Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Penny Simpson

Second Advisor

Dr. Arturo Vásquez-Párraga

Third Advisor

Dr. Sibin Wu


The tourism marketing literature shows that psychological variables are predictors of destination choice for vacations. However, research testing the effects of Plog's (1974) personality-based psychographic traits on destination selection has yielded inconclusive results. Based on the theory of market choice behavior (Sheth, Newman, and Gross, 1991a), this research proposes that tourist´s destination choice is influenced by the mediating effects of anticipated needs congruity (epistemic, emotional, functional, and social) in the relationship between Plog's psychographic traits and behavioral intentions, providing more explanation of destination preference for novel and mature beach resort destinations (Butler, 1980). In order to conduct the study, data was collected from a sample of 450 consumers in the United States, stratified in terms of geography, income, and age according to national census demographic distribution. The research hypotheses were tested employing partial least squares-structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) in two models, one for each type of destination context (novel vs. mature). The study results show the mediation of anticipated needs congruity predicts tourist's behavioral intentions better than Plog's psychographic traits alone. Importantly, a common pattern in the effects of anticipated needs congruity on behavioral intentions was found for both novel and mature destinations, indicating that tourists expect to fulfill the same consumption needs when considering vacationing at beach resorts, regardless of the destination's degree of development. The study also identified some measurement issues in Plog's psychographic scale. Theoretical implications of the research findings are discussed and managerial recommendations are presented for destination marketing managers.


Copyright 2016 Oliver Cruz-Milán. All Rights Reserved.

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