Open Service Field-Point of Service: A Method to Continuously Observe Tourist Behavior in Sightseeing Areas

Open Service Field-Point of Service: A Method to Continuously Observe Tourist Behavior in Sightseeing Areas

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/jssmet.2012070106
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Abstract

For service quality improvements in sightseeing areas, it is important to establish an Optimum Design Loop based upon the observation data rather than experience and intuition. Sightseeing areas provide services in terms of living taste and experiences for tourists. Therefore, basic data must be collected in the form of surveys to monitor tourists’ behaviors. However, a method to obtain such data quantitatively and continuously at a reasonable cost has not yet been established. In this paper, the author introduces Point of Service system for sightseeing areas for the given purpose. As an operative example, they report a field trial conducted at Kinosaki Hot Spring and demonstrate empirically that this method works effectively.
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1. Introduction

Owing to economic aggravation, many sightseeing areas in Japan are now facing difficulties as the number of tourists decline. Many local sightseeing areas organize promotional events to attract more tourists. However, it is difficult to evaluate the cost effectiveness of such events in a rational manner, leaving the judgment to experiences and intuition alone. For marquee promotion or productivity improvement, it is necessary to know whether promotional events positively impact tourists’ behaviors.

For the productivity improvement in service industries, we consider it important to introduce the Optimum Design Loop and repeat it in the actual service field (Naito, 2008). The Optimum Design Loop (Figure 1) is an operational improvement method that consists of the following steps:

Figure 1.

The optimum design loop

  • • To observe the behaviors and movements of customers and service providers;

  • • To analyze obtained data;

  • • To design a service model (plan) based on the objective data;

  • • To apply such a service model (plan) in the field again.

The Optimum Design Loop should be implemented continuously in the field. Analysis, design, and application may be conducted when necessary. However, observation must be done constantly. In this paper, we propose a method to conduct constant service observation, which, to date, has not been achieved.

In this paper, we report how The Optimum Design Loop was introduced in sightseeing area. First, the general idea of objective sightseeing area (Open Service Field) is defined. A difficulty to conduct survey in Open Service Field is also noted. Then, our approach is explained. Followed by a description of the data obtained in Kinosaki hot spring resort (Figure 2). Finally the last section is an argument about effectiveness of our approach.

Figure 2.

Kinosaki, Toyooka City

2. Pedestrian Survey In Open Service Field

2.1. Definition of Open Service Field

First, we define the so-called sightseeing area in this paper. We specify the Open Service Field using the following conditions:

Many small-sized service providers exist competitively in adjacent areas. They have equal footing, and no master-servant relationship exists among service providers. This causes competition and economic gaps among them.

The service field has no fixed entrance or exit. Thus, customers may enter and exit from anywhere. The problem is that providers are not aware of customers’ entry and exit.

Examples of service fields having the characteristics include shopping streets, shopping malls, local sightseeing areas, etc. A service complex operated by a single body, however, is not considered an Open Service Field, nor is most prominent theme parks.

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