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News Article

The research legacy of Stanley Plog

Travel Weekly posts obituary of leading tourism researcher

Travel Weekly has carried an obituary announcing the death of Stanley Plog, aged 80. Plog did most of his work in the private sector, but published several books on travel, and was also the author of work on travel motivations and destination life cycles which is still widely cited and discussed. His ideas have had a strong influence on travel marketing and destination management, and are included in many tourism textbooks. He is quoted as saying "Tell me who visits your destination, and I'll tell you whether it's in decline".

It is around 40 years since Plog published a psychographic system which classified travellers into different types, and matched these traveller profiles with phases in a destination life cycle. Travellers were classified along a scale from allocentric/venture to psychocentric/dependable. The destination life cycle model suggests that the allocentric discovers a destination, and it experiences growth as near-allocentrics and then allocentric-leaning midcentrics visit. As the visitor profile shifts towards the psychocentric, it draws visitors from an increasingly smaller pool of tourists and enters decline.

A classic paper published in Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly in 1974 was revisited nearly 30 years later (Plog, 2001), revising the original psychographic scale to to offer a better understanding of changes in tourism demand, and where many destinations fit on the destination-life-cycle chart. Following a description of the research basis for the psychographic scale, a review is presented to show how destinations rise and fall in popularity according to the relationship between travel personalities and destination selection. Plog contends that the ideal psychographic positioning for most destinations lies somewhere in the middle of the near-venturer segment. The concept of venturesomeness is also addressed by Plog (2002). These travel personality types are used in books and other publications by Plog to discuss how to develop new destination areas that will maintain their allure for a long period of time, how to improve or reposition current ones, and how to advertise and market more efficiently to specific psychographic (personality based) segments (e.g. Plog 1991).

Tests and critiques of Plog's models of tourism destination preferences, destination life cycles and types of travellers include Smith (1990), Nickerson and Ellis (1991), Griffith and Albanese (1996) and McKercher (2005). Litvin (2006) revisited Plog's model of allocentricity and psychocentricity, with a response by Plog (2006) in the same journal issue - one of a number of such discussions in the literature over the years. Travel motivation research, including the allocentrism/psychocentrism model of Plog, is discussed in an eBook chapter by Hsu and Huang (2008).

To find publications by Plog indexed on the Leisure Tourism Database, search for au:Plog in the search box on the homepage. A free-text search for Plog will find many of the papers which reference or discuss his work.

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • David Simpson
  • Date
  • 22 February 2011
  • Subject(s)
  • Tourism