Tourism is identified as one of the major potential industries of Thai economy. It is considered to be a top priority for the following reasons; Firstly, it is an industry requiring much labor, thus it provides many jobs for city residents, by which it helps to solve unemployment for society. Secondly, it is an industry which brings with it many important benefits, improving the social-economic situation, and enhancing income for people. Thirdly, it can promote peace, enhancing common understanding and building a unified and sustainable country.
In the last years, Thailand's tourism industry has made significant progress and contributed largely to the economic development and social progress of the nation. In the context of international integration, the Thailand government has focused on developing the tourism industry even further, enhancing service quality, and expanding operations scale. As a result, the number of tourists coming to Thailand has increased significantly between 2009 and 2015.
This study investigates the perceived value, satisfaction and revisit of Russian tourists who visit Thailand on the basis of selected tourism destinations in Bangkok, Thailand.
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Dr. Sinee Sankrusme is currently an associate professor of International Business at the Department of International Business, Faculty of Business Administration, Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand. She also held a position as head department of international business. She has authored almost one hundred articles and several books related to international business communication, international business and trade documents, international business and effects on changes, organizational behavior and management, agribusiness, agricultural marketing, agricultural business, management and human resource management, etc. Her textbook entitled International Business Correspondence was published in Germany. Most of her research focuses on international business, marketing, human resource, business, organization and management, etc. She is widely recognized for numerous publications in the international business journals and also joined several international business conferences.
Chapter: Background of the Problem:
Tourism industry is an important source of income for many countries, it has been considered the second important industry of the 21st century. For this reason it is necessary to find reasonable ways and a disciplined plan to achieve more shares in world market. Tourism is among the few businesses in which evidences of production and service in plans related to attraction, maintenance and extension are easily observable. In those countries which rely much on tourism industry, it stands at the top of all other industries as a green and non-polluting industry because it fits cultural, sociological, political and environmental conditions of these countries and has high returns. Although the concept of destination has attracted the attention of many researches working in the fields of marketing and tourism management, academic and disciplined researches on this subject are relatively dew. Some articles written about destination brand have not gone beyond conceptual researches. Measuring the effectiveness of such brands is of high importance and can be determined using customer-based studies. The global tourism industry has evolved into an area of fierce competition, and a fundamental challenge for marketers is to comprehend the distinguishing characteristics of tourist experiences (Perdue, 2002). In the era of globalization almost every company is facing fierce competition. Perceived value and satisfaction are an important tool to capture competitive advantage. As markets have become increasingly competitive, tourists have become more demanding, expecting increasingly to satisfy their needs. Customer perceived value has been examined in marketing literature for almost two decades (Holbrook, 1999, Brady & Robertson, 1999). This reflects the centrality of goods and services in everyday life, and the importance of value decisions within the buying process. Perceived value is defined as ''the consumer's overall assessment of the utility of a product (or service) based on perceptions of what is received and what is given (Zeithaml,1988). Yet the crux of customer-perceived value has not yet been clearly identified, nor have the relative relationships between price, quality, sacrifice and satisfaction been fully explored. Greater convenience, competitive prices and time saving there are inevitably implications for how consumers evaluate perceived value. However satisfaction play an important role in tourism business. Satisfaction refers to the perceived discrepancy between prior expectation and perceived performance after consumption when performance differs from expectation, dissatisfaction occurs (Oliver,1980). It can be defined as the degree to which one believes that an experience evokes positive feelings (Rust & Oliver, 1994). In tourism context, satisfaction is primarily referred to as a function of pre-travel expectations and post-travel experiences. When experiences compared to expectations result in feelings of gratification, the tourist is satisfied. In tourism research, similar approach is adopted and tourist loyalty intention is represented in terms of the intention to revisit the destination and the willingness to recommend it to friends and relatives (Bigné et al., 2001; Chen & Gusoy, 2001; Niininen et al., 2004). The research investigated the relationship among customer perceived value, satisfaction and revisit. The link between customer satisfaction and company success has historically been a matter of faith, and numerous satisfaction studies have also supported the case (Hill & Alexander, 2000). Customer satisfaction has always been considered an essential business goal because it was assumed that satisfied customers would buy more. However, many companies have started to notice a high customer defection despite high satisfaction ratings (Taylor, 1998). Thisphenomenon has prompted a number ofscholars (Reichheld & Teal, 1996; Oliver 1999) tocriticize the mere satisfaction studies and call for a paradigm shift to the quest of loyalty as a strategic business goal. As a result, satisfaction measurement has recently been displaced by the conceptof customer loyalty, primarily because loyalty is seen as a better predictor of actual behavior. Two of the three measures making up most Customer Loyalty Indices (CLIs) are behavior-based, such as "likelihood to repurchase the product or service" and "likelihood to recommend a product or service to others". The third element of a CLI is usually "overall satisfaction" itself (Taylor, 1998). The move to measure loyalty is based on a desire to better understand retention, which has a direct link to a company's bottom line. Studies have documented that a 5% increase in customer retention can generate a profit growth of 25 - 95% across a range of industries (Reichheld & Sasser, 1990). In addition, retaining existing customers usually has a much lower associated costs than winning new ones (Fornell & Wernerfelt, 1987), so a larger proportion of the gross profit counts towards the bottom line. Furthermore, loyal customers are more likely to act as free word-of-mouth (WOM) advertising agents that informally bring networks of friends, relatives and other potential consumers to a product/service (Shoemaker & Lewis, 1999). In fact, WOM referrals account for up to 60% of sales to new customers (Reicheld & Sasser, 1990). With such exceptional returns, loyalty becomes a fundamental strategic component for organizations. However, in the context of travel and tourism, a review of literature reveals an abundance of studies on tourist satisfaction; and destination loyalty has not been thoroughly investigated (Oppermann, 2000). Therefore, it is time for practitioners and academics to conduct more studies of loyalty in order to have greater knowledge of this concept, to understand the role of customer satisfaction in developing loyalty, other non- satisfaction determinants of customer loyalty, and their interrelationships. Understanding the determinants of customer loyalty will allow management to concentrate on the major influencing factors that lead to customer retention. A number of studies have examined the antecedents or causes of repeat purchase intensions (Cronin et al., 2000). Results of this body of research have shown that satisfaction, quality/performance and different other variables are good predictors of customer intended loyalty. The more satisfied the customers are, the more likely they are to repurchase the product/service and to encourage others to become customers. In order to retain customers, organizations must seek to satisfy them, but a further objective must be to establish customer loyalty. In a tourism context, satisfaction with travel experiences contributes to destination loyalty (Bramwell 1998; Pritchard & Howard 1997). The degree of tourists' loyalty to a destination is reflected in their intentions to revisit the destination and in their willingness to recommend it (Oppermann 2000). Tourists' positive experiences of service, products, and other resources provided by tourism destinations could produce repeat visits as well as positive word-of-mouth effects to friends and/or relatives. Recommendations by previous visits can be taken as the most reliable information sources for potential tourists. Recommendations to other people (word-of mouth) are also one of the most often sought types of information for people interested in traveling. Given the vital role of customer satisfaction, one should not be surprised that a great deal of research has been devoted to investigating the antecedents of satisfaction. Previous satisfaction research has focused predominantly on the following antecedents to consumer satisfaction (Oliver & DeSarbo, 1988), disconfirmation of expectations (Oliver 1980), performance (Churcuill & Suprenant, 1982), affect (Mano & Oliver, 1993), and equity (Tse & Wilton, 1988). Customer satisfaction / dissatisfaction appears to be influenced independently or in combination by these antecedents. Most early research work focused on satisfaction at the global level (Oliver 1980). Until recently, there emerges an attribute-level conceptualization of the antecedents of satisfaction (Oliver 1993). Under an attribute-level approach, overall satisfaction is a function of attribute-level evaluations. These evaluations typically capture a significant amount of variation in overall satisfaction (Bolton & Drew 1991). It is important in tourism to distinguish overall satisfaction from satisfaction with individual attributes. The particular characteristics of tourism have a no effect on tourist satisfaction (Seaton & Bennett, 1996). Beyond the generic characteristics that distinguish services from goods, such as intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and perishability (Zeithaml et al., 1985), there are some further differences between tourism and other services. For example, Middleton and Clarke (2001) highlighted interdependence - sub-sector inter-linkage of tourism products. Tourists experience a medley of services such as hotels, restaurants, shops, attractions, etc.; and they may evaluate each service element separately. Satisfaction with various components of the destination leads to overall satisfaction (Kozak & Rimmington 2000). Therefore, overall satisfaction and attribute satisfaction are distinct, though related, constructs (Oliver 1993). This study focused on overall evaluation, attributes satisfaction, and the relationship between the two. Furthermore, it has been widely acknowledged that destination image affects tourists' subjective perception, consequent behavior and destination choice (Milman & Pizam, 1995). Tourists' behavior is expected to be partly conditioned by the image that they have of destinations. Image will influence tourists in the process of choosing a destination, the subsequent evaluation of the trip and in their future intentions. Destination image exercises a positive influence on perceived quality and satisfaction. A positive image deriving from positive travel experiences would result in a positive evaluation of a destination. Tourist satisfaction would improve if the destination has a positive image. Destination image also affects tourists' behavioral intentions. More favourable image will lead to higher likelihood to return to the same destination. To sum up, the following sequence could be established: destination image, tourist satisfaction, destination loyalty. Destination image is an antecedent of satisfaction. Satisfaction in turn has a positive influence on destination loyalty. In an increasingly saturated marketplace, the success of marketing destinations should be guided by a thorough analysis of destination loyalty and ist interplay with tourist satisfaction and destination image. Nevertheless, the tourism studies to date have addressed and examined the constructs of image, satisfaction and loyalty independently (Bigne et al. 2001), lacking are studies discussing the causal relationships among destination image, tourist satisfaction, and destination loyalty. To bridge the gap in the destination loyalty literature, one of the main purposes of this study was to offer an integrated approach to understanding destination loyalty and examines the theoretical and empirical evidence on the causal relationships among destination image, tourist satisfaction, and destination loyalty. A research model was proposed and tested. The model investigated the relevant relationships among the constructs by using a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach. The primary aim of SEM is to explain the pattern of a series of interrelated dependence relationships simultaneously between a set of latent (unobserved) constructs, each measured by one or more manifest (observed) variables (Reisinger & Turner, 2003).
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