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Journal ArticleDOI

The impact of tour service performance on tourist satisfaction and behavioral intentions : a study of Chinese tourists in Hong Kong

01 Apr 2015-Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing (Routledge)-Vol. 32, pp 18-33

AbstractThis study proposes and tests a tour service performance framework that assesses the impact of tour service performance on tourists’ satisfaction with tour services and experience as well as their behavioral intentions, based on data collected from 580 Chinese tourists participating in package tours in Hong Kong. All of the scales used were pretested and refined using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The results show that satisfaction with tour services and satisfaction with the tour experience are distinct constructs with differential relationships with the various tour services. Among the seven tour services examined, tour guiding service has the greatest impact on satisfaction with tour services, whereas leisure activities have the greatest impact on satisfaction with the tour experience. The results also suggest that behavioral intentions are determined by tour guide service and tourist satisfaction. The methodology employed allows a comprehensive and focused evaluation of all services incl...

Summary (3 min read)

Introduction

  • This study proposes and tests a tour service performance framework that assesses the impact of tour service performance on tourists’ satisfaction with tour services and experience as well as their behavioral intentions, based on data collected from 580 Chinese tourists participating in package tours in Hong Kong.
  • They are distinct from support services, which stimulate customers‟ desire to participate in the tour, and include attractions, shopping, and recreation and entertainment activities.
  • This distinction is important for both managers and researchers, because the two constructs have different foci and determinants.
  • LITERATURE REVIEW performance of a particular type of tour service, yet little has been done to segment tour services into distinct components and examine the individual impact of these components on tourist satisfaction and behavioral intentions.

Tour Services

  • One of the earliest studies that evaluated tour service performance was conducted by Whipple and Tach (1988), who partitioned a trip to Niagara Falls into tourism services and attractions.
  • Similarly, Wang, Hsieh, and Huan (2000) separated a package tour from Taiwan into eight consecutive items comprising pre-tour briefing, airports, hotels, restaurants, coach services, scenic spots, shopping, and optional tours.
  • A commonly used approach to measure service performance in the tourism industry is that of Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985), in which service is evaluated along the five classification is offered by Gronroos (1984), who identified technical and functional quality as the two fundamental sets of quality dimensions.
  • Other researchers have used a similar approach, but identified the dimensions with different terms.
  • Czepiel, Solomon, Surprenant, and Gutman (1985) stated that service evaluation depends on functional and performancedelivery components, the former referring to the content of the service and the latter to the delivery process.

Customer Satisfaction

  • In the tourism literature, the term “satisfaction” has been used rather loosely.
  • An additional difference is that satisfaction with a service can largely be controlled by the service provider (Baker & Crompton, 2000), whereas satisfaction with an experience is primarily driven by the involvement and motivations of the customer, which are more difficult to manipulate (Mannell & Iso-Ahola, 1987).
  • Indirect support for this multifaceted concept of satisfaction can be found in some tourism studies in which service items and experience items are included as measures of tourist satisfaction (see Duke & Persia, 1996; Geva & Goldman, 1989; Ross & Iso-Ahola, 1991).
  • Behavioral Intentions Behavioral intentions have been conceptualized and measured in many ways and in various contexts.
  • Loyal to the company and willingness to pay more were found to be the key benefits of customer loyalty.

RESEARCH MODEL

  • The research model presented in Figure 1 includes seven tour services: attractions, recreation and entertainment, shopping, tour guiding service, food, transportation, and accommodation.
  • As food, transportation, and accommodation are fundamental to subsistence, they are referred to as core services.
  • Guiding services in this case is the service provided by tour guides.
  • Satisfaction with tour services refers to customers‟ evaluation of the services provided by the tour operator, where customers are deemed to be satisfied if their expectations of the service aspects are met.
  • Behavioral intentions are consumers‟ subjective probabilities of participating in tours organized by a tour operator and their willingness to pay.

Hypotheses

  • Satisfaction with tour services was hypothesized to be related to seven types of tour services based on previous research that treated satisfaction as something that emerges from the is posited to result when customers‟ expectations are met and the tour services are considered “good value for money”.
  • Customers would not be satisfied with the tour experience if the core services were good but the support services were boring.
  • The two satisfaction constructs examined in this study are believed to have a significant impact on behavioral intentions.

Measurement

  • To develop a better understanding of the underlying constructs that constitute tour services, four focus groups were conducted among residents in Beijing who had joined a package tour to Hong Kong in the previous 12 months.
  • Respondents rated each item on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
  • All scales yielded high coefficient alphas, ranging from 0.84 to 0.91.
  • Given that causal relationships are being hypothesized, two separate factor analyses were performed.
  • The final instrument consisted of four scales measuring tour service performance (21 items), satisfaction with tour services (three items), satisfaction with tour experience (six items), and behavioral intentions (four items).

Data Collection

  • The targeted sample included mainland Chinese tourists who visited Hong Kong in a tour group and experienced various tour services.
  • Chinese tourists participating in package tours were approached at three popular tourist spots in Hong Kong over a two-week period.
  • Those who matched the age, gender, and marital status criteria and consented to participate were given a complete the survey at the end of the tour and return it to the researcher by post.
  • The questionnaire items were originally in Chinese and were translated into English for publication.

RESULTS

  • Of the 1,200 questionnaires distributed, 580 usable copies were returned, giving a response rate of 48.3%.
  • Most of the respondents were either secondary school graduates (24.8%) or college graduates (64.7%).
  • Modification indices revealed that the items for attractions and recreation and entertainment cross-loaded, which implied that they might belong to the same factor.
  • All other model fit indices provided evidence of a good model fit.
  • The results demonstrated that both satisfaction with tour services and satisfaction with the tour experience had a significant impact on customer behavioral intentions, explaining more than 52% of the variation in this construct.

Academic Contributions

  • This study makes two major academic contributions.
  • It may thus make more sense to treat them as separate constructs and to develop measures for assessing them independently.
  • Unfortunately, price and market share will not provide a winning edge when the market becomes more individualized and consumers become more demanding.
  • Of all the tour services examined in this study, tour guiding service had the greatest effect on satisfaction with tour services and the second greatest effect on satisfaction with the tour experience.
  • In Hong Kong, tour guides are the industry‟s lowest-paid and least-trained employees (Au, 1998).

Limitations and Further Studies

  • Some limitations of this study must be noted along with its findings.
  • A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research.

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Accepted for publication in the special issue of the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing on Chinese Outbound Tourism
1
The Impact of Tour Service Performance on Tourist Satisfaction and Behavioral
Intentions: A Study of Chinese Tourists in Hong Kong
Andrew Chan*
Cathy H. C. Hsu
School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
&
Tom Baum
Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
*Corresponding Author: Andrew Chan, Assistant Professor, School of Hotel and Tourism
Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong;
Tel: +852 3400 2297; Fax: +852 2362 9362; Email: andrew.chan@polyu.edu.hk
Cathy H.C. Hsu, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Hotel and Tourism Management,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong; Tel: +852 3400
2323; Fax: +852 2362 9362; Email: cathy.hsu@polyu.edu.hk
Tom Baum, Professor, Department of Human Resource Management, University of
Strathclyde, Graham Hills Building, 50 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XU, Scotland; Tel:
+44 141 548 3954; Email: t.g.baum@strath.ac.uk
March 2013

Accepted for publication in the special issue of the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing on Chinese Outbound Tourism
2
The Impact of Tour Service Performance on Tourist Satisfaction and Behavioral
Intentions: A Study of Chinese Tourists in Hong Kong
ABSTRACT
This study proposes and tests a tour service performance framework that assesses the impact
of tour service performance on tourists’ satisfaction with tour services and experience as well
as their behavioral intentions, based on data collected from 580 Chinese tourists
participating in package tours in Hong Kong. All of the scales used were pre-tested and
refined using confirmatory factor analysis. The results show that satisfaction with tour
services and satisfaction with the tour experience are distinct constructs with differential
relationships with the various tour services. Among the seven tour services examined, tour
guiding service has the greatest impact on satisfaction with tour services, whereas leisure
activities have the greatest impact on satisfaction with the tour experience. The results also
suggest that behavioral intentions are determined by tour guide service and tourist
satisfaction. The methodology employed allows a comprehensive and focused evaluation of
all services included in package tours.
KEYWORDS. Customer satisfaction, service quality, tour service, tour experience, package
tour, behavioral intention.

Accepted for publication in the special issue of the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing on Chinese Outbound Tourism
3
INTRODUCTION
Tourists who participate in package tours are often looking for a total experience, and thus a
perceived shortfall in any dimension of a tour can give rise to tourist dissatisfaction or
defection. However, the quality of a package tour does not depend on the performance of a
single supplier, but is rather the result of the coordinated efforts of many travel suppliers,
such as airlines, cruise companies, coach and bus companies, railways, hotels, restaurants,
shops, and theme parks, to name just a few. These suppliers often differ in their goals and
objectives, and no single organization has direct control over the others. In order to determine
whether all or particular parts of tour services actually live up to customer expectations, there
is a need to develop methods to assess the performance of individual suppliers of the services
included in package tours.
The present study sought to explicate the effect of seven types of tour services
(transportation, accommodation, food, attractions, tour guiding, shopping, and recreation, and
entertainment activities) on tourists‟ satisfaction and behavioral intentions. Tour services are
further divided into the three broad categories of core, support, and guiding services based on
their effects on tourist satisfaction. Specifically, core services encompass transportation,
accommodation, and food, which fulfill customers‟ basic subsistence needs. They are distinct
from support services, which stimulate customers‟ desire to participate in the tour, and
include attractions, shopping, and recreation and entertainment activities. A similar
distinction was made by Uysal and Noe (2003) between „instrumental” and “expressive”
attributes in the context of outdoor recreation. A guiding service is provided by tour guides
and tour leaders, who are responsible for monitoring the itinerary and providing immediate
support to customers as the tour moves along. Effective guiding service can create interesting
experiences for customers, thereby enhancing their satisfaction and retention (Spears &
Rosenbaum, 2012).

Accepted for publication in the special issue of the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing on Chinese Outbound Tourism
4
Tourist satisfaction is a complex phenomenon and its evaluation is a similarly
complex process that can be studied at various levels. Some researchers, for example, have
differentiated between satisfaction with the tourism services and satisfaction with the tourism
experience (del Bosque & San Martin, 2008; Hosany & Gilbert, 2010; Neal, Sirgy, & Uysal,
1999). This distinction is important for both managers and researchers, because the two
constructs have different foci and determinants. Specifically, a tourist‟s satisfaction with a
service refers to a satisfaction judgment directed toward the service itself, and is driven by the
product and service quality of a transaction (Crompton & Love, 1995). Tourists are satisfied
when the service that they receive matches their expectations. In contrast, tourist satisfaction
with the service experience refers to the entire consumption experience, which may be
influenced by individual factors. Despite the fact that the two constructs can be distinguished
conceptually, few attempts have been made to investigate them simultaneously.
Due to its rapid economic development, China has become the fastest-growing
outbound travel market in the world. According to the China Tourism Academy (2011), the
number of outbound Chinese tourists has increased seventyfold over the past two decades to
70 million. Although some of the barriers to travel have been removed, many mainland
Chinese tourists still prefer to travel as part of a group tour (Yu & Weiler, 2001; Zhang &
Chow, 2004). Despite their significance, the behaviors of Chinese tourists in tour groups and
their perceptions of tour services are not well understood. This study separated tour services
into discrete components and examined their relative impact on satisfaction and behavioral
intentions. Consideration is given to two types of customer satisfaction: satisfaction with tour
services and satisfaction with the tour experience. Results will provide essential information
to tour operators who design and bundle tour packages for mainland Chinese tourists.
LITERATURE REVIEW

Accepted for publication in the special issue of the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing on Chinese Outbound Tourism
5
A considerable body of work in the tourism literature has focused on assessing the
performance of a particular type of tour service, yet little has been done to segment tour
services into distinct components and examine the individual impact of these components on
tourist satisfaction and behavioral intentions. This section, therefore, provides a brief review
of tour services, with an emphasis on understanding their components and dimensions.
Previous studies related to customer satisfaction and behavioral intentions are also reviewed
to understand their conceptualization and to support the contention that satisfaction with tour
services and satisfaction with the tour experience are separate and distinct constructs.
Tour Services
One of the earliest studies that evaluated tour service performance was conducted by Whipple
and Tach (1988), who partitioned a trip to Niagara Falls into tourism services and attractions.
Two tourism services factors (tour guide service and convenience of departure points) and
one attraction factor (the quality of sightseeing) were identified as the determinants of
customer satisfaction and revisit intention. In a destination study by Murphy, Pritchard, and
Smith (2000), visitors‟ perceptions of quality were divided into two components of
environment and infrastructure. In another study, Weiermair and Fuchs (1999) divided the
service quality of ski resorts into the eight components of food and accommodation, sports
activities, animation and culture, transportation, skiing, nature, landscape, and shopping.
Similarly, Wang, Hsieh, and Huan (2000) separated a package tour from Taiwan into eight
consecutive items comprising pre-tour briefing, airports, hotels, restaurants, coach services,
scenic spots, shopping, and optional tours. While there is no consensus among researchers as
to how tour services are best partitioned, it is generally agreed that tour services can be
divided into distinct components and evaluated separately.
A commonly used approach to measure service performance in the tourism industry is
that of Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985), in which service is evaluated along the five

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Abstract: The statistical tests used in the analysis of structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error are examined. A drawback of the commonly applied chi square test, in addit...

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  • ...The composite reliability ranged from .85 to .92, and all coefficients were within the recommended minimum range (Fornell & Larcker, 1981)....

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Abstract: The attainment of quality in products and services has become a pivotal concern of the 1980s. While quality in tangible goods has been described and measured by marketers, quality in services is la...

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Abstract: If service quality relates to retention of customers at the aggregate level, as other research has indicated, then evidence of its impact on customers’ behavioral responses should be detectable. Th...

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Book
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Frequently Asked Questions (2)
Q1. What are the contributions in "The impact of tour service performance on tourist satisfaction and behavioral intentions: a study of chinese tourists in hong kong" ?

This study proposes and tests a tour service performance framework that assesses the impact of tour service performance on tourists ’ satisfaction with tour services and experience as well as their behavioral intentions, based on data collected from 580 Chinese tourists participating in package tours in Hong Kong. Among the seven tour services examined, tour guiding service has the greatest impact on satisfaction with tour services, whereas leisure activities have the greatest impact on satisfaction with the tour experience. The results also suggest that behavioral intentions are determined by tour guide service and tourist satisfaction. 

Several areas emerge from this study that should be addressed in future research. Finally, other variables that may affect customer satisfaction, including customer motivation, personality, and previous travel experience, could be explored by future research. A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. 93. 88 I will say positive things about this operator to other people..