The Effect of Destination Personality and Self-destination Congruity on Visitors' Intentions



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This research was initiated from two questions: what personality San Antonio has as a tourist destination despite its being an inanimate object and what relationships there are among destination personality, self-congruity, and visitors? intentions. A conceptual framework was employed based on these questions, and this research focused on the generation of the destination personality of San Antonio and how destination personality and self-destination congruity influence visitors? intentions.

Data were collected from students (n=143) at Texas A&M University in consideration of Texas residents who have visited San Antonio as the focal population for this research. A personality scale consisting of 31 items for San Antonio was first developed from a preliminary survey (n=19), which were then included in a main survey for the measurement of destination personality.

Using an exploratory factor analysis, destination personality dimensions were generated with the 31 personality traits. Finally, five personality dimensions were extracted with 25 traits. The five personality dimensions were: competence, sincerity, culture, excitement, and vibrancy. Three of five dimensions were found in Aaker?s (1997) scale: competence, sincerity, and excitement. The dimension of culture was specific to San Antonio, while the dimension of vibrancy was found in another destination personality study.

In this research, six hypotheses regarding the relationships among destination personality, self-congruity, and visitors? intentions were tested using a multiple regression analysis. The results indicated that: (1) hypotheses 1 and 2, destination personality will have a positive impact on visitors? intentions to return and to recommend, were supported in part; (2) hypotheses 3 and 4, four types of self-congruity (actual, ideal, social, and ideal social self-congruity) will have a positive effect on visitors? intentions to return and to recommend, were not supported, but self-congruity as a single dimension was significant; (3) hypotheses 5 and 6, four types of congruity will mediate the relationship between destination personality and intentions to return and to recommend, were not supported, while destination personality as a single dimension was significant in terms of visitors? intentions.

The results offered practical implications. First, destination marketers need to focus on the personality of a destination from a marketing perspective. Specifically, destination marketers for San Antonio should place emphasis on sincerity regarding intention to return and sincerity and excitement regarding intention to recommend in order to attract potential visitors to San Antonio. Second, destination marketers should know that there is a connection between destination personality and visitors? personalities. They should make their efforts to market to potential visitors who have personalities that are consistent with the destination?s personality.