Consumer Psychology of Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 1 July 2000



Ingram, H. (2000), "Consumer Psychology of Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 275-276.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The field of the consumer psychology of tourism, hospitality and leisure (CPTHL) has recent roots linking such diverse disciplines as sociology, geography, transportation, marketing, psychology, accommodation management, leisure science, strategic management and economics. Since the 1970s CPTHL has mirrored the growth and importance of the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. This book captures 20 of the 60 papers presented at a symposium held in August 1998 in Hawaii that explores this topic. The editors use Senge’s (1990) concept of “mental models” that capture related assumptions and perceptions of reality to suggest that perceptions are “highly inaccurate, shallow and lack the insights necessary for understanding the complex processes that we are studying”. Accordingly, the avowed aim of this book is to make implicit statements more explicit and to test, revise and deepen our mental models of why discretionary travel and leisure occur.

This book comprises 20 chapters from 34 international contributors from North America, Asia‐Pacific and Europe and suffers from all the problems of an edited book in a relatively young field of study. Nevertheless, academic papers of this type can pump‐prime the exploration of this interesting and important topic. Greater structure, interpretation and modelling will surely follow as understanding and acceptability grow for the topic. The papers have been structured into five parts that cover destination image and choice, tourist behaviour, motivation and decision processes, measuring attitudes and behaviours, and economic and heritage issues.

As with any academic conference, the papers (chapters) vary in scope and quality. Arch G. Woodside, the first‐named editor, sets the scene with a good introduction to CPTHL, using a systems framework to model customer decision making. Woodside puts forward seven propositions by way of hypotheses from this systems model as a framework to explaining the subsequent chapters.

The main focus of the chapters is the exploration of tourist behaviour and decision‐processes in order to explain and predict the propensity to visit tourist destinations. The editors admit that CPTHL is made up of a complex set of phenomena that is in need of more research. For example, Martin Oppermann (unfortunately subsequently deceased) suggests that the tourist is at the interface between psychology and geography, or, in other words how individual characteristics affect travel decisions. Oppermann posits a “tentative typology” based on the number of visits and touristic loyalty.

Other interesting chapters include Kernan and Domzal’s (chapter 5) thoughts on action leisure as postmodern self‐identity that is “in your face” and “cool”. Frew and Shaw (chapter 6) link the prediction of tourism behaviour to personality theory, and McGuiggan (chapter 14) takes a similar approach in the use of the Myers‐Briggs type indicator to measure leisure tribute preference. Motivations to travel are included in five chapters, based on generic literature searches and applied research as widely separated as the UK, Belgium, New Zealand and the ski slopes of Europe. The assumptions are that there are common forces at work in shaping tourism motivations.

In general there is much to commend this book as a collection of exploratory academic research papers that informs an important new field of study. There are some annoying mistakes, for example on page 33, the word “instable” appears, and on page 289 the wrong header appears at the top of the page. These are, however, minor proof‐reading errors that can be corrected in subsequent print‐runs. Perhaps the high price and the narrow new field of study might conspire against volume sales of this book, but it makes possible a welcome new debate that has great relevance to industry.

Related articles