Towards a conceptual framework for value co-creation in wine tourism
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Wine tourism is one of the niche sectors of the tourism industry that holds significant potential for South Africa. With the Cape Winelands being the second-most visited destination in the country, the value of wine tourism comprises foreign-exchange earnings, employment opportunities, and the generation of economic activity which could create extensive long-term wealth and sustain wide-ranging tourism growth. The literature on wine tourism is however limited and mostly focused on a macro-economic level to address strategic issues with limited emphasis on the wine tasting encounter. It is however increasingly proposed in literature that interaction during encounters leads to value-in-use, whereby the consumer as user co-creates value with the supplier. Co-creation holds that value emerges from resources which are transferred during interaction, integrated with other resources with mutual learning as the outcome. Co-creation can be defined as consumers’ creation of value-in-use; a function of interaction. It is also described as the process by which mutual value is expanded together. Value co-creation results in higher returns on investment, increased insights obtained from target markets, increased resources and intellectual property, improved brand loyalty, increased levels of brand experience and enhanced service delivery. For these reasons it is argued that co-creation should be embraced in a wine tasting context in order for wineries to remain competitive and sustainable. This research attempts to contribute to wine tourism literature on a micro-economic level with the development of a framework which could potentially enhance the wine tasting encounter; not only for the wine tourist, but also the winery. The tourist is increasingly playing a more central role in the tourism experience which highlights the importance of co-creation. The purpose of the framework is to guide wineries in transforming wine tastings by means of extra-role behaviours in order to transfer and integrate resources (skills and knowledge) during the encounter, with the aim to facilitate mutual learning. The integration of resources which results in better outcomes is known as value co-creation, with the value of the wine tasting encounter embedded in the renewal of knowledge for both parties involved. Mixed-method research was utilised in developing the framework, whereby telephone interviews were conducted with tasting room managers and an e-survey completed by wine festival attendees. Quantitative data analyses included descriptive analyses, exploratory factor analyses, correlation analyses, and structural equation modelling, which confirmed the relationships postulated in the conceptual framework. Thematic analyses were performed based on the interviews which were integrated with quantitative findings by means of a joint display. The practical application of this framework could potentially enable wineries to be more cognisant of the unique needs of wine tourists during the wine tasting encounter, to encourage resource transfer, and to provide sufficient value propositions to wine tourists in order to create value; not only for the tourists, but also for themselves during wine tastings. This could lead to a competitive advantage, increased loyalty and ultimately increased wine purchases. From an academic perspective, this study is the first of its kind to apply co-creation to a wine tasting context. Wine tourism as a system, however, has been the focus in other co-creation studies (Festa, Brontis, Thrassou & Ciasullo, 2015; Borges, Souto, da Silva, Araujo & de Menezes, 2016). These two studies addressed the relational perspective in wine tourism and innovation through co-creation, which still left a gap in wine tourism literature for co-creation during wine tastings. In addition, the mixed-method approach of the study makes it unique in terms of co-creation literature as most co-creation studies are quantitative in nature and usually are from either the demand or supply perspective only. This study provides a more holistic picture by using both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore co-creation from both perspectives in a wine tourism environment.