Publication Details

This artice was originally published as Dolnicar, S, Grabler, K & Mazanec, JA, Analysing Destination Images: A Perceptual Charting Approach, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 8(4), 1999, 43-57.


Heterogeneity of perceptions is a neglected issue in market segmentation studies. Only recently parametric approaches toward modeling segmented perception-preference structures such as combined MDS and Latent Class procedures have been introduced. A completely different nonparametric method is based on topology-sensitive vector quantization (VQ) for consumers-by-brands-by-attributes data. It maps the segment-specific perceptual structures into bar charts with multiple brand positions exhibiting perceptual distinctiveness or similarity. A brief introduction into the VQ methodology is followed by a sample study on three urban destinations competing on the world travel markets. City images serve as the underlying behavioral constructs. Preferential data are based on respondents' comes-closest-to-ideal-city judgments and incorporated into the perceptual positions of city profiles. Perceptual charting works on two levels of aggregation named prototypes and perceptual sub-structures. The results demonstrate how this method prevents the analyst from drawing erroneous conclusions due to uncontrolled aggregation.



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