The Psychology of Travel – Consumer Behavior
January 2003
The Strategic Travel Action Resource – or STAR –is a timely, topical, brief report
replacing what was currently referred to as an Industry Report. The STAR adds to it an
element of strategic thinking and planning for the future. In every STAR, NTA members
will be able to understand exactly why this research is relevant to them and go away with
a better understanding of how they can relate the information to their business and
future planning.
The Psychology of Travel series is the first of the STARs to be produced. The series of
reports will look at various aspects of why people travel and the psychological motivators
that guide them.
The Psychology of Travel STAR series takes a look at general consumer behavior and
how that affects peoples desire to travel. The area of consumer behavior is highly
researched and studied as marketers continually review consumer behavior and how it
affects purchase decisions. This report is a very general overview of consumer behavior
and can be used in tandem with other STARs in this series to help increase
understanding of the consumer and the factors that are at play in their decision-making
The actual psychology behind consumer behavior is based on several factors – ego
involvement, loyalty and commitment, family decision-making, influence of friends and
relatives and novelty seeking.1 All of these factors have been studied by psychologists to
better understand the forces behind these behaviors.
Ego Involvement
The largest portion of psychological research on travel and tourism is in the area of ego
involvement. As stated in an earlier section, tourists are often highly involved in the
decisions surrounding their travel experiences. With today’s access to information, the
industry is facing arguably the most informed consumers ever. Acquiring knowledge and
being an active participant is an ego boost for consumers. They want the...