Date of Award

12-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Backman, Sheila

Committee Member

Norman , William

Committee Member

Backman , Kenneth

Committee Member

Jones , Scott

Abstract

Golf travel has been shown to be a strong component of the economy for regions that rely on tourism for generating revenue (Flowers, 2006). As a reflection of the importance of this component of the tourism industry, researchers have examined the components of the golf travel experience (Petrick & Backman, 2002). One methods to examine the quality of the experiences is to examine variables such as perceived value (Hutchinson, Lai & Wang, in press), loyalty (Backman, 1991) and satisfaction (Petrick & Backman 2001, 2002b).
Consumer behavior research has looked at satisfaction as a gauge of the quality of the experience as well as a measure of potential for future behavior (Holbrook, 2006). Cognitive aspects of the experience (i.e., appraisal of attribute performance) have been used as a predictor of satisfaction through the comparison standards (CS) model (Fournier & Mick, 1999). However, a move away from the dominant CS model has begun by looking at experiential components of satisfaction (Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982). This move has prompted many researchers, such as Oliver (1993), to begin looking at affective components of the experience as a predictor of satisfaction. Currently, there is a lack of consensus definition of affect in marketing and consumer behavior contexts. Psychology literature defines affect as an overall state that includes other feelings such as mood and emotions. Some marketing researchers have used the label of affect to describe what psychology labels as emotion.
This study examined satisfaction as influenced both by the cognitive CS model as well as the feelings that result from a consumption experience. These feelings are defined as emotions that are defined in psychology literature as short-term and targeted toward the experience. The purpose of this study was to examine a model of golf travelers' satisfaction focusing on the variables of attribute performance appraisal and consumption emotions. This study also addressed the influence of time on the relationships between attribute performance appraisal, emotion and satisfaction. The hypotheses of this study looked at the relationships between emotion, attribute performance and satisfaction both immediately following the consumption experience and 21-28 days later.
To test these hypotheses, respondents were recruited from golf courses in the southern tip of the Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand, South Carolina, region immediately following their round of golf. After screening for travelers (i.e., out-of-state and those staying in the region for less than six weeks) 480 surveys were collected on-site for Time One. Of these 114 completed the Time Two questionnaire which was collected online.
The results from the structural equation model and chi-square difference tests found that emotions do not range from positive to negative on a semantic differential scale; rather they comprise two dimensions, positive and negative, that interact separately with satisfaction. The strongest relationship at time one was between positive emotion and satisfaction. The strongest relationship at time two was between attribute performance appraisal and satisfaction. Negative emotion was found to have very little relationship with satisfaction at time one or time two. The strongest predictor of satisfaction at time two was satisfaction at time one. This relationship was found not to be mediated through emotion or attribute appraisal at time two.
The study shows that positive emotion has the biggest influence on feelings of satisfaction immediately following the experience, and that although there are some changes over time, satisfaction remains fairly static. The results suggest that the changes in satisfaction at time two occur from a 'reappraisal' of the attributes.

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