AN INVESTIGATION OF KEY FACTORS THAT AFFECT MILLENNIALS’ DESTINATION CHOICE, USING A CASE STUDY TO EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL OF SLOVAKIA
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study investigated the main factors that influence young travellers’ – Millennials - destination choice, adopting a case study approach to evaluate the potential appeal of Slovakia to this segment. Likely characteristics of a millennial tourist were established from critically reviewed literature, well-known tourism motivation theories and typologies. Amongst which were Cohen’s (1972) Explorer and Plog’s (1974) Near-allocentric tourist, push and pull travel motivation emerged as significant concepts. Additionally, forces shaping the future tourism trends outlined by Yeoman (2008) provided valuable insights. The project combined various methods into triangulation. The primary methods comprised of an online questionnaire and a focus group of five participants. The secondary research was carried out via netnography of Slovak Tourist Board official website. The quantitative data drove out important elements of Millennials´ travel behaviour which were explored into a greater depth through the focus group. Both were subsequently compared to the Slovak Tourist Board’s netnography. The results showed young travellers’ desire for distinct and extraordinary individual experiences, interest in local culture, heritage, food, fun and relaxation. In the case of Slovakia mainly nature based tourism was the main attraction. Their holiday selection would be determined mostly by cost and available transport to a destination followed by its safety. The destination perception is affected by its online portrayal not only by travel related platforms. Yet social media have a significant effect. Millennials mainly use the Internet to find inspiration for travel and arrange their holiday. Even though they are more likely to obtain their primary inspiration for travel from sources other than the official tourism website, it still has high credibility. Nonetheless, the research on Slovakia uncovered low awareness about the country‘s tourism and a weak destination image in Millennials´ mind. Although the role of the individual personality and destination circumstances always need to be considered, a model of capturing push and pull forces of Millennials’ travel was proposed which can be also applied to other destinations.
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