Student travel behaviour : North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus)
Heyns, Cornelius Muller
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The student market is a large and growing segment of the tourism industry that contributes approximately one billion rand annually to the tourism economy Unfortunately, despite the apparent profitability of this market, students are still disregarded by the South African tourism industry This may be explained by the perception and ignorance by the industry and that little is known about the characteristics, travel motivations and behaviour of this market The literature review revealed that students have specific characteristics which influence their travel behaviour such as money, time, social factors, personal characteristics, motives, special interests and especially cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Thus it is clear that although the student market seems homogeneous, heterogeneous differences do exist In order to capitalise on this market and to comprehensively understand student behaviour, information is needed about the activities which the students pursue, with whom and where these activities are pursued and even more importantly , how the students make the decision to purchase the product to go on holiday Thus the main purpose of this study was to determine the travel behaviour of students at the NWU, Potchefstroom Campus. This was achieved firstly by analysing motivation (Chapter 2) and conceptualising travel behaviour (Chapter 3) by means of extensive literature reviews. Motivation is understood as the underlying forces that arouse and direct the behaviours in which students engage, in order to realise certain benefits Behaviour can be viewed as a process of internal psychological factors (e.g. needs, wants and goals) which generate tension to some extent Different students have different needs; their purchase decision may be influenced by individual preference and social circumstances at the least The aim of conducting a literature review concerning the total concept of travel behaviour was to analyse the process of travel behaviour and effecting factors including travel motives, in order to understand and how best to attract the student market. In order to determine the travel behaviour of students at the NWU, Potchefstroom Campus, a survey was conducted between the 5th and 14th of October 2010 The survey was conducted by means of distributing a Questionnaire among third -year students during contact sessions in each of the different Faculties. From the data obtained from the questionnaire; a profile of the third-year students could be compiled and through factor analyses, the travel behaviour of the students could be determined. ANOVAs and Chi-square tests were used to determine whether the student travel behaviour in the different faculties differed from each other as well as to what extent These analyses were conducted in Chapter 4. Evidently convenience was considered as the most important factor with regard to the travelling characteristics of the students, Relaxation and Having fun as the most important factors influencing the travel motivation of students and Finance was the most important factor influencing the travel behaviour of the third-year students at the NWU, Potchefstroom_ Overall it was clear that the students in each faculty differed in their travel characteristics, activities influencing the holiday experience, motives to go on holiday and factors influencing the choice of destination as well as holiday preferences The Faculty of Theology stood out as the faculty which differed the most with regard to the afore-mentioned, whereas the Faculty of Health Sciences indicated the least differences This research therefore revealed that the third-year student market at the NWU, Potchefstroom Campus cannot be seen as a homogenous market since there are definite heterogeneous differences with regard to their travel behaviour. This market is also very complex since the Faculty to which the student belongs, contributes to these heterogeneous differences Knowledge of the travel behaviour of students can aid in segmentation of the student market in order to refine the marketing strategies of the destination as well as the development of target specific marketing messages.