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Understanding museum visitors’ experience: a comparative study

Juan Gabriel Brida (Departamento de Métodos Cuantitativos, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Marta Meleddu (POLCOMING & CRENoS, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy)
Manuela Pulina (POLCOMING & CRENoS, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 16 May 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine museum visitors’ experience. The objective of the research is to explore preferences, behaviour, overall. This study experience and the determinants on repeated visits to two heritage sites. In particular, a more comprehensive regression approach is introduced and employed to compare results at two regional museums.

Design/methodology/approach

First, a factor analysis identifies a set of orthogonal factors related to visitors’ perceptions on their positive and negative experiences at two different museums. Second, a two-step cluster analysis is implemented to identify specific demand segments. Third, a regression analysis reveals the key determinants that influence visitors’ perceptions on the quality of services provided at the cultural sites. The empirical data were collected at two archaeological museums located in Sardinia and Trentino Alto Adige (Italy).

Findings

On the whole, some homogeneous findings have been obtained for the two cultural sites, regardless of the different levels of attractiveness exerted by these two museums. Moreover, the outcomes highlight that the two museums need to be reinterpreted and reorganised with the provision of supplementary services, able to satisfy a broader audience, and enriching their traditional mission that is to collect, preserve and exhibit the archaeological heritage.

Practical implications

The methodological approach presented in this paper is for practitioners and curators to deepen their understanding of their consumers and to improve the overall quantity and quality of services offered.

Originality/value

This paper presents a novel and integrated approach to investigate customers’ experience and their needs with the aim of improving the overall quality of the services provided at the museum. The proposed methodology is used to analyse multidimensional aspects of the visit to a cultural site. Within the literature on museum marketing and management, this methodological framework can be regarded as an alternative approach to analyse visitors’ experience, characteristics, behaviour, preferences and to elicit specific characteristics of different segments of demand.

Keywords

Citation

Brida, J.G., Meleddu, M. and Pulina, M. (2016), "Understanding museum visitors’ experience: a comparative study", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 47-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-07-2015-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited