Lamont, MJ & Kennelly, M 2010, 'Competing to compete? exploring competing priorities as constraints in event travel careers amongst non-elite triathletes', in M Orams, M Luck, J Poulston, & S Race (eds), Proceedings of the New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality Research Conference 2010: Adding value through research, Auckland, New Zealand, 24-26 November, School of Hospitality and Tourism and New Zealand Tourism Research Institute, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 186-200.
Proceedings available online at http://autserve.aut.ac.nz/nzthrc/index.php/page/proceedings
Prominent event management scholar Donald Getz recently coined the term ―event travel career‖ to describe how highly involved and/or committed persons can initiate a career of travel to events surrounding their preferred leisure activity. However, individuals may face dilemmas in prioritising between day-to-day needs and desires and those of their event travel career. Negotiating these competing priorities can lead to opportunity costs, or the loss of benefits that may have eventuated if one course of action was prioritised over another. The fields of leisure constraints and constraints negotiation are therefore relevant in understanding how event travel careers integrate into people‘s lives. This paper argues that the concepts of competing priorities, values, and opportunity costs are useful in understanding how and why people make tradeoffs in aspects of their life in order to pursue event travel careers. A textual analysis of postings to an Australian online forum for triathletes was undertaken over four weeks. The data collected supported a contention that persons who train for and travel to triathlon events face numerous competing priorities, such as allocating leisure time between their event travel career versus spending time with family and friends. Three categories of competing priorities were identified: intrapersonal, interpersonal and structural. From a scholarly perspective this study represents new ground in the field of leisure constraints research. Avenues for future research based around the notion of competing priorities are discussed in this paper.