Consumer behavior of hotel deal bookings through online travel intermediaries
MetadataShow full item record
Electronic commerce has revolutionized the distribution of travel products and affected the way travelers search and purchase those products. The prevalence of Internet usage energizes the rapid growth and potential business opportunities of the online travel market. The emerging operators of online travel bookings have become a global phenomenon and represent a significant percent of global travel sales. Online travel intermediaries are third-party websites that provide travel information and reservation services for consumers. Such websites not only provide consumers with one-stop shopping, but also allow them to compare a variety of product choices, brands and prices. Since online travel intermediaries feature the convenience of variety seeking and competitive pricing, they attract an enormous amount of online consumers to search for product deals and promotions. Consumers have been educated and encouraged to look up prices and compare product values extensively before making a final purchase decision. In this highly competitive environment, an understanding of online consumer behavior is vital for developing effective marketing strategies. Previous studies have widely investigated consumer purchase intentions in online shopping. However, limited research addresses consumer behavior in the deal-purchasing segment. The current research aimed to examine consumers’ motivation and intention to search and book hotel deals through online travel intermediaries. Specifically, this research examined: (1) how the cognitive, emotional and social factors influence consumers’ decision making process while they search and book hotel deals through online travel intermediaries; (2) how consumers’ deal proneness influences their motivation and intention to book hotel deals and (3) what characteristics influence consumers’ deal-purchasing behavior through online travel intermediaries. The research framework proposed a modified Model of Goal-Directed Behavior (MGB) theory to comprehend the causes of deal-purchasing behavior in the tourism industry. A quantitative research method was employed to measure the cognitive, emotional and social factors that influenced motivation and also how motivation mediated these factors toward booking intention. Based upon the findings, consumers’ attitudes and perceived self-efficacy were two substantial factors that influenced motivation to book hotel deals online, which in turn, impacted their future intention. The results indicated that consumer deal proneness and value consciousness drove them to search and book hotel promotions online. Also, the ability to acquire information from sales promotions and comparison shopping significantly influenced consumers’ tendency toward deal-purchasing. To help consumers easily navigate the site and recognize product value, online travel intermediaries may address the quality of information, usability and functionality of the websites. In this way, consumers’ positive attitudes and self-confidence may increase and positively influence their purchase intention. Overall, the emotional state did not show a direct or significant relationship in consumers’ motivation to book hotel deals. However, the male consumers’ motivation toward hotel deal bookings was influenced by the positive emotion construct. Surprisingly, female consumers were not influenced by emotional components. The traditional view of gender differences in consumer behavior states that females are more greatly influenced by emotional gratification, and they perceive higher deal proneness than males. These extant studies contradict the current research, which found males show a higher tendency toward booking hotel deals when they perceived positive emotional involvement. The social influence was shown to have different results in terms of the consumers’ ages. The Millennial Generation tended to proactively share information and interact with other consumers via the Internet; they showed a tendency of being a marketplace influencer. However, Baby Boomers preferred to receive information, opinions and advice from a trusted source, which provide a social conformity in their decision making process. Therefore, hospitality marketers should differentiate the age differences and develop appropriate online marketing strategies. Finally, motivation played a mediating role that strongly effected consumers’ attitudes and perceived self-efficacy in regards to their intent to book hotel deals. This research provided a theoretical and practical contribution of MGB theory applied to explain the causal-effect relationship between motivation and intention in the field of consumer behavior.