Title

Effects of uncertainty avoidance and high/low context cultural dimensions on online booking behaviour of international tourists: A cross-cultural study of Japanese and Australian tourists

Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Honours

School

School of Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor Sam Huang

Field of Research Code

15

Abstract

Enhancing digital marketing and booking transaction systems is regarded as highly important to increase the number of international visitors that make a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Although today’s tourists increasingly utilise online technologies to obtain travel information and purchase holiday products, tourists’ preferred booking sources vary from country to country. It is therefore important for the inbound/export tourism industry to have a better understanding of market segmentation both between and within countries and of the range of factors that lead to different behavioural patterns.

As cultural dimensions are regarded as a significant factor influencing consumer behaviour, this research examined the effects of cultural dimensions on online booking behaviour of potential international tourists. Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance and Hall’s high/low context cultural dimensions were chosen as key variables. In considering the possibility of cultural convergence and divergence, generational differences were also examined.

Two 2 (cultural groups) x 2 (generation) between-subject experiments were designed to test three hypotheses. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to Japanese (a high uncertainty avoidance and high context culture) and Australian (a medium uncertainty avoidance and low context culture) participants.

The analysis of data from 306 participants revealed that individuals from high uncertainty avoidance and high context cultures (Japan) were more likely to perceive uncertainty in relation to online booking, particularly in relation to their own ability to use online booking systems. Unlike participants from a medium uncertainty avoidance and low context culture (Australia), participants from high uncertainty avoidance and high context cultures (Japan) felt uncomfortable in low context mediums and tended to avoid online booking. Generational differences were highlighted only in the Japanese sample where Generation Y were less likely to avoid online booking. The present research provides tourism marketers with useful information on consumers’ different online booking patterns both between and within countries. It also contributes to the knowledge base on cross-cultural consumer behaviour in tourism.

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