Paper Title: Evaluation of Tourism Destination Products by Consumers. Theoretical model
Authors: Michal Zemla
Abstract: It is assumed that there are three main evaluative factors consumers use in the service market. These are as follows: perceived quality of services, customer value and customer satisfaction. Many authors emphasise the fact that a customer's loyalty to a particular destination should be the result of the consumer's high evaluation of quality of services/customer value/satisfaction. However, perceived quality, customer value and satisfaction are interrelated. Their definitions as well as the methods of their measurements are the subject of many academic discussions. Understanding the mutual relations between these three factors is crucial for researching customer behaviour in the service market, but a comparison of the results on many studies shows that descriptions of relations between perceived quality, customer value and satisfaction depends mainly on the way these factors are defined. One can state that discussion on the proper methods of measurement and research on relations between perceived quality, value and satisfaction should be preceded by a profound discussion on their definitions and logical analyses of their interrelations, which is not present in current literature despite some attempts. In such a case, statistical research conducted in the area of mutual relations between the three evaluative factors has led to incoherent results as obtained results obviously reflected definitions assumed by researchers.
The aim of this article is to discuss conceptual ranges of perceived quality, customer value and satisfaction in the case of tourism destination products and to elaborate on a proposal of a model of mutual relations between these concepts on the basis of the most common views from the literature. This aim is achieved through critical analysis and deduction, using the concept of a tourism product selection process. A review of the literature has allowed for the identification of approaches to perceived quality, customer value and satisfaction that are both disputed and commonly agreed upon as well as to find approaches to all of these factors that might be consistent with one another. Logical recombination of concepts and approaches found in the literature and the deductive process led to the creation of a model of a coherent system of mutual relations between the three evaluative factors as well as relations between them and other terms used in descriptions of customer behaviour.
In the elaborated model, the following set of relations between analysed issues was proposed: an image has influence on perceived product quality which has influence on the level of customer value, which, in turn, has influence on satisfaction. Satisfaction shapes future market behaviour and loyalty of a customer. Quality is regarded as a functional measure. Apart from quality and financial and non-financial costs, elements that shape perception of received value are conditional, social, emotional and epistemic elements. Both quality and received value are measured without references to customer expectations and satisfaction is related to those expectations. This assumption is essential from the article's point of view as it enables clear and precise separation of conceptual scopes of perceived quality and customer satisfaction. Further on, the article includes the role of loyalty, limitations in decision making processes and customers expectations.
The proposed model, reflecting relations between perceived quality, customer value and satisfaction, gives a good starting point for further academic discussions in this subject. Without future agreement on detailed definitions and the creation of a systemic description of interrelations between perceived quality, customer value and satisfaction, precise understanding of customer product evaluation would be difficult or even impossible as different research results would be incomparable.