Planning a wine tourism vacation? Factors that help to predict tourist behavioural intentions
a, Beverley Sparks
aTourism, Leisure, Hotel & Sport Management, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, PMB 50, GCMC, 9726, Australia
Received 19 May 2006; accepted 13 November 2006. Available online 8 January 2007.
A large cross-sectional survey was undertaken within Australia to
investigate potential wine tourists’ intentions to take a wine-based
vacation. Three wine tourism attitudinal dimensions were identified
and confirmed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Structural equation modelling was employed to test a model, based on Theory of Planned Behaviour, predicting tourist intentions. In particular, perceived control, together with past attitude predicted intentions to take a vacation to a wine region. Wine/food involvement, normative influences and three wine expectancy-value (attitudinal) dimensions also contribute to intention to take a vacation to a wine region. The findings have implications for predicting and promoting future wine tourism.
Keywords: Wine tourism; Theory of Planned Behaviour; Involvement;
Attitude; Control influences; Normative influences
2. Literature review
2.1. Attributes of the wine tourism product
2.2. Theory of Planned Behaviour
2.3. The present study
3.2. The questionnaire
4.1. Demographic profile
4.2. Measurement and structural modelling
4.2.1. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis
4.2.2. Structural model
5.1. Practical implications
6. Conclusion, future research and limitations
The area of wine tourism is growing as a form of special interest tourism (see, for example, Charters & Ali-Knight, 2002; Getz & Brown, 2006).
Understanding what it is about wine tourism that is valued by consumers is important for national and regional tourism authorities as well as for owners of cellar doors. Moreover, understanding how valued attributes of wine tourism translate into intentions to engage in consumptive behaviours is vital. In mapping out the behavioural intentions of wine
tourists, it is helpful to draw upon established theoretical paradigms from attitudinal research (e.g. Ajzen (1991) and Ajzen (2001); Ajzen &
Fishbein, 1980). This paper identifies a range of wine tourism consumer values based on product attributes, and uses these, together with other data, to test a model of behavioural intention specifically applied to wine tourism. First, a background review of wine tourism product attributes is undertaken and this is incorporated into an attitudinal model of behavioural intentions. Second, using data collected from a large Australian cross-sectional survey, core wine tourism attribute themes are identified and the proposed model is tested. The results, using factor analysis and structural equation modelling, provide specific information about the wine tourism attribute factors as well as evidence for the utility of the attitude model. Discussion addresses theoretical issues as well as practical implications for tourism authorities and cellar door operators in wine regions.
2. Literature review
For the purpose of this paper, wine tourism is defined as visits to a wine region for recreational purposes. As some (e.g. Hall et al., 2000) have
pointed out, wine tourism is still emerging as a concept or product. As the field of wine tourism continues to develop (see Mitchell & Hall, 2006
for a comprehensive review), the need for a better understanding of consumer behaviours is paramount, especially in respect of likelihood of visiting wine regions. Getz and Brown (2006) point out that much of the
research into the wine tourist has originated from studying consumers at the cellar door. While obtaining information from “at the door”
consumers is useful, it is also necessary to obtain data from broader samples. Furthermore, it is important to develop an understanding of the fundamental drivers of the desire to engage in wine tourism (see also,
Brown & Getz, 2005; Mitchell & Hall, 2006). This section first reviews
the literature relating to what it is that attracts tourists to wine regions and, second, incorporates these factors into a broader model for predicting wine tourism behavioural intentions.
2.1. Attributes of the wine tourism product
Tourism researchers have demonstrated a strong interest in destination image analysis (see Pike, 2002 for a review). It is recognised that the
image of a destination is multi-faceted and often difficult to measure (Gartner, 1993). Many studies take a multi-attribute approach to the measurement of perceptions of a destination (see Beerli & Martin, 2004;
Pike, 2002). Similarly, in order to understand a tourist's intention to visit a wine region it is important to determine the key attributes of the wine tourism experience that drives the behaviour. Some research (see, for example, Charters & Ali-Knight, 2002; Getz & Brown, 2006) has
investigated the attributes that are important to consumers in the domain of wine tourism. However, this has seldom been researched using broad samples and extensive statistical testing of potential dimensions. Getz
(1999) argues that attributes of a wine region, such as the scenery and open spaces, also provide an incentive to visit the region. Likewise, Hall
et al. (2000) have asserted that visitation to a wine region is frequently motivated by “the attributes of a grape wine region” (p. 4), referred to as the winescape (see, Peters, 1997). Winescapes are characterised by
three main elements: the presence of vineyards, the winemaking activity and the wineries where the wine is produced and stored (Telfer, 2001).
Hall and Mitchell (2002) discuss the concept of , which tourist terroir
they define in terms of the “unique combination of the physical, cultural
and natural environment (that) gives each region its distinctive tourist appeal” (p. 69). Thus, this concept expands the notion of winescapes to
encompass more of the feeling of region, which is a culmination of all of its physical and cultural parts.
, for some tourists, Importantly, and not unrelated to the tourist terroir
it is the “experience of the visit” that can be an important factor when considering visitation to a wine region. For others, who might be more serious wine tourists, purchasing wine is of utmost importance (Dodd &
Bigotte, 1997). It is argued that the demand for wine tourism is driven by a desire to purchase wine, an interest in learning more about wine, opportunities for social interaction, and, possibly, health reasons (see for example, Hall et al., 2000; Mitchell, Hall, & McIntosh, 2000). A report
released by the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism (Sparks, Roberts, Deery, Davies, & Brown, 2005) highlighted that
wine tourists were motivated by factors such as the surrounding destination, a quest for self-development, the overall hedonic experience, and novelty. Similarly, Getz and Brown (2006) suggest critical features
of wine tourism experiences for consumers include three core dimensions, which they label the “core wine product”, “core destination appeal”, and “the cultural product”. While the past research makes a useful contribution to the identification of what is important to potential consumers, it is, for the most part descriptive and exploratory, such that relevant factors are not brought together in an integrated, predictive model. The application of a model to better understand what factors might give rise to a wine tourism vacation assists researchers and practitioners by demonstrating which relationships appear to be important determinants of visitation.
As discussed, it is vital to have a detailed appreciation of the attributes consumers associate with the wine tourism product. It is assumed that a potential consumer will have a set of beliefs about what attributes make
up the likely tourism experience within a wine region. This set of beliefs might be derived from various sources including past experience, word of mouth (WOM) from others and advertising. As indicated by previous research (see for example, Getz & Brown, 2006; Sparks et al., 2005) there is a large
number of attributes that can be associated with wine tourism. In order to make these attributes more meaningful for understanding the wine tourist in general, data reduction techniques are often used to provide a smaller set of salient themes or dimensions. In addition to understanding the salient beliefs people hold about what wine tourism offers, it is important to determine the extent to which these belief attributes are valued by consumers (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). In doing so
it is acknowledged that there is link between what wine tourism might offer a consumer and the value placed on the benefits received from that offering. This dual focus on beliefs and values, which has had wide recognition in consumer behaviour research, is referred to as an expectancy-value approach (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). Expectancy-value components may be
thought of as valenced belief clusters that collectively contribute to schematic or categorical representations in a consumer's mind (Dabholkar,
1994). Based on previous research, it is argued that beliefs about wine tourism, as a product will be multi-dimensional. Exactly what dimensions
exist is not necessarily clear but it seems that core wine experience, destination attractiveness, cultural experience or self-development might well emerge as important (e.g. Getz & Brown, 2006). Importantly,
taking an expectancy-value approach in the research also accommodates the idea that destination/product image is often intertwined with the tourist's desired benefits from that destination/product (Baloglu & Mc
Cleary, 1999). Indeed, they conclude that destination perceptions together with motivations result in the formation of affective evaluation toward a tourist destination. Similarly, understanding the salient
evaluative criteria used by potential consumers provides important information that might be influential in the formation of an overall attitude toward the wine tourism product.
2.2. Theory of Planned Behaviour
A systematic, theoretically driven approach to developing and testing the likelihood of visiting a wine region for tourists is needed. One approach that has demonstrated robustness across various consumer and other domains is the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991). In brief,
the TPB proposes that three key constructs, in particular, will drive behaviour: attitude, subjective norms and perceived control. An attitude is the overall evaluation of the behaviour; a subjective norm is the influence of others about whether to engage in the behaviour; and control is the perceived ability to engage in the behaviour. The attitude construct, in turn, comprises two elements: beliefs about the likely outcome of behaviour, and values attached to these outcomes. In line with the TPB, it is fundamental to have an understanding of the evaluation consumers place on attributes of a product. Thus, within the context of wine tourism, it is vital to obtain a better understanding of how consumers might value the myriad of experiences available within wine tourism. Similarly, as consumer forms beliefs about wine tourism and what it means to them, they will develop attitudinal judgment toward the object. In general terms, consumers are likely to develop an attitude toward particular behaviour based upon their individual belief-value(s) about the behaviour.
Extensive research (see, Ajzen, 2001 for a review) has demonstrated the
utility of the TPB to predict intentions, which in turn has been useful in predicting actual behaviour. Other related wine tourism research (see
Mitchell & Hall, 2004) provides some preliminary evidence of intended
behaviour and actual post wine visitation purchase behaviour. Applying TPB to a wine tourism context, it can be expected that consumers are more likely to develop an intention to take a wine vacation if they: (1) value attributes of what the experience has to offer and believe engaging in the behaviour will satisfy those values and, hence, (2) hold positive attitudes about the behaviour, (3) expect family and friends to approve of the behaviour and (4) believe they have the resources (e.g. time or money) to undertake the behaviour. Furthermore, it is postulated in this paper that two further constructs—involvement in wine-related
activities and past experiential attitude—are also likely to influence
wine tourism future intentions. These constructs are reviewed after the core constructs of TPB.
Attitude toward taking a wine oriented vacation is likely to be a key influence on intentions to take such a vacation. Ajzen and Fishbein (1980)
define attitude toward an object as an individual's positive or negative feelings (evaluation) about the target behaviour. As wine tourism is a fairly hedonic consumption experience, the evaluation is likely to be linked to an emotional foundation, ideally invoking positive emotions. Other consumer research (Kempf, 1999) found hedonic products are
primarily evaluated on emotional dimensions. In particular, two dimensions of consumption affect have been investigated: pleasantness and arousal (Mano & Oliver, 1993). Tourism researchers (see for example,
Beerli & Martin, 2004) acknowledge the importance of including more
affective or hedonic measures when investigating destination image. Wine tourism research (Mitchell et al., 2000) has also recognised the
importance of experiential elements of consumer behaviour. Rather than a cognitive information processing approach, what is often needed is a more experiential emotional approach to engaging with, or evaluating,
wine tourism. Thus, in evaluating the overall wine tourism product, pleasantness and arousal are likely to be central. In line with the expectancy-value approach it is assumed that the attitudes toward taking a wine-related vacation will be determined by the key dimensions of wine tourism (key wine tourism features). As indicated in the earlier discussion on wine tourism attributes, there are likely to be some key dimensions of the tourism experience that will drive behaviour. The belief expectations, together with a value placed on these dimensions, will influence an overall evaluation. Thus, attitude will be influenced by the evaluation of key wine tourism features (expectancy-value dimensions) and will, in turn, influence intention to engage in such behaviour. Hypothesis 1
Expectancy-value dimensions of wine tourism will be associated with the overall emotional attitude toward wine tourism.
The attitude toward wine tourism will mediate between the
expectancy-value dimensions and intention to visit a wine region. TPB predicts that, as part of the decision making process, two further factors influence a consumer's intentions to participate in a given activity. These two factors are subjective norms (what others think or do) and perceived behavioural control (Ajzen, 1991). Subjective norms are
those beliefs held about what important others think you should or should not do (Ajzen, 1991). Thus, intentions to participate in wine tourism might well be influenced by what others, who form a reference group for the consumer, think or do in regard to the target behaviour. TPB predicts that when a subjective norm is favourable then so to is intention to engage in the behaviour. Lam and Hsu (2006) found subjective norms to be an
important factor in influencing Taiwanese tourists’ intentions to visit
Hong Kong. Similarly, Hsu, Kang, and Lam (2006) demonstrate support for
the importance of reference group influences in travel behaviour. Other tourism research (e.g. Beerli & Martin, 2004) has provided evidence that
WOM derived from sources such as friends or family can be influential in the formation of some components of image perceptions of a destination. Furthermore, there is some evidence of the relevance of reference groups to wine tourism consumption (see Mitchell & Hall, 2006). Thus, it can be
expected that a tourist's reference group will influence intentions to engage in wine tourism activities.
The TPB also predicts that perceived control over the target behaviour is likely to be important. Ajzen (1991) has pointed out that control
beliefs can impede or facilitate a particular behaviour. A consumer's perceptions of having or not having the resources (e.g. time or money) to engage in wine tourism will be vital to determining likelihood of taking a wine-related vacation in the near future. Past research (see, Lam & Hsu
(2004) and Lam & Hsu (2006)) has confirmed that perceived control is an important construct for predicting intention to visit a tourist destination. Correspondingly, leisure research (Crawford, Jackson, &
Godbey, 1991) has identified structural barriers such as time, financial resources, season, climate or family life cycle that can inhibit participation in certain activities.
Subjective norms will have direct effects on a tourist's intention to visit a wine region.