Glossary of tourism terms

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ACORN – a method classifying residential neighbourhoods
on the basis of who lives there, for use in marketing research
or direct mail.

Advertising – any paid form of non-personal presentation of
ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor.

All-inclusive – a type of package holiday where one price
covers everything that guests will require in the destination,
namely accommodation, food, drink, activities and entertainment.

Allocentric – a term, coined in 1977 by Plog, which refers to
those tourists who are adventurous, outward-looking and
like to take risks.

Backpackers – term used to describe tourists who tend to be
younger people who take relatively long trips seeking out
places which are ‘off the beaten track’, making relatively little
use of the mass tourism infrastructure, and trying to minimize
their expenses.

Brand – the name, symbol or design, or combination of these,
that is used to identify the products or services of a producer
to differentiate them from competitors’ products or services.

Brand loyalty – the propensity or otherwise of consumers to
continue to purchase a particular brand.

Business tourism – tourist trips that take place as part of
people’s employment, largely in work time, rather than for
pleasure in people’s leisure time.

Catchment area – the geographical area from which the overwhelming
majority of an organization’s or product’s customers
are drawn.

Commission – money paid by a producer to an external agent who
helps the organization to sell its products, usually expressed as a
percentage of the selling price.

Competition – the process by which two or more organizations
endeavour to gain customers at the expense of the other organization
or organizations.

Concentrated marketing – the focusing of the marketing effort on just
one or two of the available market segments.

Consumer – the person who actually uses or consumes a product or

Consumer behaviour – the study of which products people buy,
why they buy these products, and how they make their purchasing

Critical incident – this concept suggests that the tourist’s satisfaction
or otherwise depends on what happens at times when something out
of the ordinary occurs.

Culture – the sum total of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and customs to
which people are exposed in their social conditioning.

Customer – the person who actively purchases the product or service,
and pays the bill. The term is often used interchangeably with
‘consumer’ but they are different. For example, in business tourism, a
company is the customer as it pays for the travel services, but it is the
employee or business traveller who actively travels, and is therefore
the consumer.

Demand – the quantity of a product or service that customers are willing
and able to purchase at a particular time at a given price. Where there is
a desire to purchase a type of product or experience which is not currently
available, for whatever reason, we talk about latent demand.

De-marketing – action designed to discourage the purchase of particular
products or services.

Demographics – the study of population structure and its characteristics
such as age, sex, race and family status.

Desk research – the collection of secondary data in marketing research.

Destination – the country, region or local area in which the tourist
spends his or her holiday.

Determinants – the factors which determine whether or not someone
will be able to take a holiday and, if so, then what type of holiday he or
she will be able to take.

Differentiated marketing – the development of a different marketing
mix for each market segment.

Direct marketing – selling directly from the producer to the customer
without the use of intermediaries such as travel agents.

Discounting – a reduction in the list price of a product or service to
encourage sales.

Disposable income – the money which remains once all expenditure
has been subtracted from the income of an individual or family.

Distribution – the process by which products and services are made
available to customers by producers.

Domestic tourism – tourism where the residents of a country take
holidays as business trips wholly within their own country.

Eco-tourist – someone who is motivated by a desire to take a vacation
that allows him or her to see the natural history of a destination and
meet the indigenous population.

Ethics – the moral values and standards that guide the behaviour of
individuals and organizations.

Excursionists – people who take leisure trips which last one day or less
and do not require an overnight stay away from home.

Family life cycle – the stages through which people pass between birth
and death, that are thought to influence their consumer behaviour.

FIT – fully-inclusive tour.

Geodemographics – an approach to segmentation which classifies
people according to where they live.

Green issues – a commonly used term that is used as an umbrella for
a variety of issues relating to the physical environment, from recycling
to pollution, wildlife conservation to ‘global warming’.

Growth market – a market where demand is growing significantly.

Hedonism – the constant quest for pleasure and sensual experiences.

Heterogeneous – a market that consists of segments or sub-groups
which differ from each other significantly in terms of their characteristics
and/or purchasing behaviour.

Homogeneous – a market made up of people whose characteristics
and/or purchasing behaviour are wholly or largely identical.

Inbound tourism – tourist trips from a foreign country to one’s own

Intangibility – the characteristic of a service by which it has no physical
form and cannot be seen or touched.

International tourism – those tourist trips where residents of one
country take holidays or business trips to other countries.

JICNARS – the Joint Industry Committee for National Readership

Leisure – leisure is considered to be ‘free time’, in other words, the time
which is not devoted to work or other duties. However, some people
also use the term to describe an industry which provides products and
services for people to use in their spare time.

Leisure shopping – shopping that in contrast to ordinary shopping
involves shopping as a leisure activity not as a necessary task of everyday
life. It also implies that products are purchased for the pleasure involved
in buying and consuming them rather than because of their
utilitarian value.

Lifestyle – the way of life adopted by an individual or group of

Market – those consumers who currently are, or potentially may
become, purchasers and/or users of a particular individual or group of
products services.

Market leader – the product which has the largest share of a single
market, in other words, it is purchased by more people than any of its
competitor products.

Market share – the proportion of sales of a particular type of product
achieved by an individual product.

Marketing mix – the four controllable marketing variables – product,
price, place and promotion – which marketers manipulate in order to
achieve their marketing objectives.

Marketing positioning – the position in the market which a product is
perceived to have, in the minds of consumers, in relation to variables
such as quality, value for money, and level of service.

Marketing research – the process of collecting, recording and
analysing market-related information. It includes published or secondary
data of specific data or primary research. It is designed specifically
to provide data which helps an organization improve the effectiveness
of its marketing activities.

Media – this can refer to either the news media or the advertising
media, in other words, the media in which advertisements may be

Model – a representation that seeks to illustrate and/or explain a phenomenon.

Motivation – those factors which make tourists want to purchase a
particular product or service.

Niche marketing – the targeting of a product and service at a particular
market segment which is numerically much smaller than the total

Off-peak – a period when demand for a product or service is habitually
lower than at other times which are termed peak periods.

Outbound tourism – tourist trips from one’s own country to a foreign

Perceptions – the subjective interpretation by individuals of the data
available to them, which results in them having particular opinions of,
and attitudes towards, products, places or organizations.

Perishability – a characteristic of tourism products whereby they have
very limited lives, after which they no longer exist and have no value.
For example, an airline seat is no longer an existing saleable product
once the aircraft has departed.

Point of sale – refers to techniques which are used at the point when
tourists actually buy products or services to encourage higher sales.
This could involve window displays in travel agencies, for example.

Postmodernism – a sociological theory that has major implications, if
it is a valid theory, for the study of consumer behaviour in tourism.
It is based on the idea that in industrialized, developed nations, the
basis on which people act as consumers has been transformed in recent
years. The theory suggests the traditional boundaries, such as those
between high-brow and low-brow culture and up-market and downmarket
leisure activities are becoming blurred and are breaking down.

Post-tourist – a tourist who recognizes that there is no such thing as
an authentic tourism product or experience. To the post-tourist,
tourism is a game and they feel free to move between different types
of apparently totally contrasting holidays, from an eco-tourism trip to
Belize one year to a sun, sand, sea and sex trip to Benidorm the next

Product-service mix – the combination of tangible elements and
service that is aimed at satisfying the needs of the target market.

Promotion – the techniques by which organizations communicate with
their customers and seek to persuade them to purchase particular
products and services.

Psychocentrics – a term coined in 1977 by Plog referring to inwardlooking,
low risk-taking, less adventurous tourists.

Psychographic – the analysis of people’s lifestyles, perceptions and
attitudes as a way of segmenting tourism markets.

Purchase decision – the process by which an individual decides
whether or not to buy a particular type of product and then which specific
brand to purchase.

Qualitative research – research which is concerned with customers’
attitudes and opinions which cannot be qualified.

Quantitative research – research which is concerned with the statistical
data which can be measured and expressed numerically.

Repositioning – the process by which organizations attempt to change
the consumer’s perceptions of a product or service.

Seasonality – the distribution over time of total demand for a product
or destination, usually expressed in terms of peak and off-peak seasons
to distinguish between those times when demand is higher than
average and vice versa.

Segmentation – the technique of dividing total markets into subgroups
whose members share similar characteristics as consumers.

Service gap – a concept coined by Parsuraman et al. which is based on
the idea that tourist dissatisfaction is caused by perceived gaps between
expectation and actual outcomes.

SERVQUAL – a technique developed by Parsuraman et al. which is designed
to measure service quality.

Snowbird – people who live in areas which are cold in the winter, who
take long trips to warmer destinations to escape the cold weather.

Social tourism – a broad area which is primarily concerned with
providing opportunities to participate in tourism for those who
would not normally be able to go on the trips for primarily financial
or health reasons.

Target marketing – marketing activity aimed at a particular group of
consumers within the overall total population.

Tour operator – an organization which assembles ‘package holidays’
from components provided by other sectors such as accommodation
and transport. These packages are then sold to tourists, usually
through travel agents.

Tourism – the activity in which people spend a short period, of at least
one night, away from home for leisure or business.

Tourist – a consumer of tourism products.

Typology – a classification that subdivides a group into subgroups
which share similar characteristics.

Undifferentiated marketing – a broad-brush approach to marketing in
which the market is not subdivided into segments.

Up-market – Products aimed at the more expensive, higher status end
of the market.

Virtual reality – a set of technologies which replicate real-world experiences
and can be developed as a leisure product.

Visting friends and relatives (VFR) – tourist trips where the main motivation
is the desire or need to visit friends and relatives.

Visitor – a widely used term for someone who makes a visit to an attraction.
Visitors are not all tourists in the technical sense in that they
will not all spend at least one night away from home.

Visitor attractions – a single site, unit or entity which motivates people
to travel to it to see, experience and participate in what it has to offer.
They may be human-made or natural and can be physical entities or
special events.

Word of mouth – the process whereby consumers who have experienced
a product or service pass on their views, both positive and negative,
about the product or service to other people.

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