Identifying visitor service quality in Australian regional botanic gardens
Crilley, G, Hills, J, Cairncross, G & Moskwa, E 2010, 'Identifying visitor service quality in Australian regional botanic gardens', Annals of Leisure Research, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 476-496.
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A considerable bulk of literature on service quality in leisure and recreation is set in, and driven by, conceptual frameworks based on commercial transactions. Little research reported in English deals with service quality in popular, public leisure settings such as botanic gardens or museums. This paper presents findings from a study of visitors’ perceptions of service quality at four regional botanic gardens in Australia, a replication study of a similar exploration of service quality in botanic gardens of six Australian capital cities. Perceptions of service quality, demographic profiles, and measures of behavioural intentions post‐visit were collected from more than 1000 adult visitors in 2008. Factor analysis of 17 visitor‐defined attributes of service quality identified three underlying dimensions of service quality. Subsequent hierarchical linear regression identified considerable explanatory effects of these factors for visitor service quality of visitors’ overall satisfaction with their visit, their level of recommendation of the garden, and their likelihood to revisit the garden. There appeared to be significant and meaningful predictive power of visitors’ intended behaviour based on their ratings of particular visitor service quality attributes. Results of the study included a call for replication studies and engagement with related attempts to understand the meaning of service quality for visitors to regional public institutions where recreation and leisure experiences are clear outcomes for visitors. For researchers, implications include the need to consider further refinement to the concept and measurement of service quality for public and non‐profit organisations providing popular leisure experiences and visitor benefits.