Managing online communications and feedback relating to the Welsh visitor attraction experience: apathy and inflexibility in tourism marketing practice?

Thomas, David Huw (2018) Managing online communications and feedback relating to the Welsh visitor attraction experience: apathy and inflexibility in tourism marketing practice? Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Understanding of what constitutes a tourism experience has been the focus of increasing attention in academic literature in recent years. For tourism businesses operating in an ever more competitive marketplace, identifying and responding to the needs and wants of their customers, and understanding how the product or consumer experience is created is arguably essential. The impact of user generated content (UGC) and online reviews in the tourism sector has captured the attention of academics, yet the focus has been mostly on the accommodation sector. The application of online social media sites such as TripAdvisor and Facebook by visitors to attractions and, particularly, by attraction operators has seemingly received little academic attention to date. This thesis sets out to gain a critical insight into Welsh visitor attraction operators’ understanding of the visitor experience, and their practices in relation to managing online communication and feedback. It uses a three-phase methodological approach to investigate attraction operators’ understanding of visitor experience; to critically analyse their opinions on the use of social media by themselves and their publics; and to identify the online co-creation of visitor experience for selected visitor attractions in Wales. A combination of research methods was used: online questionnaires with eighty-one Welsh attraction operators; sixteen semi structured interviews with Welsh visitor attraction operators; and a netnographic review of the digital ‘footprint’ of eighty-four Welsh visitor attractions. It is found that the online co-creation of experience for Welsh visitor attractions is predominantly visitor-led, and that supply-side interaction is lacking in the feedback and communication process. It is apparent that many Welsh visitor attraction operators are missing a key marketing opportunity to develop their online presence and exploit the interactive communication opportunities offered by Web 2.0 and social media. The findings contribute to theoretical understanding of co-creation of experience, and online interactions between suppliers and consumers in a tourism context. The management implications of apparent apathy or indifference and inflexibility in the marketing practices of many Welsh visitor attractions are considered.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tourism, Wales, visitor attractions
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2020 09:14
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 10:22

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