Document Type

Journal Article


Market segmentation is an accepted tool in strategic marketing. It helps to understand and serve the needs of homogeneous consumer subpopulations. Two approaches are recognized: a priori and data-driven (a posteriori, post hoc) segmentation. In tourism, there is a long history of a priori segmentation studies in industry and academia. These lead to the identification of tourist groups derived from dividing the population according to prior knowledge (“commonsense segmentation”). However, due to the wide use of this approach, there is not much room for competitive advantage to be gained by using a priori segmentation. This article (1) reviews segmentation studies in tourism, (2) proposes a systematics of segmentation approaches, and (3) illustrates the managerial usefulness of novel approaches emerging from this systematics. The main aim is to offer academics and practitioners a menu of exploratory techniques that can be used to increase market understanding.