Presenter Bios

Presenter and Author:

Jada Lindblom, M.S., is a research assistant and Ph.D. student at Arizona State University (ASU). She has over a decade of professional experience in nonprofit outreach, conservation advocacy, and outdoor education. She has worked as a guide, volunteer leader, and educator on public lands across the western United States.

Co-Authors:

Kari Roberg is a master’s student in Community Resources and Development at ASU, and a research assistant at the Center for Sustainable Tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Leisure Studies from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has over ten years of experience in destination marketing.

Christine Vogt is a professor in the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU and director of the Center for Sustainable Tourism. Her interests focus on tourists’ trip planning, resident involvement in tourism planning, and how tourism and natural resource recreation agencies can sharpen their sustainability planning and outcomes.

Maya Azzi is a master’s student in ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development. She graduated with a B.S in biology from Radford University in 2012. Currently, Maya works as a research assistant for the Center for Sustainable Tourism at ASU.

Kathleen Andereck is a professor and the director of the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU. She has worked with many communities and organizations on tourism planning, including developing visions for the future, tourism resource assessments, visitor management plans, and marketing evaluations.

Abstract

As U.S. national parks face budget constraints and uncertain financial and management futures, the roles of “friends of” park associations are increasingly crucial and diversified. In addition to fulfilling missions of education, advocacy and conservation, many of these organizations have stepped into roles as providers and marketers of unique visitor experiences, including tours, expeditions, and lectures. This research focuses specifically on a “friends” group of an iconic and highly visited national park in the Western United States. Applying consumer preference research on hedonic versus utilitarian choices to the framework of social cognitive theory, this research seeks to understand the relationships between personal factors, external environment, and behavior in members’ interests in types of organizational offerings. Findings emphasize the importance of personal factors in determining what membership attributes are most valued and indicate a strong support for hedonic activity offerings.

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Conservation Meets Concierge: A National Park “Friends” Association as a Purveyor of Visitor Experience

As U.S. national parks face budget constraints and uncertain financial and management futures, the roles of “friends of” park associations are increasingly crucial and diversified. In addition to fulfilling missions of education, advocacy and conservation, many of these organizations have stepped into roles as providers and marketers of unique visitor experiences, including tours, expeditions, and lectures. This research focuses specifically on a “friends” group of an iconic and highly visited national park in the Western United States. Applying consumer preference research on hedonic versus utilitarian choices to the framework of social cognitive theory, this research seeks to understand the relationships between personal factors, external environment, and behavior in members’ interests in types of organizational offerings. Findings emphasize the importance of personal factors in determining what membership attributes are most valued and indicate a strong support for hedonic activity offerings.