Investigating consumer judgments within a tourism-based industry, the case of commercial whitewater rafting


Farnum, Jennifer O.. (2006). Investigating consumer judgments within a tourism-based industry, the case of commercial whitewater rafting. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Investigating consumer judgments within a tourism-based industry, the case of commercial whitewater rafting
Farnum, Jennifer O.
Rafting (Sports)--Idaho--Salmon River Rafting (Sports)--Arkansas River Outdoor recreation industry--Evaluation Outfitting industry--Evaluation Consumers--Attitudes Consumer satisfaction
Recognizing that consumer judgments of commercial whitewater rafting experiences have rarely been assessed, the current research seeks to fill that gap. Three research goals were delineated: (1) measuring and modeling the relationships among judgments believed to be critical to business success (satisfaction, service quality, perceived value, and customer loyalty), (2) identify relationships between performance on specific attributes associated with the rafting experience and global judgments, and (3) to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of rafting services, importance-performance analyses (IPAs) were conducted with different market segments. Study participants were recruited at two well-known rivers: the Arkansas River in Colorado (n = 266, 32% response rate) and the Salmon River in Idaho (n = 187, 38% response rate). Participants were approached at launch sites and completed a brief survey inquiring about the importance of specified attributes and requesting contact information. Approximately two months post-trip, respondents were sent an online survey asking them about their global and attribute-specific judgments of the rafting experience. Results of a confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modeling (SEM) produced fit statistics slightly below recommend values; thus data were treated at an exploratory level. Findings from exploratory work indicate that service quality-customer loyalty, satisfaction, and perceived value, formed three (rather than four) separate constructs. To establish linkages between attribute performance and global judgments, multiple regressions were performed on data from each river; thus, a total of eight regression analyses were conducted. Values for the adjusted R2 statistic ranged from .25 to 67, though different sets of attributes predicted different global judgments and patterns varied across rivers. Finally, a series of IPA assessments were conducted using: (a) data from both rivers, (b) river-specific data, (c) loyalty-segmented data (high versus low), and (d) experience level-segmented data (first timers versus experienced rafters). Analyses indicated that the experience of challenging rapids and other excitement-based attributes is most in need of outfitter attention, but generally analyses indicated customers were very pleased with outfitter services.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Idaho, May 2006.
Major Professor:
Troy E. Hall
Defense Date:
May 2006.
Format Original:
x, 167 leaves :ill. ;29 cm.

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