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Investigating consumer experience in hybrid museums: a netnographic study

Juliette Passebois Ducros (Deparment of IAE, Universite de Bordeaux Institut d'Administration des Entreprises, Bordeaux, France)
Florence Euzéby (IAE La Rochelle, Universite de La Rochelle Faculte de Droit de Science Politique et de Gestion, La Rochelle, France)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 18 June 2020

Issue publication date: 22 March 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Hybrid structures are emerging in the leisure sector that are neither museums nor amusement parks, but which borrow elements from both. Dedicated to the exploration of a cultural theme (cultural heritage, ecosystems and historic events), they use experiential marketing levers to entertain large publics while at the same time pursuing the cultural integrity of heritage. This study aims to examine how visitors perceive and experience the offer proposed by these hybrid museums and how they manage the dual (cognitive and sensorial) stimulation. The authors then consider the extent to which the experiential levers used to dramatize these venues help to deliver a unique experience.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors developed a qualitative approach based on a case study methodology. The authors first selected the case studies (the Cité du Vin – a wine museum in Bordeaux, France and the Cité de l’Océan – a museum dedicated to the ocean at Biarritz, France) and analysed them from two angles. The authors began by examining the managerial perspective from secondary data to identify the experiential levers used by providers and the promises made to visitors in terms of experience. The authors then analysed the visitors’ experiences through a netnographic approach. The data were drawn from visitor reviews of their experience as posted on Tripadvisor.

Findings

The authors show that hybrid museums manage to provide visitors with edutainment value, but the promise made by managers for a memorable experience by way of an immersive journey is not kept. The authors demonstrate that a hybrid museum environment contains certain elements that prevent visitors from enjoying immersion. More specifically, the authors note issues regarding the way the theme is expressed through spectacular buildings, the way visitors are free to choose their visit and the scenarization presented through digital devices. The authors also show that hybrid museums are perceived largely as traditional museums and so are subject to culturally-established preconceptions.

Originality/value

This contribution concerns a topic that has drawn little attention in the marketing literature, namely, hybrid museums. The authors adopted a qualitative methodology from the perspective of both the provider and the consumer to gain a global understanding of the hybrid museum. The data were analysed using a manual thematic analysis, completed with a QDAS to support the findings.

Keywords

Citation

Passebois Ducros, J. and Euzéby, F. (2021), "Investigating consumer experience in hybrid museums: a netnographic study", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 180-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-07-2018-0077

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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