French families in the tourism industry : the influence of social media and internet on their information search behaviour and their decision-making criteria

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Woolford, Cecile
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MSc in Marketing
Dublin Business School
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The consumers’ behaviour is in permanent change, it especially has changed very fast in the tourism industry with the growing influence of internet and social media. Many French tourism companies have suffered from the fast evolution of consumers’ expectations and needs. The aim of the study is to understand further the information search process of consumers when planning their holidays and what are their decision-making criteria. To be more specific, defining the different sources of information that they use, which on is the most influential, analysing the relation between internet/social media and holidays information search. Plus, the aim is also to identify the decision-making criteria for holidays and the role of family members in holidays planning. A cross sectional mixed methods research has been used. First, for the qualitative research, semi-structured interviews have been conducted among marketing managers of tourism companies and holidays makers. Concerning the quantitative research, a questionnaire has been administrated to holidays makers with high school children. The findings indicate that the main sources of information are online sources but offline sources are still important. However, the most influential sources are official websites, comparison websites, friends/family and travellers’ reviews. Plus, several decision criteria have being highlighted (price, location and benefits) and the importance of reviews underlined. Reviews do not have a high important for choosing the holidays but they have a strong influence as an element of reinsurance to purchase to item chosen. Finally, findings show that children have no importance in holidays planning and that women have a central role for both information search and decision-making. To conclude, this research indicates guidance for tourism companies to have more visibility, increase their awareness and meet travellers’ expectations. It indicate also directions for further researches to investigate a wider population sample, the different role of children for holidays planning according to their age and the cross devices consumer’s behaviour for information search and the buying act. Author keywords: Holidays making, Consumers’ behaviour, information search, decision-making criteria, role of family members, France, French families.