Purpose – This study seeks to focus on the following: discovering consumer preferences regarding package tours to China; revealing differences among consumers' cognition related to these package tours, travel advertisements on web sites and search engine results; identifying the similarities among travel agency web sites; and establishing a consumer cognitive structure to assist marketers in designing written content for display in search engine results. Design/methodology/approach – The study adopted means‐end chain theory as a theoretical basis and used the written content of tourism web sites displayed in search engine results as an empirical object. By comparing the contents of tourism web sites and the search engine results, the researchers could analyse and compare similarities and differences among web site content, search results and consumer cognition. Findings – Using the utility score of each attribute level to calculate the total utility can uncover the customers' preferred attribute level portfolio. The calculation results identified the most preferred tour package. The study found that the greater the variety of package tours to China provided by the web sites of a particular travel agent, the higher the possibility of that agent providing discount incentives. Furthermore, the text content of each web site provides more attribute information regarding package tours and less information about the consequences of travelling and value satisfaction. Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to provide a methodology integrating conjoint analysis and the means‐end chain approach. Understanding the written content of web sites preferred by Chinese people can help marketers and web site designers design web sites attractive to this market.
Online Information Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 20, 2010
Keywords: Advertising; Tourism; China; Search engines