Agro-Tourism Customer Satisfaction Analysis Based on the Theory of Attractive Quality

Agro-Tourism Customer Satisfaction Analysis Based on the Theory of Attractive Quality

Maria Lachnidaki, Evangelos Grigoroudis, Constantin Zopounidis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5442-5.ch015
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Customer satisfaction measurement is an important and critical issue of all businesses in the tourism sector, since it gives a better understanding of the needs and requirements of tourists. The Kano model is one of the most widely used approaches in analyzing customer satisfaction, aiming to categorize the quality attributes of products/services in different quality dimensions. The main aim of this chapter is to analyze customer satisfaction from an agro-tourism farm and prioritize potential improvement actions. The preliminary analysis has identified a large set of customer satisfaction criteria that refer to the location, the personnel, the activities, the cost, and the “green” aspects of the agro-tourism farm. The MUSA method has been applied in the context of Kano's theory of attractive quality. The main results show which satisfaction criteria mostly affect satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction, identifying the strong and the weak points of the farm. Finally, combining the previous results, it is possible to prioritize improvement actions.
Chapter Preview


Tourism in rural areas is directly linked to food, health, and accommodation. In particular, agro-tourism is defined as the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operation for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm operation (Lobo, 2012).

Customers of all kinds of tourism, including agro-tourism, are the most important factor for tourist businesses. According to Kozark and Rimmington (2000), customer satisfaction is very important for tourism marketing, as it can influence the selection of the destination, service/product consumption and the decision to return. Gursoy et al. (2007) also argue that customer’s satisfaction is one the areas most researched in many tourism studies, due to its importance in determining the success and the continued existence of the tourism business.

Customer satisfaction mainly concerns the final outcome of actions taken in the process of purchasing or consuming a service/product. However, in the case of tourism, customer satisfaction is the visitors’ state of emotion after their experience with a tour (Baker and Crompton, 2000; Sanchez et al., 2006). Regarding the quality of services in the tourism industry, the main aim is not only to satisfy tourists, but also to improve the image of the destination, differentiate the destination from others, and try to persuade tourists to return to the destination and/or to make a positive oral advertising. Finally, according to the survey of Tian-Cole and Crompton (2003), both the overall quality of services and overall satisfaction of tourists directly affect the destination selection and are confirmed as different constructs.

Customer satisfaction measurement and analysis are important in the tourism industry, given the contribution of the tourism sector in local economies, as well as the intense competition among alternative tourism destinations. As noted by Tsitsiloni et al. (2012), the tourism sector is heavily influenced by significant external factors from the global economic environment, and it is thus necessary to improve the quality of the services offered in order to gain competitive advantages and increase tourist loyalty.

In this context, the importance of tourist satisfaction from a destination is emphasized in several studies, although the concept of “destination satisfaction” is rather general and ambiguous, given the complexity of its elements and characteristics. This is the main reason why several scholars focus on particular components of experiences that affect tourist satisfaction within different tourism and hospitality contexts (e.g., guest satisfaction with hotels and restaurant services, satisfaction with destination services, satisfaction with recreational services, satisfaction with tours or cruise travel) (Yuksel, 2001). In most cases, a confirmation/disconfirmation approach is applied in order to analyze tourist satisfaction (Bowen and Clarke, 2002). In the expectancy disconfirmation theory, satisfaction may be defined as a pleasant past-purchasing experience from a product or service, given the ante-purchasing expectancy of the customer (Oliver, 1977, 1980, 1997). In this context, tourist satisfaction is the result of interaction between tourist’s experience at the destination areas and the expectations she/he had about that destination (Pizam et al., 1978). The HOLSAT model is a widely adopted approach for destination satisfaction measurement that relies on the aforementioned disconfirmatory paradigm (Tribe and Snaith, 1998). It is based on the SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman et al., 1988, 1991) in order to estimate the difference between “expectation” and “experience” scores for each attribute, which gives a quantitative measure of the level of satisfaction shown by the vacationers (Truong and Foster, 2006).

On the other hand, agro-tourism, as noted above, has distinguished characteristics, although it is not clear if emphasis is given in the “agro” or in the “tourism” dimension. In any case, it is important to note that in order for a rural area to be considered suitable for tourism development, agro-tourism should be (OECD, 1994):

  • Located in rural areas;

  • Based on elements of the “rural world” (i.e., small outdoor businesses, contact with nature, culture);

  • Sustainable, in the sense that its development should contribute to its preservation.

Furthermore, agro-tourism should have a traditional character, representing the rural environment, economy, and history.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agro-Tourism: A form of tourism in which tourists stay in farms or rural villages and take part in farm or village activities.

SERVQUAL: A multi-dimensional research instrument developed to measure the gap between consumer expectations and perceptions of a service along a predefined set of five quality dimensions.

SWOT Analysis: A strategic planning technique used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition.

Customer Satisfaction: The consumer’s response to the evaluation of the perceived discrepancy between prior expectations and the perceived performance of the product service.

MUSA Method: A multicriteria decision analysis method for measuring and analyzing customer satisfaction based on the principles of ordinal regression.

Expected Quality: Basic product/service attributes that the product must have in order to meet customer basic requirements.

Attractive Quality: Excitement product/service attributes that are usually unforeseen by customers and may cause high satisfaction.

Desired Quality: Performance product/service attributes that are usually explicitly demanded by the customer and may cause both satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Kano Model: A theory of customer satisfactions used to classify customer needs and prioritize product/service attributes.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: