The family visitor experience at heritage attractions: value creation within a service environment

Melvin, John D.S. (2016) The family visitor experience at heritage attractions: value creation within a service environment. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The world is becoming characterised by services. This evolution is transforming the way people consume services, with significant implications for both business and society (Ostrom, Bitner, Brown, Burkhard, Goul, Smith-Daniels, Demirkan and Rabinovich, 2010). The role of the consumer has also been transformed, with a much more active and integrated role envisaged (Grönroos, 2011; McColl-Kennedy, Vargo, Dagger, Sweeney and van Kasteren, 2012). The role of the organisation is now to facilitate consumer value creation through the design of the service system and appropriate provision of resources (Grönroos and Voima, 2013; Gummerus, 2013). Service-dominant logic (SDL), service logic (SL) and customer-dominant logic (CDL) have emerged, as marketing researchers attempt to better conceptualise the construct of value and how value is created. Recent definitions consider that value is a phenomenon relating to ‘value in use’ and ‘value in the experience’ (e.g. Heinonen and Strandvik, 2015; Helkkula, Kelleher and Pihlström, 2012b).

One of the main impediments to advancing understanding and conceptual development of value creation is the relative lack of empirical research, with some recent notable exceptions (e.g. Echeverri and Skålén, 2011; McColl-Kennedy et al, 2012; Tynan, McKechnie and Hartley, 2014). In the hope of generating insight and understanding into the value creation process, there has been an increasing number of calls for research (e.g. Russell-Bennett and Baron, 2015; Fitzpatrick, Varey, Grönroos and Davey, 2015; Grönroos, 2011; Heinonen and Strandvik, 2015; McColl-Kennedy, Gustafsson, Jaakkola, Klaus, Radnor, Perks and Friman, 2015). In response to these calls, this exploratory study investigates value creation in the context of family visits to Edinburgh Castle, one of the most popular heritage visitor attractions in the UK. In-depth interviews with local families were conducted before and after a visit. These were complemented by visitor observations and interviews with managerial and frontline staff. Grounded theory methods were employed during data analysis.

This study makes five important and timely contributions to the literature. The first is that understanding of the intricacies of the value creation process has been significantly enhanced. Rich insights were afforded into how families created and co-created value. Advancing beyond the simplistic customer-firm dyad, multiple interactive pathways within the complex service system from which value can emerge were identified. Illuminating examples of potential value being destroyed or remaining unrealised were observed, providing greater appreciation of the complexities inherent in value co-creation.

Secondly, this thesis presents a matrix that depicts different approaches among the family members towards interaction within the service system. More detailed appreciation of how and why some consumers undertake ‘approach’ behaviours while others do not adds greatly to the understanding of consumer behaviour. By proposing that consumers are heavily influenced by their orientation to interacting with different aspects of the service system as well as their ability to access and utilise resources, this matrix offers a conceptual framework that can guide future research. Thirdly, ten different value-creating activities are identified within families’ cognitive, emotive and physical interactions undertaken during their visit. Fourthly, it endorses recent conceptualisations of the resource integration, which view value as emerging from both the resource integrative process as well as value as an outcome of this integration (Gummerus, 2013; Mohd-Any, Winklhofer and Ennew, 2014). Finally, it proposes an enhanced conceptual framework to better understand family behaviour in service settings. This builds on the family identity framework of Epp and Price (2008) and recent work by Schänzel, Yeoman and Backer (2012) that is finally addressing the dearth of research on families (Obrador, 2012; Small, 2008).

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: McCabe, A. Scott
Winklhofer, Heidi
Keywords: Value creation, service logic, services marketing, tourism marketing, heritage tourism, heritage visitor attraction, family tourism
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 38000
Depositing User: Melvin, John
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 21:42

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