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Title: The application of social marketing to promote water efficiency in the tourism accommodation industry
Author: Borden, David Scott
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 9447
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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This research aimed to critically appraise the nature and application of social marketing to promote water efficiency within tourism accommodation. Social marketing is the use of standard marketing techniques to change behaviour for a social goal. Efforts to promote water efficiency in this context are needed as it has been acknowledged that the tourism industry generally increases per capita water consumption per individual. To alleviate this issue, research engaged a diversity of stakeholders, unique to similar past efforts, through four stages of research. Stages One and Two engaged managers of tourism accommodation in focus groups and interviews. Managers reported a high interest in changing guest behaviour but emphasized the guest experience was paramount. They identified that most initiatives aiming to promote water efficiency in the existing literature were not viable within their operations and instead they offered new ideas for engaging both guests and fellow managers. In Stage Three, an online questionnaire was conducted with 408 individuals. Results showed significant changes in most water behaviours, though not all, between home and away, indicating promoting efficiency is needed in both sites of practice. Through cluster analysis, three types of water users within the tourism accommodation were identified. Each segment displayed distinct water use patterns and willingness to participate in initiatives. The final stage engaged a panel of experts in a Delphi consultation aiming to discover consensus on evaluating and prioritizing possible initiatives emerging from previous stages. This is the first application of a Delphi consultation, for this purpose, within the field of social marketing. In addition to recommending the pursuit of certain initiatives to practitioners, the research also yielded several theoretical contributions. Primarily, there is a strong need to standardize the process and unit of analysis for measuring water consumption within tourism accommodation. Secondly, the size, type and clientele base of the business are important factors in considering water efficiency initiatives and therefore social marketing campaigns would be best designed specific to the individual needs of a particular business and not generalized across the industry. Additionally, campaigns to promote water efficiency in tourism accommodation should apply the established theories of modelling, norms creation and social capital. In general, less attention on individual actions and instead larger upstream issues affecting targeted behaviours would enable greater water savings. Finally, the Delphi consultation is recommended as an effective tool for prioritizing and evaluating social marketing initiatives.
Supervisor: Coles, Tim ; Gareth, Shaw Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Marketing ; tourism accomodation ; water efficiency