How Experiential Marketing Influence the Tourists’ Intention to Visit Madame Tussauds
Part 1: Introduction: Research Motive and Problem Analysis
In the current day perspective, the development of economic value has moved on to the phase of experience economy. Businesses and organisations have noted that implementing appropriate experiential environment is a critical way of improving the competitive edge and in a manner that is difficult to emulate or substitute (Alkilani, Ling, & Abzakh, 2013). Among the ways in which tourist organisations create experiential environment for their visitors is by providing a good package of tourist services/products with an aim of providing tourists with feelings and experiences that meets their expectations (Garcia, et al, 2014). The focus of this study is to explore the relationship between the application of experiential marketing and tourist intention to visit Madame Tussauds. A number of studies have already been done examining this relationship and for most of them, application of experiential marketing carries a significant number of impacts on the visitor’s behavior (such as Wibisono and Yahya, 2019, Kim, 2018, Tung,2017 and Tsai, 2016). However, there is no study examining this effect on Madame Tussauds Attractions as a specific case study. The current study seeks to address this knowledge gap by examining how the use of experiential marketing (particularly on sense feeling, feel experience, and think experience) by Madame Tussaud’s influence the intention and behavior of tourist to visit the sites.
Part 2: Research framework: literature and hypothesis
This study’s research framework stipulates that experiential marketing factors of sense experience, feel experience and think experience have a positive influence to a tourist’s visit intention. The concept of experiential marketing was proposed by Schmitt (1999) who argued that conventional marketing approaches presents of rational, engineering driven and analytical perception of consumers, services/products and competition which is full of outdated assumptions. The author continues that this form of marketing ignores the psychological based theory regarding consumers as well as their perceptions and reactions to competition and products. Schmitt’s suggestion in this case is that customers have a tendency of taking functional benefits and features, positive brand image and the quality of products/services and that these aspects need to be considered in the current day perspective.
Sense experience emphasizes on a person’s feelings with a purpose of creating experience through the user’s senses. The indicators used for the sense experience include touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. One of the basic principles of humanity is to avoid pain and to seek pleasure or in another perspective, to avoid feeling bad to feel good (Chao, and Kuo, 2013). According to Agapito, et al (2013), feel marketing approach appeals to the user’s inner emotions and feeling with a focus of establishing long lasting experiences which ran from positive moods associated to a given firm to emotions of pride and joy. Feelings are quite forceful when they happen in the course of consumption. Strong feelings do not simply occur instantly but they do develop over time. They also result from the interactions and the contacts. There is a tendency of a consumer embracing a positive emotion when he or she goes through positive experience and feelings in the course of consumption.
Feel experience is a marketing approach whose aim is to influence the moods and emotions of consumers. It relates to how a customer answers the question; how does it feel to use the service/product? Schmitt (1999) considers feel as a concern-attention whose focus is to stir the emotion and feelings of consumers. Kim and Ritchie (2014) noted that a feeling of being refreshed improved the memory of tourism experiences. This author also observed that tourist’s seeking to travel to specific events has relaxation and rest as their main motivations. Chandralal, Rindfleish, and Valenzuela (2015) postulates that it is generally a human psychology to keep in mind how a specific place, brand or people made them feel. The customer’s feelings shape the experience which consequently defines their decision making in future. Customers who encounter memorable and positive experience have a more likelihood of continuing using the services and in the case of tourist destination, revisit intention plus the decision to become loyal.
Think experience on the other hand is a though/thinking which stirs customers to think about the products/services and become interested on them. The indicators of think include provocation, surprise, divergent and convergent. Tung et al (2017) also observes that most of the travelers are seeking meaningful experiences including the sense of physical, spiritual and emotional fulfillment through tourism. Tsai (2016) established that significant tourist experience had a long lasting effect on the human mind with some experiences being most memorable in the consumer’s lifetime. Consequently, this has a significant level of impact on the customer’s decision making process regarding visit intention. The desire to learn new things, as well as develop new skills has also been touted to inspire think experience. In essence, the desire to acquire knowledge has been fronted to be a psychological motivation for a client who want to travel to travel to areas with cultural, language, historical, and geographical significance. Tung et al (2017) demonstrate that acquisition of new knowledge harbored a strong impact on the visitor’s memory. This marketing approach also appeals to target customer’s divergent and convergent thinking through provocation, intrigue and surprise. A good example is a customer visiting a specific science museum whereby; his or her emotions such as being inspired, interested, curious, and being surprised are triggered by the presence of stimuli and the exhibitions at the museum.
Part 3: Research Design: Data collection and Empirical Analysis
For this study, the researcher will use questionnaire survey to collect the data. The specific questionnaire is divided into three parts. The questionnaire will have an introductory message welcoming the participants and informing them the purpose of the study and their right to confidentiality. The subsequently part, Part One is the warm up questions which prepares the respondents towards the actual research questions. Part 2 is the experiential marketing. The author will base the study on the experiential modules postulated by Schmitt (1999) and which include feel, sense, and think. For part 2: the purpose was to describe experiential marketing of tourists in the given destination. Questions asking the respondents to rate different aspects of experiential marketing through the five point Likert scale explained above. The scale on customer’s intention to visit/revisit was borrowed from that developed by Henning-Thurau (2012), which essentially measures holistic satisfaction. The variables include how the visitation inspires the tourist’s sense, feel and thoughts and the tourists’ intention to visit Madame Tussauds. The evaluation of the variables was done using a Likert scale: Strongly Agree, Agree, and Undecided, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree as indicated by 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 respectively. A higher point means that the respondent had a higher level of agreement and vice-versa for lower points. Part 3 is the tourist’s demographics which includes gender, age, education, occupation and marital status.
Secondary Data Sources
A side from conducting primary data collection, I will also need information for background review of the subject, literature review and for discussion against the results. In this case, the author will concentrate on using peer reviewed, recent scholarly articles for this purpose. Some of these sources include organisational websites such as that of Madame Tussauds where the author will be retrieving core information related to company achievement, performance, customer satisfaction among others. Other sources include academic databases including Proquest Search, Emerald, Academic search premier, Business search premier, Jstor, and Scopus. The researcher will also make use of Google Search Engine and Google Scholar platforms to find essential information.
Convenient sampling procedure will be deployed to reach the respondents who will be taking part in the survey. Convenient sampling also referred as opportunity sampling is a form of non-probability sampling approach which entails the researcher engaging respondents from a sample of the population that is available and close to hand (Bornstein et al, 2017). The approach was found ideal for the researcher since as much he is sure that some tourists will be available at Madame Tussauds within the specific period; he does not know who they will be and whether those chosen will volunteer to participate in the study. Therefore, the researcher will rely on those who are available and willing to take part in the survey.
Data Collection and Analysis procedures
For data collection, the researcher will be waiting nearby the Madame Tussauds, randomly intercept the tourists, invite them to participate in the survey. Each respondent is expected to take between 3-5 minutes to fill the questionnaire on the spot. After filling the questionnaires, the researcher will thank the respondents again and retrieve the filled in questionnaires. For data analysis approach, statistical analysis and regression analysis will be used to solve the research objectives. From the 150 designed questionnaires, the researcher anticipates to get a minimum of 100 completed questionnaires for analysis. According to Statistical Solutions (2019) advises that for studies requiring regression analysis, it is ideal to have at least 10 observations for each variable. If the research is utilizing for instance, three independent variables like in our case, then the minimum sample size ought to be 30. Therefore, in our case, the sample size of 100 is more than the minimum needed.
After collecting the filled in questionnaires, the researcher will then code the data from the questionnaires into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. After this, the author will be able to generate frequencies, statistical analysis and regression analysis with the help of the software.
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