n Journal of Contemporary Management - Word-of-mouth marketing as a referral marketing tool - an exploratory study of the travel agency industry in South Africa




Organisations can make use of high levels of customer service delivery to stimulate positive word-of-mouth referrals. Referral marketing is primarily applied by organisations when the budget is the marketer's largest limitation. The purpose of the paper is to indicate what the current status is of the relationships which travel agencies in South Africa have with their referral market and will provide recommendations to the management of travel agencies in the country regarding the improved application of the principles of relationship marketing to this market. The target population for this study was 350 travel agencies of which 210 managers and / or owners of travel agencies participated through personal interviews in the completion of questionnaires. Data analysis was done by calculating averages and standard deviations, Explorative Factor Analysis, Cronbach Alpha-values and practical significance by means of effect sizes. The findings stipulate that the owners and managers of travel agencies must create and establish more integrated relationships with strategic suppliers to increase the value offering of their (travel agencies) products and services to customers. The travel agency hereby ensures that the needs and wants of customers can be satisfied more successfully which, in the long run, can lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals.


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