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Towards a decision making model for city break travel

Gerard Dunne (Based at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland)
Sheila Flanagan (Based at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland)
Joan Buckley (Based at University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 7 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine the city break travel decision, and in particular, to develop a decision making model that reflects the characteristics of this type of trip taking.


The research follows a sequential mixed methods approach consisting of two phases. Phase One involves a quantitative survey of 1,000 visitors to Dublin. The research distinguishes and compares city break and non‐city break visitor cohorts. Phase Two entails a qualitative analysis (involving 40 in‐depth interviews) that specifically examines the decision making behavior of city break visitors.


The research shows city break trips to be relatively inexpensive, uncomplicated, and discretionary in nature. The city break travel decision emerges from quite distinct motives where situational factors proved particularly influential. The decision process mostly entailed low involvement / limited problem solving behavior with strong internet usage evident throughout.


The findings show that many traditional decision making models have problems incorporating contemporary travel decisions such as city breaks. This is because such models generally fail to recognize a non‐systematic approach to decision making, where travelers do not necessarily undertake the process in distinctive stages, and where emotional elements are as relevant as functional ones. This study supports the need for a range of models that are reflective of the differences that exist in travel decision making – models that can distinguish the specific nuances and characteristics of particular decision situations.



Dunne, G., Flanagan, S. and Buckley, J. (2011), "Towards a decision making model for city break travel", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 158-172.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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