Word bias in surveys and its impact on travel expenditure studies

Meriem Chida, William C. Gartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the impact of different wording used in surveys on tourism expenditure studies. Though there is evidence showing that bias arises from the wording of a question, there has not been further research to empirically measure the response bias that is generated. Most survey research is directed towards the design structure with little being done to analyze the economic impact words have on answers. This study analyzed two sets of tourism expenditure data and found that individual respondents reported expenditures up to 4 times higher than group respondents. Adjusting for influences that interjected bias into the results, we concluded that word bias, in particular if the expenditure question is asking for group or individual spending, is the most likely result of the significant differences uncovered. The implications of word bias can be potentially significant if data are used for decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-59
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Expenditure study
  • Survey design
  • Tourist profile
  • Word bias


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