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Delighted or outraged? Uncovering key drivers of exceedingly positive and negative theme park guest experiences

Edwin N. Torres (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Ady Milman (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Soona Park (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

ISSN: 2514-9792

Article publication date: 14 December 2017

Issue publication date: 12 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Despite multiple studies of customer delight in various service industries, limited research exists in the hedonically driven theme park context. The purpose of this paper is to explore the key drivers of customer delight and outrage in theme parks by analyzing TripAdvisor’s comments from visitors to the top 20 North American theme parks.

Design/methodology/approach

Following the analysis of thousands of extremely positive and negative comments using MAXQDA qualitative software, keywords drivers of delight and outrage were identified. The researchers applied both thematic and root cause in order to ascertain the sources leading to both positive and negative consumer feedback.

Findings

Delighted guests relayed various aspects of their experience including positive affect experience, positive value perceptions, and limited wait times. Root causes that influenced customer delight included: excellent core product, quality food and beverage, servicescape, pricing decisions, and low visitor demand or sensible admissions policies. Outraged guests described various aspects of their experiences such as negative perceptions of value, long waits, poor customer service, and negative emotions. Root causes for customer outrage included low quality or deficient core products, poor quality of food and beverage, poor facility maintenance, aggressive pricing decisions, poor staff selection, training, and working conditions, and high customer demand on any given date or aggressive admissions policies.

Originality/value

The present research is unique in that it exposes the key themes of customer delight and outrage in the theme park setting, presents a conceptual model, and analyzes its root causes.

Keywords

Citation

Torres, E.N., Milman, A. and Park, S. (2018), "Delighted or outraged? Uncovering key drivers of exceedingly positive and negative theme park guest experiences", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 65-85. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTI-10-2017-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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