Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to provide a better understanding of golf tourism in a Mediterranean golf resort located in Italy. Based on a systematic literature review, this research develops and tests a context-specific “integrated model” in order to shed further light on the complex discordance in the literature with new empirical data. Furthermore, the present study attempts to establish a framework to provide a better understanding of golf tourism behavior in terms of specific segmentation profiles. This will contribute to a more targeted approach to marketing and promotional activities. Design/methodology/approach– This study applied structural equation modeling to verify the path relationship of golf tourists quality, perceived value, satisfaction and behavioral intention. The final step was to include the suggested moderator variables (age and playing experience) into the model in order to gain further insights. Furthermore, multiple group analyses were calculated in comparing two sub-samples. Findings– This study provides an improved understanding of the role of quality, perceived value, satisfaction on behavioral intentions in golf tourism. Four out of the six hypotheses of the study were confirmed. Precisely, perceived value did not have a direct significant effect on behavioral intentions and quality was not significantly related to overall satisfaction. The empirical results suggest that all three variables appear to have a direct effect on golf tourists’ behavioral intention. Satisfaction was determined to be the best predictor, followed by quality and perceived value. Furthermore, the moderating variables exert a significant influence on some of the proposed relationships. Research limitations/implications– First, the current model explores the impact of only two moderator variables of golf tourists such as age and years of playing experience. Second, the study is limited to a Mediterranean destination; the analysis and measurements should thus be replicated in different contexts to test their adaptability to different golf tourism destinations. Another important limitation is the cross-sectional nature of the data. Practical implications– This research provides important insights the ability to generalize this chain of effects across golf tourists under significantly different conditions. Furthermore, it has important implications for managers of companies that have plans to implement adequate market segmentation strategies in order to expand their business. Based on the finding it is crucial for managers in the golf industry to focus on perceived value for young tourists golfers and on quality for experienced golfers. Managers should customize relationship management programs and develop promotional and pricing strategies for younger golf tourists and exclusive quality services for more experienced golfers. Social implications– As urban lifestyle life becomes more prevalent in modern society, golf tourism relaxes and gives back a sense of calm and peace of mind to the players. Escape from everyday demands and duties is another classic travel motive; many want to get away from the stress and boredom of their daily lives and fill their holidays with a range of exciting and new physically challenging experiences. Therefore, it can be seen that the term of environment conservation improve the sustainability of golf sport tourism in a Mediterranean destination. Originality/value– The inclusion of moderating variables in the proposed model is one of the unique aspects of this research. Dealing with the different groups of golf tourists, the authors put the emphasize on the importance of using two types of appropriate tools: on the one hand, grouping tools which are appropriate to the tourism consumption (demographic variables), and on the other hand, grouping tools which are appropriate to the study of the sports market (years of a plying experience). Combining these two types of criteria will lead marketers to more accurate analysis of golf tourists’ behavior.
EuroMed Journal of Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 7, 2015