Homestay tourism in Thailand: a typology and analysis of tourists' motivation and satisfaction



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Homestay programs are becoming more popular as tourists return from their trips impressed by the friendliness, openness, and generosity of the host family. The homestay concept seems to be the "new" type of tourism of Thailand. Few research studies have been published examining the homestay tourist market. The purposes of the study were to develop a typology of homestay tourists and determine the motivation factors influencing their visits and overall satisfaction with selected homestay programs in Thailand. Six homestay programs were selected based on tourist activities highlighted: culture, nature, and history. Personal interviews and a survey questionnaire were used to collect data. Data were collected in late May through late August, 2006.

Personal interviews were used to develop a typology of homestay tourists. The classifications based on the work of Cohen (1979) were used to create a homestay tourist typology for Thailand. Twelve interviewees appeared to match the three modes of tourist experiences as indicated by their engagement in homestay program activities: diversionary, experiential, and experimental mode. Diversionary tourists are those who have no particularly emotionally or intellectually challenging reason to engage in cultural homestay activities. Experiential and experimental tourists are reflected in the interest in the self-discovery and self-expressive experiences and homestay programs with activities that highlighted nature and history.

A survey questionnaire part was designed to investigate tourists' motivation and satisfaction with visiting homestay programs. The first part of survey questionnaire was designed to investigate whether homestay tourists are driven by push factors/internal and pull factors/external motivations. A 40-item of survey questionnaire adapted from the work of You, O'Leary, Morrison, & Hong (2000); Pearce and Lee (2005); and Fodness (1994) was used to examine tourists' motivation.

Data from 117 participants were analyzed in this study. Using factor analysis, 20 internal/push items were classified into five factors: "Relaxation", "Achievement," "Fun and exciting," "Knowledge," and "Escape and Get Away". Another 20 external/pull items were combined into four factors: "People-interactive," "Nature and Culture," "Price and Activities Available," and "Safety, Accessibility, and Atmosphere."

The results of the study revealed significant differences on pull/external motivation factors between gender and country of residence. Male participants had a higher level of motivation for "Fun and Excitement" than female participants, while females had higher levels of motivation for "Nature and Culture" and "Price and Activities Available" than male participants. Thai participants had the highest levels of motivation for "Achievement" and "Escape and Get Away" when compared to participants from other regions. The findings showed that participants from North America had the highest travel motivation for "Knowledge."

The second part of the survey questionnaire was to examine tourists' satisfaction with homestay programs. A 30-item of survey questionnaire was developed based on instrumentation by Peleggi (1996); Janiskee (1996); Richard (1996) and the Thailand Homestay Organization Guidelines (2006) to determine tourists' satisfaction. For the satisfaction analysis, five factors were calculated: "Facilities and Amenities," "Attractions," "Activities," "Hospitality Services and Authenticity," and "Personal Preferences and Values."

Results revealed participants' mean scores for factors on tourists' satisfaction differed by country of residence. Participants from other Asian countries had the lowest satisfaction level on "Attractions," "Activities," "Hospitality service and Authenticity," and "Personal Preferences and Values." Multiple regression analyses were also performed to assess tourists' satisfaction (intention to revisit, likelihood to recommend, and intention to visit other homestay programs in Thailand).



tourist satisfaction, tourist motivation, tourist type