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Special events and tourism behaviour: a conceptualisation and an empirical analysis from a values perspective

Jago, Leo Kenneth (1997) Special events and tourism behaviour: a conceptualisation and an empirical analysis from a values perspective. PhD thesis, Victoria University.

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Abstract

Despite the fact that special events have become key components of the tourism development strategy for many regions, the amount of research that has been conducted within the field of special events does not reflect its importance. It is unlikely that the substantial growth rate that the field of special events has experienced in recent years is sustainable and an understanding of consumer patronage in relation to special events will be crucial for the development and promotion of events in the future. This study seeks to help address these shortcomings. In seeking to understand the field of special events, a model that involved the perspectives of six major parties was proposed. The fundamental aim of this study was to explore one of these perspectives, namely, that of consumers. This perspective was then used as the basis for a proposed consumer decision making model in relation to visitor attractions, including special events, that underpinned the second part of the thesis. The first part of this study sought to conceptualise systematically, special events from a consumer perspective and to conduct a comparative methodological assessment of three approaches to market segmentation in terms of their ability to explain consumer behaviour in relation to special events. The three approaches used were personal values, psychographics and demographics. A comprehensive and systematic literature review was conducted to identify the attributes that could be used to categorise an event as ‘special’. Based upon this review, a schema of event categories was proposed as well as a listing of the core and qualifying attributes that could be used to describe each of the special event categories. A set of definitions for each of the main special event categories was then developed. In order to operationalise the term ‘special event’, primary research was then conducted to identify the attributes that consumers believed were important in describing a special event. Several distinct measuring techniques, including elicitation, attribute rating and conjoint analysis, were used in the questionnaire for this part of the study, in an effort to derive a comprehensive view of the consumer understanding of special events and to facilitate the convergent validation of the various techniques. It was found that there were four principal attributes that consumers used to describe a special event, these being: the number of attendees, the international attention due to the event, the improvement to the image and pride of the host region as a result of hosting the event, and the exciting experience associated with the event. The study also found a high degree of convergence between the techniques used. The second part of this study sought to understand and predict consumer behaviour in relation to visitor attractions in general, and special events in particular. This further developed the consumer perspective that was the key underlying theme of the thesis. In the second part of this study, 500 randomly selected Melbourne residents were asked to indicate their visit behaviour in relation to a range of visitor attractions including special events. Three dimensions of visit behaviour were measured in order to overcome limitations noted in earlier studies. The visit dimensions used were actual visitation, visit interest and visit intention. This enabled analysis of respondents’ visit behaviour on three dimensions to be assessed at both the generic level and at the individual attraction level. Being an origin-based study, unlike most of the studies that have been conducted in this field which have been destination-based, enabled consumers and non-consumers alike to be considered. Although the consumer decision making model, referred to earlier, which was used in this part of the study, included a range of variables thought to impact upon the consumer decision process, the focus of this thesis was on the comparative abilities of personal values, psychographics and demographics to explain consumer behaviour. Personal values were measured in the questionnaire via the List of Values (LOV) and psychographics were measured using a battery of AIO statements (Activity, Interest and Opinion). Assessing the explanatory power of three techniques on three dimensions of visitation to a wide range of visitor attractions enabled a systematic evaluation to be conducted that was more methodologically rigorous than many of the other studies that have been reported in this field. Analysis of the data found that special events were regarded by consumers as a separate category of visitor attractions and that the segmentation approaches assessed in this study were better able to explain behaviour in relation to special events than Despite the fact that special events have become key components of the tourism development strategy for many regions, the amount of research that has been conducted within the field of special events does not reflect its importance. It is unlikely that the substantial growth rate that the field of special events has experienced in recent years is sustainable and an understanding of consumer patronage in relation to special events will be crucial for the development and promotion of events in the future. This study seeks to help address these shortcomings. In seeking to understand the field of special events, a model that involved the perspectives of six major parties was proposed. The fundamental aim of this study was to explore one of these perspectives, namely, that of consumers. This perspective was then used as the basis for a proposed consumer decision making model in relation to visitor attractions, including special events, that underpinned the second part of the thesis. The first part of this study sought to conceptualise systematically, special events from a consumer perspective and to conduct a comparative methodological assessment of three approaches to market segmentation in terms of their ability to explain consumer behaviour in relation to special events. The three approaches used were personal values, psychographics and demographics. A comprehensive and systematic literature review was conducted to identify the attributes that could be used to categorise an event as ‘special’. Based upon this review, a schema of event categories was proposed as well as a listing of the core and qualifying attributes that could be used to describe each of the special event categories. A set of definitions for each of the main special event categories was then developed. In order to operationalise the term ‘special event’, primary research was then conducted to identify the attributes that consumers believed were important in describing a special event. Several distinct measuring techniques, including elicitation, attribute rating and conjoint analysis, were used in the questionnaire for this part of the study, in an effort to derive a comprehensive view of the consumer understanding of special events and to facilitate the convergent validation of the various techniques. It was found that there were four principal attributes that consumers used to describe a special event, these being: the number of attendees, the international attention due to the event, the improvement to the image and pride of the host region as a result of hosting the event, and the exciting experience associated with the event. The study also found a high degree of convergence between the techniques used. The second part of this study sought to understand and predict consumer behaviour in relation to visitor attractions in general, and special events in particular. This further developed the consumer perspective that was the key underlying theme of the thesis. In the second part of this study, 500 randomly selected Melbourne residents were asked to indicate their visit behaviour in relation to a range of visitor attractions including special events. Three dimensions of visit behaviour were measured in order to overcome limitations noted in earlier studies. The visit dimensions used were actual visitation, visit interest and visit intention. This enabled analysis of respondents’ visit behaviour on three dimensions to be assessed at both the generic level and at the individual attraction level. Being an origin-based study, unlike most of the studies that have been conducted in this field which have been destination-based, enabled consumers and non-consumers alike to be considered. Although the consumer decision making model, referred to earlier, which was used in this part of the study, included a range of variables thought to impact upon the consumer decision process, the focus of this thesis was on the comparative abilities of personal values, psychographics and demographics to explain consumer behaviour. Personal values were measured in the questionnaire via the List of Values (LOV) and psychographics were measured using a battery of AIO statements (Activity, Interest and Opinion). Assessing the explanatory power of three techniques on three dimensions of visitation to a wide range of visitor attractions enabled a systematic evaluation to be conducted that was more methodologically rigorous than many of the other studies that have been reported in this field. Analysis of the data found that special events were regarded by consumers as a separate category of visitor attractions and that the segmentation approaches assessed in this study were better able to explain behaviour in relation to special events than Despite the fact that special events have become key components of the tourism development strategy for many regions, the amount of research that has been conducted within the field of special events does not reflect its importance. It is unlikely that the substantial growth rate that the field of special events has experienced in recent years is sustainable and an understanding of consumer patronage in relation to special events will be crucial for the development and promotion of events in the future. This study seeks to help address these shortcomings. In seeking to understand the field of special events, a model that involved the perspectives of six major parties was proposed. The fundamental aim of this study was to explore one of these perspectives, namely, that of consumers. This perspective was then used as the basis for a proposed consumer decision making model in relation to visitor attractions, including special events, that underpinned the second part of the thesis. The first part of this study sought to conceptualise systematically, special events from a consumer perspective and to conduct a comparative methodological assessment of three approaches to market segmentation in terms of their ability to explain consumer behaviour in relation to special events. The three approaches used were personal values, psychographics and demographics. A comprehensive and systematic literature review was conducted to identify the attributes that could be used to categorise an event as ‘special’. Based upon this review, a schema of event categories was proposed as well as a listing of the core and qualifying attributes that could be used to describe each of the special event categories. A set of definitions for each of the main special event categories was then developed. In order to operationalise the term ‘special event’, primary research was then conducted to identify the attributes that consumers believed were important in describing a special event. Several distinct measuring techniques, including elicitation, attribute rating and conjoint analysis, were used in the questionnaire for this part of the study, in an effort to derive a comprehensive view of the consumer understanding iv of special events and to facilitate the convergent validation of the various techniques. It was found that there were four principal attributes that consumers used to describe a special event, these being: the number of attendees, the international attention due to the event, the improvement to the image and pride of the host region as a result of hosting the event, and the exciting experience associated with the event. The study also found a high degree of convergence between the techniques used. The second part of this study sought to understand and predict consumer behaviour in relation to visitor attractions in general, and special events in particular. This further developed the consumer perspective that was the key underlying theme of the thesis. In the second part of this study, 500 randomly selected Melbourne residents were asked to indicate their visit behaviour in relation to a range of visitor attractions including special events. Three dimensions of visit behaviour were measured in order to overcome limitations noted in earlier studies. The visit dimensions used were actual visitation, visit interest and visit intention. This enabled analysis of respondents’ visit behaviour on three dimensions to be assessed at both the generic level and at the individual attraction level. Being an origin-based study, unlike most of the studies that have been conducted in this field which have been destination-based, enabled consumers and non-consumers alike to be considered. Although the consumer decision making model, referred to earlier, which was used in this part of the study, included a range of variables thought to impact upon the consumer decision process, the focus of this thesis was on the comparative abilities of personal values, psychographics and demographics to explain consumer behaviour. Personal values were measured in the questionnaire via the List of Values (LOV) and psychographics were measured using a battery of AIO statements (Activity, Interest and Opinion). Assessing the explanatory power of three techniques on three dimensions of visitation to a wide range of visitor attractions enabled a systematic evaluation to be conducted that was more methodologically rigorous than many of the other studies that have been reported in this field. Analysis of the data found that special events were regarded by consumers as a separate category of visitor attractions and that the segmentation approaches assessed in this study were better able to explain behaviour in relation to special events than they were able to explain behaviour in relation to permanent attractions. Although psychographics demonstrated explanatory power well ahead of both the LOV and demographics, the explanatory power was not high for any of the approaches. Based on the research that has been reported on the importance of personal values to consumers, it would be expected that values should have substantial explanatory power. The fact that the LOV was not able to provide substantial explanatory power in relation to special events in this study was suggested to be related to the measurement of values as opposed to a more fundamental problem with values themselves. Results of this study questioned the comprehensiveness of the LOV. The finding that none of the variables used in this study was able to account for a large percentage of consumer behaviour suggested strongly that there were other important independent variables not measured in this study. The influences of travel party and travel occasion on behaviour were seen as two such variables.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: special events, tourism, consumer behavior
Subjects: RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Hospitality Tourism and Marketing
Depositing User: Bingyan Gu
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2008 03:03
Last Modified: 23 May 2013 16:40
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/1501
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