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A structural theory of the vacation

Kenneth Hyde & Christian Laesser

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abstract This paper seeks to understand the patterns inherent in vacationer behaviour and decision-making processes, by presenting a structural theory of the vacation. The paper seeks to establish the common structural elements in vacations and to establish a limited number of decision-making processes by which these elements are combined by vacationers. A structural theory of the vacation is presented based on four premises: (1) vacations have structure, (2) that structure consists of a composite of elements, (3) vacation structure results from situationally-constrained decision-making, and (4) many vacationers desire and seek structure to their vacation experiences. It is proposed that three general types of vacation structure exist - stay put vacations, arranged touring vacations, and freewheeling touring vacations - each with a unique decision hierarchy. Data on the vacation trips taken by all persons in a representative sample of 1,540 Swiss households throughout a 12-month period are examined. The data indicates that the three general vacation types can be readily identified. Consistent differences are identified between the three vacation types in choices of destination, duration of vacations, levels of vacation expenditure, composition of travel parties, choices in transport mode, and motives for travel. By understanding how the travelling consumer structures a vacation, tourism operators will be better placed to create value in consumer vacation experiences.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords vacation tourism, vacation decision-making, tourism networks
   
name of conference ATMC Advances in Tourism Marketing Conference (Valencia (Spain))
date of conference 10-9-2007
title of proceedings Destination and Event Marketing: Managing Networks
review double-blind review
   
citation Hyde, K., & Laesser, C. (2007). A structural theory of the vacation. In Destination and Event Marketing: Managing Networks.