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SOY00411 – Tourism Theories and Practices

Alvin Koh Wan Hup – 21830615

In this paper, the purpose is to read and critically review four different
articles extracted from the journal titled Journal of Travel Research:

Persuasive Design of Destination Websites: An Analysis of First

Heejun Kim and Daniel R.Fesenmaier
Year-Volume-Issue: 2008-47-1

The design of a website plays an important role when it comes to

influencing consumers’ choice-making.

In this article, the authors researched on the persuasiveness of destination

websites and the factors affecting a consumer’s first impression of it.
Today the Internet has evolved into such that the authors believe it is now
one of the most effective persuasive media for destination marketing to
influence tourists’ travel planning process. According to the authors, the
process of information searching basically consists of three stages 1)
Search, 2) Primary and 3) Elaboration. The “Search” stage is reached
when a consumer begins searching for information using a search engine.
After entering a search term, a list of results will be generated. Proceeding
to the “Primary” stage, a consumer’s first impression of a website is
formed when he or she begins evaluating the metadata of the search results
generated from a search engine after entering a search term. The authors
believe that metadata act as a primary cue for information seekers as it
allows them to evaluate a website based on how the metadata is presented
and what to expect from the website. Referring to a recent study
conducted by Xiang and Fesenmaier (2006), an information seeker will
most likely navigate within a website and use it for trip planning if he or
she has a good impression of it which concludes the “Elaboration” stage
of the search process. By focusing on the second stage of the search
process, the authors argued there are six main design factors that affect the
persuasiveness of destination websites. They are Infomativeness,
Usability, Credibility, Inspiration, Involvement and Reciprocity. From the
authors’ argument, it is hypothesized that a consumer will form a
favourable first impression towards a website with any of the six factors
present. The authors also concluded that among the six design-related
factors discussed, the Inspiration factor followed by Usability and
Credibility had the greatest impact on first impression formation.

SOY00411 – Tourism Theories and Practices
Alvin Koh Wan Hup – 21830615

Timing Matters: Travelers’ Advance-Booking Expectation and

Chih-Chien Chen and Zvi Schwartz
Year-Volume-Issue: 2008-47-1

Timing plays an important role when it comes to the price discrimination

of hotel rooms and the travelers’ decision to book a hotel room.

In this article, the authors present a number of studies to support

assumptions made by researchers in the increase of willingness to book
over time by travelers. According to these researchers, the amount of
business travelers increases as the date of stay approaches. They believe
these business travelers have the tendency to book close to their date of
travel, are not price sensitive and on average are willing to pay for
immediate availability of room at the last minute. Whereas leisure
travelers are more price sensitive and willing to book early in order to
secure a better room rate. Based on another study conducted, they also
suggest that regardless of business or leisure travelers, customers become
more aware of the risk of a room sellout as the date of stay approaches,
hence customers might be more willing to pay for a room as the date of
stay approaches due to their change in perception or expectation. Glab
(2004) stated that “conventional wisdom maintains that the earlier you
book, the better price you’ll get.” Studies also show how the evolution of
the Internet has result in the shrinking of information gap, hence affecting
customers’ online booking decision and consequently hotel revenues.
However according to research, there are still doubts and uncertainties
faced by customers when deciding the optimal time for them to stop
searching and booking their reservation. The authors also stress that both
travelers’ booking decision and hotel pricing decisions are interrelated.
According to other research, the authors also state that a traveler’s channel
selection when booking accommodations is affected by time.

A Multifaceted Analysis of Tourism Satisfaction

Janet D.Neal and Dogan Gursoy
Year-Volume-Issue: 2008-47-1

Recent studies have shown that customer satisfaction is one of the most
important and frequently topics discussed, and it plays an important role in
the survival and future of any tourism products and services.

In this article, the authors focus on the overall satisfaction of travelers. To

further analyse tourist satisfaction, the authors present a number of

SOY00411 – Tourism Theories and Practices
Alvin Koh Wan Hup – 21830615

theories and approach used by researchers to examine travelers’

satisfaction, a few examples such as the Expectation-Disconfirmation
model, Equity theory, Norm theory and Perceived Performance Model. By
studying these theories and approaches, the authors concluded that
customers are more likely to develop positive satisfaction behaviour if the
end result met the customers’ expectation or exceeded their expectation.
The authors also state that according to researchers, there are in fact
several stages of the travel process; pre-trip services, satisfaction with
services at the destination and satisfaction with the transit route that
contribute to the customers’ overall satisfaction. The authors made use of
the multiphase model developed Leiper to reinforce this view. According
to Leiper (1990), at least one tourist is involved in every tourism system;
therefore the consumer is the most important element. There are three
regions a tourist will pass through during a trip. The first is the person’s
home region, where the trip ends and begins. Pre-trip planning also takes
place in the first region. The second region is the transit route where the
traveller travels to and from his destination. The third region is the
destination region in which the traveler is doing various activities such as
shopping or relaxing. Hence it is hypothesized that a traveler’s overall
satisfaction is the product of his or her satisfaction at all the three regions.

Examining the Antecedents of Brand Loyalty from an Investment

Model Perspective
Xiang (Robert) Li and James F. Petrick
Year-Volume-Issue: 2008-47-1

In this article, the authors’ aim is to theoretically study the key

determinants of brand loyalty by introducing the Investment Model (IM)
to the field of tourism. Research has shown that the Investment Model was
developed initially to examine interpersonal relationships but Le and
Agnew (2003, p.54) states that “the Investment Model is not strictly an
interpersonal theory and can be extended to such areas as commitment to
jobs, persistence with hobbies or activities, or loyalty to institutions,
decision making and purchase behaviours.” With the support of various
case studies, the authors propose that satisfaction, investment size and
quality of alternatives are key elements of customers’ brand loyalty.
Hence it can be hypothesized that satisfaction is a positive antecedent of a
customer’s loyalty, quality of alternative options negatively influences a
customer’s attitudinal loyalty and investment size positively influences a
customer’s attitudinal loyalty. In other words, a customer’s loyalty to a
brand is strengthened based on how satisfied he or

SOY00411 – Tourism Theories and Practices
Alvin Koh Wan Hup – 21830615

she is with the brand, driven by his or her investment contributed, and
weakened if the quality of alternatives is high. The authors also conclude
that among these three factors, satisfaction plays the largest role in
determining customer’s loyalty.

In conclusion, after reviewing these four articles, I notice the common

theme of these articles is that Customer Satisfaction plays a very important
role in the tourism industry.


Heejun Kim & Daniel R.Fesenmaier, 2008, ‘Persuasive Design of Destination Websites:
An Analysis of First Impression’, Journal of Travel Research, vol.47, no.1, pp. 3-13

Xiang, Z., and D. R. Fesenmaier, 2006, ‘Assessing the Initial Step in the
Persuasion Process: Meta Tags on Destination Marketing Web sites’,
Information Technology & Tourism, vol.8, no.2, pp. 91-104

Chih-Chien Chen & Zvi Schwartz, 2008, ‘Timing Matters: Travelers’ Advance-Booking
Expectation and Decision’, Journal of Travel Research, vol.47, no.1, pp. 35-42

Glab, J, 2004, ‘Does Advance Booking Pay?’

.com/articles/does-advance-booking-pay (accessed November 8,

Janet D.Neal & Dogan Gursoy, 2008, ‘A Multifaceted Analysis of Tourism Satisfaction’,
Journal of Travel Research, vol.47, no.1, pp. 53-62

Leiper, N, 1990, ‘Tourist Attraction Systems’, Annals of Tourism

Research, vol.17, no.3, pp. 367-384

Xiang (Robert) Li & James F. Petrick, 2008, ‘Examining the Antecedents of Brand
Loyalty from an Investment Model Perspective’, Journal of Travel Research, vol.47,
no.1, pp. 25-34

Le, B. & C. R. Agnew, 2003, ‘Commitment and Its Theorized Determinants: A Meta-
Analysis of the Investment Model’, Personal Relationships, vol.10, no.1, pp. 37–57