Overlapping Segments for State Park Visitors: A Canonical Correlation Analysis of Push-and-Pull Motivation
Market segmentation remains one of the most important approaches used in tourism to provide crucial information regarding visitors’ profiles. Considering the importance of State and National parks to the tourism industry, there is an increasing interest in examining the motivations of park visitors. Drawing on the push-and-pull theoretical framework, this study employs a canonical correlation analysis and an overlapping segmentation approach to generate market segments of visitors to a State Park system in the United States. A total of 2822 past and current visitors were surveyed and consequently assigned to three overlapping market segments based on the results of canonical correlation analysis. The segments were labeled as “Connecting with Nature”, “Active Recreation”, and “Family Bonding”. Specifically, the “Family Bonding” market segment was found to have the most overlap with the other two groups. On the other hand, the segment of “Active Recreation” had the least overlap, suggesting that the members of this segment are uniquely defined and display a high degree of homogeneity. Additionally, 75 visitors were found to overlap across all three segments. Such findings suggest that this group of respondents score positively on all motivation items and share the same preferences of State Park systems’ attributes. Thus, park managers should refrain from assigning tourists to fit just one segment and target the potential visitors considering the substantial overlapping between groups. The study findings have important practical implications for State Park system managers and provide critical insights to inform future marketing strategies and to improve parks’ offerings.
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