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Motivational Factors Influencing a Choice of Destination Made by Tourists

Various studies and theories have proven the effectiveness of motivational factors in influencing the travel decisions and consumption behavior of tourists. According to Hinch (2004), selection of tourist destination is concerned with the motivations influencing travel decisions, consumption benefits obtained from travels, and tourists’ pursuit to satisfy their needs and desires.

Destination attractions are the generally recognized component greatly affecting consumer views over the tourist spot, perceptions regarding the capacity of the travel to satisfy consumers’ physical, social and psychological needs and expectations (Lickorish and Jenkins, 1997). The factors influencing travel destinations can are described in terms of push (inclined to the psychological aspect of motivation) and pull (inclined to the cultural factors of motivation) (Hinch, 2004).

Mason (2008) describes these forces as the negative (push) and positive (pull) views explaining the decisions, motives and preferences of consumers in selecting their travel destinations. Various studies (Fodness, 1994; Kim and Lee, 2000; Gnoth, 1997) consider the relationship of tourist motivations with consumers’ needs and personal goals to be accomplished or satisfied by the destination offers and expected attractions.

In order to organize and present the elements influencing consumer decisions for travel destinations, studies have utilized different models and theories in line with (a) functional need satisfaction, (b) tourism industry competition, and (c) social and psychological roles of travel destinations. b. Scope of Review The following chapter discusses the different scholarly studies pertaining to the motivational factors influencing the consumers’ selection of travel destinations.

Using the different published scholarly literatures, the following chapter provides a literary review according to the following sections: (a) motivational factors and tourism, (b) theoretical frameworks and models, (c) vacation themes related to conceptual frameworks, (d) the process of motivation and expectation formations, and (e) assessing and measuring motivational factors. II. Review of Literature a. Motivational Factors and Tourism

Selection of travel destinations can be summarized by two conditions of motivational push or pull based on (a) the destinations capability to manage and market their tourist identity to potential consumers, and (b) the capacity of the destination to meet the social, psychological and social needs expected by the consumers from the travel experience (Giaoutzi and Nijkamp, 2006). As stated by Hinch (2004, p. 144), “tourist motivation is a function of self-perceived needs of the traveler, which drive the decision-making process and purchase of tourism products.

” Fodness (1994) utilizes the functional approach to explain the motivational factors of tourism. According to Fodness (1994), selection of travel destinations is influenced by the basic motivational process consisting of (a) internal psychological factors (the needs) and (b) need-satisfying functions offered by the selected travel destination (e. g. knowledge function, value-expressive function, utilitarianism, etc. ). Functional need satisfaction is based on Functional Needs Theory that addresses the connection between travel needs and satisfaction.

Functional needs cover four dimensions of needs motivating and resorting to travel decisions, namely (1) knowledge function, (2) utilitarian function, (3) social-adjustive function, and (4) value-expressive function (Gnoth, 1997). The functional dimensions of needs, as a form of motivational elements, coincide in every travel decisions made by the consumer. In response to these needs, the consumer selects travel destinations fit to satisfy the imposing dimension of needs (Kim and Lee, 2000). The theory explains the different consumer profile variations when deciding the appropriate travel destinations fit to satisfy their needs.

Indeed, destination functionalities act as a pulling force in response to the motivational push set by the tourist standards (Hall and Page, 2002). According to Gnoth (1997), motivation process moves in a cyclical pathway following different phases, namely (a) stimulation, (b) motivation, (c) intention formation, (d) actual behavioral experience, and (e) evaluation. Selection of tourist destination via pull forces occurs during the first phase followed by the different destination offers or packaged attractions that further strengthen pulling forces (Beerli and Martin, 2004).

As stated by Kozak (2004, p. 57), “examination of motivations for choosing a particular destination as performance measurement criteria could provide valuable implications for destination benchmarking…” Theoretically, if the consumers’ standards are met by the tourist destination, selection occurs followed by the actual experience and evaluation, which decides as to whether the consumer will repeat the experience from the chosen destination (Baloglu and McCleary, 1999). Destination attributes (e. g. travel costs, uniqueness, offered amenities, accommodation competencies, etc.

) provide the pulling motivational forces that must agree with the pushing forces of the fitting tourist profile (Kim and Lee, 2000). According to Jafari (2003), these interrelated motivational forces are inclined to four classifications motivation paradigm, namely (1) escapism, (2) social representations (e. g. luxury, fashion, etc. ), (3) utilitarianism or needs satisfaction, and (4) unique travel experiences. Meanwhile, Yoon and Uysal (2005) distinguish the different motivational elements according to push and pull forces.

Push motivations can be any of the following: “desire for escape, rest and relaxation, prestige, health and fitness, adventure and social interaction, family togetherness, and excitement” (Yoon and Uysal, 2005, quoted Crompton, 1979). On the other hand, pull motivations include elements inspired by the destination itself (Yoon and Uysal, 2005). b. Theoretical Frameworks and Models Psychological and social roles of travel destination are explained by the Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow and Hedonic Model.

The theory utilizes the different levels of fundamental needs and psychological components influencing the travel decision making and destination of consumers (Gnoth, 1997). In the Hierarchy of Needs, the theoretical proposition states that needs categorized as psychological, safety and security, relationship, developmental needs, and fulfillment needs affect the psychology of consumers’ travel decisions. Similar to the latter theory propositions, destinations that satisfy the given needs of the consumers are likely selected and preferred.

Meanwhile, in Hedonic Model, the theory proposes that psychological elements – needs, motives and drive – push the consumers towards travel decision-making, while motivational forces through marketing and promotion provided by tour attractions pull the consumers towards the destination (Shaw and Williams, 2004). The general idea of using motivational forces in increasing destinations’ appeal to consumers is destination benchmarking according to the targeted tourist market profile (Kozak, 2004).

Motivation theories of tourism hold that motivational forces influencing destination selection are purely psychological or as long as consumers are able to meet their ideal version of travel experience (Holden, 2005). Explained by the famed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, once the consumer identifies any of the motivated set of needs within the pulling components offered by the marketing destination (e. g. leisure activities, cheap hotel accommodations, etc), consumers are likely to prefer and get attracted by the offers of the destination; hence, the mechanism of destination’s pulling force (Apostolopoulos et al.

, 1996). As supported by the study of Gnoth (1997), motivational push and pull affecting selection of destination promotes and fosters hedonistic behaviors addressing the consumers’ pursuit of pleasure. Fodness (1994) utilizes the Functional Theory to justify that the consumer attitudes and preferences towards selection of travel destinations are reasonably brought by their satisfaction requirements and functional needs.

On the other hand, motivation theory holds that destination attractions are able to influence consumers’ decision making by enhancing their destinations’ capability to produce higher levels of satisfaction in both instrumental performance (physical amenities provided by destination) and expressive attributes (psychological satisfaction) (Yoon and Uysal, 2005). These components have been well integrated in the explanations of motivation influences on consumers’ destination selection by the theories of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Gossen’s Hedonic Model (Lubbe, 2005).

Based on the Hierarchy of Needs, consumers select their destinations motivated by the different level of needs (a) consciously derived from their motives of travel and (b) unconsciously stimulated by the destinations’ set of attractions or satisfaction levels (Ryan and Glendon, 1998). According to Lubbe (2005), consumers satisfy their travel needs derived from the hierarchy by formulating sets of standard requirements that must be met accordingly through different motivational factors. McIntosh and Thyne (2005) use the hierarchy to explain the different motivational factors influencing consumers’ travel decisions.

In physiological level, destination decisions are influenced by the need for escape, excitement, aggression and arousal, while in safety and security level-based decisions are influenced by security, love, and anxiety-stress reduction (McIntosh and Thyne, 2005). In relationship needs, the motivations involved are acceptance and love, while self-development, curiosity stimulation, achievement and self-esteem on the development needs, and lastly, peek experiences and self-actualization for fulfillment needs (McIntosh and Thyne, 2005).

Asserted by Pearce and Butler (1993), motivational forces identified through hierarchy of needs are more inclined to psychological aspect of motivation, which originates solely from consumer’s point of view. Meanwhile, in Gossen’s Hedonic Model, push (needs, motives and drives) and pull (advertising, services, tourism) factors facilitate the involvement of consumer that leads to hedonistic factors, such as destination imagery, amenities offered, etc. , triggering behavioral motivations and travel intentions (Shaw and Williams, 2004).

Motivations and travel intentions derived from hedonistic factors influence the selection of travel destination that shall fulfill the pleasure-travel process guided by the consumer’s travel standards and expectations. Hedonic model uses the factors of push and pull in order to explain the travel decision-making process of consumers whenever confronted by the need to travel. Needs, motives and drives arise intrinsically within the consumer before entering the state of travel decision making (Shaw and Williams, 2004).

During the point of decision making, destination tours exert pulling forces through marketing, promotion and travel planning in order to pull the decision outcome of consumers towards their tour destination and offers. c. Vacation Themes Related to Conceptual Relationships Vacation or destination themes vary according to the consumers’ push motivations and available pull forces produced by series of tourist destinations.

Fodness (1994) categorizes the motivational factors influencing tourists’ selection of travel destinations by using the four dimensions of Multidimensional scaling (MDS) Solution: (1) knowledge function – utilizing travel destinations to enrich cognitive aspect, (2) utilitarian function – themes expressing escapism, (3) social-adjustive function – destination influenced by social requirements, and (4) value-expressive function – luxurious/fashionable symbolism and tourist self-expression.

According to Moore, Cushman and Simmons (1995), there is an existing conceptual relationship between consumer’s selection of destination and actual motivators exerted through push and pull. Destination attractions and benchmarks provide push-pull motivational factors appealing to the specific category of consumer profile that consequently influence the consumer group’s travel decisions (Goeldner and Ritche, 2006). Vacation themes are abstract ideologies predicting the selection process and categories of consumer needs that must be satisfied in order to appeal to the given set of consumers (Macleod, 2004).

According to the study of Fodness (1994), collated data from survey questionnaires (n=402) reveal that retiree households (37. 8%) high school graduate or less (62. 8%), and average earners from $30k to $49k annually (51. 8%) prefer knowledge-oriented destinations, while married couples (51. 1%) and high school graduates or less prefer to use escapism-oriented destinations. Meanwhile, families with young children (14. 0%) select destination according to social-adjustive function, while family with teenagers (13. 6%) prefers value-expressing destination. d. Motivation and Expectation Formations

Motivational forces are regarded as the median point between the pushing and pulling forces of consumer’s travel decision making (Williams, 2004). Push motivation factors vary according to the group of population targeted by a specific vacation theme present in a definite travel destination that produces an appropriate pull motivation (Burns, 1999). According to Lew et al. (2004), motivational factors are first formed by intensity and persistence of (1) urge, (2) drive and (3) need – the three primary elements that pushes a consumer towards travel decision.

Gnoth (1997) mentions that the three push elements are emotional in nature providing “the action tendency that induces a person’s perception to scan the environment for objects to satisfy what has now become a motive”. Upon establishment of travel motives, pull forces act to transform these motives into objective decision-making that plays a large role in destination decision-making (Buhalis and Costa, 2005). As soon as pull forces starts, values and perceptions derived from ideal pictures of travel experience, travel needs, and satisfaction needs influence the destination decision-making of the consumer (Kim and Prideaux, 2005).

Gnoth (1997) considers this point as the most crucial function of motivational forces wherein marketing, promotions, offers, and destination attractions are presented and evaluated by the subjective decision-making of the consumer. With persistence and intensity, motivational forces consistently pull the consumers’ decision outcomes despite of the confronting sets of (a) attitudes and (b) expectations capable of influencing the tourist’s decision-making (Young, 1999).

If the pulling forces succeed, tourists decides to the consider experiencing the tour package offered by the pulling destination. e. Assessment and Measurement: Elements of Motivation Tourism industry competition relates to the aspect of consumer “pull” applied by destination promoters and tourism marketers. Competition arises when small to large participants of the tourism industry target and market goods to similar consumer profile (Fodness, 1994).

At this point, destination promoters enhance the quality and attractions of their tour creating additional pull force directed to the targeted consumers. Meanwhile, tourism marketers enhance and create additional motivational forces to induce psychological and social attractions directed to their preferred consumers (e. g. brochure handling, advertisements, etc) (Baloglu and McCleary, 1999). Influenced by the most effective motivational pull forces established by the competing industry, target market theoretically should consider the most appealing destination.

Push and pull elements of motivation are derived from intrinsic and extrinsic motivational profile of the travelers affecting the consumers’ travel preferences, needs and satisfaction; hence, the consumer decisions for travel destinations (Hinch, 2004). According to Young (1999), measurement and assessment of these forces are always subjective in nature since verbalized or perception data obtained from primary sources are the sole basis of motivation analysis. However, various models (e. g. MDS scaling, Henostic Model, Hierarchy of Needs, etc.

) have been used in order to explain the relationship between motivational forces and the tourist’s destination preferences. Marketing factors derived from portrayed destination images, available commodities, and tourism proposals illustrating the destination, generally contribute to the physical economic proposition of the destination influencing consumers’ decision-making (Cornelissen, 2005). Push factors refer to the intrinsic, entirely subjective components, personality and attitudes influencing the travel preferences of a consumer (Hinch, 2004).

As supported by Hedonic framework, push factors of needs, drive and motives are established internally within the consumer’s domain prior to the decision outcome of the consumer’s travel preferences. Needs, motives and drives are intrinsic in nature capable of pushing the client towards the travel decision-making (Gnoth, 1997). As explained by Cornelissen (2005), push factors are forces defining the “leisure” nature of the travel providing the conventional psychological treatment – tangible or intangible – that in turn influence the travel preferences of the consumer.

Mason (2008) regards push factors as the perceived negative attributes of the consumers on their negative destination picture, which generally becomes the grounds for decision and setting of consumer motives. Meanwhile, objective and definable travel characteristics, such as price, destination images, tourism marketing and promotion, and destination offers, consists the pull factors influencing consumer decisions (Hinch, 2004). III. Synthesis of Review Motivational factors influencing travel destinations of tourists largely depend on the prevailing push and pull exerted by both consumer and destination provider.

Various theoretical frameworks (e. g. Henostic Model, Hierarchy of Needs, etc. ) have explained the association of consumer needs in selecting their preferred travel destinations. According to the study, consumers decide their travel destinations according to (1) knowledge function, (2) utilitarian function, (3) social-adjustive function, and (4) value-expressive function. The four dimensions of functions consequently become the basis of motivations utilized by tourist destinations in marketing, promoting, planning, and proposing travel packages directed to their targeted tourist profile.

Other categories of motivational factors influence travel destinations preferred by consumers have been described through hierarchy of needs and hedonistic theoretical frameworks wherein travel destinations are selected according to humans’ fundamental needs. Motivational factors are considered as the median line connecting consumer’s push motivations with the destination attractions’ pulling forces. Identification of Gaps Motivational measurement of Gnoth (1997) utilizes the MDS scale in order to identify the functional need-satisfaction relationships in consumer travel decisions.

The study derives the verbal impact of motivational forces to consumers’ travel destinations. However, other studies (Yoon and Uysal, 2005; Ryan and Glendon, 1998; Beerli and Martin, 2004) utilize the psychosocial importance of travels to consumers’ fundamental physiological, safety, relationship, developmental and fulfillment needs. Meanwhile, most of the studies (Burns, 1999; Cornelissen, 2005) presented in the review are literary and qualitative in nature unable to clearly define the relationship of motivational factors and consumers’ destination decisions.

The following literature gaps have been found throughout the study and selected for possible recommendations on future studies related to motivational forces influencing consumer decisions. a. Conduct a quantitative study analyzing the relationship of motivational factors to destination themes according to MDS scale b. Conduct a descriptive study on effectiveness of using push-pull framework in explaining motivation-tourism relationships IV. References Apostolopoulos, Y. , Leivadi, S. , & Yiannakis, A. (1996) The Sociology of Tourism: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations.

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