Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travelers’ preference for crowded versus non-crowded options

In Jo Park, Jungkeun Kim, Seongseop (Sam) Kim, Jacob C. Lee, Marilyn Giroux

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Crowding is a critical determinant of consumers' satisfaction with and preferences for different shopping and travel situations. When considering a selection of travel and hospitality options, travelers are influenced by perceived crowding. This research examined how the current health crisis (i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic) affects travelers’ preferences for crowded and non-crowded options. Specifically, we predicted that travelers would have a diminished preference for crowded (vs. non-crowded) travel and hospitality options when the ongoing pandemic is salient. We demonstrated that the primary effect of the salience of the threat was persistent across different travel categories and contexts. We also found that travelers with high levels of sensation seeking and a high need for uniqueness show the opposite pattern, suggesting a possible recovery strategy from the pandemic. Five experimental studies provide several theoretical and managerial implications for travel and hospitality business marketers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104398
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Crowding
  • Need for uniqueness
  • Risk
  • Sensation seeking
  • Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this