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Market Segmentation by Preferred Destination Attributes - An Empirical Study on Religious Tourists

Journal of Hospitality Application and Research

Volume 16 Issue 1

Published: 2021
Author(s) Name: Mallika Srivastava, Semila Fernandes | Author(s) Affiliation: SVKMs Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
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Abstract

Purpose: The paper examines the application of segmenting religious tourists based on destination attributes, which is predicted assuming that every tourist product appeals to tourists in different manner. Tourists visit religious destinations for sacred inspirations to satisfy various needs related to cultural or recreational factors. Hence, the main objective of the present paper is to form clusters by profiling the segments of religious tourists based on their expectations related to destination attributes of religious cities using cluster analysis. The study aims to understand tourist behavior by discretely identifying market segments using conjoint analysis, to identify the destination attributes relevant for each cluster defined during cluster analysis. Methodology: To address these research gaps, the study involved exploratory research where the preliminary study was conducted adopting focus group discussions that helped identify various factors and their attribute levels. The study was validated through statistical tests. After the preliminary study, exploratory data was collected through field study including 211 questionnaires that were related to behavioral and demographic information of the tourists. This study incorporates the techniques of conjoint, cluster analysis and binary logistic regression to segment the tourist markets in India. Findings: From the overall sample of the prospective tourists, the most preferred combination was, Tour operator (viz. information), religious rituals (viz. Divine goal), Family safety (viz. security), Ashram (viz. accommodation), Government officials (viz. Complaint redressal) and cultural music (viz. Recreational activities). Socio-demographic variables, Gender and marital status had significant impact on religious tourist attribute preferences. Subsequently, destination attributes and relevant demographic variables resulted in formation of 2 distinct segments of tourist visitors. The resultant clusters were further divided into sub-groups by adopting a common sense approach. This approach helped in revealing religious tourist clusters based on their activities, motivations and preferred tourist destination attributes, which can provide a vast scope for the development of organized tourist destinations. Implications: This empirical analysis should help in the management of the religious tourist destinations to strive in making these travel places memorable, welcoming and fostering an image filled with experiences and interactions. This will help in facilitating the marketers and the government in developing and designing marketing campaigns for the specific target segment. Identifying these destination attributes would help marketers in influencing tourists post visit behavior towards various tourist destinations. Originality: This research asserts that the tourism market is segmented and proposes using destination based attributes by adopting conjoint and cluster analysis as one means if profiling and identifying segments. The paper evaluates the preferences and the choice set of the religious tourists to understand the most influential characteristics of tourist attitude towards a religious tourist destination.

Keywords: Religious Tourist, Tourism, Conjoint and Cluster Analysis, Destination based Attributes, Segmentation

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