Abstract: Creating value for customers has become an important focus of the tourism industry and academic research. Understanding and providing for the needs of tourists in terms of their purchase and consumption experiences is fundamental to organization survival and the achievement of competitive advantage. The study of value has evolved over time to incorporate customer perceived value and its actual creation. This thesis incorporates these concepts and suggests that analysing perceptions is a means towards creating the value that tourists demand. Thus, this research examines the relevance of value perception to both customers (tourists) and suppliers (benchmark tourism businesses) operating in a country regional setting. To do this, theories and models pertaining to perceived value and service quality have been adopted and adapted. In particular, the GLOVAL scale of perceived value by Sanchez, Callarisa, Rodriguez and Moliner (2006) as well as Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry's (1988 and 1985) SERVQUAL and Service Quality Gap Model are used and explored in the context of creating customer value. Rather than using the traditional closed scale questions associated with these areas of study, the thesis attempts to move beyond the current research procedure by introducing a mixed method of analysis. The first part lets the respondents describe and prioritise value in their own terms; the second transforms the data into quantitative measures that can be statistically examined via the Spearman Rank Correlation. The results suggest that discrepancies exist between what suppliers think about value and offer in this regard compared to the tourists' value perceptions and expectations. Further, the results indicate the current and popular GLOVAL scale used to measure perceived value may not have universal validity, given the different dimensional priorities revealed by the mixed method approach. The thesis concludes that more research needs to be undertaken to broaden the approach to perceived value measurement in order to increase its validity and reliability. Efforts also need to focus on communicating the tourists' value perceptions to tourism businesses so they can present themselves and the host region in a better light.
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy [to the] School of Management, Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University, Bundoora.
The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over the content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis.