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Risk perception before travelling: solutions for consumers with vulnerabilities

Ana Muñoz-Mazón (Department of Business Economics, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain and Centro Universitario de Estudios Turísticos, CETUR, Madrid, Spain)
Alicia Orea-Giner (Department of Business Economics, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain; EIREST, Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris, France and Centro Universitario de Estudios Turísticos, CETUR, Madrid, Spain)
Juan José Fernández Muñoz (Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain)
Coral Santiago (Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain)
Laura Fuentes-Moraleda (Department of Business Economics, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain and Centro Universitario de Estudios Turísticos, CETUR, Madrid, Spain)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 9 September 2021

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the tourism service experience of consumers with vulnerabilities. Moreover, this research analyses the pre-core service encounter in the tourism services sector, which is one of the most important phases in the service experience. The objective is to understand how vulnerability might influence risk perceptions when people travel. To this end, this study focusses on individuals with coeliac disease (CD) and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) as a specific group to test the hypotheses. For the millions of individuals with CD or NCGS, food is one of the most critical elements of a trip and the reason for vulnerability perception. The research also proposes measures suggested by survey respondents to improve the information search process of vulnerable travellers before a trip.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-method was used based on a survey of 813 responses from people diagnosed with CD and NCGS. The individuals were placed in three groups according to their perception of how strongly their disease impacts their trips: low impact, medium impact and high impact.

Findings

The results confirm that people with a high-risk perception due to their vulnerability spend more time searching for information prior to the trip than people without this perception. In this sense, individuals that feel more vulnerable, tend to use more personal information sources and also make greater use of online information sources. The participants affected by CD and NCGS proposed measures to reduce their perceived vulnerability. These proposals are based on information about the disease, specific information from the tourist industry at the destination and various online, as well as offline information channels.

Originality/value

The novelty of this research is mainly found in the study in the study of how consumers with vulnerabilities behave during the information process before travelling. From a holistic approach and based on both, marketing service theory and the risk perception perspectives, this research is focussed on vulnerable individuals affected by CD and NCGS to find answers to the problems they face during the pre-core service encounter.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Federation of Coeliac Associations of Spain (FACE) and the Association of Celiacs and Gluten-sensitive (Community of Madrid, Spain) for their support and suggestions.

Citation

Muñoz-Mazón, A., Orea-Giner, A., Fernández Muñoz, J.J., Santiago, C. and Fuentes-Moraleda, L. (2021), "Risk perception before travelling: solutions for consumers with vulnerabilities", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 791-806. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-07-2020-0304

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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