Tourist image and ski resort choice: an analysis of the Victoria, B.C. skier market




Carmichael, Barbara Anne

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Previous studies in travel and tourism, both in the tourist industry and within geography have highlighted the need for perceptual studies linking the formation of tourist image and evaluation of tourist resources to destination choice. This study sets out to explore the processes of consumer image formation, decision-making and destination choice, mainly within the context of the B.C. domestic ski market, but with wider implications for travel choice decision-making in general. A conceptual and methodological framework is developed in which tourist images are measured using multi-attribute, conjoint and hybrid models. These indices of image are used in predictive choice models to assess the performance of perceptual variables as compared with objective variables, in the prediction of actual skier choice behaviour. This framework is applied to 359 skiers, who are residents of Victoria, B.C. and who are in the anticipation stage of choosing a skiing holiday. They are contacted by pre-trip and post-trip telephone interviews and, in addition, a subgroup of 100 are studied through personal interviews. The findings of this study reveal that the models which use perceptual data markedly outperform in predictive ability those using objective data. All models using perceptual data achieve good results both at the individual and aggregate levels. The study also reveals substantive findings of benefit to the ski industry. The relative performance of resorts for the Victoria ski market, as found by comparing their image scores, and the relative importance of ski resort attributes in their contribution to resort choice, as revealed by conjoint analysis, have useful implications for ski resort marketing. These results of both a theoretical and substantive nature provide suggestions for future research and planning within the ski industry.



Skis and skiing, British Columbia, Victoria Region, Economic aspects, Tourism, Sports and tourism, British Columbia, Victoria Region