This paper talks about consumer in hospitality, leisure and tourism. It details on the workings behind the consumer’s mind by going deep into consumer behaviour pertaining to only hospitality and the catering industry specifically. It starts off with adding to the entire document as an essay, an abstract to highlight the key elements that the paper has. It moves on to then introduce the topic at hand, with a brief introduction followed by a literature review covering pertinent secondary research. After that the methodology followed by the research this essay undertook before compilation of results is discussed followed by the findings themselves. The essay then further explores upon the topic by discussing the primary characteristics that the essay touches, and then concludes it with an ending paragraph.
Consumer behaviour is the focal point of this essay which is based on both primary and secondary research. Consumer behaviour, the definition hence stands out to be very essential for explanation henceforth. Consumer behaviour is a science that has everything to do with the art of understanding and assessing when, how, where, with who, and why do consumers buy certain products while they do not others. It has everything to do with the psychoanalysis of the consumer’s mind as seen from the marketer’s or researcher’s perspective.
Consumer behaviour, as a field has attracted a lot of attention in recent times owing to the excessive competition between companies calling for increased studies done on the topic. Much has already been said about the field which is now getting more and more attached to the field of psychology, and the significance the term now has in the marketer’s or the researcher’s mind is also gaining momentum as things get more and more competitive, with opening variety of choices that are now available to a regular customer.
To understand what customer behaviour really is in a general context it is important to analyse the functioning behind a normal processing in a brain. It is highly imperative hence that the term critical thinking is mentioned now. Critical thinking is the ability of people to assume responsibility of the thinking of their own. Hence, people who indulge in critical thinking use certain principles to incorporate these into the way they perceive things and form judgments about them. It is an entire process of thinking, and analyzing that involves asking questions also to reflect upon the matter at hand best (McMillan and Keller, 2007). Critical thinking is a grouping of various skills that include self-awareness, rationality, discipline, honesty, open-mindedness, and judgments (Kurland, 2000). Deduction is defined as a statement, the conclusion of which bears evidence in some form or another, in order to make the conclusion stand true. Induction statements, on the other hand are those whose conclusions might be true, hence there is a chance involved there in the form of probability. (PhilosophyLander, 2004)
There are in short words, a guarantee involved about the truth of the conclusion in a deduction, and it is almost impossible that it renders false. Induction statements have probability involved of the statement becoming true and it is said that if the induction statement is true then it is unlikely to be false. Hence, no surety is there of the truth in an induction statement (IEP, 2006). It can be hence established that general statements are not what “deduction” statements include, rather the opposite. In deduction a series of steps take place that form reasoning involving logic about the statement/s at hand and formulate a judgment about its conclusion. This conclusion after thorough reasoning is called true and logical in a deduction statement. Whereas the basis for the formulation of conclusions in induction statements is assumptions and not logical reasoning. In the case of consumer behaviour hence, the case of induction seems more attached and close to the topic.
Critical thinking or scientific thinking is based on investigations and proper reflective thinking that has evidence or a series of proof facts at the back of the related theory. This dependable or trustworthy set of knowledge and ideas comes from the thinker’s own life and the society in general. Scientific thinking also, hence is based on ideas and theories that give the thinker such dependent information. Scientific thinking has the following three aspects:
o Empirical evidence (evidence that a person can hear, see, touch, smell, and taste)
o Logical reasoning or rationality (logic taking precedence over emotions and feelings etc.)
o Skepticism (questioning of own beliefs and the conclusions one has reached when doing scientific thinking). (Schafersman, 1994).
Metaphysical thinking, on the other hand has no relation to evidence or proof based conclusions at all. Rather it is a formulation of the mind in a way that it appears absurd or vague to most people. An example could include beliefs of people about magic. Usually, the soul or beliefs about reality are the sources or aims of metaphysical thinking. Aristotle said that metaphysical thinking is the highest demonstration of human’s capability to think and express. This is because such thinking is basically related to the deep interconnections of a person’s mind and what his perceptions in life are, and what imaginations does he/she hold. (Rosengren, Johnson and Harris, n.d.) Meta-physics is often referred to concepts like materialism and dualistic beliefs. (Carrol, 2007).
This research is a descriptive study that aims to identify the characteristics of a consumer’s mind and the behavior that follows when making decisions involving hospitality, and tourism. For this purpose employing a combination of Qualitative and Quantitative Research was used. (Creswell, 2008) Elements of brainstorming, critical thinking, questionnaire-aided interviews and observation studies were carried to follow through the research.
Brainstorming was employed at multiple stages. Initially, the researchers required brainstorming for the open ended questions that were asked during the focus group sessions. The focus group sessions that followed took the form of unstructured, free flowing ideas coined by the respondents. Important ideas were then made to incorporate the “Funnel approach” of gradually narrowing down the scope of the relevant domain. Volleying such topics with the respondents helped gain a rudimentary understanding which in turn helped in drafting the questionnaire for detailed interviews. (Pacelli, 2006)
Proactive Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
During the course of this descriptive study the researchers resorted to proactive problem solving and critical thinking at all stages. (CareWeb, 2003) The researchers ensured, at all stages, that there was adequate amount of information before proceeding to the next stage. Additionally, an initial analysis of the qualitative exploratory research to unearth any trends and patterns the researchers based their hypothesis will be conducted. Once the initial exploratory data gathering completed, the researchers conducted the observation studies and interviews to critically understand the workings behind people’s brains (belonging to different cultures) when it came to the hospitality industry. (Tesch, 1990)
Interviews were conducted to gain deeper insight into the perspectives of several different people belonging to different cultures about what they feel about the hospitality industry, brands etc. It helped the researcher’s draft a proper detailed findings document, henceforth and made data that was derived from observation studies more valid.
Observation studies were also done in many restaurants and eateries in nearby places, catering to different age groups, different cusines and cultures henceforth.
It was found that yes culture being a comprehensive element in a person’s personality has a great impact on the things that a consumer sees and considers buying/ consuming and does or doesn’t. Also, people belonging to the Asian region have more emotionally charges perceptions about brands, restaurants etc. People belonging to individualistic countries like America, England, Australia and Europe for instance were more adept at changing their choices when it came to eateries. They also felt that when it came to brands that involved mass appeal, like McDonald’s emotions was more of an element. It was found that intensity of culture does have an impact on consumers as well. Also it stands less strong as it was years back or previously sine it has become more flexible now.
The media today can be held responsible for the implicit force behind people’s actions since the hidden characteristics of mediums used by the media are powerful enough to move people into doing things they otherwise will not do. Manipulation can take the form of anything that uses media as a forum, therefore. Media hence being of many forms is often used as a manipulation tool to provide information that actually inflicts someone else’s opinions on people through the mass media. To many people, especially writer’s propaganda is an instrument through which a lot of “bad” persuasion is done. This according to them then includes the usage of half-truths and various other concealments so that data and information can be manipulated. This distortion is then used by these people for their own benefit by “fooling” the people who are being directed at by these propagandists. (What is Propaganda, n.d.)
Sustainability is the endurance that is needed. It is basically the push that is needed to use resources now the way that they are used while making sure that the needs of the future population or the next generation are however not compromised. Culture affects this dimension greatly too. For instance, where building a posh, un-atmosphere friendly restaurant is concerned; people belonging to individualistic societies and culture tend to ignore such characteristics while opting for greater refinement in terms of edible goods and eateries.
Also, it was seen that the intensity of culture does have an impact on consumers as well. Also it stands less strong as it was years back or previously sine it has become more flexible now. This was particularly true for sustainability.
Many a times we hear arguments pertaining to how the world is moving towards employing a single customized strategy when handling technology; little do companies often realize is that throughout the world irrespective of the kind of industry one is in, thee have to be adaptations that need to be made to ensure that all explicit and implicit characteristics that one’s company is dealing with are all equally important to make it successful in the consumer’s mind. For this purpose, it is highly essential that regional differences are seen through while evaluating a company’s potential critically.
Therefore, it highly essential that technological breakthroughs are implemented after customizing them to one’s own systems immediately. This was a characteristic that was seen to be exceptionally true for individualistic cultures or people belonging to the Europe region. However, the incidence of embracement of technology was seen to be higher in people with South Korean and Chinese roots. This was a finding that was derived through observation studies conducted in different parts.
Many researchers and marketers alike now have seemed to realize the importance of culture and differences in culture and the kind of impact that these have on perceptions that consumers have about specific brands.
This is the basic core reason why marketers hence go for region and culture based promotional and launch campaigns because this way the correct target group is hit with the kind of perceptions that the brand managers want to give off for their brand to the consumers. Marketers introduce many products but while doing so they ensure that the variety of ‘tastes’ that are being catered to are duly met. Likewise, the consumers too make up separate perceptions about the brands themselves based on the feel that the marketer gives off or is trying to give off. This, when is in alignment with the brand template itself, then we say that an effective culture transfer has taken place. For instance, in the questionnaire for interviews that was developed, it was asked of the respondent to talk about a brand that they felt connected to and a brand that they couldn’t link to at all even though the product was decent enough functionality wise. Respondents belonging to the South Asian region specifically claimed that the presence of Coca-Cola’s Coke Studio (a recently introduced initiative by Coke connecting eastern and western strings under one roof) was a product they felt close to and the perceptions about the brand were very emotionally charged. However, the existence of certain medicinal preventives or contraceptives was something that always linked with a taboo topic that of contraception is still considered a sin in certain religions. Therefore, people belonging to the Hindu religion in the interviews claimed to have had negative perceptions about such brands. They claimed that emotional aspects of brands like these should not be targeted towards this group of consumers.
There are many persuasion elements as follows:
o Emotional element: using emotions or inducing emotional sensations in people to make them act out the way the sender wants them to.
o Humorous element: by including a light element in the entire transfer of information process and thereby impressing people by the humor involved
o Rational: by setting out logical arguments and providing proof to whatever information is being imparted. This also is correlated directly with the credibility of the sender of the propaganda message in the first place.
It is up to the person who is delivering to decide what element will prove to be the most effective and essential to the positivity of the success of the entire message or the propaganda itself. However, one thing that they have to be sure about is what sort of audience is being addressed and dealt with, so as to not harm anyone verbally or behaviorally. All in all, propaganda is a political process and in all the latter’s forms, it plays a huge role in the imparting of information that is used to persuade and influence the people in the audience that is being dealt with. (Welch, 1998) Advertising is transporting into common knowledge of a person or many people the existence of a product or service. These people would be the ones who would belong to the buyer’s class and will hence be called “customers”; the customers in the case of political advertising being political; candidate’s respective audience or target group. (McNamara, n.d.) There are however still many variations to the basic concept. Sales promotion and advertising are talked about in reference and replacement to each other. In many companies, the word and advertising when is used it is often meant that the mass is being communicated with to reach the end consumers within it. Hence there are many channels involved in distribution of this information. These are more specifically called the channels of distribution, which can in the political framework include:
· Salesmen: candidates
· Distributors: members of the party
· Dealers: immediate members along with a group or team of supporters
Another characteristic very typical of advertising is that advertising constitutes of time, space and costs in using the media involved. Hence, we can say that a plan of action with respect to the type of seat a candidate is running for is important. Advertising is mass; it’s communication for which a price is paid. The main goal remains of imparting information, altering people’s stance towards what is being advertised and then persuading an action to be followed or taken by them that is to the advantage of the person who is advertising.
The type of “consumer”, in other words whether he is a rural person or a literate one or even an illiterate one, it depends on the way in which this advertising of the candidate is done. Hence, even one-to-one selling, also known as personal selling, user recommendations, publicity through famous other political or celebrity figures etc. can also induce voting behavior of people.
The end goals remains the same: satisfaction of the end user, convincing him to “buy the product” that is going for this candidate over some other. And along the way, one other thing involves making sure that this behaviour is rationed through successive exposure to the candidate’s current status etc. The aim of advertising is doing it with efficiency, speed and communication on a mass or on a whole level efficiently. (Colley, n.d.)
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