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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Management

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Linda J. Shea

Second Advisor

Linda L. Lowry

Third Advisor

Elizabeth G. Miller

Fourth Advisor

Lisa A. Keller

Subject Categories

Food and Beverage Management | Marketing | Tourism and Travel

Abstract

Brand loyalty and repeat purchase intentions are accepted as important and inextricably intertwined phenomena in contemporary marketing literature, with many studies pertaining to this area. In order to achieve customer loyalty, it is important for companies to create strong bonds between their products or brands and consumers. Consumer Experience Tourism (CET) has been increasingly used as a strategic marketing tool in an attempt to strengthen such bonds, particularly by producers of frequently purchased consumer staples such as food and beverages. With no studies to date identified as having tested the effects of CET on medium to long-term consumer brand loyalty and purchasing behavior, how such behavior differs from that of consumers who have had other non-CET experiential interactions with the product or brand, and indeed those consumers who have had no experiential interaction with the product or brand, companies have a dilemma in how to treat this activity. Should they treat it as a worthwhile marketing expense that will reap long-term rewards, or as a tourist activity that should either cover its costs or show a profit due to limited benefits?

This dissertation consists of three studies that investigate the effects of CET on brand loyalty and purchasing behavior. Study 1 obtained 415 valid surveys from CET visitors to a single winery, investigating perceived product quality, perceived service quality, and the effects of charging (versus not charging) on purchasing behavior, and found that under conditions of both highly perceived product quality and highly perceived service quality, there were no significant differences in purchasing behavior. Study 2 obtained 437 valid surveys from CET visitors to the winery of survey in Study 1 who had visited over a six-year period, as well as consumers of the brands who had not engaged in CET, and found significant differences in attitudinal brand loyalty but not in purchasing behavior. Study 3 attempted to replicate the effects of a CET using a Consumer Experience Event (CEE), with a pre-event tracking survey obtaining 74 valid responses, followed by a post-event tracking survey that obtained 51 valid responses. It was found that this type of experience remote from the brand home was able to replicate many of the CET attributes and effects. This research therefore extends CET as a theoretical construct and begins to resolve the CET marketer’s dilemma.

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