Developing a perceived value model for the cruise experience
Schoeman, Kiéra Danielle
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The cruise industry is one of the most important economic growth sectors in the entire tourism market and globally this industry has expanded and grown dramatically over the past 30 years. South Africa as a cruise destination is still growing and has not yet reached its full potential. However this study found that in recent years there has been a decline in growth percentages, which if not addressed soon will inevitably hold a number of complications and challenges for the industry’s future, both in South Africa and globally. Competition levels between cruise liners are high and as a result the market, which is mass segment orientated is becoming saturated. Perceived value has been seen as the most important indicator for future purchase behaviour of services, such as a cruise experience and is key to growing the cruise market ensuring sustained growth into the future. Yet, few studies have examined the underlying framework of perceived value for tourism activities and no studies to date have developed a perceived value model which captures the total cruise experience. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop a perceived value model for the cruise experience. To achieve the above mentioned, a thorough theoretical and empirical investigation was employed. This study found a number of challenges associated with perceived value as a field of study, some of which include: the myriad number of different models which exist, unlimited determinants which are measured, unstandardised use of perceived values, obscure definitions of the function of perceived value and a lack of perceived value research in a tourism setting. These gaps are all addressed in this study. Grounded in perceived value theory this study explored key studies developed by perceived value experts. After careful investigation, a number of perceived value dimensions were recognised as well as the determining items used to measure these values. A pilot study was conducted to measure the suitability of these items for the cruise industry and expert advice from both academics and cruise experts was used to amend final changes to the measuring instrument. Based on theoretical evidence it was found that the cruise tourist transitions through various phases during the cruise experience and since it was important that the preand post-perceptions of cruise passengers be captured, two questionnaires needed to be developed. The South African cruise industry is seasonal (November-March) and as it was essential that the same respondents partake in the pre- and postevaluations of this study. Therefore, an online questionnaire was deemed the best approach, accommodating all respondents regardless of their geographic location. The program Adobe Form Central® (2014) was used to conduct the online survey during the cruise season 2014/15. Nine hundred and seventy eight (978) preperceived questionnaires were collected and on consent from the cruise passengers, 497 respondents participated in the post-perceived survey. Only those respondents who successfully participated in both the pre- and post-perceived value questionnaires could be used for final analysis; the remaining questionnaires were discarded for the purpose of this study. Therefore, the number of pre- and postperceived value questionnaires used for statistical analyses was N = 497. The sample sizes of this research were seen as adequate to be representative of the total cruise market during the 2014/15 South African cruise season. In order to achieve the goal of this study, selected statistical techniques were employed. Firstly, the validity and reliability of the questionnaire were tested and an initial analysis (descriptive statistics) to convey the socio-demographic and cruise traveller profile of the respondents by means of frequency tables was performed. This was followed by two separate exploratory factor analyses employed on the pre- and post-perceived value items, which revealed 13 reliable and valid perceived value dimensions. These value dimensions were used as determinants of satisfaction and loyalty in a multiple regression analysis. Other statistical analyses that were performed included: correlations; analysis of variance (ANOVAs) and independent ttest analysis. These analyses were used to develop the perceived value model for a cruise experience. The results of the study confirmed that the perceived value of a cruise experience is in fact multifaceted. The perceived value with unique reference to a cruise experience therefore consists of perceived epistemic value; perceived escape value; perceived rejuvenate value; perceived emotional value; perceived novelty value; perceived internal social value; perceived external social value, perceived social image value, perceived recreational value, perceived service and quality value, perceived sacrifice value, perceived package/money value and perceived risk value. Though these factors did not entirely agree with the initial classification of the value dimensions as predicted in the literature review, they focused on appropriate and effective values to measure the perceived value of a cruise experience. Large positive correlations were found between both the pre- and post-perceived values indicating their interrelatedness and dependence on one another. Various socio-demographic and cruise traveller behaviour elements indicated large positive correlations between various pre-perceived values and post-perceived values. Post-perceived service and quality value was revealed as the biggest determinant of satisfaction and loyalty. The above mentioned need to be incorporated into cruise marketing, product development and management approaches. This study contributes in the following ways: this study is the first of its kind as it has not been applied to the cruise industry and more specifically to the South African cruise industry. Added to this a perceived value model has not been developed for the cruise experience, which measures the pre- and post-perceptions of cruise passengers and their effect on satisfaction and loyalty. The main theoretical contribution made by the author in this study and which can be tested by future researchers was the development of the theoretical perceived value framework, upon which the empirical model was based. The methodological contributions of this study included the aspects used to develop a perceived value model. These were not only applied for the first time in this study, but also within a South African context. This study makes a contribution by developing a measuring instrument which measures the pre- and post-perceived value of a cruise experience, the cruise traveller profile and elements that are a result of the perceived value experience (i.e. loyalty and satisfaction). Reliability and validity for the scale were well confirmed; therefore, this measuring instrument can be adapted and used for future studies conducted in similar settings. Empirically this study contributed by identifying the predictors of satisfaction and loyalty as a result of post-perceived values within a tourism context such as perceived value and are tested for the first time. Lastly, the most significant contribution made by this study is the development of a perceived value model, which if properly implemented by cruise companies can increase future growth numbers and the cruise experience can directly be improved by taking this information into account. By incorporating this model into marketing strategies for the South African cruise market, the perceived value of a cruise experience can be predicted and controlled, while also enhancing the cruise experience and ensuring re-visitation.