REVISITING TRAVEL UNCERTAINTY WITH AN EYE ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

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Abstract

This study is aimed at a more comprehensive understanding of travel information sources in two formats- traditional and web-based – with a consideration of tolerance for travel uncertainty levels. The findings of the study suggest that individuals believe it is important to reduce travel uncertainty and at some point before an actual vacation, a traveler reaches more certainty about travel decisions. However, no significant effect for tolerance for travel uncertainty on a variety of information search behaviors was found. The weak associations of information sources in traditional and web formats indicated that web-based information sources are not replacing but instead complementing traditional information sources. TV programs and commercials were found to be easily and highly available to travelers and significantly related to tolerance for travel uncertainty. This finding suggests that it is important to consider broadcast advertising which focuses on two factors (Vogt and Fesenmaier, 1998): (1) “hedonic information need” which captures consumers’ attention and stimulates interests, and (2) “functional need” which helps consumers narrow their alternatives and as establish “brand loyalty” based on the images on TV. Additionally, the Internet was observed to be a significant communication channel between travelers and travel businesses or destination organizations. It is therefore important to focus on content that solves travel uncertainty and presents detailed information regarding accommodations, activities, transportations, weather, and culture.

 

REVISITING TRAVEL UNCERTAINTY WITH AN EYE ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

This study is aimed at a more comprehensive understanding of travel information sources in two formats- traditional and web-based – with a consideration of tolerance for travel uncertainty levels. The findings of the study suggest that individuals believe it is important to reduce travel uncertainty and at some point before an actual vacation, a traveler reaches more certainty about travel decisions. However, no significant effect for tolerance for travel uncertainty on a variety of information search behaviors was found. The weak associations of information sources in traditional and web formats indicated that web-based information sources are not replacing but instead complementing traditional information sources. TV programs and commercials were found to be easily and highly available to travelers and significantly related to tolerance for travel uncertainty. This finding suggests that it is important to consider broadcast advertising which focuses on two factors (Vogt and Fesenmaier, 1998): (1) “hedonic information need” which captures consumers’ attention and stimulates interests, and (2) “functional need” which helps consumers narrow their alternatives and as establish “brand loyalty” based on the images on TV. Additionally, the Internet was observed to be a significant communication channel between travelers and travel businesses or destination organizations. It is therefore important to focus on content that solves travel uncertainty and presents detailed information regarding accommodations, activities, transportations, weather, and culture.