Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Management

Major Professor

Cihan Cobanoglu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Katerina Berezina, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolin Lusby, Ph.D.

Keywords

conjoint analysis, cruise attribute, cruise vacation, influencing factor

Abstract

This study focuses on exploring the relative importance of six influential factors in cruise customers’ decision-making process such as: cruise vacation price, cruise duration, distance from the cruise port, itineraries, environmental friendliness of cruise line and cruise online reviews. The decision on which influencing factors to select was made based on the review of literature.

The complexity of cruise customers’ decision-making process for these six attributes with several levels was examined with Choice-Based Conjoint (CBC) Analysis. CBC was selected due to its realistic approach to purchase decisions, in the form of trade-offs. The online survey collected data anonymously. The survey was distributed through Amazon Mechanical Turk (Mturk) platform. Only 450 cruise customers, who had experienced a cruise vacation before were eligible to participate in the study.

The purpose of the study was to discover the relative importance of the influencing factors to gain more insights about cruise customers. The findings of the study showed that online reviews were the most influential attribute for cruise customers in their cruise decision, followed very closely by the environmental friendliness of the cruise line. The next influential factor was the duration of the cruise vacation which was followed by distance from the cruise port, cruise itinerary and cruise vacation price. The best and the worst cruise vacation profile were generated from CBC analysis. The findings of this study provide some insights with regard to cruise customers’ importance about influencing factors when deciding on a cruise vacation.

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