The Relationship Between Sport Tourists’ Perceived Value and Destination Loyalty: An Experience-Use History Segmentation Approach
Understanding active sport tourists’ profiles and nurturing their destination loyalty are important considerations in the tourism market. Loyal tourists are valuable because they tend to revisit a focal destination and elicit positive word-of-mouth. Focusing on a snow-based active sport tourism context, this study was conducted to examine (1) the usefulness of experience-use history (EUH) as a segmentation tool and (2) the relationship between perceived value factors (i.e. quality, emotional response, monetary price, behavioral price, and destination reputation) and destination loyalty in each EUH group. Data were collected from the Niseko ski resort in Japan (N = 328). Based on the EUH variables (i.e. length and frequency of snow-based sport participation), participants were categorized into four segments (i.e. novice, short-active, long-inactive, and expert). The results showed significant differences among EUH groups in terms of their socio-demographics (e.g. gender, age, and income). A series of regression analyses also showed that each segment’s destination loyalty was uniquely enhanced by perceived value factors. Specifically, perceived quality was a significant antecedent of destination loyalty for sport tourists in the novice group. For those in the short-active, long-inactive, and expert groups, perceived emotional response significantly predicted destination loyalty. Perceived reputation of the destination was also important to enhance destination loyalty for the short-active group whereas perceived monetary price was positively associated with the long-inactive group’s destination loyalty. Marketing managers in snow-based sport tourism destinations can utilize the findings to increase the loyalty of active sport tourists, which will improve their competitiveness in the marketplace.