CONTRASTING ONLINE AND ONSITE SAMPLING METHODS: RESULTS OF VISITOR RESPONSES TO A DESTINATION SURVEY

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Abstract

The spectacular growth and adoption of the Internet has created a myriad of opportunities in the field of marketing. These opportunities include not only promotion and customer relationship management but also market research. Tourism academics have been slow in following tourism operators and consultants in using the Internet as a research tool. This reluctance is partly due to concerns about the reliability and validity of Internet samples. This paper contrasts an onsite sampling method with a self-selected online sample. Both samples responded to the same questions about a popular tourist destination in Australia. The findings indicate significant differences between the onsite and online samples. The online sample had significantly more female respondents. There were also major differences in travel motives, perceptions of destination attributes and information sources used. The online survey appeared to be affected quite substantially by coverage error and non-response bias. This suggests that researchers and tourism operators should be cautious about the temptation to use self-selected online surveys instead of onsite surveys, particularly for destination or location specific studies.

 

CONTRASTING ONLINE AND ONSITE SAMPLING METHODS: RESULTS OF VISITOR RESPONSES TO A DESTINATION SURVEY

The spectacular growth and adoption of the Internet has created a myriad of opportunities in the field of marketing. These opportunities include not only promotion and customer relationship management but also market research. Tourism academics have been slow in following tourism operators and consultants in using the Internet as a research tool. This reluctance is partly due to concerns about the reliability and validity of Internet samples. This paper contrasts an onsite sampling method with a self-selected online sample. Both samples responded to the same questions about a popular tourist destination in Australia. The findings indicate significant differences between the onsite and online samples. The online sample had significantly more female respondents. There were also major differences in travel motives, perceptions of destination attributes and information sources used. The online survey appeared to be affected quite substantially by coverage error and non-response bias. This suggests that researchers and tourism operators should be cautious about the temptation to use self-selected online surveys instead of onsite surveys, particularly for destination or location specific studies.