How tight is the connection between Visitor Satisfaction and Decision of Returning to Destination? The Case of Scientific Conferences in Split / Original research paper

Pivcevic_Culjak_Mandic_engl

Research paper informations:

Authors: doc.dr.sc. Pivčević Smiljana, Marija Čuljak, mag.oec, Mandić Ante, mag.oec

Title: „THE IMPACT OF VISITOR SATISFACTION ON INTENTION TO REVISIT AND „WORD OF MOUTH“ MARKETING – THE CASE OF SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCES IN SPLIT”

Publication name: Acta Turistica Nova, Vol 8 (2014), No. 1, pp.1-118

Editor: Prof.dr.sc. Boris Vukonić

Publisher: Visoka poslovna škola Libertas, Zagreb, 2014

ISSN: 1846-4394

Abstract:

In tourism theory and practice two key traveling motives are business and leisure. Furthermore, it is a known fact that tourist’s satisfaction with consumed tourism service(s) plays a crucial role in forming a long-term relationship on destination-consumer and destination-target market relations. Adding to it a known fact that attracting tourists to a destination for the first time is much harder and more expensive than motivating satisfied guests for repeated visit, the importance of satisfies visitors for a long term destination success and competitiveness is obvious. These arguments have lead to posing a following research question: to what extent does the satisfaction of business visitors with the destination’s tourism offer lead to their return as leisure visitors and to their willingness to spread a positive “word-of-mouth” about the destination. The relations between these concepts are discuses theoretically, examining the existing literature/research and verified empirically through a research conducted on two scientific conferences held in Split.

Discussion and Conclusion

The conducted empirical research has given some interesting and new insights on congress visitors. Firstly, it was revealed that the destination of conference is not an insignificant factor in deciding on attending a conference but also that this motive differs significantly among conferences under investigation. For Conference 1, it was the 3rd motive by importance (20%) and on the Conference 2 4th with only 7.69% share. Since a large proportion of both conference respondents has already visited Split three and more times, this result comes as no big surprise. To the contrary, what is surprising is the fact that over 80% of Conference 1 (i.e. 86.96% of them) was in Split for three and more times while still one fifth of them names the conference destination as a reason for attending. That leads to a presumption that this segment contains visitors loyal to destination but on the other hand the reason can be their loyalty to conference, organizer, partner institution etc. Since these aspects were not covered in questionnaire, this presumption cannot be confirmed empirically.

The results regarding the Split tourism offer grade give grounds for relative satisfaction since the grades of both groups of respondents’ average as very good while low grades are not recorded at all. Therefore, it is not surprising that most part of respondents will definitely come back to destination followed by those that probably will come while respondents that probably and/or definitely will not come back are not found. However, the statistical analysis preformed showed that there is no statistically significant relationship between the tourism offer grade and the intention to revisit. That shows that this high level of revisit intention is not induced by the satisfaction with tourism offer but by some other reason(s). However, since the questionnaire did not include questions that would reveal these aspects, these reasons can only be guessed upon. For that reason, coverage of these aspects is a recommendation for further research in this area.

Similar results have been recorded for spreading the “word of mouth”. Namely, although more than a half of both conference respondents have stated that they will definitely recommend a visit to Split to their friends and acquaintances and a significant share that they probably will recommend, the statistical analysis showed for Conference 1 this is statistically positively correlated with the grade of tourism offer while for the Conference 2 not. Having in mind that a high share of Conference 1 respondents has already visited Split for three and more times, a possible conclusion is that these repeated visits i.e. loyal visitors are a potential cause. However, due to a small sample size, more detailed statistical analysis that would confirm or reject this conclusion is not possible. Also, since no additional questions covering other possible reason for this were given in the questionnaire, they can now only be guessed upon.

This research, as any other, has its limitations. Besides the above-mentioned limitations concerning the absence of some aspect/questions in the questionnaire, the most important limitation of this research is the sample size and the number of conferences investigated. For these reasons, the findings presented need to be taken as indicative only and serve as an impulse and starting point for further research with wider base of events/conferences and respondents. Also, the research variables and questionnaire could be improved and expanded.

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regards
ante

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