London calling! Travelers seek 'trust' in holiday destinations

August 9, 2018, Queensland University of Technology
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Tourists considering overseas travel 'trust' a destination like London would provide a positive experience, says new research from QUT researchers.

Consumer behaviour experts from QUT Business School investigated the effectiveness of the official tourism website, Visit London, for tourists choosing the city as a destination to explore.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Strategic Marketing, have implications for the global travel industry amid an emerging trend to 'personify' places to build long-term bonds with tourists.

Professor Brett Martin said the research investigated psychology in tourism and the same principles could be applied other tourism-related websites.

"The key is to generate trust," Professor Martin said. "People who are looking online at holiday information need to trust the information.

"If they do, then they have a more positive attitude towards the destination.

"This is more important than making people feel happy."

Professor Brett Martin said study participants were told to imagine London as a person and rate what human characteristics they thought would represent the UK capital.

The survey of 515 ready-to-travel Australians rated London as a destination based on its vibrancy, contemporary, competence, sophistication and sincerity.

Professor Martin said the results showed London as a brand destination that was trusted, and as a result more desirable for tourists to invest their holiday dollars.

He said trust was created when a destination showed aspects of competence such as success, leadership, confidence, independent and intelligent.

"It turns out that when people regard a destination as competent they see the organisation as more trustworthy," he said.

"This is more important than showing images that are unique and glamorous," he said.

Professor Martin said holiday destinations which conveyed an individual brand personality could create a set of particular associations in the tourist's mind and influence their choice to visit or not.

"The takeaway for managers is to think about a destination as a person and ask what sort of personality should be conveyed, then promote competence and communicate trustworthiness," he said.

"A glossy picture or a logo doesn't carry as much weight for tourists making a decision whether to visit a or not," Professor Martin said.

It's estimated 20 million international visitors flock to London every year.

Explore further: Personifying places can boost travel intentions

More information: Seyedamir Sharifsamet et al, Marketing destinations: the impact of destination personality on consumer attitude, Journal of Strategic Marketing (2018). DOI: 10.1080/0965254X.2018.1485726

Related Stories

Personifying places can boost travel intentions

August 22, 2017

People who see animals as people and assign human traits to non-human objects are more likely to travel to destinations that are presented as being human-like, according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research.

Anticipated social media buzz can drive tourism

October 11, 2017

How much positive feedback travelers think they'll get on social media can predict whether they intend to visit a tourism destination, a new University of Georgia study has found.

Relaxed tourists share more

May 20, 2013

Tourists set on relaxing and socialising when they reach their holiday destination tend to do little advance research on the internet before making their trip, but are more likely to share travel information and photos on ...

Recommended for you

Why war is a man's game

August 15, 2018

No sex differences in attitudes or abilities are needed to explain the near absence of women from the battlefield in ancient societies and throughout history, it could ultimately all be down to chance, say researchers at ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.