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Who Makes the Decisions in the Family Holiday-Taking Decision-Making Process (Essay Sample)




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Tourism has emerged as one of the key sectors that support various economies in the whole world. Not surprisingly, tourism continues to be the center of research with most scholars and professionals showing interest in nearly every tenet that has either direct or indirect influence on the industry. According to Martensen and Grønholdt (2008, p.14), one crucial impact on the growth and development of the tourism industry is the decision-making process. Furthermore, the family as a unit is the most important decision-making as well as consumption domain in the tourism sector (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008, p. 14). Notably, marketers and marketing scholars show a lot of interest in the family within the tourism industry (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008 p.14). Bronner and de Hoog (2008, p.967) assert that in the past two decades, there has been an alteration of the decision-making process for destinations, with an apparent shift to family democracy taking the course. Thornton, Shaw and Williams (1997, p. 288) acknowledge the fact that most of the available literature show some differences, with some quoting joint decision making while others independent decision making. Most importantly, children, the level of income and class are some of the factors that influence the decision-making process (Thornton, Shaw, and Williams, 1997, p. 287). Understanding different points of view on the holiday taking decision-making process is necessary to know who makes the decisions and the role of others who do not make the decision.
Holiday Taking Decision-Making Process
The process of consumer decision making varies from one individual to the other based on the product or service in question (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p.967). However, despite the difference in the models of decision making, all are geared towards the achievement of different objectives. Typically, the models are always sequential in nature with some having multistep approaches (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p.967). The most common framework that better illustrates the decision-making process factors in some steps (Koc, 2004, p.85). The steps include problem identification; information search or background analysis; evaluation of alternatives; making of the real choice; and post-choice activities (Decrop and Snelders, 2004, p. 1010; Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p. 967; Bargeman and van der Poel, 2006, p.708). Koc (2004, p.89) highlights some of the characteristics of family decision-making stating that it has a higher probability of joint decision-making, involves specification of different roles for the members of the family, and involves conflicts resolution methods for complete satisfaction. The role specification that accrues to collective decision making requires information search by all the members, the influencers who shape the decision, the purchaser and the consumers (the whole family) (Koc, 2004, p.89). Some of the factors that determine the role of each include the product in question, the nature of the purchase, and the type of family (family characteristics) (Koc, 2004, p. 90-92). Likewise, the contribution of children to the whole decision-making process is controlled by the type of parents either authoritarian, free, neglecting or permissive (Koc, 2004 p. 92)
There is a transference in the manner in which decisions are being made in the context of decision making (Bargeman and van der Poel, 2006, p. 712). Recently, the old belief that the process is unilateral where the father was the one charged with the role of making a decision on vacation taking, women and children have had a fair share in the decision-making process (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p.968; Kozak, 2010, p. 490). Bronner and de Hoog (2008, p. 968) take note of some of the factors that have increased family democracy in decision making. First off, the families shows high levels of adoption of the negotiation rather than command-driven family decision-making model (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p. 968). Secondly, most families have two streams of incomes; the father’s and mother’s income are increasing the contribution of women and, therefore, children (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). Thirdly, most men are also turning to doing domestic chores and are therefore easily convincible by their families (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p.968). Based on the above factors, it is agreeable that the process of decision making is joint in families (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p.968). Bronner and de Hoog (2008, p.977), conclude from their study that the decision-making process has evolved over the last three decades and that the current model preferred by most families is joint decision making. In the process of collective decision-making, the family members have a discussion where they deliberate on issues pertaining the vacation such as the budget, number of days, various destinations and accommodation among others (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). Moreover, the families has also adapted mechanisms for disagreement resolution that enables them to reach a confluence with each person’s satisfaction being a priority (Bronner and de Hoog, 2008, p.977).
Since tourism requires a lot regarding physical, monetary, and emotional investments, the thoughts, and perceptions of each member of the family, always top the decision-making process (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008, p.14). Therefore, in making the purchase decision, different family members are each given a role to play. Again, the roles are likely to differ due to variables such as time, money, product type, knowledge, the level of education and the kind of the family. It is noteworthy that the contribution, in this case, are not permanent neither are they mutually exclusive because the needs of each, as well as satisfaction levels, differ (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008, p.14). The children play an integral role in influencing the direction of decision making. Some of the parents plan the vacation as gifts to their kids and want them to be engaged in the whole process. Whenever, there is a need for parental guidance on the choice of decisions suggested by the children, the parents often have the task of informing the children (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). In line with the above thought, past research indicates children as strong influencers of the decisions made by the family members on the destinations, what products to plan and budget for and the number of days as well as routes among others. Therefore, the children are more useful in the choice making stage (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008, p.15). However, when it comes to purchasing decisions, the parents take the lead being that they are the ones that have the necessary monetary input required to drive the whole vacation (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008, p.15). Therefore, it is once again conclusive that the process of making decisions on vacation regarding families heavily depends on the joint contribution of each member (Martensen and Grønholdt, 2008, p.21).
Parents invest a lot of their time in doing information search that cannot be done independently (Bargeman and van der Poel, 2006, p.717). The process of information search is undertaken by each of the members with the well-informed modern day children being the key influencers at this level (Bargeman and van der Poel, 2006, p.717). Therefore, each member brings to the table whatever ideas they have gathered in different areas whether be it online or offline on the destination, travel, and accommodation (Bargeman and van der Poel, 2006, p.717). To sustain this extensive decision-making process, the family members sit down and deliberate on the destination, time and other vacation related issues based on the information at hand (Bargeman and van der Poel, 2006, p.718). Even though the parents are the purchasers of the product (vacation), they are influenced in two ways by the children (Thornton, Shaw, and Williams, 1997, p.295). First off, the children depend on the parents through their need for care mandating the parents to make choices with them in mind (Thornton, Shaw, and Williams, 1997, p.295). Secondly, the children also negotiate with their parents and make suggestions that in the end counts in the final decision (Thornton, Shaw, and Williams, 1997, p.295).
Remarkably, the decision making within small families that involve spouses also take account of the joint decision making (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). Kozak (2010, p. 490) asserts that women like men are engaged in the process of decision making lately because they also make a contribution of funds. Furthermore, when the family vacation involves a couple, and only one dominates the decision-making process, the success of the holiday is not assured (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). However, when there is involvement of both couples in decision making, things run a little bit smoother and work out (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). Unlike in large families, small families that comprise of two or two with young children, joint decision making of the spouses takes place (Kozak, 2010, p. 490). Moreover, these little families often have little to no problems because they do extensive research jointly before engaging in the decision-making process (Kozak, 2010, p. 490).
The whole process may not be joint as it may seem (Wang et al., 2004, p. 183). There are stages such as purchasing and information search that are dominated by men and women respectively. However, in big families, the process id jointly decided and all arguments against and in support of the final decision heard before an explicit agre...
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