The battle of the socials: Which socially symbolic factors best predict intent to travel?

Casey Moran, B. Bynum Boley, Kyle M. Woosnam, Evan Jordan, Carol Kline, Whitney Knollenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Tourists are flooded with travel options making competition fierce within their consideration sets. While most research emphasizes the functional attributes of destinations, as narcissism becomes more normalized, it is of increasing interest to examine the influence socially symbolic factors have on tourist decision making. Therefore, this study sought to examine the efficacy of four different socially symbolic predictors of travel—social norms, social self-concept (actual and ideal), and social return—for predicting a person's likelihood to travel to Cuba across three time horizons (1 year, 5 years, and 10 years). Results from a panel of 785 U.S. travelers found social norms to be the best predictor of travel across all three time horizons with social return also being significant across all time horizons. Implications to destination marketing are discussed such as some socially symbolic variables being easier to operationalize in marketing campaigns compared to others (e.g. social return vs. social norms).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-327
Number of pages4
JournalTourism Management
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Cuba
  • Destination choice
  • Social return
  • Socially symbolic predictors of travel
  • Tourist decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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