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The mediating role of visitor satisfaction in the relationship between museum experience and word of mouth: evidence from Italy

Massimiliano Vesci (Department of Management and Innovation Systems, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
Emanuela Conti (Department of Economic, Social and Political Studies, Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy)
Chiara Rossato (Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
Paola Castellani (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 8 July 2020

Issue publication date: 31 December 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the quality of experience in the Italian art museum context and to understand the mediating role of satisfaction between museum experiences and visitors' word-of-mouth (WOM) behavioural intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study adopted a quantitative methodology. Visitors to Italian art museums were interviewed, and the results were examined using exploratory factor analysis and regression analysis.

Findings

The analysis shows that the following museum experience dimensions were present in the Italian art museum context: aesthetics, escapism and “edumotion”. Further, these dimensions positively affected visitors' overall satisfaction which mediates on WOM behavioural intentions.

Research limitations/implications

The small sample limits the generalisability of findings, and further research on the topic is recommended.

Practical implications

Museums should allocate resources to improve visitor experience, visitor satisfaction and museum attractions. Specifically, museum managers should invest in the three dimensions that emerged from this study.

Originality/value

This study enriches the empirical evidence on experiential marketing in the museum context by focussing on the mediating role of overall satisfaction in the relationship between museum experience and WOM behaviours. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first study investigating this phenomenon in Italian museums.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We kindly thank Peter Aufreiter, Director of the National Gallery of the Marche (Urbino), Peter Assmann, Director of the Ducal Palace of Mantua and Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Museum of Capodimonte (Naples), for giving us the opportunity to undertake this study.

Citation

Vesci, M., Conti, E., Rossato, C. and Castellani, P. (2021), "The mediating role of visitor satisfaction in the relationship between museum experience and word of mouth: evidence from Italy", The TQM Journal, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 141-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-02-2020-0022

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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