The Attitudinal and Behavioral Consequences of Destination Performance
Department or Administrative Unit
Many destinations seek to improve their industry’s performance so that tourists are satisfied and return. Although the construct remains a fundamental goal for governments and tourism agencies alike, a complete understanding about how tourists develop a sense of performance, and the effect this has on their behavior, is lacking. The consequences of performance extend beyond its link to satisfaction, yet tourism research on the construct’s relationship with other important factors has been limited in scope and rigor. This study surveyed visitors to Western Australia and used factor analysis to develop two performance–expectation measures of the destination’s environment and service infrastructure. These multi-attribute estimates were employed, along with measures of trip satisfaction, tourist word-of-mouth and intent-to-return, to test a series of hypothesized relationships in a structural equation model. Fit indices supported the model and destination performance’s link to visitor satisfaction and word-of-mouth behavior. However, contrary to previous reports, tourist satisfaction did not directly influence whether a tourist would return, as this effect was largely mediated by word-of- mouth’s (WOM) link to intent to return. While questions about the close relationship between satisfaction and WOM were raised by the results, another issue discussed was whether WOM behavior provided a mechanism that enhanced attitude accessibility, and the capacity for performance and satisfaction to influence visitation. Recommendations for this construct’s development are discussed, along with some practical insights about WOM’s potential in tourism promotion.
Pritchard, M. (2002). The attitudinal and behavioral consequences of destination performance. Tourism Analysis, 8(1), 61-73. DOI: 10.3727/108354203108750175