Backpackers' expectations and satisfactions a case study of Northland, New Zealand

Toxward, Sarah J.
Fields of Research
The increase of the backpacker market to New Zealand has initiated a number of changes within New Zealand's wider tourism industry. Those catering for this distinct style of travel are becoming increasingly aware of the differing needs and wants of these predominantly independent travellers. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative techniques this research explores the level of expectation and satisfaction perceived by backpackers towards three service sectors in Northland: accommodation, transport and other tourism activities. This study also attempts to assess the level of service quality in Northland within these three sectors. The results of the research indicate backpackers' level of expectations with accommodation, transport and other tourism activities are met and often exceeded. This subsequently resulted in high levels of satisfaction, which is often associated with overall trip satisfaction. Backpackers are predominantly young, well educated and in general travel for an extended period of time. This study contends that by understanding backpackers' distinct expectations, and providing consistently high quality services, backpackers will continue to enjoy their experiences in New Zealand. These have important implications for New Zealand's future backpacker tourism industry.