The paper "Consumer Behavior in Airline Services" is an outstanding example of a marketing case study. Consumer decision making is a process through which persons identify their needs, find out about how they may satisfy those needs, determine which of the many alternatives is available is best and lastly make a purchase decision. There are many factors that influence the making of consumer decisions in a given situation. These include both internal and external factors such as economical and psychological factors of social, group and cultural values. This paper is an analysis of the external factors of consumer behavior which influence decision making in the making of purchases.
As such this paper will analyze the decision-making process and sociocultural inputs, product selection encompassing aspects of a brand, and the external factors such as reference groups and cross-cultural consumer behavior. This paper will show that external factors are one of the most important aspects that marketers need to analyze in determining consumer behavior in airline services. Decision making is a process through which the consumer follows a set procedure in making a choice as to what to purchase (Howard, 2007).
There are several models which have been put forward to explain the decision-making process of consumers in different situations such as the economic model, passive model, cognitive and the emotional model. Consumer decision making can be classified into levels such as extensive problem solving which is composed of consumers not yet having a criterion for the evaluation of a product, routinised response behavior which encompasses clients who have a well established set of criteria for the goods they need to purchase and lastly limited problem solving encompassing consumers already having basic criteria for their buying decisions (Assael, 2014).
Socio-cultural inputs are critical in determining the buying behavior of airline passengers. Sociocultural aspects are usually non-commercial factors and hence are not easy to control and will include aspects such as the impression goodwill create or he prestige attached to it. With a service that is highly customized, it is very difficult to brand airline services since most airlines offer most of the basic services. In the airline service industry, consumers tend to have very low product involvement given the high standardisation of the service.
The abundance of choice and the commoditisation of services is responsible for airline consumers having very low involvement (Wright, 2006). Consumers in the airline industry will tend to be more involved in luxury services such as first-class tickets as opposed to business class. Such a tendency is as a result of such services having higher costs and hence consumers will be inclined to research in order to purchase the best services and at the best price. Consumers, especially those who make use of business-class services have highly routinised tendencies as they have a well-set minimum of standards they expect which most airlines will provide. The Economic Model and the Emotional Model of decision making are important models that airline clients use in their determination of the service they will purchase.
The economic model posits that consumers are thinking problem solvers that seek out information on alternatives before making their purchase decisions. Since the airline industry is highly commoditized, customers will usually make decisions on the basis of aspects such as price or utility in making decisions as to what airline service to use (Walters & Bergiel, 2009).
The emotional model of decision making posits that consumers will make their purchasing decisions according to emotions or their feelings regarding a product or service. For instance, an airline in which a consumer or a friend has a bad experience would make the consumer associate the airline with the negative. For instance, Malaysia Airlines suffered a dip in passenger numbers after losing two aeroplanes in the span of two weeks due to the negative emotions consumers associated with the airline.
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