Crowding and Satisfaction Among Visitors to a Built Desert Attraction
Keywords:Density, crowding, expectations, preferences, zoological parks, objective-based management frameworks.
AbstractZoos annually host over 100 million visitors in North America and over 600 million visitors worldwide, yet there is limited visitor research within zoos. This study examined the relationships between and predictive ability of several variables associated with visitor satisfaction at a built tourist attraction in the American southwest: perceived crowding and density, expected crowding and density, preferences for crowding and density, actual density, and past experience. A self-administered survey was developed, pre-tested, and administered to 403 randomly selected adult visitors during a high visitation period. Findings indicate that respondents felt moderately crowded and this negatively affected their visit satisfaction. No significant relationships emerged between various measures of past experience and perceived crowding. Weak, significant positive relationships were found between onsite expectations of density and crowding, onsite preferences for density and crowding, and onsite density. The only significant predictor of onsite visit satisfaction was expected crowding which explained just five percent of the variation in visit satisfaction. Management concerns should focus on maintaining satisfying visitor experiences through understanding acceptable visitor experience conditions, considering temporal and spatial visitor separation, applying objective-based management frameworks, as well as visitor education to set expectations regarding the number and types of other visitors.
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