jarvis explain the basic motivation for travel in a different way. Again, however, their theory is strongly linked to the basic notion of satisfying needs. They contend that leisure travel is motivated by curiosity combined with a basic human need to be productive. The need for productivity explains why people choose to satisfy their curiosity by traveling rather than, say, by watching television programs about different places.
Whatever the specific or combined motivations that cause people to travel, there is no doubt that the push to travel is strong. According to most surveys, over half of the American public now view an annual vacation of a week or more or a monthly getaway weekend as a necessity rather than a convenience or luxury.
The Wheres and Hows of Travel
For a travel sales professional, understanding what motivates people to travel explains only part of the psychology of the traveler. It is just as important--maybe even more so, from a sales and marketing perspective--to understand why customers choose the types of travel experiences they do. What distinguishes the mountain climber from the museum goer, the person who loves ocean cruises from the one who wants to tour the cities of Europe? Why does any given destination turn one person on and leave the other cold? What are the psychological characteristics that determine how people spend their time and money on travel?
Travel market research devotes a great deal of time and money to these questions and addresses them in a variety of ways. Some interesting studies have revealed useful patterns of travel psychology.
Personality Classifications. One of the most important studies in this area was conducted by Stanley Plog. Plog was trying to discover why so many travelers chose not to fly. He discovered that anxiety and fear played a larger role in determining travel choices than might have been suspected previously. Not only did anxiety and fear influence people's decisions about air travel, but those emotions were also significant in regard to people's choices of destinations.
Plog found that people with relatively strong feelings of fear and anxiety not only traveled less by air but, when they did travel, chose destinations that they perceived to be relatively safe and secure. Often, he found, they chose destinations with which they were already familiar and that offered products and services that were known as well.
At the other extreme, Plog found that people who were self-confident and outgoing tended to choose out-of-the-ordinary, adventurous destinations where they could learn about other cultures.
Plog labeled the first group psychocentric (self-centered) and the more outgoing group allocentric (other-centered). In between, he identified a much larger group with some of the characteristics of both extremes, whom he called midcentric.
Plog went on to identify specific destinations that would be favored by each of the three personality types (see Figure 7-3) and to explain how perceptions of specific destinations could change over time. It is quite possible, for example, for a particular destination to appeal initially only to adventurous allocentric travelers. However, if enough allocentric travelers chose that destination and it expanded and became more accessible, it could, over time, become sufficiently "mainstream" to appeal to midcentrics and become a "mass tourism" (large volume and frequent tour groups). It might eventually become so familiar and common that it would even appeal to the fearful psychocentrics.
Plog's study is important because it explains one way in which the psychology of the traveler affects the choice of destinations. Travel professionals can use that knowledge to suggest destinations most likely to suit individual customers.
[FIGURE 7-3 OMITTED]
Motivator Classifications. Other studies focus on various types of motivators that determine travel choices. McIntosh and Goeldner divide travel motivators into four basic categories:
* Status- and prestige-related.
Physical motivators all relate to the need to reduce tension, whether through rest, sports, entertainment, hiking, or any other activity. Cultural motivators are related to the impulse to learn about a new place, particularly about the music, art, religion, and folklore associated with that destination. Interpersonal motivators have to do with making new friends, meeting different people, and getting away from everyday life. And status and prestige motivators involve the need for recognition from others and the need to improve oneself.
Although these categories of psychological motivators are useful, specific destinations or types of travel can satisfy more than one category of travel motivator. (Travelers are usually motivated by more than one class of motivator.) But it's likely that at a particular time, one or more of these motivators will be more important to a potential traveler than others. People selling travel products need to understand the influence of these basic motivators in order to describe destinations and services as compellingly and specifically as possible.
Behavior Classifications. Another scheme for thinking about travel motivations was developed for the New York State Division of Tourism. It assigns leisure travelers to four basic categories:
* Outdoor enthusiasts.
* Young fun lovers.
* Sun resorters.
* Culture-oriented vacationers.
This study looks more at the behaviors of travelers and what they have in common than it does at their reasons for traveling. Nevertheless it identifies basic traveler categories that presumably reflect shared motivations. It also describes characteristics that might explain why the categories might share such motivations. For example, young fun lovers tend to live in cities, to be single and well educated, and to have a wide variety of interests; sun resorters also live in or near cities but are usually older, married, and not as well educated.
The various studies and theories that look at the psychology of travel choices focus on differing motivations. Although they may seem unrelated and even contradictory at times, they offer different ways of thinking about the same issue--what motivates people to choose their travel products.
Barriers to Travel
A complete examination of the psychology of the traveler must go beyond the pushes toward travel (motivations) and (perceived benefits) pulls toward certain types of travel experiences. It must also consider why some people choose not to use their discretionary time and money for leisure travel. Understanding the barriers to travel is one key to overcoming them.
Although most Americans do take an annual vacation, approximately 30 percent do not. Why? Some of them lack either the time or the money, or both, to spend on leisure travel. Poor health and family commitments also prevent people from traveling. Thus, many people may have the desire to travel but are unable to do so.
But psychological factors prevent people from traveling as well. A fear of the unknown inhibits some people: they are afraid of uncertainty, including new places and people.
Traveling also just doesn't seem worth the effort to some people. The packing and unpacking, the unfamiliar customs, the busy airports, and the need to find hotels and restaurants all seem to be too much trouble. It's easier and more familiar to stay at home. Then there are those who have never established the habit of traveling and those who are unaware of the tremendous benefits of travel. If you add all these nontravelers together, they represent a large number of people who don't travel now, and could be convinced to do so in the future.
For travel sales and marketing professionals, the various barriers to travel represent challenges to overcome. They need to find ways to assure the fearful, ease the hassled, motivate the habitual homebody, and educate the unfamiliar.
Even the seemingly insurmountable physical barriers to travel--lack of time and money, poor health--aren't conceded by some travel marketers. They develop weekend vacations for those with limited time. They promote low-cost fares and packages. And a number of tour operators have focused on people with health-related problems by developing vacations especially for those requiring physical therapy.
Thus, negative as well as positive forces are involved in the psychology of leisure travel. Travel professionals need to recognize and address both the negative forces, in order to find ways to overcome them, and the positive forces, in order to match appealing travel products with the travel motivations of prospective customers.
THE NEEDS OF THE BUSINESS TRAVELER
Understanding why people travel on business isn't difficult. Essentially, they must travel in order to meet their business objectives. Thousands of people in all kinds of professions are required to travel to meetings, conventions, and other places of business, in order to do their jobs. Nearly all business travel is nondiscretionary, in the sense that the travelers have little choice about where or when they will travel. Destinations and dates are determined by their companies. But that doesn't make psychology any less important for dealing with business travelers. It just means that different factors need to be considered.
The business travel market is enormous, accounting for a large share of the travel market as a whole. Business travel accounts for 60 percent of all domestic passengers in the United States. More than sixty-seven million Americans traveled on business in 1986, spending more than $300 billion in the process. Business travel, in other words, is big business.
The Need for Efficiency
The psychology of business travel revolves around one central fact: time is money. When people are traveling on business, every minute counts. They need to arrive at meetings on time; they must rely on airlines and hotels to supply the services they need; they want as little hassle as possible.
In a nutshell, what business travelers want is efficiency and consistency. Their requirements fall into four general categories:
* Special features.
Schedules. Schedules are critical in business travel. People travel to attend meetings at appointed times. Many airline flights, for example, are scheduled for early morning and late afternoon to make single-day business trips feasible and productive. Businesspeople need to be sure of getting to those meetings on time and wasting as little time as possible in doing so. A delayed flight, a missed connection, or a broken-down rental car can jeopardize their appointments. And missed appointments can mean lost business opportunities.
The travel industry knows about the importance of time and schedules. Airlines, for example, schedule as many direct flights as possible to major business centers, minimizing the need for time-consuming connections. They also try to schedule flights early in the morning to get travelers to their morning appointments and in the late afternoon and early evening to get them home again. Just as rush hours on the freeways are related to business schedules, so are rush hours in the airports.
Convenience. Given that time is money, convenience is often as important as schedule. Hotels understand the importance of convenience. Many are located near airports or convention centers for just that reason and offer complimentary shuttle service to and from those locations. Some offer conference and meeting rooms to make business appointments as simple and convenient as possible. They provide audiovisual equipment and cater lunches--anything they can do to make doing business in their hotel more convenient than in other hotels.
Comfort. Business travel is often difficult and exhausting. But businesspeople can't allow it to exhaust them. They need to be able to perform at their best to maximize their business opportunities. After all, their companies are spending money to allow them to meet clients face to face. To risk wasting that investment with a poor presentation is bad business.
So comfort, which is important to all travelers, is particularly important to business travelers. They can't afford to risk an uncomfortable bed or an overheated hotel room that might jeopardize sleep the night before a big meeting or presentation. Nor do they want to spend four or five hours in a cramped airplane seat. Many will gladly pay for a room in a deluxe hotel or an airline seat in business class or first class in order to be assured of their comfort. Most companies have policies about first-class travel based on time and distance to meetings.
Special Features. Although schedules, convenience, and comfort are especially important factors for business travelers, travel marketers have also developed several special features designed to enhance the appeal of specific travel products to this critical market.
Most business hotels, for example, now provide irons and hair driers. They know that personal appearance is especially important to business travelers and that these appliances will help them look well groomed and neatly dressed for their appointments.
Many business-oriented hotels have set aside special floors for business travelers, with rooms that include a desk or table for working and fax machine and computer ports to plug in a laptop computer, so that travelers can transmit documents to their offices. Other hotels have attempted to meet the fitness needs of businesspeople on the road by creating in-house exercise and health facilities or access to local health clubs.
Sometimes businesspeople are required to stay in a location away from home for an extended period. Or they may need to stay in a hotel for a while after being relocated while they search for a new home. To meet the needs of extended-stay guests, a new type of residence hotel has been developed. The "rooms" resemble apartments with maid and room service and often include kitchens for self-catering. The residence hotels ease the discomfort of business travel that extends to weeks or even months.
Credit-card companies address the needs of traveling businesspeople by providing special services. Some offer year-end statements, for example, listing and itemizing all charges for the year. Some provide emergency services, such as extra cash and travel insurance charged to their credit cards. And several now provide casualty and liability coverage for rental cars and flight insurance for air travel.
The fact that many businesspeople travel frequently has led suppliers to introduce several special features designed to ensure repeat business. Chief among these are the frequent-flier, frequent-guest, and frequent-renter programs that offer free flights and hotel rooms, discounts, and other privileges to repeat customers. In addition, airlines offer free drinks and special meals to business customers, car rental firms give away luggage and offer free upgrades to larger cars, and hotels have created special lounges and provide welcoming gifts for their business guests.
This preferential treatment helps business travelers prepare for meetings and makes them feel special. And if all other factors relating to schedule convenience and comfort are more or less equal, making travelers feel special can establish brand loyalty, thus influencing their choice of supplier.
The Special Needs of Women Travelers
Not so very long ago, the vast majority of business travelers were men. But within the last twenty years, more women have successfully entered the business world, and they now represent a sizable portion of the business travel market (see Figure 7-4). Today, in fact, one in every three business travelers is a woman.
This fact demands special attention from travel professionals. Most of the needs of women traveling on business are the same as those of men, but women do have some additional needs.
[FIGURE 7-4 OMITTED]
Foremost among these is their need for security. Women need to feel safe within their hotel rooms and when they travel back and forth to restaurants and meetings. If they dine alone or have a drink alone at the bar, they want to know that they can do so in peace.
Travel suppliers, keen to attract women business travelers, have introduced measures to heighten the sense of safety and security in their facilities. Some hotels have installed brighter lighting in hallways, and others employ a security escort to accompany women to and from the parking garage.
Most business travelers, male and female, spend large amounts for travel products they buy, and they expect good quality and service in return. Successful travel suppliers and intermediaries recognize the importance of meeting the needs of business travelers to ensure repeat business.
But whether customers are traveling for business or leisure, understanding needs and motivations is crucial to success in selling travel products. It constitutes the first half of the process of matching customers with well-suited travel products. Once a travel marketing and sales professional has a good sense of a customer's needs and motivations, the next step is to identify the travel products that will provide the benefits that will best satisfy them. That is the subject of the next chapter.
* People's motivation to travel is based on both reason and emotion, but the buying process generally follows predictable steps.
* The steps of the buying process are feeling and recognizing a need or desire, selecting information, understanding the value of products, deciding whether to buy, and experiencing and evaluating the purchase.
* Psychologists have developed theories suggesting that travel satisfies certain fundamental human needs.
* People's selections of particular travel products are based on their personalities, on the motivators that drive them, and on their expectations.
* Barriers to travel include lack of time or money, fear of the unknown, reluctance to make the effort, and ignorance about the benefits of travel.
* Business travelers look for efficiency and consistency in terms of schedules, convenience, comfort, and special features.
* One in three business travelers today is female. Women business travelers are very concerned about safety and security, quality and value, and courteous service.
status and prestige
barriers to travel
1. How can a travel professional go about discovering the rational and emotional motivation of a prospective customer?
2. Why is it important for travel professionals to understand the steps in the buying process?
3. Explain and give examples of internal and external sources of information for selecting travel products.
4. What can a travel professional do to help a customer decide to buy a particular travel product?
5. How can a travel professional use his or her knowledge of the theories about leisure travel as a means of need satisfaction?
6. Choose one of the barriers to travel described in this chapter, and explain how you would go about overcoming it.
7. Give examples of services that travel suppliers provide to satisfy the business traveler's need for efficiency.
8. In what ways are the needs of women business travelers different from those of men traveling on business? What can travel professionals do to satisfy those needs?
Understanding the Traveler's Needs
Name: -- Date: --
Directions: Answer these questions as you read the chapter. You will be able to use your answers to help you review the chapter.
1. What are motivations and why are they important to travel marketing? --
2. Briefly describe the five steps of the buying process. --
3. How does Maslow's theory distinguish between types of needs? --
4. How does Kosters's theory define travel motivation? --
5. Describe Mayo and Jarvis's theory of travel motivation. --
6. How did Plog classify people according to their personality? --
7. Describe the four categories into which MacIntosh and Goeldner divide travel motivators. --
8. Into what four categories did the New York State Division of Tourism divide leisure travelers? --
9. What are barriers to travel? Give two examples--one physical and one psychological. --
10. What are the psychological needs of business travelers and why is it important to understand them? --
11. How can the travel industry provide high-quality service that caters to the needs of business travelers? --
12. Why is comfort especially important to business travelers? --
13. Give three examples of special features that can attract business travelers. --
14. Describe how the travel market has begun to recognize the special needs of women business travelers and alter products and services to better serve them. --
Understanding the Traveler's Needs
Name: -- Date: --
You are a travel agent, and your goal is to increase your sales to leisure travelers and to establish a base of clients who return to you for all their travel needs.
1. How might an understanding of what motivates a person to travel help you to reach your goal? --
2. What are three questions you might ask clients to discover the needs they hope to satisfy by travel? --
3. Describe a trip that might help a working parent compensate for a demanding, high-stress career, combined with caring for several children at home. --
4. How can travel help satisfy a need to explore? --
5. Suggest one trip that might allow a young professional from a large city in the northeastern United States to learn about a new culture and see a different part of the world. --
6. How does travel satisfy the need for status recognition? --
7. Suggest a destination that might meet the status needs of a moderately affluent retired couple from the southwestern United States. --
8. Describe two travel-related needs and motivations in each of the following categories. --
Status and Prestige: --
9. Which needs or motivations might be associated with the following travel destinations? --
Four days attending the Aspen, Colorado, music festival: --
A walking tour of the Irish countryside: --
One week at a luxury spa in La Jolla, California: --
A tour of Vatican City: --
10. One approach to travel motivations classifies travelers on the basis of shared behavior, in the four groups listed below. For each group, suggest two possible destinations on tour packages. (Try to make your suggestions as varied as possible in terms of geography, cost, mode of travel, and so on.)
Outdoor enthusiasts: --
Sun resorters: --
Culture-oriented vacations: --
Young fun-lovers: --
11. What barriers to travel might exist in each of the following cases, and how might they be overcome? --
A couple with two children under three years old: --
A middle-aged person who has never been on a plane: --
A young professional who is confined to a wheelchair: --
The owner of a small business who works six days a week and rarely takes a vacation: --
The members of a club for teens with diabetes: --
TRAVEL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA'S U.S. TRAVEL DATA CENTER
Imagine you're an executive with a corporation that is considering building a resort community targeted to senior citizens along the coast of North Carolina. Before you invest a significant amount in the project, you'll want to know several things about travel and your target market. For example, is travel increasing or decreasing, especially on the east coast and in North Carolina, specifically? What is the forecast for travel in the coming year? Is travel among senior citizens on an upward or a downward trend, and what is the outlook for this segment? How do the travel patterns of older Americans differ from younger groups?
One place you can get such information is the U.S. Travel Data Center, the research department of the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). Located in Washington, D.C., TIA is the national, nonprofit association that serves as the unifying organization for all components of the U.S. travel industry, the third largest retail industry and one of the largest employers in the nation. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.
One of TIA's major objectives is to serve as the authoritative source for travel industry research, analysis, and forecasting--an objective carried out by the U.S. Travel Data Center. Its research helps travel marketers better understand the needs of travelers, profile various segments in terms of trip and traveler characteristics, and monitor trends in traveler behavior. Data Center research provides a national perspective and a context in which to evaluate specific company research, as well as helps save travel marketers time and money by focusing on markets with the greatest potential.
The center publishes its research in a number of reports, which are sent to subscribers and sold to others. One of the center's primary publications is its National Travel Survey (NTS), results of which are published twice a year. The NTS is based on monthly telephone interviews with fifteen hundred U.S. adults, selected at random across the Untied States, and provides data on the travel patterns and habits of typical Americans. The data cover all major aspects of travel, including purpose of trip, mode of transportation, type of lodging, duration of trip, as well as demographics.
Similar data are also collected through the center's TravelScope[R] program, a monthly mail panel survey of twenty thousand households. The very large size of this survey's sample allows analysis at the state and local level. The results are also used to profile various traveler groups, such as historic/cultural travelers.
The U.S. Travel Data Center also conducts economic impact research at the national, state and county level, based on its proprietary, computerized model known as the Travel Economic Impact Model. Data from this model indicate that domestic and international travelers pumped $489 billion into the U.S. economy in 1997, creating more than 6.8 million jobs. Information such as this is invaluable in showing the importance of the travel industry and in making public officials aware of the positive impact of travel on the U.S. economy.
TIA and its Travel Data Center also provide forecasts for the travel industry through its annual conference, the Marketing Outlook Forum, and its proprietary forecasting model developed in close cooperation with Data Resources/McGraw-Hill (DRI). Forecasts, which are published quarterly, include travel volume forecasts of U.S. resident travel for the next four years, quarterly U.S. travel volume forecasts to the nine census regions, forecast of travel price inflation and total travel expenditures in the U.S. for the next four years, and international travel forecasts provided by Tourism Industry/International Trade Administration.
Much of the U.S. Travel Data Center's research can be accessed through TIA's Web site at <www.tia.org>.
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|Title Annotation:||PART TWO Selling the Travel Product|
|Publication:||Marketing and Selling the Travel Product, 2nd ed.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2000|
|Previous Article:||Chapter 6 Implementing the marketing plan.|
|Next Article:||Chapter 8 Identifying the seller.|