My couch or yours? The motivations and behavior of budget travelers: A case study of couch surfing preferences over budget accommodation
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study attempts to answer the question of why budget travelers are choosing to stay on a stranger's couch rather than in budget accommodation. Using several travel motivation theories and models, this report will use couchsurfing.org as a case study and will act as a primary example of how applying tourism theory to hospitality and accommodation can help to understand consumer needs better. Academic literature on predominate travel motivations was reviewed through online journals and tourism research publications and four models were chosen to use in this study; the push-pull theory, Allocentric and psychocentric classifications, Pearce's travel career patterns model and the seeking and escaping dimensions theory. E-surveys were distributed to thirty couchsurfers through notice boards on the couchsurfing website. A further seven semi-structured interviews were carried out with couchsurfers that were visiting the Cardiff area. The findings concluded that couchsurfer's push-pull motivations were mostly interrelated and consisted of nine motivations. The findings relating to Pearce's travel career patterns model identified that the most important need that couchsurfers needed to satisfy was relationship needs, the moderately important need was self-development needs and the least importance of the three was relaxation needs. The data deduced that couchsurfers were classified as near-venturers within Plog's allocentric and psychocentric classifications and finally, couchsurfers led both under stimulated and over stimulated lives and both seeked interpersonal rewards. On the basis of the motivations identified best practice recommendations were given to budget accommodation to meet all the above needs and attract couchsurfers back to budget accommodations.
BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management
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