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The Quality of Visitor Experience: A Case Study of Peripheral Areas of Europe

Gyimothy, Szilvia LU (2000) In Unit of Tourism Research Reports 17.
Abstract
Peripheral areas with declining traditional industries often see tourism as a solution for multiple macroeconomic problems. In these regions particularly small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the backbone of the tourism product, and thus are regarded as key players in economic restructuration and rejuvenation (Cooper and Buhalis 1992). At the same time, non-price factors have come into focus during the development of tourism offerings, due to intensified competition for the leisure customer during the past decades. Arguably, quality management and the measurement of visitors’ assessment is essential for tourism and hospitality practitioners and destinations, but little is known about how visitors integrate and extrapolate... (More)
Peripheral areas with declining traditional industries often see tourism as a solution for multiple macroeconomic problems. In these regions particularly small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the backbone of the tourism product, and thus are regarded as key players in economic restructuration and rejuvenation (Cooper and Buhalis 1992). At the same time, non-price factors have come into focus during the development of tourism offerings, due to intensified competition for the leisure customer during the past decades. Arguably, quality management and the measurement of visitors’ assessment is essential for tourism and hospitality practitioners and destinations, but little is known about how visitors integrate and extrapolate individual service perceptions onto the entire tourist experience.



Indeed, the real challenge for tourism businesses is to create the right psychological environment for customers, “not to worry just about technical things” (Crompton 1994, as quoted in Otto and Ritchie 1996). Perceived quality cannot be measured in a vacuum: it should be understood in the context of the customer’s service experience. In tourism, the shift to demand-oriented thinking must begin with a re-conceptualisation of the product itself. The assessment of a destination, as far as it concerns the visitor, is a holistic assessment of the holiday stay, which includes a series of encounters with service providers, local citizens and other tourists. This implies that visitor assessment cannot be appraised within the frames of a few independent providers only, as the ‘sum of the parts’ may not be equal to the total evaluation of a destination.



The mission of this study was to conduct a holistic, extra-organisational analysis of quality perceptions, based on the visitors’ extensive destination experience and thus, to reconcile two fundamentally different traditions in tourism and hospitality research. Studying the creation and consumption of the visitor experience is juxtaposed between demand- and supply-oriented research traditions, among which there is still too little cross-fertilisation taking place. Supply-oriented research in tourism has developed from general management and marketing studies, borrowing customer assessment models that do not adequately fit the visitor experience. On the other hand, demand-oriented research largely focuses on general theoretical debates or studies of decision making and customer choice, paying little attention to the effect of tourism provision on consumption and post-consumption behaviour.



By taking both research perspectives into account, this study hopefully contributes to the growing cross-disciplinary knowledge of tourism with an empirically grounded model of customer assessment. It is also hoped that by illuminating areas that are interpreted or emphasised differently by providers and customers, the findings will assist small and medium sized tourism businesses to improve and integrate their offering in the Baltic and other peripheral regions in Europe. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Professor Baum, Thomas, Scottish Hotel School, University of Strathclyde
  • Professor Prince, Debbie, Glion Institute of Higher Education, Bulle, Switzerland
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
in
Unit of Tourism Research Reports
volume
17
pages
228 pages
publisher
Research Centre of Bornholm
defense location
City College Norwich
defense date
2000-01-25 14:00
ISBN
87-90881-38-9
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
6fe9245d-c905-44f2-9a8a-f75460c94605 (old id 935833)
date added to LUP
2008-01-25 12:31:39
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:04
@misc{6fe9245d-c905-44f2-9a8a-f75460c94605,
  abstract     = {Peripheral areas with declining traditional industries often see tourism as a solution for multiple macroeconomic problems. In these regions particularly small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the backbone of the tourism product, and thus are regarded as key players in economic restructuration and rejuvenation (Cooper and Buhalis 1992). At the same time, non-price factors have come into focus during the development of tourism offerings, due to intensified competition for the leisure customer during the past decades. Arguably, quality management and the measurement of visitors’ assessment is essential for tourism and hospitality practitioners and destinations, but little is known about how visitors integrate and extrapolate individual service perceptions onto the entire tourist experience.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Indeed, the real challenge for tourism businesses is to create the right psychological environment for customers, “not to worry just about technical things” (Crompton 1994, as quoted in Otto and Ritchie 1996). Perceived quality cannot be measured in a vacuum: it should be understood in the context of the customer’s service experience. In tourism, the shift to demand-oriented thinking must begin with a re-conceptualisation of the product itself. The assessment of a destination, as far as it concerns the visitor, is a holistic assessment of the holiday stay, which includes a series of encounters with service providers, local citizens and other tourists. This implies that visitor assessment cannot be appraised within the frames of a few independent providers only, as the ‘sum of the parts’ may not be equal to the total evaluation of a destination. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The mission of this study was to conduct a holistic, extra-organisational analysis of quality perceptions, based on the visitors’ extensive destination experience and thus, to reconcile two fundamentally different traditions in tourism and hospitality research. Studying the creation and consumption of the visitor experience is juxtaposed between demand- and supply-oriented research traditions, among which there is still too little cross-fertilisation taking place. Supply-oriented research in tourism has developed from general management and marketing studies, borrowing customer assessment models that do not adequately fit the visitor experience. On the other hand, demand-oriented research largely focuses on general theoretical debates or studies of decision making and customer choice, paying little attention to the effect of tourism provision on consumption and post-consumption behaviour. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
By taking both research perspectives into account, this study hopefully contributes to the growing cross-disciplinary knowledge of tourism with an empirically grounded model of customer assessment. It is also hoped that by illuminating areas that are interpreted or emphasised differently by providers and customers, the findings will assist small and medium sized tourism businesses to improve and integrate their offering in the Baltic and other peripheral regions in Europe.},
  author       = {Gyimothy, Szilvia},
  isbn         = {87-90881-38-9},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {228},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x93d40c0)},
  series       = {Unit of Tourism Research Reports},
  title        = {The Quality of Visitor Experience: A Case Study of Peripheral Areas of Europe},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2000},
}