Unlocking the role of proactive motivational processes in driving customer engagement with special events in Thailand
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 18:45 authored by Supawat Meeprom
Enhancing customer engagement creates both opportunities and challenges for scholars and practitioners, especially in the service sector. One critical service sector of global importance is tourism. Specifically, tourism plays a critical role in many economies, and, because of its large contribution to GDP growth, is receiving growing attention from academics and practitioners (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2018). Specifically, Thailand, as a preferred destination, is expected to continue its fast growth and become the third biggest market for visitors by 2027 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2017). Customer engagement, when viewed from an organisational perspective, is an organisation’s strategies that encourage customers to connect to their service and brand, and stimulate long-term relationships. The potential outcomes of customer engagement include the attraction of new customers, reduced marketing budget activities, and a competitive advantage. The benefit of customer engagement from a customer perspective is the interaction through unique experiences with services and brands that serve to address their goals, and contribute to their subjective well-being. This study develops a theoretical framework underpinned by proactive motivation theory and regulatory mode theory, proposing specific triggers for driving and fostering customer engagement with special event tourism. To uncover the underlying reasons for customer engagement with special events, proactive motivation theory is adopted to gain a deeper understanding of customers’ reasons to attend and actively engage with a special event. Further, the role of regulatory mode orientation is adopted to gain a deeper appreciation of “can do” motivation as a key to fostering the relationship between customer’s proactive motivation and engagement with a special event. In addition, this theoretical framework articulates the moderating role of self-image congruence and perceived event crowding in the relationship between customer engagement with a special event and perceived special event quality. To test the proposed effects, this study uses a quantitative research approach with data drawn from three distinct special events in Thailand – the Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival, the Khon Kaen International Marathon, and the Chiang Mai International Flower Festival. The findings advance knowledge in service marketing and tourism by offering theoretical explanations for the influence of drivers and consequences of customer engagement with a special event. In a practical context, this study also provides implications for tourism organisations to generate a better understanding of customers’ perception of special event experiences.