This research aims to investigate whether emotions can be considered as a suitable variable to segment visitors at a museum. Furthermore, it seeks to analyse whether emotions influence visitor satisfaction and whether this depends on objective variables (such as age, gender and level of education) or not.
A structured questionnaire was developed and data were collected at the National Museum of Archaeology “G.A. Sanna” in Sardinia (Italy) via 410 face-to-face interviews. Hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analyses and a series of chi-squared tests were run for the purpose of the study.
Two segments were identified. The cluster with the higher positive emotions reported perceiving a higher level of attractiveness and uniqueness at the museum, and of being more satisfied than the other group. Furthermore, no significant differences were reported between the two segments based on socio-demographic characteristics.
The study is site-specific. The application of the study to other museums would allow for wider generalisations to be made from the results obtained.
Managers should market and position museums as an emotionally driven experience consumption site. Furthermore, they should consider both cognitive and emotional aspects of visitor experience when designing and planning their businesses, as well as when assessing the visitor’s satisfaction.
This study adds to the growing literature on emotions as a tool for segmentation and positioning, and suggests that cognitive and emotional aspects should be considered simultaneously when measuring visitors’ satisfaction. Further, it suggests that emotions are more significant than cognitive aspects in shaping visitors’ satisfaction.
The authors acknowledge the financial contribution of the Fondazione Banco di Sardegna (Project: “Il turismo museale in Sardegna: criticità ed opportunità,” Prot. 2055/2011.0044) and would also like to thank the personnel of the museum for their support in organising the process of data collection.
Del Chiappa, G., Andreu, L. and G. Gallarza, M. (2014), "Emotions and visitors’ satisfaction at a museum", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 420-431. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-03-2014-0024Download as .RIS
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