Developing a Food Involvement Scale to Study Food Tourism

4563690038_7e804749d1_z (1)In recent years, food tourism has seen a spike in popularity, but how can researchers better understand the impact of food involvement on food tourism? In the recent article, “Food Enthusiasts and Tourism: Exploring Food Involvement Dimension,” published in Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Researchauthors Richard N. S. Robinson and Donald Getz set out to establish a food involvement scale. The abstract for the article:

Involvement is a much theorized construct in the consumer behavior literature, yet extant food involvement scales have not been developed for leisure- or tourism-based contexts. Adopting a phenomenological approach, this article reports a study with two primary aims: to develop a customized food involvement scale and to administer the instrument to a sample of self-declared “food enthusiasts” with analysis focusing on identifying the underlying constructs of food involvement. An exploratory factor analysis finds four dimensions of food involvement: Food-Related Identity, Food Quality, Social Bonding, and Food Current Issue CoverConsciousness. The four dimensions are validated by discriminant analysis between the food enthusiast sample and a general population sample and logistic regression reveals that identity is the most powerful predictor of being a food enthusiast. We demonstrate the utility of the four factors by operationalizing them as variables in tests of difference vis-à-vis demographic variables and conclude the study by summarizing the theoretical and tourism destination implications. This research addresses a need for theory-driven knowledge to inform the burgeoning special interest tourism of food tourism.

You can read “Food Enthusiasts and Tourism: Exploring Food Involvement Dimension” from Journal of Hospitality of Tourism Research free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Hospitality & Tourism ResearchClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Thomas Abbs (CC)

Study: Extra Rewards Make Customers Feel Guilty

It’s generally a great idea to “wow” your customers with unexpected benefits and perks–but a new study finds there’s also an unexpected downside to such preferential treatment.

Anna S. Mattila of The Pennsylvania State University, Lydia Hanks of The Florida State University, and Lu Zhang of The Pennsylvania State University published “Existential Guilt and Preferential Treatment: The Case of an Airline Upgrade,” forthcoming in the Journal of Travel Research (JTR) and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section. The abstract:

jtrUsing the context of an unexpected airline upgrade, we examined factors that influence an individual’s reaction when they are overrewarded compared to others: guilt-proneness and relationship to the other, underrewarded, individuals. Results demonstrated that for individuals high in guilt-proneness, satisfaction with the upgrade and behavioral intent may be qualified by a feeling of existential guilt when they receive benefits that others do not, particularly if they have a close relationship with those others. Our results extend the research in advantageous inequality by showing that people high in guilt-proneness tend to have a heightened sensitivity to such injustices. Our findings also have important implications for the hospitality, airline, and travel industries: for customers high in guilt-proneness, receiving an expected upgrade may, in fact, have unintended negative results. Managers can use this information to make employees aware of the potential detrimental effects of rewarding or upgrading only one member of a party.

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