An investigation into the influence of dog ownership on consumer behaviour and motivations towards travel.
(2016) An investigation into the influence of dog ownership on consumer behaviour and motivations towards travel., no. 54.
This research project investigates the extent of the influence that dog ownership has on owner's behaviours and motivations within the leisure and tourism industry whilst assessing the overall levels of demand and satisfaction for dog-friendly establishments within the UK. This cross-sectional study has followed the interpretivist and constructionist theories collecting qualitative primary data, through semi-structured interviews and diary methods, from a convenience sample of both industry experts and dog-owners. The foundation of this project is based on the human-dog relationship which is explored in depth and as a result the influence this has upon their owner's leisure and tourism activities. The results of this study suggest that the significance of the relationship between owners and their dogs has resulted in a huge increase in demand for dog-friendly tourism within the UK as owners want to include their companion animals in their travel planning and indeed leisure and tourism related activities. Despite there being a huge demand for dog-friendly facilities, it is evident that the tourism industry needs to be doing more to provide for this market segment in terms of satisfaction, whilst minimising the constraints involved when travelling with dogs. Research findings demonstrated that a greater choice of dog-friendly establishments as well as facilities/services and appropriate measures are required in order to further develop dog-friendly tourism. Such findings within this study have contributed towards dog-owners expectations and has identified ways in which the industry can improve the quality of their facilities and services to better accommodate dog-friendly tourism, by bridging the gap between the consumers demand and the tourism industries supply of dog-friendly products. Recommendations include the development of a dog-friendly Quality Assurance measure to improve the information available to dog owners, meet and exceed expectations and improve the quality of the services provided. This study also provides valuable research on a widely understudied topic by creating increased awareness of this innovative niche market both in academia and within the tourism industry, which this study demonstrates has the potential to grow significantly in the future.