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What is the dream destination of our potential Chinese clients? Hong-Kong or Tokyo? A logical approach would be to first analyze data on tourism in both cities and run a survey among our clients. We do so and unfortunately we get a contradictory answer: our clients tell us that they prefer Tokyo whereas 20 times more Chinese tourists are visiting Hong-Kong than Japan (for equivalent travel costs in both cities).
How do you explain this schizophrenia? Does it mean that the tendency to travel to Hong-Kong will inverse and that we should invest in Japan?
The issue with the explicit survey is that our clients may be unaware of their true preferences if they are engrained in their system 1 or simply unwilling to tell us what they are really thinking. Consumers can also be fed up with our survey and answer randomly.
How can we overcome this issue and capture the implicit preferences of consumers?
In a recent study, Implicit Association Tests have been used to measure the unconscious associations of Chinese people between positive words and the cities of Hong-Kong and Tokyo. Results show that while a majority state that they explicitly prefer Tokyo, a majority implicitly prefer Hong-Kong more than Tokyo.
The implicit measurement of destination image: The application of Implicit Association Test Jie Yang , Jiaxun He c, Yingkang Gu