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2017

The power of persuasive communication to influence sustainable holiday choices: Appealing to self-benefits and norms

Hardeman, G., Font, X., & Nawijn, J.
Bibliographical information:
Hardeman, G., Font, X., & Nawijn, J. (2017). The power of persuasive communication to influence sustainable holiday choices: Appealing to self-benefits and norms. Tourism Management, 59, 484-493. doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2016.09.011
Abstract
Messages with a clear focus on personal benefits and social and personal norms could impact holidaymakers' preferences towards opting for sustainability actions. This argument was explored using a three stage, sequential, mixed methods study. Firstly, analysis of current sustainability messages from three responsible tour operators revealed a low likelihood of them influencing customer preferences towards sustainability actions. An online survey of consumer beliefs and values proved that a manipulated message was more persuasive than the real messages used by the tour operators. This informed an experiment in message design that showed preferences for: i) obtaining individual gains from acting pro-sustainability (the importance of self-benefit), ii) doing what others are doing (the appeal of conforming to the descriptive norm), and iii) doing what others think one should do (the appeal of conforming to the injunctive norm). The findings have led the ANVR to relaunch their sustainability programme, focusing on customer benefits.
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