Association of Marketing Theory and Practice, Association of Marketing Theory and Practice 2012

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What do you know: An investigation of the role of websites and prior knowledge
Marsha Durham Loda, Marie Esposito

Building: Marriot Resort and Spa
Room: Atlantic 2
Date: 03-30-2012 - 08:00 AM – 09:15 AM
Last modified: 02-22-2012


The world’s largest service industry, tourism, is progressively more dependent on the Internet to market travel destinations. Research on tourist information sources suggests that the credibility of information is important because it is significantly related to purchase intent. Credibility is critical due to the intangible nature of the tourism product and the risk associated with destination selection. Research into Website credibility suggests that trust in a site is enhanced by observable signals such as website design. Prior knowledge is suspected to affect the ability to process information, and to help those searching discriminate relevant from irrelevant information. Tourism marketers need to understand how to maximize the persuasiveness of their Websites based on these factors. While websites are rated as the most credible mediated source of tourist information, do all tourism websites share equally in this benefit? The purpose of this research is to compare the persuasive effects of websites on marketing tourist destinations. This research attempts to test whether there are differences in websites’ credibility, message strength and change in propensity to visit (purchase intent). The impact of prior knowledge is also explored.

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