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Consumer Behaviour Models and Consumer Behaviour in Tourism

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    The theories of consumer decision-making process assume that the consumer’s purchase decision process consists of steps through which the buyer passes in purchasing a product or service. However, this might not be the case. Not every consumer passed through all these stages when making a decision to purchase and in fact, some of the stages can be skipped depending on the type of purchases. The reasons for the study of consumer’s helps firms and organizations improve their marketing strategies by understanding issues such as:

    • The psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives (e. g. , brands, products);
    • The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e. g. culture, family, signs, media);
    • The behavior of consumers while shopping or making other marketing decisions;
    • Limitations in consumer knowledge or information processing abilities influence decisions and marketing outcome;
    • How consumers’ motivation and decision strategies differ between products, that differ in their level of importance or interest that they entail for the consumer;
    • How marketers can adapt and improve their marketing campaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach the consumer.

    The study of consumer behavior focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources (time, money, effort) on consumption-related items (Schiffman and Kanuk, 1997). The field of consumer behavior covers a lot of ground. According to Solomon (1996), consumer behavior is a study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires.

    The official definition of consumer behavior given by Belch (1998) is ‘the process and activities people engage in when searching for, selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy their needs and desires’. Behavior occurs either for the individual, or in the context of a group, or an organization. Consumer behavior involves the use and disposal of products as well as the study of how they are purchased. Product use is often of great interest to the marketer, because this may influence how a product is best positioned or how we can encourage increased consumption.

    Andreason (1965) proposed one of the earliest models of consumer behavior. The model recognizes the importance of information in the consumer decision-making process. It also emphasizes the importance of consumer attitudes although it fails to consider attitudes in relation to repeat purchase behavior. Information A second model, which concentrates on the buying decision for a new product, was proposed by Nicosia (1976).

    The model concentrates on the firm’s attempts to communicate with the consumer, and the consumers’ predisposition to act in a certain way. These two features are referred to as Field One. The second stage involves the consumer in a search evaluation process, which is influenced by attitudes. This stage is referred to as Field Two. The actual purchase process is referred to as Field Three, and the post-purchase feedback process is referred to as Field Four. This model was criticized by commentators because it was not empirically tested (Zaltman, Pinson and Angelman, 1973), and because of the fact that many of the variables were not defined (Lunn, 1974).

    Perhaps, the most frequently quoted of all consumer behavior models is the Howard-Sheth model of buyer behavior, which was developed in 1969.  The model is important because it highlights the importance of inputs to the consumer buying process and suggests ways in which the consumer orders these inputs before making a final decision. The Howard-Sheth model is not perfect as it does not explain all buyer behavior. It is however, a comprehensive theory of buyer behavior that has been developed as a result of empirical research (Horton, 1984).

    Schiffman and Kanuk (1997) mentioned that many early theories concerning consumer behavior were based on economic theory, on the notion that individuals act rationally to maximize their benefits (satisfactions) in the purchase of goods and services. A consumer is generally thought of as a person who identifies a need or desire, makes a purchase, and then disposes of the product during the three stages in the consumption process. This model focuses on the relationship between the firm and its potential consumers.

    The firm communicates with consumers through its marketing messages (advertising), and the consumers react to these messages by purchasing response. Looking to the model we will find that the firm and the consumer are connected with each other, the firm tries to influence the consumer and the consumer is influencing the firm by his decision.

    The first field is divided into two subfields. The first subfield deals with the firm’s marketing environment and communication efforts that affect consumer attitudes, the competitive environment, and characteristics of target market. Subfield two specifies the consumer characteristics e. g. experience, personality, and how he perceives the promotional idea toward the product in this stage the consumer forms his attitude toward the firm’s product based on his interpretation of the message.

    The consumer will start to search for other firm’s brand and evaluate the firm’s brand in comparison with alternate brands. In this case the firm motivates the consumer to purchase its brands. The result of motivation will arise by convincing the consumer to purchase the firm products from a specific retailer.

    The firm will benefit from its sales data as a feedback, and the consumer will use his experience with the product affects the individuals attitude and predisposition’s concerning future messages from the firm. The Nicosia model offers no detail explanation of the internal factors, which may affect the personality of the consumer, and how the consumer develops his attitude toward the product.

    For example, the consumer may find the firm’s message very interesting, but virtually he cannot buy the firm’s brand because it contains something prohibited according to his beliefs. Apparently it is very essential to include such factors in the model, which give more interpretation about the attributes affecting the decision process.

    This model suggests three levels of decision making:

    1. The first level describes the extensive problem solving. At this level the consumer does not have any basic information or knowledge about the brand and he does not have any preferences for any product. In this situation, the consumer will seek information about all the different brands in the market before purchasing.
    2. The second level is limited problem solving. This situation exists for consumers who have little knowledge about the market, or partial knowledge about what they want to purchase. In order to arrive at a brand preference some comparative brand information is sought.
    3. The third level is a habitual response behavior.

    In this level the consumer knows very well about the different brands and he can differentiate between the different characteristics of each product, and he already decides to purchase a particular product. According to the Howard-Sheth model there are four major sets of variables; namely:

    • Inputs. These input variables consist of three distinct types of stimuli (information sources) in the consumer’s environment. The marketer in the form of product or brand information furnishes physical brand characteristics (significative stimuli) and verbal or visual product characteristics (symbolic stimuli). The third type is provided by the consumer’s social environment (family, reference group, and social class). All three types of stimuli provide inputs concerning the product class or specific brands to the specific consumer.
    • Perceptual and Learning Constructs, The central part of the model deals with the psychological variables involved when the consumer is contemplating a decision. Some of the variables are perceptual in nature, and are concerned with how the consumer receives and understands the information from the input stimuli and other parts of the model. For example, stimulus ambiguity happened when the consumer does not understand the message from the environment. Perceptual bias occurs if the consumer distorts the information received so that it fits his or her established needs or experience. Learning constructs category, consumers’ goals, information about brands, criteria for evaluation alternatives, preferences and buying intentions are all included. The proposed interaction In between the different variables in the perceptual and learning constructs and other sets give the model its distinctive advantage.
    • Outputs The outputs are the results of the perceptual and learning variables and how the consumers will response to these variables (attention, brand comprehension, attitudes, and intention).
    • Exogenous(External) variables Exogenous variables are not directly part of the decision-making process. However, some relevant exogenous variables include the importance of the purchase, consumer personality traits, religion, and time pressure.

    The decision-making process, which Howard-Sheth Model tries to explain, takes place at three Inputs stages: Significance, Symbolic and Social stimuli. In both significative and symbolic stimuli, the model emphasizes on material aspects such as price and quality. These stimuli are not applicable in every society. While in social stimuli the model does not mention the basis of decision-making in this stimulus, such as what influence the family decision? This may differ from one society to another. Finally, no direct relation was drawn on the role of religion in influencing the consumer’s decision-making processes. Religion was considered as external factor with no real influence on consumer, which give the model obvious weakness in anticipation the consumer decision.

    This model was created to describe the increasing, fast-growing body of knowledge concerning consumer behavior. This model, like in other models, has gone through many revisions to improve its descriptive ability of the basic relationships between components and sub-components, this model consists also of four stages; First stage: decision-process stages

    The central focus of the model is on five basic decision-process stages: Problem recognition, search for alternatives, alternate evaluation (during which beliefs may lead to the formation of attitudes, which in turn may result in a purchase intention) purchase, and outcomes. But it is not necessary for every consumer to go through all these stages; it depends on whether it is an extended or a routine problem-solving behavior.

    At this stage the consumer gets information from marketing and non-marketing sources, which also influence the problem recognition stage of the decision-making process. If the consumer still does not arrive to a specific decision, the search for external information will be activated in order to arrive to a choice or in some cases if the consumer experience dissonance because the selected alternative is less satisfactory than expected. Third stage: information processing This stage consists of the consumer’s exposure, attention, perception, acceptance, and retention of incoming information.

    The consumer must first be exposed to the message, allocate space for this information, interpret the stimuli, and retain the message by transferring the input to long-term memory. Fourth stage: variables influencing the decision process This stage consists of individual and environmental influences that affect all five stages of the decision process. Individual characteristics include motives, values, lifestyle, and personality; the social influences are culture, reference groups, and family. Situational influences, such as a onsumer’s financial condition, also influence the decision process. This model incorporates many items, which influence consumer decision-making such as values, lifestyle, personality and culture.

    The model did not show what factors shape these items, and why different types of personality can produce different decision-making? How will we apply these values to cope with different personalities? Religion can explain some behavioral characteristics of the consumer, and this will lead to better understanding of the model and will give more comprehensive view on decision-making. . Bettman’s Information Processing Model of Consumer Choice Bettman (1979) in his model describes the consumer as possessing a limited capacity for processing information. He implicate that the consumers rarely analyze the complex alternatives in decision making and apply very simple strategy. In this model there are seven major stages.

    This mechanism suggests that the consumers own experience in a specific area of market and he doesn’t need to go through the same hierarchy every time to arrive at a decision, which make this mechanism serves as an organizer for consumer efforts in making a choice. No concern was given on religious motives, and how religion may motivate the consumer in his decision. Most of the general theories of motivation such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1970) emphasizes self-achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation.

    Attention and perceptual encoding. The component of this step is quite related to the consumer’s goal hierarchy. There are two types of attention; the first type is voluntary attention, which is a conscious allocation of processing capacity to current goals. The second is involuntary attention, which is automatic response to disruptive events (e. g. , newly acquired complex information). Both different types of attention influence how individuals proceed in reaching goals and making choices. The perceptual encoding accounts for the different steps that the consumer needs to perceive the stimuli and whether he needs more information.

    Information acquisition and evaluation If the consumer feels that the present information is inadequate, he will start to look for more information from external sources. Newly acquired information is evaluated and its suitability or usefulness is assessed. The consumer continues to acquire additional information until all relevant information has been secured, or until he finds that acquiring additional information is more costly in terms of time and money.

    Memory In this component the consumer keeps all the information he collects, and it will be the first place to search when he need to make a choice. If this informations is not sufficient, no doubt he will start looking again for external sources.

    Decision Process This step in Bettman’s model indicates that different types of choices are normally made associated with other factors, which may occur during the decision process. Specifically, this component deals with the application of heuristics or rules of thumb, which are applied in the selection and evaluation of specific brand. These specific heuristics a consumer uses are influenced by both individual factors (e. . , personality differences) and situational factors (e. g. , urgency of the decision); thus it is unlikely that the same decision by the same consumer will apply in different situation or other consumer in the same situation.

    Consumption and Learning Process In this stage, the model discusses the future results after the purchase is done. The consumer in this step will gain experience after evaluating the alternative. This experience provides the consumer with information to be applied to future choice situation. Bettman in his model emphasize on the information processing and the capacity of the consumer to analyze this information for decision making, but no explanation was given about the criteria by which the consumer accepts or refuses to process some specific information.

    Functional value is measured on a profile of choice attributes. ” Traditionally, functional value is presumed to be the primary driver of consumer choice. This assumption underlies economic utility theory advanced by Marshall (1890) and Stigler (1950) and popularly expressed in terms of “rational economic man. An alternative’s functional value may be derived from its characteristics or attributes, (Ferber, 1973) such as reliability, durability, and price.

    For example, the decision to purchase a particular automobile may be based on fuel economy and maintenance record. By identifying the dominant function of a product (i. e. , what benefits it provides), marketers can emphasize these benefits in their communication and packaging. Advertisements relevant to the function prompt more favorable thoughts about what is being marketed and can result in a heightened preferences for both the ads and the product, (Solomon 1996;160).

    Katz (1960) developed the functional theory of attitudes. He identifies four attitudes based on the functional values:

    • Utilitarian function. The utilitarian function is related to the basic principles of reward and punishment. We develop some of our attitude toward products simply based on whether these products provide pleasure or pain.
    • Value-expressive function. Attitude that performs a value-expressive function expresses the consumers’ central values or self-concept. A person forms a product attitude not because of its objective benefits, but because of what the product says about him or her as a person.
    • Ego-defensive function. Attitude formed to protect the person, either from external threats or internal feelings, perform an ego-defensive function. Example of this function is deodorant campaigns that stress the dire, embarrassing consequences of being caught with underarm odor in public.
    • Knowledge function. Some attitude is formed as a result of a need for order, structure, or meaning. This need is often present when a person is in an ambiguous situation or is confronted with a new product.

    The second value: Social value Sheth et al. (1991;161) defined social value of an alternative as: “The perceived utility acquired from an alternative association with one or more specific social groups. An alternative acquires social value through association with positively or negatively stereotyped demographic, socioeconomic, and cultural-ethnic groups. Social value is measured on a profile choice imagery. ” Social imagery refers to all relevant primary and secondary reference groups likely to be supportive of the product consumption.

    Consumers acquire positive or negative stereotypes based on their association with varied demographic (age, sex, religion), socioeconomic (income, occupation), cultural/ethnic (race, lifestyle), or political, ideological segments of society. Choices involving highly visible products (e. g. , clothing, jewelry) and good service to be shared with others (e. g. , gifts, products used in entertaining) are often driven by social values.

    For example, a particular make of automobile is being chosen more for the social image evoked than for ts functional performance. Even products generally thought to be functional or utilitarian, are frequently selected based on their social values. The third value: Emotional value Sheth et al. (1991; 161) defined emotional value of an alternative as: “The perceived utility acquired from an alternative’s capacity to arouse feelings or affective states. An alternative acquires emotional value when associated with specific feelings or when precipitating those feelings. Emotional values are measured on a profile of feelings associated with the alternative. ”

    Consumption emotion refers to the set of emotional responses elicited specifically during product usage or consumption experience, as described either by the distinctive categories of emotional experience and expression (e. g. , joy, anger, and fear) or by the structural dimensions underlying emotional categories such as pleasantness/ unpleasantness, relaxation/action, or calmness/excitement. Goods and services are frequently associated with emotional responses (e. g. the fear aroused while viewing horror movie). Emotional value is often associated with aesthetic alternatives (e. g. religion, causes).

    However, more tangible and seemingly utilitarian products also have emotional values. For example, some foods arouse feeling of comfort through their association with childhood experiences, and consumers are sometimes said to have “love affairs” with their cars. A number of different attempts have been made to identify the various emotions that people experience. Izard (1977) develops the taxonomy of affective experience approach that describes the basic emotion that people feel. He measures emotions using ten fundamental categories: interest, joy, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame, and guilt.

    This approach has been used extensively by consumer researchers, for example, Westbrook and Oliver (1991). The fourth value: Epistemic value Sheth et al. (1991 ;162) defined epistemic value as: “The perceived utility acquired from an alternatives capacity to arouse curiosity, provide novelty, and/or satisfy a desire for knowledge. An alternative acquires epistemic value by items referring to curiosity, novelty, and knowledge. ” Epistemic issues refer to reasons that would justify the perceived satisfaction of curiosity, knowledge, and exploratory needs offered by the product as a change of pace (something new, different).

    Entirely new experience certainly provides epistemic value. However, an alternative that provides a simple change of pace can also be imbued with epistemic value. The alternative may be chosen because the consumer is bored or satiated with his or her current brand (as in trying a new type of food), is curious (as in visiting a new shopping complex), or has a desire to learn (as in experiencing another culture). The concept of epistemic values has been influenced by theory and by several important areas of research.

    Exploratory, novelty seeking, and variety seeking motives have been suggested to active product search, trial, and switching behavior, (Howard and Sheth 1969). One of the most significant contributors to the study of the optimal stimulation and arousal has been Berlyne (1970), who contends that individuals are driven to maintain an optimal or intermediate level of stimulation. Finally, Hirschman (1980) has advanced innovativeness, or a consumer’ propensity to adopt new products.

    The Fifth value: Conditional value Sheth et al. (1991;162) defined the conditional value as: The perceived utility acquired by an alternative is the result of the specific situation or set of circumstances facing the choice maker. An alternative acquires conditional value in the presence of antecedent physical or social contingencies that enhance its functional or social value. Conditional value is measured on a profile of choice contingencies. ” An alternative’s utility will often depend on the situation. For example, some products only have seasonal value (e. g. , greeting cards), some are associated with once in a life events (e. g. , wedding dress), and some are used only in emergencies (e. . , hospital services).

    Several areas of inquiry have also influenced conditional value. Based on the concept of stimulus dynamism advanced by Hall (1963), Howard (1969) recognized the importance of learning that takes place as a result of experience with a given situation. Howard and Sheth (1969) then extended Howard’s earlier work by defining the construct inhibitors as noninternalized forces that impede buyers’ preferences. The concept of inhibitors was more formally developed by Sheth (1974) in his model of attitude-behavior relationship as anticipated situations and unexpected events.

    Recognizing that behavior cannot be accurately predicted based on attitude or intention alone, a number of researchers during the 1970s investigated the predictive ability of situational factors (e. g. , Sheth 1974). The five consumption values identified by the theory make differential contributions in specific choice contexts. For example, a consumer may decide to purchase coins as an inflation hedge (functional value), and also realize a sense of security (emotional value) from the investment. Social, epistemic, and conditional values have little influence.

    Of course, a choice may be influenced positively by all five consumption values For example, to a first-time home buyer, the purchase of a home might provide functional value (the home contains more space than the present apartment), social values (friends are also buying homes), emotional values (the consumer feels secure in owning a home), epistemic value (the novelty of purchasing a home is enjoyable), and conditional value (starting a family).

    The ‘exchange’, in which two or more organizations or people give and receive something of value, is an integral part of marketing. He also suggested that consumer behavior involves many different actors. The purchaser and user of a product might not be the same person. People may also act as influences on the buying processes. Organizations can also be involved in the buying process. Much of marketing activity, they suggest, concentrates on adapting product offerings to particular circumstances of target segment needs and wants.

    It is also common to stimulate an already existing want through advertising and sales promotion, rather than creating wants. The definitions and models, which have been presented so far, have been from general marketing theory. Tourism is, by its very nature, a service rather than a product, which may have a considerable effect on consumer behavior.

    The “negative incongruity” condition (a state of negative performance perception and positive referent state) is hypothesized to produce the second highest dissatisfaction or problem recognition, followed by “negative congruity” (a state of negative performance perception and negative performance expectation), “positive congruity” (a state of positive performance perception and positive expectation) and “positive incongruity” (a state of positive performance perception and negative performance expectation), respectively.

    The theory of self concept was supported in empirical studies involving consumer evaluation of the automobile, typewriter, a bachelor’s degree, and a house (Sirgy 1984; 1987). Sirgy (1982b) further argues that product images should be classified as being “functional” and “symbolic. ” The functional images of a product include the physical benefits associated with the product, whereas the symbolic images refer to the stereotypic personality images consumers have of a specific product often expressed in terms of the typical user image.

    Relatedly, Sirgy (1982b) argues that CS/D is not only an evaluative function of the consumer’s expectation and performance evaluation, but it is also an evaluative function of the consumer’s self-image and product image congruity. That is, the consumer’s self-concept should be understood in order to truly understand the individual’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Self-concept, defined as “the totality of the individual’s thoughts and feelings having reference to himself as an object,” has been construed from a multi-dimensional perspective (Rosenberg 1979).

    The satisfaction level would be the lowest because the purchase of the product serves no function to the maintenance of either the self-esteem or self-consistency motives. Based on the review of literature on CS/D as related to the evaluative congruity models and self-concept, a logical interpolation can be drawn with respect to CS/D in tourism as related to the role of the tourist’s perception of destination images.

    That is, CS/D in tourism is a function of both

    • the evaluative congruity of a tourist’s expectation of destination and his/her perceived outcome of the destination experience;
    • the evaluative congruity of a tourist’s self-image and his/her perception of the destination’s value-expressive image.

    Deference to him as an object,” has been construed from a multi-dimensional perspective (Rosenberg 1979). For instance, the term “actual self” refers to how a person perceives one’s self, and “ideal self” refers to how a person presents one’s self to others (Rosenberg 1979).

    The self-image/product image congruity model in essence describes the effect of the cognitive matching process between value-expressive attributes of a given product and the consumer self-concept on consumer decisions such as product preference, purchase intentions, purchase behavior, product satisfaction/dissatisfaction, and product loyalty (Sirgy 1982b). The theory explains the effect of self-image congruence on consumer attitude through the mediating effects of two self-concept motives: self-esteem and self-consistency.

    According to the self-image/product-image congruity model, a consumer’s specific value-laden self-image belief interacts with a corresponding value-laden product-image perception in terms of the typical user image in a product purchase. The result of such an interaction occurs in the form of the following four congruity conditions.

    First, a “positive self-image congruity,” occurs when there exists a state of positive self-congruity (a low discrepancy between one’s actual self-image and the product image) and a state of positive ideal self-congruity (a low iscrepancy between one’s ideal self-image and the product image). That is, a product image matches up with one’s actual self-image as well as with his/her ideal self-image. Such a situation would result in high consumer satisfaction because, by purchasing or identifying himself/herself with this product, the consumer would reach an emotional state that enhances his/her self-esteem motive and reinforces his/her self-consistency motive.

    Second, a “positive self-image incongruity” condition occurs when there exists a state of negative self-congruity (a high discrepancy between one’s actual self-image and the product image), but a state of positive ideal self-congruity (low discrepancy between one’s ideal self-image and the product image). In this situation the individual might be motivated to purchase the product but his/her satisfaction level would be moderate. This occurs because, while the purchase would enhance one’s self-esteem motive, the self-esteem motive would conflict with his/her self-consistency motive.

    Third, a “negative self-image incongruity” condition is the opposite of the “positive self-image incongruity” condition. That is, there is a state of positive self-congruity (low discrepancy between one’s actual self-image and the product image,) but a state of negative ideal self-congruity (high discrepancy between one’s ideal self-image and the product image). The situation again would result in a moderate satisfaction level because the individual’s self-consistency motive would conflict with his/her self-esteem motive.

    Finally, “negative self-image congruity” occurs when there exists negative self-congruity (high discrepancy between one’s actual self-image and the product image,) as well as negative ideal congruity (high discrepancy between his/her ideal self-image and the product image. ) The satisfaction level would be the lowest because the purchase of the product serves no function to the maintenance of either the self-esteem or self-consistency motives. Model of self-congruity and travel behavior is depicted in Figure2. 11 the model posits that various aspects of the destination and its atmosphere are related to the destination visitor image.

    The destination visitor image is then evaluated in light of specific dimensions of the tourist’s self-concept to determine the degree of self-congruity which is systematically related to travel behavior. Figure 2. 11 an Integrated Model of Self-Congruity and Functional Congruity in Explaining and Predicting Travel Behaviour Source Sigry and Grewal (1997) Pp 229-241. 3. Desiccation Different models of consumer behavior describe satisfaction as the final output of the decision process or incorporate it in the feedback mechanism linking completed experiences to future behavior.

    For example; Nicosia (1976) attributes the state of CS/D to the dominant interest in the “final act” of consumers that is the purchase of product. Further, the concept of CS/D is given greater emphasis in the works of McNeal (1973), Engel and Blackwell (1982), and Howard and Sheth (1967, 1969, and 1973). In their consumer behavior models, satisfaction is shown as the final output in the framework of purchase decisions. These buyer behavior models postulate that if the actual outcome of a product is judged to be better than or equal to the expected, the buyer will feel satisfied.

    If, on the other hand, actual outcome is judged not to be better than expected, the buyer will be dissatisfied. This disconfirmation paradigm of CS/D can be also found in the works of Suprenant (1977); Hunt (1977); and Oliver (1977, 1980). The theory of self-concept advances the notion that every self-image has a value association, which determines the degree of positive, or negative effect felt when that self-image is activated. This value component associated with a particular self-image replaces the traditional constructs of ideal self-image, ideal social-image, etc.

    Correspondingly, every product image has also a value component reflective of the affective intensity associated with attribute. A specific value-laden self-image interacts with a corresponding value-laden product image and the result occurs in the form of positive self-congruity (match between a positive product image and a positive self-image), positive self-incongruity (match between a positive product image and negative self-image), negative self-incongruity (match between a negative product image and a positive self-image), or negative elf-congruity (match between a negative product image and negative self-image).

    Sirgy et. al (2000) added on further by stating that tourists’ perception of the destination (type and quality of resorts, prices, hotel ambiance, atmosphere, etc) is likely to influence the formation and change of the destination visitor image. Given that self-concept is multidimensional in nature (actual, ideal, social, ideal social self), at issue is the particular dimension of the self-concept evoked in the psychological process of self-congruity – the matching of the tourist’s self-concept with the destination visitor image.

    In addition to evaluating a destination by focusing on the symbolic (person-like) attributes of the destination, tourists may also evaluate destinations based on the destination’s functional or utilitarian attributes. The match between the destination’s level of a utilitarian attribute and the tourist’s expectation of the attribute is referred to as functional congruity – may also affect destination travel and may be related to self-congruity.

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