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Making space for experiences

By Michael Morgan

Abstract

Leisure and retail providers need to understand the elements of the visitor experience and the way in which they evaluate their satisfaction. This article suggests a holistic prism model of the interaction between the management and the visitor in a leisure space. This is applied to a netnographic study of visitors to a folk festival to illustrate the interconnectiveness of the different attributes causing dissatisfaction. It found that the physical and operational attributes were evaluated not through a checklist of individual features but as hindrances to the visitor's desire to make best use of the time. Visitors also evaluated the experience in the light of their own values and concerns, passing judgement on the values communicated by the management. At the heart of the experience was the enjoyment of choosing from an abundant offer and discovering something new. The main attraction is often only the pretext for enjoying the company of friends so places to meet before and chill-out afterwards are vital to the experience. The distinctiveness of the setting, the food and drink can become the sensory cues which give the event or location its uniqueness. The challenge to retail and leisure organisations is to design these elements of a memorable experience into their offerings

Topics: tou
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk:829

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