How Couples Approach Making Travel Decisions

“Which hotel looks nicer for the better price? Where should we eat? What excursions did the concierge recommend?” These are all questions couples ask each other when planning a vacation, and when plans change during the trip. For some couples, the decision time on where to eat can take longer than others, and the even bigger decision is where to travel in the first place. So how are couples approaching the decision process, and is there a gender correlation between who makes what decision? I.e. when to travel, budget on the hotel, the bus tour to sign up for.

A recent study entitled “Exploring the Length and Complexity of Couples Travel Decision Making“, published  in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, observes the patterns of how couples decide on the much anticipated annual travel plans. This article is co-authored by Wayne W. Smith, Robert E. Pitts, Steve W. Litvin, and Deepti Agrawal, and is currently free to read for a limited time. The abstract for their article is below:

A quasi-experiment is used to examine the dynamics of the shared decision-making process by cqxb_58_2.cover.pngobserving couples in real time as they make decisions about an overnight stay at a luxury resort. Observations and video recordings of the decision processes of 24 couples were coded and analyzed. The time to final decision, number, and type of tactics used were found to vary with couples’ length of experience with one another. Observation indicated that couples with greater travel experience together relied on “predealing” based on their experience together to avoid conflict, while less-experienced couples’ decisions were more likely to yield winners and losers. These findings and those related to the use of persuasive tactics by members of the couple dyads provide the basis for specific recommendations for marketing travel products.

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