Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bridging The Gap For Destination Extreme Sports - A Model of Sports Tourism Customer Experience

In our recent Journal of Marketing Management paper we explore the crucial influence of customer experience on consumer behavior in the tourism, and in particular, sports tourism industry. The implications for the tourism sector are significant and highlighting why (a) current strategies are failing, and (b) how to design strategies leading to an increase in customers, repeat, and regular customers. Our study also highlights that 1st time, repeat, and regular customers have different needs. Subsequently, the marketing efforts for all three segments need to be tailored accordingly.

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This longitudinal study proposes a conceptual model of sports tourism customer experience in the context of a mountain-biking extreme sport camp. Customer experience is conceptualized as a three-dimensional framework consisting of five dimensions: hedonic pleasure, personal progression, social interaction, efficiency and surreal feeling. Using the means-end approach in 89 semi-structured interviews with clients of a mountain-biking camp, conducted over three years, the authors identified hedonic pleasure and personal progression as the two core experiences valued by customers. The core experience generates surreal feelings, incomparable and memorable evaluations of the overall experience. Social interaction facilitates the core experience, while efficiency enables the core experience. Existing marketing management frameworks lack empirical investigation and social science frameworks fail to take a holistic view; our framework bridges the gap between social science and marketing literatures by exploring, testing and incorporating both streams empirically. Implications for practitioners’ customer insight processes and future research directions are discussed.


Sports tourism, Sports tourist experiences, Consumption experiences, Experiential marketing, Customer Experience, hedonic experiences

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