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Exploring consumer behavior to purchase travel online in Fiji and Solomon Islands? An extension of the UTAUT framework

Shavneet Sharma (School of Management and Public Administration, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)
Gurmeet Singh (Graduate School of Business, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)
Stephen Pratt (School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)
Jashwini Narayan (School of Management and Public Administration, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 10 December 2020

Issue publication date: 30 April 2021

883

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to adopt the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model to assess travel purchase intentions in Fiji and Solomon Islands. The UTAUT model is extended with the inclusion of trust and attitude. This allows for new relationships to be tested. Both countries are classified as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). These two countries are chosen because they are both exemplars for developing countries in the Pacific, which are often overlooked in the literature. In doing so, the study increases the generalizability of the research instrument and the UTAUT model.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a quantitative approach and collects data from Fiji and Solomon Islands residents. The survey instrument comprises two broad sections. The first section contains a standard set of demographic questions, including age, gender, income, and education level. The second section contains the variable items for this study. The snowballing sampling technique was used to collect 620 responses using an online survey. Links to the questionnaire were circulated through the use of social media Facebook. The survey was designed and hosted using an online survey tool (SurveyMonkey).

Findings

The findings of this study show that both perceived trust and attitude have been found significant in both countries. On the other hand, performance expectancy (PE) and effort expectancy (EE) have not been found significant for Fiji and Solomon Islands respectively. This study also finds that PE affects attitude for both countries, however, EE is only significant in the Solomon Islands.

Research limitations/implications

Similar to other studies, this study is also bound by limitations that provide fertile ground for future research. The data in this study was based on convenience sampling. Thus, generalizations of the results need to be done with caution. Future research may be conducted that matches the sample to the population proportions. The definition of online travel purchases is another limitation of this study. A broad definition of an online purchase is considered in this study, which involves hotel reservations, holiday packages, cruises, and airline tickets. Thus, future research can be carried considering distinct purchasing motivations of categories of travel products rather than travel being considered as one category.

Practical implications

The results of this study provide valuable implications for both businesses to formulate and execute strategies to increase customers’ adoption of online travel purchases. The findings show how the differences in characteristics at the country level give rise to differences in customer perceptions and their intention to engage in online travel purchases. In doing so, businesses will be able to exploit the full commercial potential of their travel websites and reduce the administrative and personnel costs associated with traditional purchasing processes.

Originality/value

Insights from this study would be effective in understanding the unique characteristics of countries and their influence on customer behavior. This would enable more effective strategy development to improve customers' adoption of online travel purchases. The study also contributes theoretically by highlighting the importance of contextual factors in influencing the view of theories. It is one of the first studies to investigate the customer's adoption of technology in SIDS. In doing so, this study increases the generalizability of the research instrument and the UTAUT model by testing it in a developing country context where empirical evidence is lacking.

Keywords

Citation

Sharma, S., Singh, G., Pratt, S. and Narayan, J. (2021), "Exploring consumer behavior to purchase travel online in Fiji and Solomon Islands? An extension of the UTAUT framework", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 227-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-03-2020-0064

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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