[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dagnachew L. Senbeto and Alice H. Y. Hon of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research entitled “A dualistic model of tourism seasonality: Approach–Avoidance and Regulatory Focus Theories,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the motivations and innovations of this research .
What motivated you to pursue this research?
Seasonality is a protracted issue of tourism, and it is the most researched tourism subject. Due to continual changes arise by seasonality, tourism organizations face up and downsize in the market. Managers, marketers, and policymakers pay attention to seasonality since it influences return on investment and business’s sustainability in general. However, seasonality in tourism has still been a less known phenomenon. Theoretical and conceptual developments regarding seasonality in tourism remain limited. Although some studies have been provided to expand our understanding of seasonal tourism trends, seasonal patterns, and tourists’ choices or behaviors, little is known about how tourists respond to various seasonality factors. Without that understanding, tourism managers cannot establish specific marketing plans to deal with the issues of seasonal variations. In accordance with that research gap, we suggest that seasonality in tourism is associated with a number of factors that influence tourists across off, peak, and shoulder season. Therefore, we stood to conceptualize and develop a dualistic model to
explain tourist reaction across seasonal variation by utilizing approach-avoidance and regulatory theories and examine marketing plans and strategies for targeting particular forms of tourism and purposes of travel, so that managers can cope with seasonal variations.
In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?
Existing studies focus on examining seasonality from the cause and impact approach and mostly based on case analysis specific to a particular area. Hence, tourism seasonality literature experience limited theoretical and conceptual development. In response to this, our study provides a fresh theoretical and conceptual approach to re-examine seasonality in tourism. To contribute to the literature on tourism seasonality, the purpose of this study is threefold. First, the study systematically evaluates the causes and impacts of seasonality in the tourism context. Second, the study examines the merits of approach–avoidance and regulatory focus theories for understanding seasonal variation in tourist behaviors. Third, the study develops a dualistic model to integrate approach–avoidance and regulatory focus theories in order to investigate the dimensions and factors that determine seasonal tourist variation. We categorized seasonality into fruition, structural, climate-based, and unforeseen factors, and that our dualistic model assessed these factors which create, accelerate, and/or prolong seasonal tourist flow. The model explains a number of circumstances in relation to seasonality such as crisis, school calendar, price, income and choice of destination as a signaling point contemplated with the above-mentioned factors. Practically, the dualistic model assists managers, marketers, and policymakers in their effort to cope with tourist demand in accordance with seasonal variations.
What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?
We found out from our research that seasonality in tourism relates to economic, social, and environmental aspects, thus incoming researchers could investigate this topic from different approaches. First, empirical studies are crucial to further examine the dualistic model of approach–avoidance motivation and regulatory focus theory and ensure the validity and reliability of the four types of seasonal factors. Second, climate is currently a principal factor in seasonality, and it is likely to become more influential in the future. Seasonality is influenced by climate and weather-related variables that could determine managerial strategies and accelerate low-season demand. Moreover, the social and environmental aspects of seasonality should be examined to determine what positive and negative effects are associated with peak seasons and off seasons. Third, methodologies and advanced statistical analyses should also be given utmost consideration in method processes. The existing methodologies used are the coefficient of variation, the Gini coefficient, summary indices, correlation coefficients, panel data, and time series analysis. Future studies should be broadly applicable in analyzing seasonality in tourism in the context of market trends and management strategies. Lastly, existing seasonality studies have focused on tourists from developed countries or countries and regions located at high latitudes. Future researchers should pay more attention to tourists from developing countries and places with a variety of climates, such as tropical and desert environments, rural locations, and remote areas.
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