Publication Details

Dolnicar, S., Coltman, T. & Sharma, R. (2013). Do satisfied tourists really intend to come back? Three concerns with empirical studies of the link between satisfaction and behavioral intention. Journal of Travel Research, 54 (2), 152-178.


Explaining human behavior is a primary concern for tourism research and a substantial body of research concludes that highly satisfied tourists are more likely to return to a particular destination. In this article, we provide an analysis of this body of work, arriving at three concerns relating to the strength of association between satisfaction and behavioral intention: (1) the link between constructs is complex, resulting in the frequent omission of causal factors; (2) inconsistency with construct operationalization impedes cumulative knowledge development; and (3) explainable variance is impeded by between-study heterogeneity. We illustrate these problems by analyzing empirical guest survey data and conducting a meta-analysis of published papers in the three top tourism journals between 2002 and 2011. We offer four recommendations for future research investigating the link between satisfaction and behavioral intention.

Grant Number

ARC/DP110101347, ARC/DP130100068

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