This paper aims to propose a study on the level of tourist satisfaction in Switzerland. To introduce the topic, the introduction presents the theoretical background of tourism satisfaction, focusing on the key assumptions that underlie this sector. The literature review discusses the findings of the recent academic literature, mainly the factors that impact customer satisfaction. It is discovered that the destination management approach and a holistic approach are the most common frameworks that are used by scholars with some improvements. In terms of the former theory, among the main factors, there the attributes of a destination. The holistic approach prioritizes the combination of cogitative, hedonic, and symbolic benefits. The literature review also examines the findings in the tourist satisfaction area from different destinations. The methodology section identifies the tools that will be used in the proposed study, including the mixed-method design, sample, data collection, and data analysis.
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In the sector of hospitality, tourist satisfaction is one of the most widely studied factors that impact the decision of customers to visit one or another destination. With the growing role of globalization that promotes integration and interaction across the countries, the need for meeting tourism satisfaction becomes more important than ever (Della Corte et al. 2015). In this connection, a greater understanding of the underlying reasons for choosing a destination is likely to improve promotional strategies and make the tourism industry successful.
The concept of tourist satisfaction can be defined as the subjective opinion of a person or group based on the evaluation of living in a particular place. The mentioned concept can also be understood as the fulfillment of the direct expectations of customers. While customer satisfaction is imperative in any market sector, it is given much more importance in tourism since it determines future customer intentions. By building proper relationships with consumers, travel companies can achieve greater loyalty and an additional benefit of word-of-mouth communications. Among the issues that impact customers’ perceptions, Della Corte et al. (2015) mention the image of the destination and the ability of the place to meet the individual needs of a particular customer. In general, high-quality experience for affordable pay along with a lack of complaints and disagreements compose positive tourist satisfaction.
In the tourism industry, customer satisfaction is viewed as an especially complex concept since it is composed of various components. The global competition of destinations makes the process of value creation to customers sophisticated and multifaceted, which is expressed in the efforts of destination management organizations (DMOs). The literature consistently states that modern tourists are no longer ready for the standard packs and services, while they prefer receiving a unique experience. In this connection, the companies should assign a top priority to tourist satisfaction to meet and anticipate their expectations. The emphasis on a demand-side perspective is put by the majority of organizations that provide touristic services. However, the latest studies demonstrate that a comprehensive approach is required to balance demand and supply in this industry. Both researchers and practitioners tend to give the increased attention to the identified topic of interest.
Researching the area of tourist satisfaction is significant since it stimulates tourism and helps to adjust the services that are most demanded by customers. First, it is regarded that the level of tourist satisfaction determines whether they would return to the place and recommend it to family and friends. Second, the factors that identified satisfaction can be used as backgrounds to anticipate their future destination choices. Third, the connection among various benefits allows for adding or eliminating services, events, activities, and other issues that impact tourist satisfaction. In the conditions with the increasing popularity of tourism, investigating this area is critical to ensure tourism supply and generate more pleasant options. Thus, the creation of tourism policies and the related adjustments are closely associated with the extent of tourist satisfaction.
This paper proposes a study that aims to explore the level of tourist satisfaction in Switzerland. The key aim of the proposed paper is to focus on the key factors that determine tourist satisfaction in the mentioned country. The objectives of the future study can be formulated as follows:
- To understand the perception of customers regarding their tourist experience in Switzerland;
- To reveal the relationships between tourist satisfaction and related antecedents in Switzerland;
The literature on tourist satisfaction measures various dimensions of customer experience, focusing on this concept from different perspectives. Due to the complexity of the topic, there are different models and frameworks that are developed by scholars. Each of them presents valuable insights and helps in understanding the factors that promote tourist satisfaction. For example, while some models prioritize the antecedents of satisfaction, others argue that the consequences are more pertinent as they indicate whether a customer would return or not (Artigas, Chasco, and Pozo 2015; Della Corte et al. 2015). In fact, both of these approaches include advantages and limitations in the context of evaluating travel experiences.
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A destination management approach designs the theoretical context, in which the attributes of the place are the fundamental factors of experience. Pearce (2015) clarifies another issue of the assessment is the result between a tourist’s expectations and the destination attributes. According to this approach, the concept of a destination image is a principal factor that determines the success of one or another travel point. The definition of the image can be formulated in the following way: a set of impressions, ideas, as well as values of tourists, who visited the destination or plan to do so (Pearce 2015). The peculiarity of this approach lies in its intention to cover both actual and potential customers on induced and organic marketing levels, respectively. In turn, Della Corte et al. (2015) states that it is critical to avoid stereotypes, instead of concentrating on unique experience creation, which is particularly relevant to the destinations that have multiple vocation options. While the main idea of the destination management approach becomes clear, it is difficult to implement due to the unpredictable nature of the market.
Elaborating on the destination management approach foundations, Della Corte et al. (2015) claim that the perceptions of customers are often controversial and complicated. Therefore, while working on the image of a resort or hotel, the connection between the organic and induced levels should be achieved. In other words, the synthesis of positive associations is to incorporate the elements of natural beauty and artificially-created advantages. To prevent the so-called boomerang effect, the organizations need to closely keep the coherence with the actual supply. In this connection, the satisfaction pyramid may be represented as the one with the quality of services and products on the top (Della Corte et al. 2015). Thus, the centrality of both organic and induced marketing is to be given the greatest attention. Based on their assumptions, the mentioned authors revealed the following factors: easy access, accommodation, restaurant quality, activities, local transport, perceived security, cultural events, activities, hospitality, disability-friendly conditions, price, entertainment, and on-stage information availability.
The current literature lacks the use of a holistic approach to understanding and developing tourist satisfaction. In particular, the holistic vision implies taking into account the attributes that characterize the place along with a range of constructs. According to Marinao (2017), tourist satisfaction can be presented as a cognitive state, an affective state, or a combination of both states. The tourists note the perceived benefits, as well as the overall quality of their experiences. The evidence shows that the affective assessment of tourism refers to one’s feelings and emotions about the destination. The link between the place and emotions creates an image in the mind of a customer, which forms effective evaluations. In turn, cognitive perception implies objective knowledge, which composes the factual information about the destination and people’s ideas and beliefs about it (Marinao 2017). The events, purchase options, and other cognitive stimuli are taken into account by customers.
The perceived benefits that are noted by tourists in their assessments can be divided into functional, symbolic, and hedonic. Artigas, Chasco, and Pozo (2015) state that the functional benefits are especially values by a solution-oriented customer, who assesses the practical qualities of the destination. The symbolic benefits are related to self-concept and a focus on others within a certain context. The way a person is perceived by others is often considered by those tourists who value symbolic benefits and can adapt to the environment. The enjoyment of service and associated feelings compose the essence of hedonic benefits that are shaped by psychological and sensory experiences. The visual contact with the landscape and a variety of sensory activities are also hedonic benefits.
The literature provides a review of various experiments that were conducted in the field of tourism to understand tourist satisfaction. The recent study by Marinao (2015) explored 750 tourists who visited the key Chilean tourist destinations and revealed that cognitive perception, along with affective evaluation, is the key factor that is considered by customers. Using the structural equation model, the author concludes that the hedonic and functional benefits were the most values by the study participants. Namely, the hedonic advantages included the opportunity to escape from routine, visual attractions, and intrinsic pleasure (Seraphin et al. 2018). At the same time, the symbolic advantages were confirmed as less important. These findings allowed suggesting that tourist satisfaction is largely dependent on intangible benefits. Nevertheless, despite its entertainment options, the destinations should be safe, clean, and have appropriate transportation like in the Riviera Maya in Mexico.
The case of investigating tourist satisfaction in the city of Naples, Italy is another example of research in the given field. To evaluate the experiences of respondents, the questionnaires were disseminated across the target travel areas, which allowed for collecting cross-sectional data (Della Corte and Aria 2016). The results of the descriptive analysis showed that the most valued factors were ease to access to the destination, comfort, the diversity and quality of restaurants, and perceived security. The local actors were the main providers of the mentioned issues, with the exception of the security measures that were ensured by the city authorities. Among other factors that were classified as neutral, it is possible to list cultural events, information accessibility, and entertainment. The conclusions also mention that the tourists visiting the city of Naples are not completely satisfied with their experience (Della Corte and Aria 2016). It is recommended to correct the individuation of the key factors while implementing further strategic action in terms of tourist retention and attraction.
Tourist happiness was also measured in terms of Swiss inbound tourism in the study that was conducted by Chen and Li (2018). The authors scrutinized the link between the index of happiness in a country and tourist satisfaction. Since 2012, Switzerland was ranked among the happiest countries all over the globe. One of the recent studies on tourist happiness in this country analyzed the index of happiness in four dimensions, including positive affect, life satisfaction, negative affect, and eudaimonia. The latter is defined as the purpose of life or its meaningfulness, as stated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Chen and Li 2018). Grounded on the spillover theory of happiness, the above authors constructed the destination-model of tourist satisfaction and verified it on the sample of 1048 inbound tourists. It was found that the image of the destination directly correlates with tourist happiness and eudaimonia. However, no connection was detected between life satisfaction and service quality, but the former can predict positive and negative affect. It was also discovered that the negative effect is poorly studied in the tourism sector.
Considering the aims and objectives of the proposed study, a mixed-method research design will be applied. It will consist of a survey and descriptive analysis to clarify the results that will be obtained in the course of the study. The convenience sampling method will be based on the availability of customers and their willingness to answer the questions and share their experiences. The online tools, for example, the Survey Monkey platform, will be used to create the survey and contact the tourists who visited Switzerland within the last year. Such a timeframe will allow for monitoring the dynamic tourist demand and satisfaction factors. In particular, the criteria for the survey will be identified, and the participants will be offered to complete the online questions. Schuckert, Liu, and Law (2015) consider that an online survey is one of the most representative methods to gather the necessary data. The tourist information offices will be contacted preliminarily to collect data about potential participants of the study.
Data analysis will be conducted on the basis of filtering the results by subgroups and interrogating the data. The statistical significance will be examined in terms of applying the SPSS software (Veal 2017). The accurate analysis of data will be accompanied by focusing on the key insights rather than mere numbers. To ensure that the findings will be properly interpreted, the descriptive analysis will be implemented (Zhang et al. 2017). In addition, it seems to be useful to collect some qualitative statements from the respondents, thus complementing different types of data. It is expected that the results will be beneficial for an in-depth understanding of the current level of tourist satisfaction in Switzerland.
Artigas, E. M., Chasco, C. and Pozo, V. V. (2015) ‘Benefit perceived by tourists. Role of the hospitality offered by the tourist destination’, International Journal of Business and Social Science, 6(2), pp. 53-64.
Chen, Y. and Li, X. R. (2018) ‘Does a happy destination bring you happiness? Evidence from Swiss inbound tourism’, Tourism Management, 65, pp. 256-266.
Della Corte, V. and Aria, M. (2016) ‘Coopetition and sustainable competitive advantage. The case of tourist destinations, Tourism Management, 54, pp. 524-540.
Della Corte, V. et al. (2015) ‘Customer satisfaction in tourist destination: the case of tourism offer in the city of Naples’, Journal of Investment and Management, 4(1-1), pp. 39-50.
Marinao, E. (2017) ‘Determinants of satisfaction with the tourist destination’, IntechOpen. Web.
Pearce, D. G. (2015) ‘Destination management in New Zealand: structures and functions’, Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 4(1), pp. 1-12.
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Schuckert, M., Liu, X. and Law, R. (2015) ‘Hospitality and tourism online reviews: recent trends and future directions’, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 32(5), pp. 608-621.
Seraphin, H. et al. (2018) ‘Destination management through organizational ambidexterity: conceptualizing Haitian enclaves’, Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 9, pp. 389-392.
Veal, A. J. (2017) Research methods for leisure and tourism. London: Pearson UK.
Zhang, X. et al. (2017) ‘Survey method matters: online/offline questionnaires and face-to-face or telephone interviews differ’, Computers in Human Behavior, 71, pp. 172-180.