Foodservice experience and tourist satisfaction and their implications for destinations
Given the scarcity of research ascertaining the relationship between tourists' foodservice experiences and holiday satisfaction and its implications for destinations, this study primarily set out to provide guidelines on ways in which tourists' foodservice experiences and holiday satisfaction can be assessed and enhanced. The present study consisted of three interdependent phases, and questionnaire-based surveys were employed to test the research hypotheses. A combination of different qualitative techniques was utilised in order to shortlist the relevant attributes to be included in each research instrument. These instruments were then subjected to further tests in order to ensure their adequacy and appropriateness. The first research phase ascertained the relative validity and reliability of the existing satisfaction measurement frameworks and was implemented in a chain restaurant in Sheffield. This phase aimed to identify the most reliable and valid operational framework to be utilised in the subsequent phases of the research. The second phase explored tourist satisfaction dimensions and ascertained the relative contribution of each dimension, particularly that of the foodservice experience, to holiday satisfaction and future behavioural intentions among visitors to South West Turkey. The final phase specifically examined what matters most in tourists' foodservice evaluations, and explored whether different dining segments developed their satisfaction and behavioural intention judgements based on different service attributes in non-fast-food restaurants situated in South West Turkey. The results of the first phase indicated that a more direct measure of perceived performance might be a better predictor of customer satisfaction than more complex composite measures of disconfirmation of expectations. The perceived-performance only model, out-performed the disparity models, which involved a comparison between a predetermined standard and the perceived performance (the Expectancy Disconfirmation Paradigm), and the multiplication models, where performance was weighted by the attribute importance, in predicting customer satisfaction and behavioural intentions. The results of the second phase revealed that tourist satisfaction was multidimensional. Among the identified holiday components, tourists' impressions of foodservice experiences were found to be an important factor in tourists' holiday satisfaction and behavioural intention judgements. While positive tourists' impressions of foodservice experiences were found to enhance holiday satisfaction, the negative impressions were found to have potential to override well-executed quality in other areas. The results of the final phase demonstrated that there were numerous factors affecting tourist foodservice experiences and that the manner in which the restaurant product is delivered was found to account for the greatest impact on tourist dining satisfaction and return intentions. Analysing the benefits sought from non-fast food resort restaurants by tourists, the research identified five distinct dining segments, including: the Value-Seekers, the Service-Seekers, the Adventurous Food-Seekers, the Healthy Food- Seekers, and the Atmosphere-Seekers. These segments were found to develop their satisfaction and return intention judgements based on different restaurant attributes. Overall, the study findings provided strong support for the research hypotheses and showed that tourist foodservice experiences may lay the foundation for, and shape the nature of tourist holiday experience. Marketing and management implications of the study findings are discussed and recommendations for future research are provided.