This paper combined an at-destination decision-making model with the theory of tie strength to find out information related to the referrals that travelers received and used at a major tourist destination in the southeastern United States. At-destination decisions included lodging, eating and dining, entertainment, recreation, and travel. The data indicated eating and dining, recreation, and entertainment decisions are made in large numbers at the destination. The first research question involved referral source and frequency for at-destination decisions, revealing many third-party decision-makers. Friends and family members were the most requested and local residents the least requested referral sources. The second research question inquired as to whether satisfaction scores from the referred experience differed across referral source. The researchers suggested that referrals have different perceived levels of trust, expertise, and ties, and potentially will render different sales levels. Due to this, the satisfaction outcome was measured by referral source. Results showed that referred satisfaction scores were highest from local resident referrals followed by friends and relatives – one a strong tie and one a strong–weak tie. Finally, more neutral satisfaction scores were reported from other information sources. The article closes by offering possible explanations for these differences and by providing suggestions for additional at-destination decision-making and outcome research.
Rompf, P.D. and Severt, D.E. (2008), "At-destination referrals, tie strength, and satisfaction", Chen, J.S. (Ed.) Advances in Hospitality and Leisure (Advances in Hospitality and Leisure, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 139-160. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1745-3542(08)00007-6
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