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Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research
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Impulse purchasing in tourism – learnings from a study in a matured market
Christian Laesser & Sara Dolnicar
a a b

Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance, Research Center for Tourism and Transport, University of St. Gallen , Dufourstrasse 40a, CH-9000 , St. Gallen , Switzerland

Institute for innovation in Business and Social Research, University of Wollongong , Northfields Avenue, Wollongong , Australia Published online: 15 May 2012.

To cite this article: Christian Laesser & Sara Dolnicar (2012) Impulse purchasing in tourism – learnings from a study in a matured market, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 23:2, 268-286, DOI: 10.1080/13032917.2012.688409 To link to this article:

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Hence. bInstitute for innovation in Business and Social Research. specific travel motivations. August 2012. Specifically. 2005. 23.1080/13032917. a small number of travel companions. the increased availability of last-minute offers and low-cost airline connections.688409 http://www. 1989). Woodside & Lysonski. Northfields Avenue. 268–286 Impulse purchasing in tourism – learnings from a study in a matured market Christian Laessera* and Sara Dolnicarb a Institute for Systemic Management and Public ISSN 1303-2917 print/ISSN 2156-6909 online q 2012 Institute for Systemic Management And Public Governance at the University of St. Crompton. Vogt & Fesenmaier. 2008). Many studies thus aim to understand the relationship between planned and executed behaviour in order to predict the latter (for an overview. Gallen http://dx.doi. note that Ajzen and Driver (1992) in originally used leisure activities as the research setting for testing the theory of planned behaviour). 1992. nothing is known about the situations in which such behaviour is most likely to occur. No. planned purchase. Um & Crompton. Wollongong.2012. 2002.laesser@unisg. Research Center for Tourism and Transport. in 13% of all trips taken by the Swiss population the time between making an irreversible travel decision and departure is less than 7 days (Bieger & Laesser. as well as increased interest in short trips suggest that in many cases travel planning is reduced substantially. and (2) empirically determine trip characteristics associated with impulse purchasing in tourism. very short-term travel planning or even impulse-type purchasing behaviour appears to exist also in the tourism context. Gallen. mainly because travel is assumed to be a high involvement activity (Kuss & Tomczak. Keywords: impulse purchase. University of . The aim of the present study is to develop knowledge about impulse purchasing in tourism. and familiarity with the destination. 2007). we aim to (1) provide a definition of impulse purchasing in tourism. 1998. CH-9000 St. 1990. see March & Woodside. final version received 23 April 2012) Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 Existing literature suggests that information search and planning always precede travel activity. *Corresponding author. travel planning tourism services Introduction It is widely accepted that the purchasing of core tourism services is associated with planning (for an extensive discussion of the process view of travel planning and execution. Dufourstrasse 40a. Email: christian. However. We propose that impulse purchasing also occurs in tourism. Hsieh & O’Leary. University of St. see Correia. This contrasts with our understanding of purchasing behaviour in other contexts where a significant amount of non-planned. Australia (Received 7 December 2011. 1993. Results from an empirical study show that impulse purchasing does occur in tourism and is specifically associated with shorter trips. Switzerland. Gallen. For example. 2. impulse purchasing occurs.tandfonline.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research Vol.

The key characteristics of such purchases across those product categories include emotionality. According to Lee and Kacen (2008. An impulse may also be regarded as the change in momentum of an object to which a force of some kind is applied. to make a purchase. 1995). Rook & Fisher. mostly in a shopping context. Mogelonsky. Planned buying Impulse buying Planned impulse buying -> product or category in mind -> no decision yet which brand to buy Pure impulse buying -> total lack of planning Figure 1. researchers agree (Rook. Rook (1987). The object of the purchase can range from a product category to a very specific product within a given product category. and instantaneousness purchase and consumption planning horizons (Dowling & Staelin. but has not decided yet which brand to buy (cf. & Deutsch. 1995) that impulse buying generally occurs when an individual makes a more or less unintended. 1987. a low level of reflection. it has been long recognized and capitalized on by major fast-moving consumer goods companies (Crawford & Melewar. 2008. 1991. the person sees or is aware of an article (Hoch & Loewenstein. Rook and Fisher (1995). & Beatty. particularly a sudden one (time) to act in a certain manner (Hofmann. 1975). 266). an impulse is a wish or urge (force). an impulse is defined as the integral of a force with respect to an amount of time. Conceptualization of impulse purchasing. Stern proposes four potential categories of unplanned purchases. 2000). lack of intention. and immediate purchase. Hausman. .Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research 269 Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 Literature review Marketing. Drawing on these concepts. 1998). 1998). 1987. 1998. Weun. 1967. Strack. Rook & Fisher. identifies impulse behaviour as having a powerful and real influence in the consumer buying behaviour process (Bayley & Nancarrow. 2008). Source: Own conceptualization adapted from Stern (1962). 1998. 1994. Rook. Rook & Gardner. Lee & Kacen. Hoch & Loewenstein. “impulse buying can be defined as an unplanned purchase that was not anticipated or planned before the shopper entered the store” (p. 2003. Jones. Lack of intention arises from a sudden urge to buy a specific item. Rook & Fisher. 1991). 2008. that is. derived from Kollat & Willett. 1993. In psychology. for example. and especially retail research. The latter implies that a consumer has a product or product category in mind for purchase. ranging from pure impulse buying (total lack of preplanning) to planned impulse buying. and also Prasad. In his 1962 seminal paper. Lee & Kacen. 1995. Impulse purchases can range from small-scale supermarket items such as candy to “big-ticket” items such as larger home appliances and even automobiles (Beatty & Ferrell. Although an extreme form of the normal buying behaviour process. when the desire and decision to buy occurs after an external stimulus – for example. Figure 1). unreflective. Impulse buying behaviour in general In classical mechanics.

1998. 2003. 1995. 1993). is the external information available at the time of purchase. 1993. the consumer’s mood (e. 1987). Rook & Fisher.. the transferability of the concept of impulse purchases to other product categories. This differs from a fully planned purchase. Laesser and S. we hypothesize that the duration of the process associated with the purchase (and sometimes consumption). Rook. 2005). remains untested. 1995. and also whether it should be measured on a product-specific level. In an extreme case.. Finally. 1978). trait impulsiveness) as consistent across product categories (Beatty & Ferrell. Weun et al.. for example. Therefore. Jones et al. 2003). Rook & Fisher. 2008). 1995). internal and external sources. which can make up more than one-third of department store purchases (Bellenger. 1998. Rook & Gardner. especially in terms of income allocation for a specific item (Rook. with unconstrained planning time. 1985. Robertson.g. partially because of the prevalence of impulse buying in today’s retail marketplace (Jones et al. Rook & Fisher. 1998).. in which all sources of information are available and potentially consulted. Dolnicar Lack of reflexion means that a purchase is made without engaging in a systematic evaluation. as far back as 1971. the time interval between being aware of a purchase object and buying it is minimal in an impulse purchasing situation (Barratt. The likelihood of someone buying a car or a larger home appliance after only minimal evaluation is rather slim. Beatty & Ferrell. 1986).g. These concerns prompted our investigation of the full extent and quality of impulse buying behaviour. and Beatty (2003). 1994). 2002. that “impulse buying tendency is a consumer personality trait indicating that individuals can be distinguished from one another based on this trait” (p. regarding the immediate character of a purchase. & Hirschman. 2006). product display incentives. Individuals are thus less likely to consider the consequences or to think carefully before making the purchase. studies in marketing observe. Weun. 1996. in certain cases. 1998). Reynolds. & Friese. The degree of this time compression can be posited along a continuum. individual and environmental situation (Peck & Childers. 1998. Beattie. including travel. as well as the presence of others (Luo.. as well as its potential variety across product categories (Jones et al. for example. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 . However. interpersonal and expert advice (Dowling & Staelin. Weun et al. similar to Jones. 2003). In line with research on impulsiveness in the psychology literature. self-identity (e. the only available information. Lee & Kacen. Weun et al. 1993. Previous research treats the impulse buying tendency as a generalized trait (that is. 1987). Rook & Fisher. 1999). Rook & Gardner. varies accordingly. 1999). ranging from extensively planned to impulse buying. Dittmar. where the planning is associated at minimum with a product category and. and cultural orientation (Kacen & Lee. Rook & Gardner. Hence. Most studies focus on retailing. or people in the store (Lee & Kacen. 1995. 1998). the degree of how immediate a purchase needs to be to qualify as an impulse purchase probably varies according to the size of the ticket. including the planning horizon for its evaluation.. However. 503). because impulse purchases can also occur with big-ticket items (Beatty & Ferrell. Lee & Kacen. including media. Kassarijan noted that an important task for personality research in consumer behaviour is to determine whether such a trait can be generalized across product categories. More recent research reveals that different factors influence impulsive buying behaviour. aside from internal information (such as previous consumption experience). even with a brand (Cobb & Hoyer. for example. ranging from simple socio-demographics (such as age and gender) to more complex constructs (such as trait impulsiveness described above. evaluation of the appropriateness of engaging in impulse buying (e.g.270 C.

2004. the time component of impulse purchases in travel also needs to be analysed in detail. 2003.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research 271 Conceptualizing impulse purchasing in tourism Travel-related decisions are considered to be contingent and coherent portfolio decisions. or those that are strictly necessary. Consequently. p. Gitelson & Kerstetter. 1990. 2009. According to Katona. Because travel is a portfolio-based decision. He refers mainly to the purchase of consumer items. there is not one. where. describing the time between the first legally binding action (booking) towards a trip and the departure. Cha. the trip duration). in line with Curtin (1982) and Wood (2005). pp. serious control of when. We thus propose. Hyde & Laesser. and in terms of income allocation). see Bieger & Laesser. indicating a very short time frame between attention (becoming aware of something) and action (its purchase). which can be variably compressed: . 1996). choice of destination. and . booking – departure time frame. a core leisure pursuit. choice of members of the travel party. as well as with emotions and less rationality (Bayley & Nancarrow. Curtin and Wood base their rationales on Katona’s argument. the source of the impulse is either endogenously activated (“push”. an impulse consists of two elements: (1) a wish or urge to act in a certain manner. Millions of consumers have latitude in deciding whether to spend or to save.e. and (2) a time-related issue meaning that this urge is sudden. Tay. As derived from motivation theories. describing the duration of a trip. & Uysal. and how much to spend. 19– 20). from within the person) or exogenously activated (“pull”. McCarthy. but rather a multiplicity of decisions about each single component of the portfolio – which is why the concept of impulse purchase (and thus time related to that type of buying) should be adapted accordingly. and . 2009). describing the time between the first decision of at least one or more portfolio elements of a trip. As discussed in the previous section. Travel decisions contain at least three components relating to time: . Katona’s concept of consumer discretion includes consumer control and consumer allocation of time and income – that is. the decision regarding when to commit to a service once selected. Hausman. Associated with the above components are three core time frames. Yuan & McDonald. McCleary. to extend impulse purchasing to discretionary spending – regardless of where the impulse or need to purchase comes from. on what to spend and how to save” (1975. . decision– booking time frame. a budget for expenditure (absolute. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 . transport and route to the destination. incorporating a multiplicity of partial decisions. departure –return time frame. including travel motivation. Laesser. 1990). . 2004. the time allocation decision in terms of when and how much time to be absent from home (i. . and choice/category of accommodation (Becken & Gnoth. . from outside the person – for example. 2002b. 2000). They include travel dates and duration of travel. but also includes purchases of travel and items “often connected with recreation and luxury” (1975. sole decision related to a given trip. in which the Second World War economy provided the Western world with “substantial increase in the average family’s income together with a great change in the distribution of income . 29). 1998. & Fletcher. discretionary spending goes beyond compelled purchases. Hyde & Laesser. 1995. the portfolio decision regarding what to consume during a trip (trip structure. via a purchase incentive) (Bieger & Laesser.

In addition. we can deduct that an association exists between the duration of a trip and its planning horizon. 1996). . Dolnicar We define impulse purchases in tourism as planned impulse purchasing (this acknowledges that impulse buyers in tourism at least consider taking a vacation before booking). Thrane (2012) also stresses that “the longer the planning or booking time. Thus. who assume that a consumer who engages in an impulse purchase has a product or product category in mind for immediate purchase but has not decided yet which brand to buy. For example. the shorter the travel planning time frame. Laesser and S. 2000). the longer the travel planning time frame.272 C.. We expect consumers with higher incomes to have fewer constraints on acting on their opportunities. McKean. In so doing we align our proposed definition with Stern (1962). the longer the travel planning time frame for a trip. and Rook and Fisher (1995). Thus. From these ideas. basically due to the different lengths of trips associated with different types of trips. Waelde. with a maximum of one week between the decision to take a trip and the departure. 1987). they could have a more “open” buying list. 1993. we propose the following: Hypothesis 2: The higher the number of participating household members. which allows them to pursue sudden and unexpected purchasing ideas with less difficulty paying for them. short-term buying decisions may be more likely to be interrupted by the so-called “income block”. Rook (1987). different individual time allocations must coincide when more than one person takes a trip. & Chang. 1986. and Hof (1992) propose that family size plays an important role in recreational decisions: the number of members of a household also influences various aspects of vacation decisions (Hsieh. the longer the trips tend to be”. 2009. For people with lower incomes. the authors suggest that higher income is one of several factors that can account for a higher level of impulse purchasing. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 Eymann and Ronning (1997) and Walsh. Income and travel expenditure In a study by Abratt and Goodey (1990). touring holidays (self-drive) are more complex to organize and normally last longer than “stay-put” holidays at a beach. Morrison. Tay et al. Mogelonsky (1994) goes further to suggest that impulse buying is reserved for consumers who can afford it. O’Leary. Hence. John. we form the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 3: The higher the household income. 1994). they may be able to buy on impulse more frequently than can others. Development of research hypotheses relating to the nature of impulse purchasing in tourism Duration of trip and travel composition From the structural theory of a trip (Hyde & Laesser. Because income is often related to education as well as professional position (Becker & Tomes. we propose the first of a number of hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: The longer the departure –return time frame (trip duration). Sheldon & Mak. these characteristics might equally influence the share of impulse buying. which may lead to lower buying frequency and expenditures (Mogelonsky.

several studies demonstrate that overall travel expenditure per trip as well as daily travel expenditure is significantly associated with the duration of a trip (Cannon & Ford. 2000). Hausman (2000) suggests that impulse-type buying is a hedonic need predominantly motivated by achievement of higher-order motives. Gitelson & Kerstetter. 2003. 1994. which might explain the increase in non-planned or very quickly planned purchases. we might conclude that short time frames regarding travel planning might be associated with higher travel expenditures and higher shares of income allocation for a given trip – either overall or per diem. 1998. leads to different types of impulse buying behaviour. Shopping and travelling (as surrogates for the purchase of services) have become major lifestyle activities. involving personal interactions between . 2002b. we propose: Hypothesis 8: Travel motivations differ in dependence of the length of the travel planning time frame. 2006. in turn. 2004. Cha et al. Dittmar et al. Bieger. the higher the overall and per diem income allocation for a given trip. p. The higher the type of professional position.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research Hypothesis 4: Hypothesis 5: 273 The higher the type of terminal education. Drawing on Hausman’s (2000) notions. the transactional dimension of an impulse purchase should be considered. 1990. necessitating a deductive approach to this topic. the literature gives no indication of how travel expenditures are associated with travel planning. Dolnicar. including non-economic and immediate reasons. Dolnicar & Leisch. Information sourcing “Travel business is an information business” (Schertler. There is a logarithmic association between overall travel expenditure and duration of trip. 2002. This suggestion is also offered by Bayley and Nancarrow (1998). Core leisure pursuit Consensus exists among scholars that travel motivation is an excellent differentiator and segmentation criterion in travel behaviour (Bieger & Laesser. the shorter the travel planning time frame. the higher the overall and per diem travel expenditure. (1996) report that in developed countries purchase and consumption of products are increasingly associated with expressing a sense of selfidentity. 1995. Yuan & McDonald. Travel products are mostly intangible personal service products. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 As is found for travel. The shorter the travel planning time frames. Hence. 23). & Laesser. we propose: Hypothesis 6: Hypothesis 7: The shorter the travel planning time frames. 2006). the shorter the travel planning time frame. and social or emotional gratification. which.. From the literature we also know that short-term purchase planning is associated more with emotion than rationality (Bayley & Nancarrow. On the basis of that. Hausman. such as fun. Fredmann. who provide evidence for the fact that the post-acquisition and in-use/functional dimensions of any purchase deflate the “dark side” of potential impulse buying behaviour at the time of acquisition. Extending the original impulse purchase concept. and an exponential association between yearly expenditure and duration of trip (Beritelli. However. as well as the post-acquisition in-use/functional and (often experiential) dimension. fantasy. 1990). Laesser & Crouch. 2008).

According to the economics of information. is another potential source of information. 1997. Aimed at maximizing their yield per customer transaction (Hunkel. would be important with longer planning periods (Dowling & Staelin. financial. 1992). and financial resources for customer decision-making (Lamberton. 2007. we would expect a certain effect on the consumer’s behaviour: that they would follow price-driven planning horizons ¨ ssler. 1994. ultimately allows for well-informed purchase behaviour without time-consuming deliberation (Katona. Because internal information. Dolnicar Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 customers and service providers (Lovelock & Wright. we also propose the following: Hypothesis 10: The higher the number of previous trips to a destination. Hence. hotel chains. As intended by the suppliers. Thus. 1999. psychological. Normann. Lee & Kacen. no source of information. Schiffmann. In addition. 2006). Laesser and S. the shorter the travel planning time frame. 1998). 1999). 1998. we propose: Hypothesis 9: The shorter the travel planning time frame. 1992). 2006). 1992. mostly related to purchase situations (Assael. From this. 2001. Experience. Traditional perspectives of information search focus on functional needs. 1996. Kimes. physical. Ja (short term) and customer relation (long term). According to this approach. the search for information enables tourists to reduce the level of uncertainty and enhance the quality of a trip (Fodness & Murray. especially when it comes to quick decisions (Lehto. Schertler. and single hotels have become successful price discriminators ¨ ggi. Wo Schertler. However. 1997. Parasuraman. 2003. 1972. creating high personal involvement (the uno actu principle. effort. these characteristics often lead to high personal investments of time. 2008). 1990). Zeithaml. Kim. see Bieger. Lovelock & Wright. From this.274 C. Choice of transportation to and accommodation at the destination Airlines. Teare. based on previous trips. we offer the following: (Fa Hypothesis 11: Means of transportation that require advance booking are associated with longer travel planning time frames compared with means of transportation that do not need a booking. the less important are sources of information for travel planning. especially when it comes to leisure travel. & Berry. Therefore. Teare. 1984). except perhaps the one triggering a purchase. 1975). defined as motivated efforts directed at or contributing to a purpose (Vogt & Fesenmaier. 2006). they set prices according to demand and willingness to pay (Belobaba & Botimer. Teare. customers react to the incentives from this pricing scheme by behaving as opportunistically as possible. we might conclude that travel most of the time includes planning and information processing. ¨ hler. 1994). often in unknown places. and social risks (Dolnicar. & Morrison. 1994. . 1989). Desiraju & Shugan. instead relying on their accumulated knowledge (Fodness & Murray. They are delivered away from home. 1999). Consequently. which can be planned (Bruhn & Meffert. 2005. tourists visiting a place they are familiar with are unlikely to engage in a great deal of deliberation. the consumption and production of tourism products always coincide. inducing functional. 1999. 2000). contrasting to this approach is the inclusion of experience in the purchase deliberation process. which can be considered as the accumulation and habitual buyer behaviour. 1999.

as in most mature markets. Regarding buying behaviour.unisg. & Scriven. Rodi. Barnard. Mo Kim and Jogaratnam (2002).g. ¨ rth. Fodness and Murray (1999). & Vincent. Hirtenlehner. and Pearce and Schott (2005). participants completed one questionnaire for each private trip with one or more overnight . Gursoy and Gavcar (2003). & Wiseman. it is expected that younger consumers are more likely to experience an urge to buy things spontaneously when exposed to the relevant objects and to act on the urge. Data collection and sampling were administrated by IHA-GfK Switzerland (a leading market research institute) on behalf of the Institute for Public Services and Tourism (which provided the survey instrument. the items were taken from Bieger and Laesser (2004). see also Bieger & Laesser. Tideswell and Faulkner (1999). in Switzerland. see www. the net travel propensity is well above 80% (see Bieger & Laesser. items included were taken from Bieger and Laesser (2002a). Sirakaya. 1997. Bieger & Laesser. Consequently. Rawlings. product utilities are typically driven by price and quality issues as well as brands. Kim and Lee (2000). Swiss travel shoppers are experienced as well as sophisticated (Hopkins.unisg. and Steckenbauer (2002).ch/publications/46512. 1995. 1995). Growth in such markets is only small (D’Souza & Rao. Gustafson (2002). Boldero. The key measurements for this study are questions about people’s travel motivations and information search. Regarding information sources. Uysal. Our study is based on the analysis of parts of Travel Market Switzerland 2007. The share of frequent tourists from this country (68%) is well above the accepted threshold for a mature market (50%. Therefore.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research 275 Hypothesis 12: Means of accommodation that require advance booking are associated with longer travel planning time frames compared with means of accommodation that do not need a booking. surveying all their private trips during 2007 (for the specifics of the survey. and Wickens (2002). we finalize this section with an age-related hypothesis. and their domestic buying environments are highly evolved. we present the following hypothesis: Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 Hypothesis 13: The travel planning time frames of young people are shorter than those of older people. Luo. Kiefl (1997). (2006). 2008). Shoemaker (2000).ch/Publikationen/46512). Ehrenberg. The literature suggests that younger people have more impulsivity compared with older people (e. Feng. Methodology The study was conducted in Switzerland. and regarding Switzerland. Age To complement previous hypotheses regarding the socio-demographic factors in travel planning. The questionnaire included a range of questions (available from the technical report online). a survey conducted with the Swiss resident population in 2007. 2008). A full list of measurements can be found at Bieger and Laesser (2008). Jang and Cai (2002). methods. 2008). Lehto et al. Survey participants could either complete a self-administrated and structured paperand-pencil questionnaire or complete an identical questionnaire online. and Cai (2004). to download at http://www.alexandria. For example. and financial sources). It was entirely up to them to decide which means of completion they chose. 2002). For the whole of 2007. Regarding travel motivation.alexandria. whereas older consumers may demonstrate better ability to control their buying. Data collection took place via selfadministrated and structured written diary-like interviews with a representative sample of households and all their members. which represents a prototypical mature travel market. and Yoshioka (2003).

Repetitive trips (for example.5% of all trips taken by the Swiss population had a travel planning time frame of less than one week.276 C. A preliminary descriptive analysis of this variable revealed that 13. of which a large proportion undertook an overall 10. From the information gathered. from face-to-face interviews). including 4387 persons (that is. The non-weighted sample thus consisted of 1898 households. Self-selection and registration through banner ads or similar was explicitly not possible.5% of the cases (that is. 1187 households were recruited by phone. we derived an understanding of when at least one element of the travel-related portfolio decision was definitely made.3 persons per household. The overall sample recruited for this study consisted of 2712 households. communities. the other 30% through personal contacts (for example. and other. while the overall foreign population in Switzerland is 1. 6125 million people. Overall. size of household.000 active members. Laesser and S. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 . To secure the constant inflow of responses during the entire duration of the survey. (0) “all other planning time frames” (control group). to second homes) were not to be recorded because they are considered part of test persons’ usual environments. when the first bookings were made for the trip. Analysis For the analysis. and 86. trips) belonged to Group 1. where the mean size of a Swiss household is 2. reminding them to turn in their completed questionnaires or indicate that they had not travelled within a given quarter. with the following delimitations and codes: (1) “a decision– booking AND booking – departure time frame of less than one week” (test group). we applied a binary logistic regression of variables denominating our hypotheses into two groups of planning behaviour: (code: 1) “a decision –booking AND booking– departure time frame of less than one week” (test group) compared with (code: 0) “all other travel planning horizons” (control group). 1525 households were recruited from an online panel of 45. 2. Seventy per cent of this panel was originally recruited via CATI. “planning behaviour”. which means that 13.903 trips (trip cases). The latter constitutes a newly created variable. and when the test persons departed for the trip. Dolnicar stays. representative of the Swiss resident population. the participants were contacted four times during the survey period (which lasted all 2007). that is. Internet providers.and Frenchspeaking areas of Switzerland (the Swiss population in Switzerland is 6 million.2). This database is representative of 98% of all households in Switzerland. . The variables (listed according to the order of the hypotheses) regressed against the above-planning variable included (parentheses indicate scale: duration of trip (metric). 1898 households (70% of the overall sample drawn) participated across all four quarters in the study year (either by completing questionnaires or by indicating that they had not travelled). and type of household) randomly drawn from the national database “CH-plus Consumer” by AZjDirect AG. The database is representative of 90% of Swiss. and could thus be included in the final sample. The reason for conducting a binary regression as opposed to an OLS model is constituted in the desire to analyse/compare two segments (test and control groups) rather than predicting behavioural differences due to incremental changes in the decision – departure time frame. The sample was recruited in two ways: . The contacts were (within quotas of region.5 million). and approximately 50% of foreign (assimilated) citizens in the German.5% to Group 0.

Propositions were tested based on the resulting model coefficients. age groups (out of nine categories). representing a key internal source of information). However. terminal education (out of 10 categories). 1000 cases we randomly selected and performed Chi-square tests on item levels across the groups of planning behaviour to assess whether potential differences were significant or merely due to chance variations. 1995). The fit of the model is tested after the elimination of each variable to ensure that the model still fits the data adequately.135. metric). we set the classification cut-off at 0. see Table 1. (We reiterate here that the previous descriptive analysis showed that 13. we can draw the following conclusions: We discuss the results hereafter in more detail. Because of the exploratory character of our study. Because of the distribution of the cases. and with the aim of finding a minimal model to explain short-term planning in tourism. gender. particularly if continuous covariates are in the model. means of transportation (out of 10 categories). as are found in our study (see Menard. 74% of all cases were correctly classified.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research 277 Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 number of participating members from the household. and variables are eliminated from the model in an iterative process. absolute and related to income. This analysis begins with a full or saturated model. terminal education. Regarding our hypothesis. the analysis is complete. we performed the Hosmer and Lemeshow test. and in order to facilitate the interpretation of the results. regarding group membership (code: 1). Hence. none of the socio-demographic predictors (age.473 and a Hosmer– Lemeshow test statistic of 0. household income (metric) and trip expenditure per person (overall. For an overview. as were a large majority of transportation means as well as accommodation. Duration of trip and travel composition As proposed. A large number of model predictors were revealed as significantly different from zero.) To test if our data adequately fitted the model. with an R 2 of 0. following the original structure of the hypotheses. professional position) produced significant coefficients. short-term planning. If rejected. where (for readability reasons) only significant coefficients are presented.5% of all trips taken by the Swiss population have travel planning time frames of less than one week. The classification table further revealed that 80% of all cases were correctly classified. Doubling of either the duration or the number of travel companions . according to which there is no difference between observed and model-predicted values. indicating model prediction is not significantly different from observed values). 28 types of information sources (on a five-point importance scale). From the latter we can conclude that we failed to reject the null hypothesis. this procedure allowed us to maximize the number of explanatory variables. per day. This implies that the model’s estimates fitted the data at an acceptable level (wellfitting models show non-significance on the H-L goodness-of-fit test. we chose a backward stepwise procedure. both duration of trip and travel composition are significantly associated with planning behaviour. 25 types of travel motivations (on a five-point importance scale).36. which is considered more robust than the traditional Chi-square test. number of previous trips to destination (metric. When no more variables can be eliminated from the model. Results The data fitted the model at an acceptable level. professional position (out of 15 categories).

375 7.000 0.224 Prestigious character of trip 0.007 1 0.320 1 0.126 Challenge and stimulate oneself 2 0.000 Total travel expenditure per person 2 0.015 1.319 1.045 0.194 1.5 0.7 19.780 1.958 16.007 1 0.000 0.002 5.046 0.377 8.3 2 17.835 2 8.0 1.020 6.001 0.000 1 0.292 magazines Fairs and exhibitions 0.141 0.104 15.024 48.7 2 13.079 1 0.2 2 11.862 1 0.000 0.001 per day Total travel expenditure per person 2 19.991 18.028 1 0.407 5.272 1.136 0.026 4.050 0.534 4.512 10 0.060 0.257 0.911 0.000 1 0.764 8.035 0.000 0.999 1.180 household Income and consumption Household income 0.717 5.1 2 14.000 0.125 (communal level) Accommodation guide of chain 0.000 0.799 1.703 0.836 1.181 0.860 1.216 1.085 4.786 17.1 0.134 (and relations) Termination/conclusion of phase 2 0.003 1 0.000 0.455 1 0.063 0.013 7.719 0.339 1.361 0.092 0.056 0.0 31.001 Total travel expenditure per person 0.104 decisions Enjoy nightlife 2 0.207 1 0.067 0.043 1 0.385 28.900 Motorbike (or similar) 1.329 Scheduled flight 2 0.179 Sports (active) 0.007 0. see and experience 0.056 0.166 Advice from friends and relatives 2 0.807 17.274 32.2 13.350 4.9 33.149 Ability to make spontaneous 0.7 2 20.9 1 0.650 9.3 499.052 0.044 0.000 1 0.9 2 16.057 0.278 C.045 0.057 0.4 2 16.063 0.019 13.478 3.022 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0.973 4.791 SE Wald Df Sig.442 9.088 0. B Duration of trip 2 0.110 0.128 risk Time for the family 2 0.062 0.003 1 0.093 Number of members from 2 0. Dolnicar Table 1.103 0.000 1 0.232 29.9 18.076 0.019 destination Means of transportation (reference ¼ car) Train 2 0.840 0.054 0.054 10.001 1 0.008 129.1 2 100.002 0.000 0.868 0. Results of the regression analysis.126 something new Liberation from obligations 0.069 11.001 8.662 43.161 1.174 Time for oneself 2 0.830 5.1 13.003 7.134 1. Laesser and S.6 2 16.0 16.044 0.000 0.195 Search for self-esteem 0.4 25.178 16.003 1 0.036 0.177 Advice from travel agency/rail 0.6 27.036 1 0.000 1 0.134 0.1 2 22.0 2 0.034 0.1 2 59.248 URL from a tour operator or travel 0.228 service URL from a hotel chain 2 0.488 1 0.048 1 0.140 URL from an airline 2 0.0 2 29.352 Make contact with new people 2 0.000 1 0.883 1.046 0.6 .996 2 28. Change Exp(B) in odds (%) 0.0 Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 0.141 Importance of sources of information Brochures of destination 2 0.869 0.4 21.143 0.150 Number of previous trips to 0.007 1 0.241 Experience of adventure and even 0.495 0.186 in one’s life Rest and relaxation 0.000 5.350 7.906 4.0 2 13.028 1 0.015 1.1 11.001 1 0.4 14.537 per day in relation to household income Importance of travel motivations Diversion.277 agency Travel guides/books/travel 0.830 1.

a larger amount of information must be processed. In larger groups of tourists.303 361.1 2 83. motor home. The one exception is that each doubling the income share allocated per travel day is also associated with a doubling of the travel planning horizon.555 1. the higher the overall and per diem travel expenditure. the shorter the travel planning time frame.528 0.828 0. 279 Change Exp(B) in odds (%) 4.032 1 0.161 0. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 extends the travel planning time frame ceteris paribus by 9% and 17% respectively. This result conflicts with previous research: it Hypothesis 1. which. The shorter the travel planning time frames.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research Table 1 – continued B Bicycle (or similar) Means of accommodation (reference ¼ not determined Holiday home of friends and relatives Camping (tent. Income and travel expenditure The level of income does not have any measurable effect on the travel planning horizon. the shorter the travel planning time frame. Hypothesis 5. the smaller the overall travel expenditure. The higher the household income. Hypothesis 4.000 4.193 0.9 2 69. The higher the number of participating household members. There is no measurable effect of income on the planning time frame.241 17 0.285 4.006 54.594 2 1.420 0. takes more time. as well as dealing with perceived risks associated with a travel decision.010 Note: Positive signs denote a converse relationship with a short-term travel planning time frame (and vice versa).855 2 1. the longer the travel planning time frame for a trip.1 242. Supported. No type of terminal education tested in the model predicts the extent of the planning time frame. This information processing includes the registration and handling of different needs. No type of professional position tested in the model predicts the extent of the planning time frame. The higher the type of terminal education.725 7. the shorter the travel planning time frame. The longer the departure – return time frame (trip duration). Hypothesis 2. trailer. The same result is seen for travel expenses.706 1 0. This effect is quite modest when compared to others within the model. Hypothesis 3. Not supported.230 0.68 1. the longer the travel planning time frame.611 3. in turn.038 1 0. The higher the type of professional position. The non-significance of the additional Chi-square test supports this hypothesis result. Not supported.576 1 0. Hypothesis 6. . but nevertheless important from an information economics perspective. caravan) Constant SE Wald Df Sig. Not supported.573 2. The non-significance of the additional Chi-square test supports this hypothesis result. Supported. Not supported with respect to overall travel expenditure: the longer the planning time frame.

Dolnicar Hypothesis (continued). hotels tend to generate long-term planning time frames. Partially supported (for scheduled flights and trains). termination/conclusion of phase in one’s life. Also. the higher the overall and per diem income allocation for a given trip. Supported regarding yearly travel expenditure: both effects are only minimal. actually the shorter the travel planning time frame the smaller the yearly income allocation for a given trip. Means of transportation that require advance booking are associated with longer travel planning time frames compared with means of transportation that do not need a booking. Not supported. the following motivations signify longer planning horizons (in ascending order of coefficient): enjoy nightlife. In contrast. Some information sources become important with short-term travel planning time frames. Details discussed below. Not supported. the results do not reveal a clear pattern. This result is associated with the cultural peculiarities of the sample: the Swiss population in general is considered quite conservative when it comes to spending.280 C. . Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 Supported. Hypothesis 11. Hypothesis 7. in turn. The travel planning time frames of young people are shorter than those of older people. and as the cross-tab and Chi-square tests reveal. time for the family. There was no measurable effect of age on the planning time frame. Hypothesis 8. which. rest and relaxation. Hypothesis 10. make contact with new people. Hypothesis 13. experience of adventure and even risk. time for oneself. Supported. The non-significance of the additional Chi-square test supports this result. The shorter the travel planning time frames. challenge and stimulate oneself. These are (in decreasing order of coefficient): search for self-esteem. However. the shorter the travel planning time frame. Not supported. produces high saving rates. Core leisure pursuit Of the 25 types of motivations tested. The shorter the travel planning time frame. diversion/see and experience something new. Results discussed below. Laesser and S. Means of accommodation that require advance booking are associated with longer travel planning time frames compared with means of accommodation that do not need a booking. Hypothesis 12. liberation from obligations (and relations). Not supported. sports (active). whereas second homes and staying with friends and relatives tend to be associated to shortterm planning. several are associated with short travel planning time frames. and ability to make spontaneous decisions. the less important are sources of information for travel planning. Hypothesis 9. signifies prudent economic behaviour. prestigious character of trip. Travel motivations differ in dependence of the length of the travel planning time frame. The higher the number of previous trips to a destination. where spending higher shares of income is associated with commensurate longer planning time frames.

This does not only include flights and trains for international traffic. A person’s own travel experience may substitute commercial support. Interestingly. travel motives linking a tourist to other people are less relevant to impulse travel. are associated with short travel planning time frames.Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research 281 In line with previous results relating to the size of the travel party. The composition of the above information sources somewhat mirror the short-term booking behaviour of commercially organized travel and the information need related to it. In contrast. explaining why the use of URLs and more static sources of information (such as friends and relatives) as well as printed brochures can be associated with a more extensive travel planning time frame. rest and relaxation) should lead to short-term decision-making. on which to base specific travel needs and subsequent travel decisions (and similarities exist with the concept of the latent compared to the activated decision set). we might propose that motivations either associated with short-term/intensive experiences in general. This is probably because of the trade-off between available time and income. In addition. therefore. URL from a tour operator or travel agency. advice from travel agency/rail service. which also indicate the potential overriding effect of weather on travel decisions. The following sources of information are associated with longer planning horizons (in ascending order of coefficient): URL from an airline. means of transportation that do not require reservations. which is more crucial for the product category “travel” than for other product categories. but also motor homes (see “types of accommodation”). Age Results reported in previous studies are not confirmed. From the above discussion. the use of means of transport that require bookings is associated with extended travel planning time frames. several are associated with short travel planning time frames: travel guides/books/magazines. we can conclude that even very short-term travelling is associated with a minimum of planning and information sourcing. advice from friends and relatives. the latter two means of transport have the highest model coefficients. URL from a hotel chain. The choice of means of accommodation does not contribute to the explanation of travel planning time frames. In contrast. and fairs and exhibitions. Information sourcing Of the 28 sources of information tested. and printed brochures of the destination (communal level). printed and more generic and static information can serve as a kind of database. that pure impulse purchasing as defined by Stern (1962) does not occur in tourism because the case of total lack of preplanning of any kind is extremely rare. explaining why this internal source is also associated to short travel planning time frames. and that normally would be used in favourable climatic/weather conditions (such as motorbikes and bicycles). It has to be concluded. In addition. a person’s own information sourcing (and possibly booking activities) requires more planning time. Conversely. or representing a need that can be met with highly industrialized products (for example. a high number of previous trips to a destination also signify a short travel planning time frame. Choice of transportation to and accommodation at the destination As proposed in our hypotheses. Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 . accommodation guide of chain.

future research could focus on the external environment/setting of travel planning and the social context in which travel decisions are made. impulse purchasing in tourism does not necessarily lead to non-economic behaviour: travel expenses (in absolute terms as well as in terms of how much income is allocated for a trip) tend to be quite prudent. the travel planning time frame also increases. it at all it exists. and shopping related travel motives). because they are unlikely to be big spenders. although they might be in the position to “splash out” (considering their age and professional position). Such impulse purchases can be characterized as follows: they are typically short trips to familiar destinations. very well educated people in top positions who can “afford” to engage in impulse purchasing. We define impulse purchase in tourism as planned impulse purchasing with a maximum of one week between the decision (on at least one core travel portfolio element) to take a trip and the departure. The need for coordinating time allocation between members of social groups thus seems to be one of the key factors determining the degree of impulsiveness of a travel decision. which require an effective and efficient sourcing of information. it is a person’s degree of freedom to make autonomous time decisions in the first place. in turn. in a mature travel market. or combinations hereof. Three obvious directions for extending this work emerge: (1) extending the scope of decision-making towards not only looking at pre-departure decisions. Furthermore. the travel industry should provide travel offers that give tourists a short-term first glimpse of either a destination. However. which are the likely reason that only commercial or internal sources of information are of importance (and this aligns with the literature). persons in collective households were not registered. which. Dolnicar Conclusion and implications The key question of this study was how impulse purchasing in tourism can be defined. These mainly comprise short trips to unfamiliar destinations. Small children and persons older than 80 were Downloaded by [Usak Universitesi] at 00:12 29 November 2013 . and (3) testing for the sensitivity of our arbitrary threshold (one week) to test potential impulse behaviour versus non-impulse behaviour. Analysis of a data-set representative of the Swiss population indicates that. impulse purchases in tourism are associated with rather individualistic travel motivations. The study has several limitations. a set of activities. impact of independent singles. Travel providers could put up such offers as a series of different weekend promotions for more or less independent people (such as singles). The present study has some major implications for the tourism industry. is influenced by the quantity (time) of compulsory interaction (either professionally or privately) associated with impulse purchasing in tourism. In terms of the core leisure pursuit. it is not the young. and only increase when the planning horizon is expanded too. one has to be aware of the expense prudence of such tourists. The character of some of the impulse trips offers several business opportunities for the travel industry. (2) extending the scope of the factors potentially influencing the time frame of any decision-making before departure or during the trip (including gender effects. but also at decisions made during the trip. Thus. they could attract interest in the first place and meet the increased demand of fragmented holiday bits and pieces. and also contrary to our understanding of impulse purchasing in the retail context. a travel type. Consequently. with approximately 14% of trips complying with the above definition. Laesser and S. For survey technical reasons. contrary to impulse purchasing in retail. and often a commercial type of travel planning and production. Rather. Therefore. impulse-type purchasing in tourism appears to exist. However.282 C. This can also be proposed from the fact that with an increasing number of participating travel companions.

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