This study examines online travel planning behavior through the lens of information foraging theory and uncertainty avoidance. An exercise in planning a hypothetical trip using only the Internet was completed by a sample of individuals from a cultural background with high uncertainty avoidance (Belgium) and individuals from a cultural background with low uncertainty avoidance (United States) in a laboratory environment. In the exercise, individuals were asked to use the Internet to search for and hypothetically "purchase" air travel, accommodation, and activities for their trip. Results revealed that individuals from Belgium took a greater amount of time than Americans to complete the travel planning exercise, often using a 'browsing' style of web search, and exploring many travel options before deciding to "purchase." In contrast, Americans tended to use "one stop shop" search style, often "purchasing" the first transportation, accommodation, or activity their searches produced, and booking multiple travel products or services on a single website.
- Information foraging
- Uncertainty avoidance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management