The Use of Travel Guidebooks to Reduce Risks
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The puchase and consumption of tourism is associated with financial risk, social risk, psychological risk, performance risk, and physical risk. These risks relate to the characteristics of tourism services, which are directly perceptible, frequently experimental and often unpredictable in their outcomes. The acquisition of additional information allows consumers to better assess these risks, and consequently enhance the quality of the trip. Better quality trips arise when uncertainty is reduced and the consumer has enhanced knowledge about the destination; indeed, information is necessary for both choosing a destination and making on-site decisions about travel mode, attractions, location activities, and lodging (Perdue, 1985, Snepenger et al., 1990). The purpose of this study is to investigate the tourists' information needs in travel guidebooks. Specifically, the paper will analyse the difference in the needs for information about risk among different travellers's segments. The analysis focuses on financial, social, and personal risks including physical risks. Furthermore, one overall risk variable is included in the analysis. Non-parametric tests and factor analyses are performed to analyse 1096 questionnaires collected among international travellers visiting Sydney (Australia) and Thailand. From the analysis it is concluded that different types of travellers have different needs for information about risk. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that travel guidebooks are a tool to reduce risk and uncertainty in the trip quality and are more likely to be used by travellers who consider information about any type of risk to be important. Among the different segments, differences in information needs have resulted between group travellers and package travellers. Asian travellers and North American travellers, first time visitors to the destination and repeat visitors to the destination.