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Typologies of Tourist Behaviour

In previous articles we looked at how individual tourists make their
purchasing decisions. It is now time to look at ways in which
academics and marketers have sought to group tourists together
on the basis of shared characteristics. This has resulted
in typologies of tourists and methods of segmentation. Part 3
considers both of these.
These typologies are important for a number of reasons.
They:
* represent an attempt to increase our knowledge of consumer
behaviour in tourism
* can help marketers make important decisions on product
development, pricing, promotional media and distribution
channels
* may form the basis of market segmentation techniques
* might potentially, help to predict future trends in tourist
behaviour.
In the following article, we consider both the typologies
academics have produced and the application of classic
segmentation techniques to tourism.

Typologies of tourist behaviour
and segmentation of the tourism market
For over two decades, academics have sought to produce
meaningful typologies of tourists and their behaviour. At the
same time, practitioners have tried to apply and adapt classic
market segmentation techniques to the tourism industry. In
this article, we consider both of these approaches separately,
although clearly there are links between them.

Academic typologies
The most fundamental debate, perhaps, is that about
whether people are tourists or travellers. Although the term
‘tourist’ dates back two centuries, it has only become a word
in popular usage in recent decades. Sharpley suggested that
the terms ‘tourist’ and ‘traveller’ were, until recently, used
interchangeably to describe ‘a person who was touring’
(Sharpley, 1994).
However, nowadays, the two words mean different things.
There is the idea that a tourist is someone who buys
a package from a tour operator, while the traveller is
the person who makes their own independent
arrangements for their vacation. The idea has grown
up that somehow the latter type of behaviour is
somehow superior or better than the former. Therefore, many
people who buy tourist packages want to still see themselves
as travellers. (Horner and Swarbrooke, 1996)
As Sharpley noted, the term ‘traveller’,
is usually applied to someone who is travelling/touring for
an extended period of time, particularly back-packing on a
limited budget. It contains a spirit of freedom, adventure, and
individuality.


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