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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2016

Birgit Pikkemaat and Anita Zehrer

This paper aims to explore the pertinent issues of innovation and service experiences in family firms in the tourism industry, which are mostly small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the pertinent issues of innovation and service experiences in family firms in the tourism industry, which are mostly small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual paper, building on social identity theory, undertakes a thorough review of the relevant literature before developing propositions regarding innovation and service experiences for small family firms in the tourism industry.

Findings

Small tourism family firms are faced with deficits in strategic orientation and innovation, and cooperation seems to be a means to overcome size deficits in family-run businesses. Customers integrated into the service experience enhance innovative developments and foster innovation in small tourism firms. As a prerequisite, the service experience must be appropriately managed by collecting and evaluating relevant data on customers’ needs, expectations and satisfaction. An open-minded and consumer-focused market-driven strategy seems to be an advantage.

Practical implications

Future research should undertake empirical studies to validate and/or modify the propositions presented in this conceptual paper.

Originality/value

This is one of the few studies to have addressed the relationship between service experiences and innovation for family-run small businesses in the tourism industry.

Details

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6182

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 October 2021

Chung Shing Chan, Birgit Pikkemaat, Dora Agapito and Qinrou Zhou

This paper aims to present the host experience of student hosts in Hong Kong, a popular educational destination for international students from mainland China and other…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the host experience of student hosts in Hong Kong, a popular educational destination for international students from mainland China and other countries. This study examines the interconnection between the experience-based and sociocultural dimensions of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel, considering the overall host experience, the host–guest relationship and post-hosting changes in perception of both the VFR experience and destination.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopts a qualitative approach to compare the experience-based and sociocultural dimensions of VFR travel considering international university students as VFR hosts in Hong Kong, taking a student sample from both mainland Chinese and overseas students. Based on a voluntary sampling approach, the research team had face-to-face interviews with the students that agreed to participate. The interviews were conducted voluntarily and anonymously and included those students who had hosted any friends or relatives in the past 12 months. A total of 26 interviews were successfully completed, including 10 mainland Chinese and 16 non-mainland Chinese students.

Findings

The results confirm that the VFR host experience is generally shaped by an integration of internal characteristics (sociocultural characteristics of both hosts and visitors) and external environment (urban infrastructure and tourism resources). The two groups distinctively express their host experience that shows some areas of cultural barriers and geographical proximity.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this research mainly lie on its relatively small sample size because of constraints in accessing the contact information of international students across universities. These shortcomings should be improved by adopting a research design that uses other sampling approaches, such as snowball sampling, to include a wider scope of students from different local universities, or convenience sampling, to interview and compare responses of international students from various educational destinations. Alternative data sources may be considered, for example, through user-generated contents from online and social media platforms that contain sharing of students as hosts.

Practical implications

The geographical and cultural proximities influence VFR tourism development and social construction of values and the consequent hosting behaviour. The unique role of international students should be further explored, especially in the Asian context. The outcome of VFR travel must be evaluated and studied more from cultural and personal dimensions than economic gain, which should be relevant to host perspective such as improved quality of life, social ties and place attachment and psychological benefits. The changing risk perception caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may be examined through some forms of travel intention.

Social implications

Firstly, the destination marketing organisations of the educational destination should address the difficulty faced by student hosts in terms of external attributes such as local culture, urban infrastructure, tourism resources and information accessibility. Secondly, to target the hosts, some specific VFR-related products and services may be developed for international students through local tertiary institutions such that the role of hosts as ambassadors can be facilitated and enhanced. Thirdly, the functional role of international students can be distinctive based on their unique network, activities and knowledge constructed upon learning during the period of education.

Originality/value

The studentification of many educational destination cities, the dynamism of the role of international students as VFR hosts and their cultural differences between places of origin have provided an opportunity for deepening the understanding of VFR tourism.

Details

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6182

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 10 July 2021

Tanja Petry, Birgit Pikkemaat, Chung-Shing Chan and Ursula Scholl-Grissemann

Neither visitors of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel nor hosts are homogeneous segments (Griffin & Guttenberg, 2020). For this reason, this study aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

Neither visitors of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel nor hosts are homogeneous segments (Griffin & Guttenberg, 2020). For this reason, this study aims to address students as hosts of VFR travel and analyzes differences in the visitor and the host segment. As a result, marketing implications for destination marketing organizations that seek to realize the potential of the student VFR segment arise.

Design/methodology/approach

This research project adopts a multi-method approach to derive a deeper empirical understanding of visitors’ behaviors and the role of students hosting friends and relatives (SHFR). The quantitative study aims to reveal the relevance and differences between visits to friends (VF) and visits to relatives (VR), whereas the qualitative study elaborates on the findings of the quantitative study and seeks to understand the role and experiences of students as hosts.

Findings

The findings reveal that VR and VF travelers vary in terms of their expenditure. Hosts’ spending depends on visitors’ budgets; in general, both their direct and indirect (when relatives pay) spending increases when they have visitors. Furthermore, the data identify two distinct hosting styles: functional hosting is concerned with providing outstanding hospitality based on a more traditional, guest-oriented understanding of the role, whereas integrative hosting blurs the lines between hospitality and lifestyle based on a more modern, host-oriented understanding of the role.

Research limitations/implications

Regarding limitations, this study did not differentiate between students who were simultaneously locals and students who resided in the city only for study purposes. In a similar vein, the cultural background of the students was not considered in the research. Finally, the differences between VF and VR could further be explored in a quantitative follow-up study and in testing for significant differences in SHFR spending behaviors. Further research could examine whether domestic travelers, travelers with cultural proximity and/or short-distance VFR travelers are more likely to visit after COVID-19 as suggested by Backer and Ritchie (2017) in the case of crises and disaster.

Practical implications

Students as hosts differ from other hosts in VFR travel in their reluctance to embrace conventional tourism products. This study found that place attachment makes hosts of VFR travelers passionate ambassadors and advertisers for the destinations; destination marketing organizations (DMOs) could support this already positive image by providing and supporting students with more detailed information about their cities and the opportunities they offer. Results are of particular relevance because the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing DMOs to develop destination strategies that incorporate social-distancing and avoid crowded places.

Social implications

When students take their friends out to events and nightclubs, they contribute significantly to experiences that go beyond typical tourism activities such as sightseeing and shopping. By offering special discounts to visitors who come with their hosts, DMOs could help visitors delve more deeply into city life and thereby reduce the likeliness of crowded city centers. Considering the findings relating to the social and emotional qualities of VFR travel, DMO marketing to VFR travelers could benefit from promoting socio-cultural spaces and offerings that value groups’ social ties (e.g. family prices for families with adult children) or alumni status.

Originality/value

According to the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first which analyzes both, visitors and hosts of VFR travel using a two methods approach. Very recently, Griffin and Guttenberg (2020) miss VFR research focusing on the heterogeneity of the segment, and Backer et al. (2020) claim for more VFR research on the role of hosts carried out outside of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA. To the authors’ best knowledge, this study is the first which delivers empirical insights on SHFR in Central Europe.

Details

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6182

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 25 February 2022

Yuke Yuan, Chung-Shing Chan, Sarah Eichelberger, Hang Ma and Birgit Pikkemaat

This paper investigates the usage and trust of Chinese social media in the travel planning process (pre-trip, during-trip and post-trip) of Chinese tourists.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates the usage and trust of Chinese social media in the travel planning process (pre-trip, during-trip and post-trip) of Chinese tourists.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a combination of structured online survey (n = 406) and follow-up interviews, the research identifies the diversification of the demand-and-supply patterns of social media users in China, as well as the allocation of functions of social media as tools before, during and after travel.

Findings

Social media users are diverse in terms of their adoption of social media, use behaviour and scope; the levels of trust and influence; and their ultimate travel decisions and actions. Correlations between the level of trust, influence of social media and the intended changes in travel decisions are observed. Destination marketers and tourism industries should observe and adapt to the needs of social media users and potential tourist markets by understanding more about user segmentation between platforms or apps and conducting marketing campaigns on social media platforms to attract a higher number of visitors.

Research limitations/implications

This paper demonstrated the case of social media usage in mainland China, which has been regarded as one of the fastest growing and influential tourist-generating markets and social media expansions in the world. This study further addressed the knowledge gap by correlating social media usage and travel planning process of Chinese tourists. The research findings suggested diversification of the demand-and-supply pattern of social media users in China, as well as the use of social media as tools before, during and after travel. Users were diversified in terms of their adoption of social media, use behaviour, scope, the levels of trust, influence and the ultimate travel decisions.

Practical implications

Destination marketing organizations should note that some overseas social media platforms that are not accessible in China like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook and Instagram are still valued by some Chinese tourists, especially during-trip period in journeys to Western countries. Some tactics for specific user segments should be carefully observed. When promoting specific tourism products to Chinese tourists, it is necessary to understand the user segmentation between platforms or apps.

Originality/value

Social media is a powerful tool for tourism development and sustainability in creating smart tourists and destinations worldwide. In China, the use of social media has stimulated the development of both information and communication technology and tourism.

Details

Journal of Tourism Futures, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-5911

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 26 August 2020

Bernhard Fabian Bichler, Birgit Pikkemaat and Mike Peters

Quality in foodservices has become essential, and new methodological ways of determining service quality enable a better representation of service processes and help to…

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Abstract

Purpose

Quality in foodservices has become essential, and new methodological ways of determining service quality enable a better representation of service processes and help to increase revisits. This paper focuses on the foodservice context and explores the relationship between staff-related service dimensions, atmosphere, food quality and revisit in a full-service setting.

Design/methodology/approach

This study combines an often neglected mystery guest approach with partial least square–structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to shed more light on customers' service perceptions. The mystery guest approach has been updated with a digitally supported smartphone questionnaire (e-mystery) that provides more reliable results since previous measurements experienced difficulties of feasibility in time-limited settings (N = 247).

Findings

The findings of this study confirm the direct effects of the service quality dimensions reliability, attentiveness and atmosphere on revisit intention and highlight the mediating role of food quality. In detail, the findings showed significant results for service employees' reliability and attentiveness and underlined the role of atmosphere for revisit intention.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper supplements that mystery guest approaches represent a reliable alternative to convenience sampling, especially in combination with a digitally supported questionnaire (e-mystery). Thereby, this paper suggests the further application of e-mystery for the hospitality and tourism industry. In terms of implications, this study highlights the importance of securing food quality by fostering specialized schools and training programs for career starters. Since the findings stress the importance of service quality and atmosphere, managers need to ensure that employees are trained in culturally sensitive communication and services to excel in service-related dimensions.

Details

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9792

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2019

Chung Shing Chan, Mike Peters and Birgit Pikkemaat

The purpose of this paper is to understand the perceptions of visitors in terms of multiple aspects of smart cities to allow wise decisions to be made about smart tourist…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the perceptions of visitors in terms of multiple aspects of smart cities to allow wise decisions to be made about smart tourist destinations by municipal governments and tourism authorities.

Design/methodology/approach

This study takes a sample of inbound visitors (n=205) from Hong Kong as an empirical questionnaire-based survey on visitors’ perceptions of these smart city attributes, which are collected from literature, and framed in Cohen’s Smart City Wheel.

Findings

This paper identifies the distinctive factors for branding Hong Kong as a smart city. The results from the factor analysis identify four factors for determining what a smart city is from the perspective of visitors, namely, the quality of a smart society: energy consumption in an urban environment, smart city governance and smart city livelihood. The first two factors further become the determinants of a successful smart city brand considered by visitors, which contribute to their locational decisions and thus the strategies and policies of smart destination branding.

Research limitations/implications

The results obtained can serve as insights for tourism policy makers and destination marketers when considering significant information and communication technology, or other smart and sustainable attributes for city branding (e.g. Buhalis and Amaranggana, 2014; Marine-Roig and Anton Clavé, 2015), as well as common investment and resource allocation for shared benefits in similar metropolises.

Practical implications

The smartness factors represent important dimensions of urban smartness as prioritized areas for further development, innovation and marketing of tourism industries and enterprises in Hong Kong, as a mature urban destination incorporating the branding of a proposed smart district as a strategy of urban development.

Originality/value

Smart urban development and tourism development have increasingly become inseparable, especially when visitors utilize cities as tourist destinations but share other urban resources and spaces with local citizens. Unlike the development of smart tourist attractions, smart tourist destinations should have a wider scope of smartness. A smart tourist destination may carry similar and overlapping characteristics of smart cities, which may be interpreted by visitors and may eventually affect their perceived image of a city.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 August 2013

Matthias Muskat, Birgit Muskat, Anita Zehrer and Raechel Johns

This paper suggests mobile ethnography as a method for data collection, where Generation Y customers are integrated as active investigators. The paper aims to contribute…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper suggests mobile ethnography as a method for data collection, where Generation Y customers are integrated as active investigators. The paper aims to contribute to the debate on museums as experience‐centred places, to understanding how the experience is perceived by Generation Y, to identifying the customer journey, to providing an insight into service experience consumption and to deriving managerial implication for the museum industry of how to approach Generation Y.

Design/methodology/approach

Mobile ethnography is applied to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra with a sample of Generation Y visitors as the future visitor market.

Findings

The paper finds that there is a need to involve museum management in measuring museum experiences, especially with regard to the definition and improvement of the service‐delivery processes. Service experience must be appropriately managed by museum operators by collecting, evaluating, storing and reusing relevant data on customer experience. Mobile ethnography and tools such as MyServiceFellow offer an important potential source of sustainable competitive advantage by improving customer experience, particularly for Gen Y.

Research limitations/implications

The most significant limitation is the exploratory nature of the single case study derived from a small sample within only one museum.

Originality/value

This is one of the few studies to have addressed mobile ethnography in a service context and examined the museum experience of Generation Y. The paper finds that there is a need to involve museum management in service design to improve the service‐delivery process, especially with regard to the different mindsets of the Millennials.

Details

Tourism Review, vol. 68 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1660-5373

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2013

Birgit Muskat, Matthias Muskat and Deborah Blackman

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the causes that have led to a rather fragmented view of quality management among tourism marketing organisations in Germany. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the causes that have led to a rather fragmented view of quality management among tourism marketing organisations in Germany. The aim is to identify and to interpret the relevant societal cultural factors underpinning German management. The paper examines the influence of culture on the perception and performance of quality management in tourism organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a data set which previously explored and analysed the diffusion of total quality management in German public tourism marketing organisations. In this paper, the data set has been re‐analysed and mapped against societal cultural elements. The analysis evaluates cultural factors that influence perceptions among German tourism marketing organisations on quality management.

Findings

This paper identifies cultural aspects that influence the perception and performance of quality in tourism organisations. The findings relate cultural antecedents in three identified core issues of quality: underdeveloped training and motivational events for staff; unbalanced strategic positioning in terms of quality; and weak commitment to standards and guidelines.

Practical implications

The implications that can be drawn from the findings of this paper are twofold. First, the results could be integrated into future educational policies in tourism. Second, implications and learning for tourism managers from this paper relate to a holistic, integrative, and systems‐based approach to quality management instead of only implementing individual quality aspects.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first studies to consider the influences of societal culture on the perception and performance of quality management in the German tourism sector.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

Keywords

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