Impact of destination familiarity on external information source selection process
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd.Utilizing a conjoint analysis approach, this study aims to examine the impact of destination familiarity on the relative importance of external information sources for domestic and international travelers during the pre-purchase information search process. Data for this study were collected from 719 tourists traveling to Sardinia (Italy). Findings reveal that the level of destination familiarity is a critical determinant of the importance domestic and international travelers attach to different external information source categories and related sub-categories. For example, the online personal information sources category is found to be the most important for domestic travelers with low destination familiarity while the personal information sources category is the most important information source category for international travelers with low destination familiarity. Contradicting the general belief that the social networking sites such as Facebook plays a critical role in individuals' consumption behavior, findings suggest that the social networking sites are not that influential when it comes to travel and destination selection decisions. Both theoretical and practical contributions of this study to the literature and managerial implications are discussed, and suggestions for further research are provided.
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