Sara Dolnicar

Sara Dolnicar
The University of Queensland | UQ · Tourism | UQ Business School

Bachelors and Masters Degree Business Administration (Vienna University of Business and Economics), Bachelors and Masters Degree Psychology (University of Vienna), PhD Commerce (Vienna University of Economics and Business)

About

429
Publications
371,029
Reads
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16,128
Citations
Citations since 2017
156 Research Items
10881 Citations
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Introduction
Sara’s work focuses on improving market segmentation methodology and testing and refinement of measures used in social science research. Because these research areas are not tied to any particular application area, Sara has had the freedom to investigate a range of different applied research areas, including sustainable tourism and tourism marketing, environmental volunteering, foster carer and public acceptance of water alternatives and water conservation measures.
Additional affiliations
February 2013 - June 2017
The University of Queensland
Position
  • Professor
July 2002 - February 2013
University of Wollongong
Position
  • Professor
Education
September 1994 - December 1996
Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
Field of study
  • Marketing / Tourism
September 1990 - September 1994
Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
Field of study
  • Business Administration
September 1990 - September 1998
University of Vienna
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (429)
Article
Full-text available
Data analysts in industry and academia make heavy use of market segmentation analysis to develop tourism knowledge and select commercially attractive target segments. Within academic research alone, approximately 5% of published articles use market segmentation. However, the validity of data-driven market segmentation analyses depends on having ava...
Article
Full-text available
Destination image is among the most frequently measured constructs in empirical survey research. Academic tourism researchers tend to use multi-category scales, often referring to them as “Likert scales,” while industry typically uses “pick-any” measures. But which leads to results that are more valid? Findings from a large-scale experimental study...
Article
Full-text available
Brand image measures using the typical ‘pick any’ answer format have been shown to be unstable (Rungie et al. 2005). In the present study, we find that these poor stability results are mainly caused by the pick-any measure itself because it allows consumers to evade reporting true associations. Using a forcedchoice binary measure, we find that stab...
Article
Survey measurement scales are expected to be stable – to generate the same values across two timepoints and under unchanged conditions. In scale development, stability is assessed by calculating a scale's test-retest reliability – a prerequisite to validity. Yet, a systematic review shows that test-retest reliability values are reported for only 23...
Chapter
Full-text available
Airbnb is a multi-sided platform business (Rochet and Tirole, 2003). At its core, Airbnb creates value by facilitating global, paid online trading of peer-to-peer accommodation between hosts and guests. Peer-to-peer accommodation refers to any ‘space suitable for overnight stays sold by a non-commercial provider (the host) to an end user (the guest...
Preprint
Some research methods are used by default. Even if they undermine the validity of conclusions, authors no longer justify the use of default approaches and reviewers no longer query them. One such default is the use of bipolar ordinal 5/7-point survey answer formats, often incorrectly referred to as 5/7-point “Likert scales”. This Viewpoint argues t...
Preprint
This study investigates why people who actively engage in environmental protection at home engage, albeit unintentionally, in vacation behaviour which has negative environmental consequences. The environmental activists participating in the study were highly aware of the negative environmental consequences of tourism in general, but all displayed a...
Preprint
Restaurants waste one fifth of the food they buy; much is left behind on people's plates (Engström & Carlsson-Kanyama, 2004). Plate waste forces restaurants to buy more food than necessary, and to pay for food waste disposal; and burdens the environment, with agriculture “a dominant force behind…climate change” (Foley et al., 2011, p.337).Plate was...
Preprint
No two tourists are the same. This insight stands at the core of market segmentation. Pursuing a segmentation strategy as a tourist destination or a tourism business means catering to the specific needs of certain types of tourists (market segments), rather than attempting to satisfy the needs of the entire tourist market by effectively targeting t...
Article
Full-text available
Tourism contributes 8% to global carbon emissions. Yet, only 10% of air passengers purchase voluntary carbon offsets. We test the effectiveness of different communication messages to increase voluntary purchasing of carbon offsets by air passengers. Results of a discrete choice experiment indicate that air passengers prefer carbon offset schemes th...
Preprint
Ample empirical evidence in tourism research points to the fact that the environmentally sustainable behaviour of tourists is not driven by the same factors as the same behaviour at home. Most critically, values and beliefs do not manifest in behaviour to the same degree when people are on vacation. In this study we introduce habit as a potential d...
Preprint
This paper investigates heterogeneity of preferences for disability services within the theoretical framework of consumption values. We conducted interviews with people with a disability and disability service providers to develop survey items, then conducted a survey with 2000 adult Australian residents who either had a disability or were carers o...
Article
In the home context, behaviors that serve the greater good are more often observed among people from collectivist cultures than those from individualist cultures. This tendency is assumed to translate to the vacation context, with people from all collectivist cultures believed to display homogeneous behavior. This study challenges both notions and...
Article
The tourism industry contributes eight percent to global carbon emissions, directly and indirectly. Indirect carbon emissions are often neglected because they are difficult to calculate. The traditional approach to calculating indirect emissions – Life Cycle Assessment – is expensive and requires an expert data analyst. We introduce an alternative...
Article
Full-text available
Destination image formation theory postulates that the way tourists perceive a destination – the destination’s image – affects tourists’ destination choice. Organic destination image – which develops naturally, without an active effort by anyone to shape destination image – is more powerful than destination image induced through marketing because t...
Preprint
The tourism industry contributes eight percent to global carbon emissions, directly and indirectly. Indirect carbon emissions are often neglected because they are difficult to calculate. The traditional approach to calculating indirect emissions – Life Cycle Assessment – is expensive and requires an expert data analyst. We introduce an alternative...
Article
Full-text available
The harmful tourist behaviour of taking a lot of food from a buffet, but not eating it all, remains under-researched. This study gains key insights into drivers of plate waste. Observational data show that: dinner buffets are worse than breakfast buffets; the latest breakfast serving time is worse than the earliest; high-end breakfast buffets are w...
Chapter
This chapter provides an in-depth discussion of the evolution of Airbnb’s business model until its initial public offering at the end of 2020. We identify three periods of development that mark distinctly different orientations in how the international market leader in peer-to-peer accommodation created and captured value from its activities. While...
Chapter
The terms sharing economy, collaborative consumption, and peer-to-peer accommodation are routinely used when talking about Airbnb and similar online platforms. But are they suitable descriptors? We argue that they are not. We also argue that-while initially there may have been an aspect of sharing on Airbnb-short-term accommodation platforms have m...
Preprint
This empirical study explores visual attention to carbon labels on restaurant menus. Carbon labels can support consumers in making deliberate low-carbon menu choices if, and only if, consumers pay attention to such labels. Using eye-tracking, we investigate how much attention consumers pay to carbon labels. We also compare how much attention they p...
Preprint
This empirical study explores the amount of attention tourists pay to social responsibility (environment and community) information when booking accommodation online. Visual attention is a necessary requirement for tourists to consider the social responsibility of different accommodation options when making bookings. Eye tracking methodology was us...
Preprint
Twenty percent of all global greenhouse emissions are food-related. Tourism and hospitality contribute significantly, with food accounting for nearly half of the waste these sectors produce. One type of food waste – plate waste – could easily be avoided. Plate waste is the food people leave behind uneaten on their plates. It does not increase the e...
Chapter
Airbnb and similar online trading platforms for short-term space rentals list a substantial number of properties that usually serve as homes for families. As such, they are particularly suitable for multi-family travel – joint holidays of two or more families. Even before COVID-19, there was a clear trend towards multi-family travel. While it is no...
Chapter
As the facilitator of an online peer-to-peer accommodation trading platform, Airbnb is in the unique position of having access to millions of properties around the world. Airbnb can contact hosts who list properties in very specific regions, making it uniquely positioned to assist communities and governments when an unexpected disaster displaces pe...
Preprint
Full-text available
To better understand and predict tourism demand, we introduce the concept of vacation dedication to the tourism literature. Vacation dedication is a form of enthusiasm for and devotion to going on vacation. It is an enduring urge to go on vacation that is so strong that it persists in spite of external constraints. We empirically test its links to...
Preprint
Peer-to-peer accommodation is firmly positioned as a supply-side phenomenon. Hosts are seen as providers of services; they cater to the needs of guests. In contrast to this current understanding, we propose that hosting offers tourism-like benefits, suggesting – for the first time – that suppliers of tourism services may enjoy the benefits typicall...
Preprint
The harmful tourist behaviour of taking a lot of food from a buffet, but not eating it all, remains under-researched. This study gains key insights into drivers of plate waste. Observational data show that: dinner buffets are worse than breakfast buffets; the latest breakfast serving time is worse than the earliest; high-end breakfast buffets are w...
Preprint
Tourism contributes 8% to global carbon emissions. Yet only 10% of air passengers purchase voluntary carbon offsets. We test the effectiveness of different communication messages to increase voluntary purchasing of carbon offsets by air passengers. Results of a discrete choice experiment indicate that air passengers prefer carbon offset schemes tha...
Preprint
COVID-19 led to the hibernation of tourism activities globally, causing substantial economic loss and putting at risk the survival of many tourism businesses. At the same time, the reduction in travel activity led to an immediate and unprecedented reduction of global carbon emissions. Many academics argue that the tourism industry should be rebuilt...
Chapter
Full-text available
Over a decade ago, Airbnb disrupted the tourism accommodation industry. Initially, licensed commercial tourism accommodation providers, such as hotels, were not overly concerned. But over time, they saw their market share shrink and realised that Airbnb had the potential to directly compete with them. As the concept of peer-to-peer accommodation wa...
Chapter
COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the business operations of Airbnb. Ironically, Airbnb has created general awareness among both academics and the general population for the term disruptive innovation because the introduction of peer-to-peer traded accommodation has been one of the most disruptive developments experienced by the tourism industry...
Chapter
Full-text available
Airbnb is a global phenomenon. Many tourism destinations, especially those with substantial and continuously growing demand, face regulatory challenges because online peer-to-peer accommodation trading platforms enable residents to make their spaces available for short-term rental. We discuss the challenges destinations and their residents face, an...
Chapter
Unlike most other countries around the world, China has not embraced Airbnb. The main reasons for this unique reaction include the resistance of Chinese tourists to using trading platforms that operate in languages other than Chinese, and the perception that Chinese peer-to-peer accommodation trading platforms cater better to Chinese tourists. When...
Chapter
Ljubljana is an interesting case for investigating the evaluation of the impacts of Airbnb on an increasingly popular city tourist destination. Ljubljana is unique in that it does not have a strong history of the economy relying on tourism income. Consequently, as interest among tourists to visit Ljubljana grew, the city faced serious accommodation...
Chapter
Full-text available
Airbnb has proactively engaged in a wide range of activities not directly related to peer-to-peer accommodation, including corporate social responsibility initiatives, political activism, and lobbying. Airbnb also has a track record of being vocal on broader societal matters, including immigration, same-sex marriage, homelessness, and discriminatio...
Chapter
People with disabilities face a wide range of challenges in their everyday lives, including when they go on vacation. Identifying suitable tourist accommodation is one of the aspects of travel planning which is of critical importance to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay. Yet, it is not easy for people with disabilities to determine whether short-ter...
Chapter
One of the reasons for Airbnb’s success as a platform facilitator for peer-to-peer accommodation trading is the substantial effort put into growing its platform business on both the demand and supply sides. The large membership base Airbnb developed, along with the increasing adoption of peer-to-peer accommodation by the mass tourism market, opened...
Chapter
The birth of Airbnb is linked to an event: a conference held in San Francisco. Attendees were struggling to find accommodation, and the founders of Airbnb sold them space on the floor of their homes, along with inflatable air mattresses. Although Airbnb has since developed to become the global leader of peer-to-peer accommodation, servicing million...
Preprint
In the home context, behaviours that serve the greater good are more often observed among people from collectivist cultures than those from individualist cultures. This tendency is assumed to translate to the vacation context, with people from all collectivist cultures believed to be homogeneous in such behaviour. This study challenges both the abo...
Preprint
Tourists want to keep their environmental impact as low as possible (Firth and Hing, 1999; Miller, 2003; McKercher, Prideaux, Cheung and Law, 2010; Mair, 2011), and have many different opportunities to do so. Some behaviours reduce negative environmental impacts directly, for example: taking vacations closer to home to keep transportation related g...
Preprint
Airbnb reviews, and their effect on future bookings of the reviewed listing, have been studied extensively. What has been ignored to date, however, is the effect hosts’ responses to negative guest reviews can have on booking platforms, such as Airbnb, as a whole. This is the purpose of the present study – the first to experimentally investigate the...
Preprint
Low survey participation from online panel members is a key challenge for market and social researchers. We identify ten key drivers of panel members’ online survey participation from a qualitative study, then determine empirically using a stated choice experiment the relative importance of each of those drivers at aggregate and segment level. We c...
Preprint
Survey data quality suffers when respondents have difficulty completing complex tasks in questionnaires. Cognitive load theory informed the development of strategies for educators to reduce the cognitive load of learning tasks. We investigate if these cognitive load reduction strategies can be used in questionnaire design to reduce task difficulty...
Article
Survey data quality suffers when respondents have difficulty completing complex tasks in questionnaires. Cognitive load theory informed the development of strategies for educators to reduce the cognitive load of learning tasks. We investigate whether these cognitive load reduction strategies can be used in questionnaire design to reduce task diffic...
Article
Some Airbnb host communities display the characteristics of neotribes. The neo-tribe literature offers rich insights into the life of a neo-tribe, but their formation and ongoing functioning remain under-researched. This paper investigates these issues using a netnographic approach that explored the formation and practices of a Tasmanian Airbnb Hos...
Article
Full-text available
Twenty percent of all global greenhouse emissions are food-related. Tourism and hospitality contribute significantly, with food accounting for nearly half of the waste these sectors produce. One type of food waste – plate waste – could easily be avoided. Plate waste is the food people leave behind uneaten on their plates. It does not increase the e...
Article
Full-text available
The environmental (un)sustainability of the tourism industry has been debated for many decades. This debate generated ample empirical evidence of the environmental damage caused by tourism-related human activity. It is underpinned, however, by a passive position: one of largely accepting the tourism industry as it is, and lamenting its negative con...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper analyses desk-rejection reasons for manuscript submissions to Annals of Tourism Research. Specifically, the analysis focuses on studies that use primary data as the basis of their insights. A small number of key issues explains most desk-rejections, including: the use of weak empirical measures and research designs which do not lead to v...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article reports on a quasi-experimental study in which the use of emissions-intensive, water hungry thick cotton serviettes at hotel breakfast buffets was reduced by 95% by changing the default to recycled paper serviettes. The outcome is better for the environment, reduced costs for the hotel and does not influence guest satisfaction.
Preprint
This is an opinion piece written the editors-in-chief of Annals of Tourism Research in response to another opinion piece discussing how the performance of journal editors can be assessed.
Preprint
This is a brief review of research into plate waste - waste that is generated by people not eating up all the edible food on their plates. Plate waste is a big problem in tourism and hospitality: it causes environmental harm, creates unnecessary cost for businesses and does not increase the enjoyment of the meal by patrons.
Preprint
This is a brief review of research into peer-to-peer accommodation - made popular with Airbnb. Extensively investigated areas and significant gaps in prior research are identified, leading to a road map for future work.
Preprint
Full-text available
Changing default settings has proven to be a powerful approach to influencing consumer decisions without denying consumers the possibility of choosing freely. This is only the second study investigating the effectiveness of defaults in tourism, and the first testing also the combined effect of default changes and pro-environmental appeals in the co...
Preprint
Full-text available
This viewpoint discusses how text duplication is determined by publishers and provides practical recommendations for authors on how they can avoid text duplication in their manuscripts.
Preprint
This viewpoint puts forward an argument in support of short communication formats. Such formats are still frowned upon my many universities. Wrongly so. Some of the most brilliant ideas of our time were communicated in short notes.
Article
Peer-to-peer accommodation is firmly positioned as a supply-side phenomenon. Hosts are seen as providers of services; they cater to the needs of guests. In contrast to this current understanding, we propose that hosting offers tourism-like benefits, suggesting – for the first time – that suppliers of tourism services may enjoy the benefits typicall...
Article
Full-text available
Peer-to-peer accommodation has been extensively studied over the past decade. The area that has most fascinated researchers – and most challenged policy-makers – is how to regulate peer-to-peer accommodation to avoid negative side effects, without restricting economic benefits (Dolnicar, 2019). Regulations are typically reported as individual case...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This paper aims to provide a snapshot of key learnings about paid online peer-to-peer accommodation trading, as it relates to tourism and hospitality, and to identify future research questions. Design/methodology/approach The paper paints a picture and discusses research conducted in the past, which relates to paid online peer-to-peer acco...
Preprint
COVID-19 is proving more disruptive to tourism and hospitality than World War II. Workers in these industries are hardest hit because few of them had continuous employment contracts before the pandemic, instead relying on non-standard and contingent arrangements including self-employment, subcontracting, and casual work. Non-standard workers typica...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Plate waste is uneaten food left behind on the plate after a meal. Plate waste – like all food waste – burdens the environment. Plate waste – in contrast to other types of food waste – is absolutely unnecessary and almost entirely preventable. This study aims to synthesize past research on plate waste and outline a future research agenda....
Preprint
Full-text available
Has coronavirus disrupted the disruptor? We argue that this is indeed the case, and that this disruption will affect the growth of Airbnb on the long term. The first premise of our prediction is that coronavirus is representative of any kind of major shock that has the potential to affect the tourism industry. The second premise is that the consequ...
Preprint
Peer-to-peer accommodation has been extensively studied over the past decade. The area that has most fascinated academic researchers – and most challenged policy-makers – is how to regulate peer-to-peer accommodation to avoid negative side effects, without restricting economic benefits (Dolnicar, 2019). Regulations are typically reported as individ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The environmental (un)sustainability of the tourism industry has been debated for many decades. This debate generated ample empirical evidence of the environmental damage caused by tourism-related human activity. It is underpinned, however, by a passive position: one of largely accepting the tourism industry as it is, and lamenting its negative con...
Preprint
Full-text available
Destination image formation theory postulates that image affects destination choice, but that only induced image can be improved by marketing. Our study shows that this is not the case. We demonstrate how a destination can proactively and deliberately manage the organic image of being environmentally sustainable by redirecting money typically spent...
Preprint
Full-text available
Destination image stands at the centre of every destination’s marketing strategy. This study introduces a new way of measuring destination image changes as a consequence of tourists experiencing a destination. In our study, surveying tourists during shuttle bus transfers to and from the airport resulted in a response rate of 83% and a completion ra...
Article
Full-text available
Well-designed and executed experiments prove cause-and-effect relationships. The ability to draw causal conclusions is critical to knowledge development in any field of research. In this article, we discuss the benefits of experimental designs over alternative research approaches for the social sciences, discuss advantages and disadvantages of diff...
Article
Low survey participation from online panel members is a key challenge for market and social researchers. We identify 10 key drivers of panel members’ online survey participation from a qualitative study and then determine empirically using a stated choice experiment the relative importance of each of those drivers at aggregate and segment levels. W...
Article
Full-text available
To better understand and predict tourism demand, we introduce the concept of vacation dedication to the tourism literature. Vacation dedication is a form of enthusiasm for and devotion to going on vacation. It is an enduring urge to go on a vacation that is so strong that it persists in spite of external constraints. We empirically test its links t...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Data-driven market segmentation is heavily used by academic tourism and hospitality researchers to create knowledge and by data analysts in tourism industry to generate market insights. The stability of market segmentation solutions across repeated calculations is a key quality indicator of a segmentation solution. Yet, stability is typical...
Article
Full-text available
This empirical study explores visual attention to carbon labels on restaurant menus. Carbon labels can support consumers in making deliberate low-carbon menu choices if, and only if, consumers pay attention to such labels. Using eye-tracking, we investigate how much attention consumers pay to carbon labels. We also compare how much attention they p...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This paper aims to discuss issues relating to survey research in tourism. Design/methodology/approach This brief perspective paper discusses the routine approach of survey research that has developed over many years (as tourism researchers adopted the most promising approaches to survey research fields), discusses the dangers associated wi...
Article
Full-text available
Changing default settings has proven to be a powerful approach to influencing consumer decisions without denying consumers the possibility of choosing freely. This is only the second study investigating the effectiveness of defaults in tourism, and the first testing also the combined effect of default changes and pro-environmental appeals in the co...
Article
Purpose This paper discusses the dos and don'ts of market segmentation analysis. Market segmentation analysis is younger than the journal Tourism Review , but nevertheless has a rich history in tourism research and continues to be extensively used by both tourism researchers and industry. Design/methodology/approach After a brief overview of the o...
Article
We test how different presentations of cause-related corporate social responsibility (CSR)initiatives affect the choice of holiday accommodation bookings. Results of a stated choice experiment indicate that – for the tourist population as a whole – information about CSR initiatives affects choice only minimally. One market segment emerges, however,...
Article
Full-text available
Paid peer-to-peer accommodation networks, including Airbnb, have been accused of excluding people with impairments. This study analyses host and guest posts on the Airbnb hosting community to (1) reveal key barriers preventing people with impairments from fully participating in peer-to-peer accommodation trading, and (2) identify solutions to overc...
Article
The characteristics of carers in successful foster placements are identified to enable targeting them through customised marketing and recruitment campaigns. A longitudinal study with seventy-five carers was conducted over twenty months. Eleven instances of placement breakdown were compared to placements that did not break down. Several personal an...
Article
This review article (1) creates a knowledge map reflecting key areas of academic insight into the phenomenon of paid online peer-to-peer accommodation, (2) synthesizes these insights, and (3) points to regions on the knowledge map which require our attention in the future. This article also launches the Annals of Tourism Research Curated Collection...
Article
Full-text available
Tracking respondents’ eyes while they complete a survey reveals that (a) they do not read instructions, survey questions, and answer options carefully enough, investing only as little as 32% of the required time; (b) their attention diminishes over the course of the survey; and (c) their self-reports of the survey experience do not reflect actual s...
Article
Full-text available
This empirical study explores the amount of attention tourists pay to social responsibility (environment and community) information when booking accommodation online. Visual attention is a necessary requirement for tourists to consider the social responsibility of different accommodation options when making bookings. Eye tracking methodology was us...
Article
Purpose Survey research has developed to become the default empirical approach to answering research questions in the field of hospitality (and many other fields of research within the social sciences). This paper aims to reflect on the use of survey research in hospitality and offers recommendations for improvement. Design/methodology/approach...

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