عوامل اساسی خدمات مشتری و تقسیم بندی بازدید کنندگان مسن تر در گردشگری سلامت در چشمه های آب گرم هتل ها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21084||2013||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 35, December 2013, Pages 122–132
Tourism-related industries have emphasized the wellness tourism market when numerous countries now face an aging population. Many studies have indicated that strong customer service increases competitive advantage. However, customer service-related research from the perspectives of customers and operators is rare. This study adopted a two-phase approach to incorporate the perspectives of older adults and operators in wellness tourism into the service factors. We extracted service factors from face-to-face interviews with senior managers and experienced consultants of the hot springs hotel industry conducted in Phase 1. During Phase 2, we interviewed older adults at hot springs, and performed exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to examine the reliability and validity of customer service factors. The results highlighted the following seven customer service factors: “health promotion treatments,” “mental learning,” “experience of unique tourism resources,” “complementary therapies,” “relaxation,” “healthy diet,” and “social activities.” According to these service factors, the older adults interviewed were divided into a holistic group, physiocare group, and leisure and recreation group using cluster analysis. Finally, we propose socio-demographic variables for describing the specific characteristics of the three clusters identified.
Population aging has become increasingly severe in developed countries. For example, recent forecast data from Eurostat projects that people aged 65 and older will comprise more than 28% of the population in Germany, 25% in Italy, and 23% in France by 2030 (European Commission, 2012). Currently, the median age in Japan is 41, making it the fastest aging country in the world (Barrows et al., 2012). In Taiwan, the proportion of the population aged over 65 years has steadily increased since 1993, with the elderly population reaching 10.7% at the end of 2010. The aging index for Taiwan in 2010 (68.6%) was lower than that for Canada, Japan, and other European countries, but higher than that for the U.S., New Zealand, and other Asian countries (Taiwan Ministry of the Interior, 2012). The results of a senior population survey published by the Statistics Department of the Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan, showed that the three life aspects ranked most desirable by seniors were “a healthy life,” “a harmoniously life spent with family,” and “financial security.” The top three concerns for the elderly were “personal health,” “financial problems,” and “personal care issues” (Taiwan Ministry of the Interior, 2010). A population age distribution shifting toward the elderly is a current trend evidenced by the previous paragraph. Regarding the tourism and leisure industry, the senior-targeted market provides superior and innovative business opportunities for services and products within the traditional tourism and leisure industry (Szmigin and Carrigan, 2001). Le Serre (2008) highlighted that in the twenty-first century, the tourism industry faces a changing and competitive environment resulting from hurricanes and other environmental catastrophes, military conflicts and wars, information technology developments, greater competition between airline companies, and aging demographics. Nevertheless, the senior market presents an opportunity for the tourism industry worldwide to grow through wellness tourism. Wellness tourism is a holistic traveling style that aims at developing, maintaining and improving the body–mind–spirit (Smith and Kelly, 2006a and Smith and Kelly, 2006b). Such travel experiences appeal to tourists aged 65 years and others. People over 50 years of age, who are economically secure and experience work stress, also regard wellness tourism as a lifestyle (Smith and Puczkó, 2009). Therefore, for convenience, in this study people aged over 50 were labeled “older adults” or “older tourists” because 50 years is commonly used as the criterion to define older adults in other studies (Blazey, 1992, Hawes, 1988, Janke et al., 2006, Lehto et al., 2002, Milman, 1998 and Whitford, 1998). The Taiwan Tourism Bureau's (2010) annual tourism report showed that for domestic tourists, the proportion of tourists aged between 50 and 59 years increased from 7.1% in 1997 to 16.9% in 2009, and that for tourists aged over 60 years nearly doubled from 6.8% to 11.5% during the same period. In 2008, people aged between 50 and 59 years comprised 19.45% of the total number of domestic international travelers, and people aged over 60 years occupied 10.93%. Furthermore, a high proportion of older adults comprise the international tourism market. People aged 50 years accounted for 31.85% of the total number of international travelers in 2011 (Taiwan Tourism Bureau, 2012). Smith and Kelly (2006b) highlighted that the main targets of the wellness tourism market are post-World War II baby boomers (people born in the year after the end of WWII became 60 years of age in 2006) and women. The demographics of age are associated with increased opportunity for market services and products oriented to tourism and leisure (Nazareth, 2007). The older adult market is becoming increasingly attractive for the tourism and leisure industry (Hsu et al., 2007 and Hunter-Jones and Blackburn, 2007). Several studies have found that health is a crucial motivator encouraging older adults to participate in tourism (Guinn, 1980, Horneman et al., 2002 and Romsa and Blenman, 1989) and the type of tourism motivated by health is wellness tourism. Therefore, the service requirements of wellness tourism are important. Wellness tourism has been developed in regions outside Taiwan for a long time, taking advantage of the specific natural resources in the region, such as hot springs, mineral springs, the seawater, and the comfortable climate (Pollock et al., 2000). These natural resources are combined with recreational facilities to build a complete health resort that caters to tourists seeking a soothing experience for their body, mind, and spirit (Erfurt-Cooper and Cooper, 2009). Older adults became more aware of their personal options for improving their health through preventive therapies on a personal level. Erfurt-Cooper and Cooper (2009) elaborated that this increased awareness encompasses preventive therapies based on travel to health resorts and spas. However, this motivation to seek out wellness benefits from natural hot and mineral spring waters could not have been more welcome for the health tourism industry, as it brought in the wake of the desire for wellness a much-needed revival of many hot and mineral spring resorts. Customer service has an important role for hot spring hotels targeted to the elderly market (Chang and Chen, 2011). The hotel industry is dynamic in that the guest dictates the pace and type of service, and increasing competitiveness in the industry has resulted in satisfactory service being the minimum expectation of guests (Crick and Spencer, 2010). Assessments of customer service that reflect various aspects of the service are possible and necessary when adopting various standards. However, many studies have identified a gap between the services provided by operators or companies and the services preferred by customers (Kisperska-Moroñ, 2005 and Nysveen et al., 2003). The aim of this study was to compile insight from industry experts to establish wellness tourism service factors based on the perspectives of operators and tourists aged over 50 years. We conducted a survey with tourists at a hot springs to verify the service items included in the wellness tourism service factors to provide a reference of crucial wellness tourism customer service items and resource management for domestic operators of hot spring hotels.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this two-phase study, we interviewed hot spring experts to acquire their perspectives on essential customer services to older adults in wellness tourism. Based on their responses, we compiled a list of descriptions of needed services. The descriptions were grouped by similar keywords and/or concepts. Eventually, these descriptions were used to compile a questionnaire to be distributed to older adult tourists at hot spring areas in Taiwan. Through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses on the survey data, we identified seven customer service factors, “Health promotion treatments,” “Mental learning,” “Experience of unique tourism resources,” “Complementary therapies,” “Relaxation,” “Healthy diet,” and “Social activities.” These seven service factors encompass arguments included in previous researches on older adult tourists (Huang and Tsai, 2003, Jang and Wu, 2006, Joppe, 2010, Nelson et al., 2007, Nimrod and Rotem, 2010 and Tung and Ritchie, 2011). The “Healthy diet” factor identified in this study is unique and seldom mentioned in previous studies. Taiwanese diet habits have changed due to the economic growth. Previously, people concerned whether they had enough food to meet the physical needs (feeling full). However, consumers in Taiwan demand meals balanced with nutrition, taste, and other special culinary characteristics now. Moreover, since Japan occupied Taiwan for 50 years, Japanese hot spring culture has greatly influenced Taiwanese hot spring industry. Providing good Japanese culinary arts to wellness tourism is considered essential in hot spring hotels. This finding also suggested that the older adults enjoy Japanese food in hot spring hotels with its perfect combination of healthy, visual enjoyment of food presentations, and the perfection punctuations of service process and timing (Smith and Puczkó, 2009). Moreover, other service factors identified in this study are heuristic, such as “Provide enlightenment lectures by resident religious and spiritual mentors,” “Provide musical performances,” and “Provide art exhibitions.” Among the service items mentioned in this study, some of them about older adults’ recognition of wellness tourism are not preferred by the interviewees (such as “Mental learning” and “Social activities”). And these service items are the very factors of service experience that create uniqueness and attraction in wellness tourism. The practitioners should devise suitable market strategies to trigger the first experiential behaviors of older adults, and further create customers’ needs. This is one of the referable results this study offered. Furthermore, we conducted a cluster analysis based on these seven service factors to identify unique segmentations among subjects. The outcome of cluster analysis suggested that the respondents could be further segmented into three sub-groups, “Holistic group,” “Physiotherapy group,” and “Leisure and recreation group.” We compared our results to the cluster analysis results reported by Mueller and Lanz Kaufmann (2001) and contend that the “Holistic group,” “Physiotherapy group,” and “Leisure and recreation group” proposed in this study respectively correspond to Mueller and Lanz Kaufmann's “Demanding health guests,” “Care-intensive health guests,” and “Undemanding recreation guests.” Theoretically, the differences between tourists and operators’ understanding of customer service were eliminated through the two-phase qualitative and quantitative analyses. Specifically, industry experts provided the service factors for wellness tourism based on their own views, these service factors were converted to questionnaire to be verified by the older adult tourists. The reliability and validity of the service factors were confirmed and validated. Eventually, a system of wellness tourism service was established via these processes. Regarding the management implications, because the importance of the seven service factors for old-older adults (aged 65 years and above) and young-older adults (aged between 50 and 64 years) did not differ significantly, the service factors could be transformed into service quality factors for older tourists using transition tools such as Quality Function Deployment to evaluate service performance. Each of the three subgroups segmented by the cluster analysis possessed distinct characteristics. The “Physiotherapy group” emphasizes preventative treatments and the promotion of health through health-promoting activities and complementary, noninvasive medical procedures. The importance of other service factors for this subgroup was comparatively low; thus, the necessary services for this group involve treatments that promote health. The “Holistic group” aims to reach a peaceful physical, mental, and spiritual balance through travel. This subgroup could become a major target market for hot spring hotel industry. The third subgroup, the “Leisure and recreation group,” can be motivated to participate in wellness tourism through healthy diets, relaxation, and social activities. Health promotion and convalescence are not relevant for this group, whose primary objective is enjoyment and socializing with friends. In the hot springs hotel industry, returns on investment, sensitivity to market responses, and a variety of business skills are priorities. Whether a hotel is owned by a family or a company, modern managing operations should be applied, especially in the fields of marketing management, financial management, human resources management, strategic alliances, hospitality management, hotel management, and business diagnoses. For further development based on this study, we suggest that a standard system for quality evaluations similar to the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model could be developed through a combination of the seven service factors proposed in this study. Although we are confident with the practical aspect of this study, we also recognized its limitations. Since the law forbids hot spring hotels to promote curative effects of hot springs or perform invasive medical operations in Taiwan, the service factors suggested in this study should be modified according to the laws and regulations of host countries when they are used as references. In conclusion, this study has shown that the model is applicable to the other hot spring hotel areas that developed health and wellness tourism.