Exploring the major factors influencing consumer selection of travel agencies in a regional setting

Ng, Eric and Cassidy, Frances and Brown, Les (2006) Exploring the major factors influencing consumer selection of travel agencies in a regional setting. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 13 (1). pp. 75-84. ISSN 1447-6770

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The research reported in this paper explores why consumers choose to book their travel arrangements with travel agencies in regional settings. Consumers can now access on-line bookings for airlines, accommodation, transportation, sightseeing tours and other related products so why do they still go to travel agencies for reservations? This paper identifies the attributes which consumers seek in a travel agency or consultant and determines the relative importance of these in their selection process. The research was conducted in two stages. The first stage was a series of in-depth interviews with 10 travel agency users and three travel consultants. The second stage was a mail-out survey of 400 users of travel agencies in the Darling Downs area of Queensland, Australia. Despite its regionality, the region is a significant consumer of travel with approximately eight agencies in the city of Toowoomba alone. The in-depth interviews highlighted the need to de-emphasize two particular agency attributes, i.e. agency promotion and adequate brochure provision from the research questions and replace these with parking and travel reward programs as factors worthy of investigation. Survey results revealed that there were 12 significant attributes impacting on consumer selection and of these, the most important were firstly, the knowledge and experience of consultants, and secondly, the helpfulness and friendliness of consultants. Of particular note was that these attributes related to the consultant and not the agency per se. Travel reward programs were seen as the least influential in this research.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Marketing and Tourism
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:40
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: Regional Australia, travel agency, selection attribution, travel agency user, online reservations
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1506 Tourism > 150604 Tourism Marketing
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/1359

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