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Experiencing the experience: an examination of the significance of impact factors during the three stages of transnational gastronomic tourism

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This paper examines infrastructure considerations and the significance of co-creation within the Transnational Culinary Gastronomic Tourism Industry. Gastronomic Tourists crave hands-on immersion into regional food cultures. For the gastro-tourist, where experiencing-the-experience is paramount -the easier it is to find and access safe, memorable food-related activities -the quicker tourism on-the-whole will benefit. The industry has recognized the growing potential for this market niche, yet what's currently available through traditional tourist venues seems lacking. This paper discusses impact factors for tourists during three stages of touring – Communication & Planning; Lo-gistics; The Experience. It proposes that only when the Tourist Industry emu-lates and co-creates with early culinary tourist innovators, and logistically sup-ports rich, authentic, memorable gastro-experiences on a wider scale, will the economic and social impact of this target market of lucrative spenders begin to be realized across the globe. Introduction This paper presents a literature review followed by a theoretical framework that articulates the gap between the expectations of gastronomic-tourists and what is typically available in the tourist industry. It proposes that particular factors during three phases of travel are critical to the expansion of this niche tourist market. It further proposes that through co-creation, significant logis-tical support, and more authentic experiences Gastro Tourisms' market po-tential and profit impact on the transnational tourism industry can be signifi-cant. Two visualizations are presented that depict the economic benefit and
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Transnational Marketing
Journal
Volume: 2, No: 1, pp. 21 - 37
ISSN: 2041-4684 & e-ISSN: 2041-4692
Article history: Received 1 Feb. 2014; last revision 21 April 2014; accepted 15 May 2014
Experiencing the experience:
an examination of the
significance of impact factors
during the three stages of
transnational gastronomic
tourism
HELENA A. WILLIAMS
ROBERT L. WILLIAMS JR.
MAKTOBA OMAR
Abstract
This paper examines infrastructure considerations and the significance of co-
creation within the Transnational Culinary Gastronomic Tourism Industry.
Gastronomic Tourists crave hands-on immersion into regional food cultures.
For the gastro-tourist, where experiencing-the-experience is paramount - the
easier it is to find and access safe, memorable food-related activities - the
quicker tourism on-the-whole will benefit. The industry has recognized the
growing potential for this market niche, yet what’s currently available through
traditional tourist venues seems lacking. This paper discusses impact factors
for tourists during three stages of touring Communication & Planning; Lo-
gistics; The Experience. It proposes that only when the Tourist Industry emu-
lates and co-creates with early culinary tourist innovators, and logistically sup-
ports rich, authentic, memorable gastro-experiences on a wider scale, will the
economic and social impact of this target market of lucrative spenders begin to
be realized across the globe.
Keywords: Culinary tourism; gastronomic tourism; co-creation; co-branding;
gastro-experiences; transnational tourism; experiencing-the-experience.
Introduction
This paper presents a literature review followed by a theoretical framework
that articulates the gap between the expectations of gastronomic-tourists and
what is typically available in the tourist industry. It proposes that particular
factors during three phases of travel are critical to the expansion of this niche
tourist market. It further proposes that through co-creation, significant logis-
tical support, and more authentic experiences Gastro Tourisms’ market po-
tential and profit impact on the transnational tourism industry can be signifi-
cant. Two visualizations are presented that depict the economic benefit and
Helena A. Williams, Senior Partner, Mar-Kadam Associates, Selinsgrove, PA, USA.
E-mail: helenawill@gmail.com.
Dr Robert L. Williams, Jr., Assistant Professor of Marketing at Susquehanna University,
Selinsgrove, PA, USA. E-mail: williamsrl@susqu.edu.
Dr Maktoba Omar, Reader in Marketing Strategy, Edinburgh Napier University, The Busi-
ness School, Edinburgh, EH14 1DJ, UK. E-mail: m.omar@napier.ac.uk.
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market potential if gastro-tourist needs are realized and fully addressed by the
tourism industry.
Gastro tourism and gastro tourists
Experiencing authentic food through interesting, educational, enriching,
hands-on culinary-experiences is the key focus and motivation for gastro-
tourists. This subset of tourists seeks gastro-experiences whenever and wher-
ever they travel. (Hall and Mitchell, 2005; Kivela and Crotts, 2006; Long,
1998). Whether planning a business trip, a family gathering, a lengthy vaca-
tion, or a day trip, they schedule “foodie” adventures and side-excursions that
revolve around authentic food experiences. To these culinary tourists, destina-
tions that promise authentic or extraordinary food experiences become their
overriding focus when planning leisure activities, and visitors plan trips par-
tially or totally in order to experience the cuisine of a particular place or to
carry out activities related to gastronomy (UNWTO,2012). Countries, cities,
towns, neighbourhoods and villages that promise and deliver rich gastronomic
experiences become sought-out destinations (Williams, et al., 2014). These
natural, early innovators, as well as individuals with distinct, personal motiva-
tions regarding transnational cultural experiences continue to seek out and
often create interesting food-related opportunities whenever and wherever
they travel. To them, food is viewed and valued as a cultural phenomenon
(Tikkanen, 2007).
All indicators point to the rise in this segment of the transnational tourist
industry. Food and food-related events are a key source of tourism (Hjalager
and Richards, 2002; Rao, 2001), and food is becoming an essential component
in destination choice motivation (Hall et al., 2003). In a recent survey (UN-
WTO, 20012, p.12) 88.2% of member respondents indicated “gastronomy is a
strategic element in defining the brand and image of their destination.” Kay
(2003) indicates that food consumption has become a ‘peak’ experience for
travellers in general.
Gastro-tourists go abroad at rates similar to other tourists, but they also
tend to search for and expend discretionary funds on gastro-experiences in
their own country or even their own home town. Gastronomic-tourists are
found across all economic platforms and across many age groups, and within
their peer groups tend to spend more on food and food-related activities
when they travel (ICTA, 2007). Global economies and transnational business-
es have made it possible for even those with modest leisure budgets to travel
farther and stay longer than ever before. A joint study sponsored by the
World Food Travel Association (WFTA), Gourmet magazine and the Travel
Industry Association (TIA) revealed that 27 million American Travellers spent
between $425 and $593 on food-related activities per trip. Out of those who
self-identified as “deliberate” food travellers approximately 47% of their total
travel budgets were spent on food-related activities (WFTA, 2011).
Gastro-tourists also tend to value meeting and getting to know people who
are different from themselves through shared food experiences. Culture, per-
sonal opportunity, as well as food influences where a gastro-tourist will travel.
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Personal discretionary funds and available time dictate how far they go, for
how long, and how often; but once they begin, anecdotal accounts suggest
that gastro-tourists are forever on the search for the next, often more com-
plex, gastro-experience. Even those on modest budgets will save and splurge
on ever-increasing memorable gastro-experiences. In the WFTA study (2011)
gastro-tourists who spent on average $1,271 for an entire trip spent about 6 %
more per trip than average travellers in that same study and a higher percent-
age of their total spending (by about 13-14 %) was dedicated to food-related
activities.
The tourist industry has clearly recognized the need; numerous countries
and major cities have adopted food tours and food-related events as major
draws (Blichfeldt et al., 2013; Henderson, 2009; Selwood, 2003; Tikkanen,
2007). New culinary and cookery schools around the world offer authentic
classes that match tourist’s schedules and hands-on cooking yearnings. How-
ever, many of the most authentic experiences are logistically cumbersome and
those more prominent and more easily accessible, though entertaining and
appearing to be profitable, remain shallow and rarely satisfy true gastro-
tourists. Walking about a city with a large group of tourists (most of which are
not true gastro-tourists); all following a placarded tour guide who points out
the notorious hot dog stand, local venerated popcorn or candy shops, cele-
brated restaurants and notable markets; and culminating in a taste of the fa-
mous deep dish pizza or infamous local sandwich can be fun, but is not what
culinary tourists ultimately seek.
According to Williams et al. (2014) self-proclaimed culinary or gastro-
tourists are foodies who want to go behind the scenes, to taste and discuss the
nuances of local region-specific foods, and to learn about unique flavours and
ingredients from cultural experts. They seek opportunities to practice cooking
with local cooks and chefs -- gleaning cooking secrets, tips and unusual facts.
Gastro-tourists seek excursions that involve immersion in authentic harvest
festivals and traditional food rituals and ceremonies (Long, 2004). They relish
tours of maple syrup farms and dairies that produce regional cheese. Talking
with other foodies, learning from locals, and taking home recipes and ingredi-
ents to try out in their own kitchens become memorable and sought after ac-
tivities. These tourists see no borders and expect no boundaries when it
comes to food. Making new friends while sharing kitchen culture is para-
mount, and to them, natural.
The walking or even driving food tours that are popping up to meet the
demand of this unique tourist segmentation are just not as rich or authentic as
most hard core gastro-tourist foodies desire. They don’t want to just watch, or
even just eat good food. They want to be integral to the experience (Hender-
son, 2009). They want to help create the experience (Binkhorst and Dekker,
2009). Such authentic experiences that involve hands on involvement that do
exist are difficult to locate and generally require extensive personal planning,
sometimes demanding visas, permits, medical precautions and reservations
over a year in advance. Cooking adventures, in remote villages and small
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towns, can be fabulous, but are difficult to get to and the overall experience
can be disappointing, due to a number of reasons, including the skill set of the
planner, the consistency and motivations of the local experts, and industry
and site agreements and infrastructures.
Phases of gastronomic travel
In a research paper presented to the faculty of the University of Pennsyl-
vania, Mazza (2013) extrapolates upon Hall’s (2012) five distinct stages of
travel and identifies potential food-related opportunities in each of the stages:
1) Pre-visit; 2) Travel to the destination; 3) At the destination; 4) Travel from
the destination; 5) Post-visit. The first three stages are identical to what Wil-
liams et al (2014) refer to as Travel Phases requiring marketing and implemen-
tation considerations for gastro-experiences. Williams et al. (2014) further
suggest that the closer a host and site complies with a list of sub items identi-
fied in each phase, the more positive the experiences would be for tourists
Table 1: Marketing and Implementation Considerations for gastro-experience
hosts and destinations during three travel phases (Williams et al., 2014).
Phase 1: Communication Before Leaving
Internet presence
Interactive internet & phone access
Credit Card or Pay Pal transaction capabilities
Reliable advertised operating hours and pricing
Logo and slogans that articulate brand promises for a minimum of 6 au-
thentic purveyors
Phase 2: Logistics: Getting There
Organized/planned access to purveyors
Be open when you say you are open
Directional maps and signs with sites clearly marked and described
Convenient, accessible, & safe transportation
People guides/drivers when necessary
Lodging when necessary
Phase 3: The Experience On Site
Minimum of 6 memorable authentic sites/experiences that follow safety,
health and cleanliness guidelines
Knowledgeable, friendly enthusiastic hosts & guides
Written & audio descriptions of authentic details of the experience
Recognition of shared group brand promises
Marketing collateral of other group members
and the more successful (profitable) they would eventually become for the
host and the geographic destination. Their chart above (Table 1) lists consid-
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25
erations in all three phases and will be used as the basis for further discussions
in this paper
Destination selection
The natural transnational potential of the tourism industry itself is intensi-
fied when it comes to culinary tourists who see food, not borders or geo-
graphic limitations, when it comes to seeking gastro-experiences (Chaney et al.
2012: Hillel et al. 2013; Omar et al 2015. However, the specifics that influence
destination selection appear to be personal and very subjective (Tikkanen,
2007). Gastronomic or Culinary tourism is still a new discipline within the
industry as well as the tourism body of literature and little academic research
or even practitioner market research has focused on the specific motivations
of this market niche (Kim et al., 2010). Studies that focus on gastronomic ex-
perience satisfaction are virtually non-existent (Correia et al., 2008). Prelimi-
nary secondary research does suggest that the specific selections and lengths
of time devoted to gastro-experiences seems to rely primarily upon unique
personal and cultural preferences (Hjalager and Richards, 2002; Tikkanen,
2007).
The exact destination (country, town, etc.) that individual gastro-tourists
select may be influenced by ethnic and cultural identification issues such as
heritage, nostalgia, family visits; personal interests and hobbies, or even side-
excursion that spring from business trips (Hjalager and Corigliano, 2000; Ka-
rim and Chi, 2010; Richards, 2012). Such personal and unique motivations can
be difficult for the tourist industry to ascertain or anticipate. Therefore, it is
understandable that traditional travel venues and agencies have relied less on
trying to identify the specific needs, wants and desires of the tourist and more
on simply showcasing food-purveyors or food-related businesses who see the
gastro-tours as advertising for their existing products or services and not as
value-added activities that gastro-tourists would be willing to pay a premium
to experience. The vast majority of contemporary food-tours simply advertise
or highlight existing food-related places and seem to attract the typical tour-
ists-at-large who might choose a ghost tour, a historical walking tour, an archi-
tecture tour, a pub crawl or a guided museum experience, just as readily as
the local food tour. Tourists leave these tours with little more than a few sam-
ples and possibly discounted coupons to come back later and dine. The agen-
cies that run the tours have loose affiliations, sometimes none at all, with the
places they are showcasing. These so-called food or culinary tours do not sat-
isfy gastro-tourists nor what Mazze (2013) defines as gastronomes tourists
with a high interest and involvement in local food cuisine at travel destina-
tions.
Currently there are numerous provisions for general tourists to consider.
Many popular travel agencies and tour operators function globally, some even
in a transnational fashion. Some handle all of the arrangements for tourists to
visit a series of cities or even countries in a matter of days. Cruise lines pro-
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vide an abundance of 24-hour eating options and multiple port excursions.
Customized high-end trips can include multiple five star restaurant meals.
However, gastro-tourists prefer in-depth immersion, lots of conversation, and
time to get to know local guides and experts. They’ll pay more to live at a
cookery school in a tucked away place. They’ll spend more to travel to remote
places and they’ll stay at one place longer to experience the culture through
food. These early innovator gastro-travellers design and record their trips,
blog about them, share photos and freely share itineraries and contacts. Their
trips are unique and memorable and often cross borders and boundaries. They
are not easily duplicated.
Proposed theoretical framework: Experience the experience
Despite the growth potential of this segment of the market, this paper in-
troduces the premise that the number of planned organized tours that offer
the type of experiences that these sophisticated foodies crave may not be ex-
panding quickly enough to meet the demand and to capture the full economic
potential of this exploding niche. It is being suggested that the tourist industry
embrace transnationalism, and begin to foster and promote the growth of
travel agencies, businesses and tours that focus on the borderless geographic
experiences that gastro-tourists crave (Cohen and Avieli, 2004; Meler and
Cerovic, 2003).
Although rich organized gastro-tourist experiences can be crafted, their
lack of consistent platforms and haphazard on-line presence requires tourists
in pursuit of authentic culinary adventures to do a great deal of research and
planning, even for a one or two day gastro-excursion. Great gastro-
experiences are shared mostly by-word-of-mouth and reputation, like chef
tables, secret dining and seasonal tours and foraging excursions. Many of the
best places don’t advertise beyond a small following and only provide the ex-
perience to those who know to ask for it.
Furthermore, the amount of effort a tourist must expend, coupled with his
or her level of expertise or cultural comfort during each stage of a gastro-
experience, significantly impacts the satisfaction of the total experience to
both the tourist and the host. Satisfaction is ultimately dependent upon how
the gastro-tourist (and the host) Experience-the-Experience. This paper also sug-
gests that the balance between the tourist’s effort and travel savvy versus the
capability and the roles assumed by hosts of the experience and others within
the tourist industry matter as well.
Currently most culinary-tourists who crave rich kitchen culture experiences
have no choice but to spend an enormous amount of their own time research-
ing and planning travel itineraries. Thus, the time tourists can devote to per-
sonal planning, their logistical acumen, who they know, and often luck, dictate
how satisfied any given gastro-tourist will be with his or her chosen gastro-
experiences (see figure 1). For gastro-travellers who embrace borderless,
transnational concepts, their interest and expertise in cross-cultural learning
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and living exchanges also becomes a significant consideration (Sanchez-
Canizares and Lopez-Guzman, 2012).
Figure 1: Considerations that dictate satisfaction with gastro-experiences
To address these issues of demand, effort, and satisfaction the three phas-
es of gastronomic tourism will first be discussed from the point of view of the
culinary tourist. The skills required, the effort expended, as well as expecta-
tions that influences ultimate tourist satisfaction will be exposed, and tourist
skill and expectation checklists that corresponds to each travel phase will be
suggested.
For gastro-tourists,
Experiencing-the-Experience
begins before the
tourist leaves home. A research period into unique kitchen cultures begins the
potential pleasure. However, the amount of effort that a tourist expends cou-
pled with their expertise in Planning and Communicating, often across cultures,
corresponds to the ease and satisfaction not just during Phase 1 of the trip,
but to the subsequent phases as well: Getting There and, the On Site Experience.
The ease of navigating within Phase 2 (Getting There) and the degree of en-
gagement and hand-on involvement during Phase 3 (On Site) are also critical
to total satisfaction.
Despite whatever personal reasons went into the selection of the destina-
tion, Williams et al. (2014) suggests that there are a number of common fac-
tors that most gastro-tourists identify as desirable:
- authentic, memorable food-related experiences
- conducted under safe conditions
- in safe environments
- with limited transportation hitches
- that are possible [easy] to plan/schedule.
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Early adopter foodies and wannabe gastronomic tourists watch celebrity
chefs on travel and food networks both on TV and the internet. They blog
and read blogs of other early gastro-tourist innovators. Anthony Bourdain’s
latest adventures on the Travel Channel take him to emerging nations around
the globe to talk with local food producers, visit plantations and food pro-
cessing places, and eat local food under the guidance of native guides, cooks
and chefs. As Bourdain comments, tastes, and admires for the camera, foodies
watch from afar taste buds unsatisfied. His show doesn’t even provide view-
ers with recipes or cooking tips, but gastro-tourists are undaunted. Left to
their own resources, they emulate, searching for recipes, purchasing regional
cookbooks, and tapping Amazon and other on-line food purveyors for unu-
sual, often cultural-specific ingredients. They experiment in their own kitchens
and seek more local places that might provide a glimpse into a new culture
through foods like Vietnamese Pho, Sri Lankan Red Lentil, Ethiopian Dora
Wat and Hungarian Paprikash. When it comes time for these foodies to travel,
they don’t think museums, mountains, pyramids or other tourist attractions
and destinations -- they think food. They want to experience what Anthony
Bourdain and other celebrity chefs have shown them. They plan trips that
allow them to talk with local cooks, taste street food, stews and soups from
black pots, woks and campfires. They generally don’t seek five star restaurants
unless they can afford a chef table where they get to chat with the chef and
eat off-menu foods prepared especially for them.
As these gastro-tourist early adopters plan their own adventures and hold
onto the hope that the individual gastro-experiences they select:
- will satisfy [they really mean surpass] their foodie expectations,
- will be safe [crime & violence free, and safe sanitation and health prac-
tices], and
- the effort to get there [transportation and communication] will be
overshadowed by the positive actualization of the promised adventure.
These early adopters rely upon their own planning expertise and cultural
comfort levels, and the food experts and experiences they are able to uncover.
Subsequent travellers may have different skill sets and the people and places
along the way can change; sometimes even the rich, recorded, successful ad-
ventures of the first round of innovators are not duplicable. The expectations
for those that follow remain high, yet the actualization can be disappointing.
The infrastructure or authenticity may disappoint.
If any one of three essential infrastructure elements depicted in Figure 2
are breeched along the way to the destination, the entire experience is at risk.
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Figure 2: Basic Infrastructure elements essential to gastro-tourism
In addition to basic infrastructure demands, Williams et al. (2014) proposed
that those geographic areas that want to attract the gastro tourist would bene-
fit from:
1) Identifying a cluster of six loosely organized authentic food-related
experiences to encourage a visit by a gastro-tourists
2) Creating loosely organized authentic , rich, food-related, experiences
around a shared gastro-experience expectation (promise)
3) Effectively communicating and delivering the shared brand promise
to the gastro-tourist market
4) Insuring that their collective infrastructure will provide safe, healthy
and easy navigation to and from the individual gastro-experiences.
Currently strong culinary tourism components within the tourism industry
are lacking therefore, the time and work involved to plan a successful gastro-
trip can be enormous. The more complex and interesting the excursion, the
more difficult it will be to plan and the greater the risk for potential glitches.
There is also an element of luck and a strong reliance on relationship building.
Who you know and how well you know and trust your partners in this adven-
ture of co-created value strongly comes into play. When the gastro-tourism
experience, and inherent value, is co-created, the focus shifts to characteristics
of the total experience environment (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004). Stand-
ing on a dock waiting to jaunt over to a remote island for a feast or traditional
ceremony requires trust on the part of the tourist and reliability on the part of
the industry. If the boat is late but eventually comes and transports you to the
island in time to experience it allno harm done. However, if that one part
of the trip falls apart and the boat never arrives, then perhaps the most antici-
pated gastro-event of the journey is never realized, all because of a glitch in
local transportation.
Because the industry lags behind the current interest and demand of gas-
tronomic tourists, Phase 1 [Getting There] is perhaps the most challenging yet
is the most critical for this subset of tourists, especially those who seek global
experiences. Phase 1 involves planning the trip and it relies upon the infor-
mation that is available about potential culinary opportunities that a given area
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supports. The more closely a region or a single host of a gastro-experience
adheres to the items articulated in the considerations previously presented, the
easier and quicker the tourist should be able to plan a given trip or even a sin-
gle experience.
By expanding the terminology to include planning as well as communica-
tion (in Phase 1), the three phase template (Table 1 above) proposed by Wil-
liams et al (2014) was expanded (Table 2 below) to suggest a number of fac-
tors (skills and expectations) that anecdotal accounts from gastro-tourists have
revealed as essential to an enjoyable and successful overall gastro-tourist expe-
rience.
Table 2: Checklist of skills and expectations of tourists that heighten gastro-
nomic tourism experiences
Phase 1: Planning and Communicating Before Leaving
Skill Set Required
Research foods based on geographic & season limitations.
Identify at least 6 regional dishes, ingredients , or preparation methods.
Search (on line) & ask around for unique food experiences/places with
the potential for authentic gastro-experiences.
Communicate with hosts of food-related experiences.
Book transportation, based upon budget, time restrictions and available
foodie opportunities.
Consider booking lodging that includes a working kitchen for all or part
of the trip (house exchanges, condos, short term apartment rental, hotels
or hostels with kitchens).
Confirm times/make reservations for gastro experience activities. Include
plenty of unscheduled time to take advantage of spontaneous opportuni-
ties, long conversation, new markets, great local restaurants, and time to
cook.
Reserve local transportation, translators (if necessary) and confirm foodie
events and opportunities. Get printable written confirmations for every-
thing you have arranged. (These written documents become your prom-
ise, contract or guarantee.)
Make arrangements for any other necessary on-site supports (Again, get it
in writing , save it or print it so you have verification to take along.)
Create a day-by-day itinerary with all contact info: transportation, lodging,
special events, directions and maps and any other contact, reservation
numbers and other pertinent info.
Determine how you'll communicate while on the road. Check technology
for adaptability with local networks and electrical sources. Know where
you can plug in along the way.
Collect pertinent phone numbers, email addresses, confirmation codes,
contacts and written promises. Make hard copies of important stuff.
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Expectations
What is communicated will be true and correct (times, locations, prices,
descriptions, etc.)
Articulated gastro-experience brand promises will be met.
Scheduled experiences will be authentic, memorable and will include
some level of co-creation.
Phase 2: Logistics Getting There
Skill Set Required
Follow itinerary and available directions, maps, or GPS coordinates to
arrive at destination. (The better the planning, the easier the travels.)
Meet up with local guides, translators and local transportation purveyors
at designated places. (Having direct cell phone connection makes this eas-
ier to do.)
Refer to your confirmation numbers, contact and written promises.
Be flexible.
Expectations
Safe, Crime Free Travel.
Safe Sanitation and Health Practices.
Ability to communicate with all gastro-hosts and travel & lodging venues.
What was promised will be true (times, locations, prices, travel and lodg-
ing descriptions).
Expect that something will go wrong, and be surprised when it doesn’t.
Getting there is already part of the experience. Planned and spontaneous
stops along the way should also be memorable and authentic.
Phase 3: The Experience On Site
Skill Set Required
Talk
Ask questions
Volunteer
Participate
Expectations
A minimum of two memorable authentic culinary activities each day of
the trip.
All experiences must meet safety, health and cleanliness standards.
It must be possible to get from one experience to another without too
much difficulty.
Knowledgeable, friendly enthusiastic hosts & guides make even tricky
logistics bearable.
Written descriptions of the most authentic details of the experience are
desired.
Audio descriptions and talks are translated, if necessary.
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What was promised was delivered.
Information about other gastro-opportunities in the area are available.
Additional secret side trips and dining opportunities are revealed.
Get to do hands-on cooking.
Get to relate to chefs and local experts on personal basis.
To be wowed!
They will tell their friends, blog about it, share photos.
Realizing the true potential of the market segment
The Skills and Expectations Checklist (Table 2) clearly depicts that time,
skill and effort expended by individual tourists during the planning stage of a
trip is high, and can be complicated. The degree of effort required to plan
satisfying memorable gastro-experiences inevitably influences the number of
trips that foodie enthusiasts are able to plan; thus the total number of identi-
fied gastro-tourist excursions remains far lower than the potential would indi-
cate. Conversations with foodies suggest that many more of them would par-
take in gastro-experiences if the process was easier and the experiences were
more memorable. For the travel industry to tap the potential of this vast culi-
nary market segment, gastro-tours and events that emulate the rich experienc-
es that some gastro-tourists have been creating for themselves and blogging
about need to become more mainstream.
This paper proposes that in this formative stage of transnational culinary-
tourism, experiences and excursions will become more accessible to tourists
and more profitable to the tourist industry, if:
- the experiences are co-created with seasoned gastro-tourists;
- the experiences emulate those being crafted by gastro tourist innova-
tors;
- the industry reduces planning burdens and creates reliable logistical
processes;
- the experiences, trips and excursions, are easy to find online and on
social media outlets;
- the offerings are appropriately packaged, priced and marketed;
- the experiences are delivered in safe, healthy environments.
It is simple reasoning to surmise that the less planning and research a tour-
ist must do in Phase 1, and the less they fear regarding the Logistics involved
in Phase 2 the more eager they will be to travel to a given site to experience
culinary pleasures (Phase 3). Optimization of the three phases will result in a
greater number of travellers willing to pay a premium for gastro-experiences,
resulting in greater total net income for the tourist industry. The Figures 3 and
4 that follow depict the potential difference in numbers of tourists and in-
come between the current tourist-planned versus a proposed industry-
supported and co-created process.
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Figure 3: Potential Differences between Tourist-planned and Industry-
supported Gastro-Tourism
The industry clearly recognizes the potential of the gastro-tourist market
segment; however, satisfying it remains complicated and problematic. Gastro-
tourism is all about rich, authentic food and shared kitchen cultures, within an
adequate infrastructure (Williams et al., 2014). Although co-created gastro-
tourism experiences seem the most successful, the easier it becomes for tour-
ists to plan and schedule gastro-tourism experiences, the more often and more
expensive experiences they will purchase, thus the total income and profits
realized by the industry will grow.
Extrapolations from the overall tourist market show that most travellers
rely on various onsite or airline or hotel concierge services and agencies to
help them plan their vacations. Admittedly, there will always be those who
prefer to plan and organize their gastro-vacations themselves, down to the
very last detail, just as there will be those who want everything planned for
them. But it is relatively small numbers that hover at the extremes handling all
or none of the details themselves.
For the industry to grow as rapidly as the market interest suggests it can, a
balance must be reached between how much the tourist is expected to plan
and how much control the industry can relinquish over the experiences they
have already launched. Additionally, the industry collectively must recognize
TRANSNATIONAL GASTRONOMIC TOURISM
© Transnational Marketing Journal
34
and be willing and capable of co-creating additional, complex foodie experi-
ences that will satisfy gastro-tourists. In concert, when more authentic, rich,
experiences become available, the industry must police itself to insure that it is
consistently delivering on the shared gastro-tourism brand promises and that
necessary infrastructure is maintained and local resources remain reliable.
Balance and consistency is the key.
Figure 4 below depicts a proposed range of effort expended in co-creating
culinary experiences. The far left depicts the individual tourist planning every-
thing, while the far right depicts the Industry planning everything. The triangle
represents the suggested peak where the level of effort expended by individual
tourists in the logistical and communication aspects (Phases 1 & 2) has been
absorbed by the standardized industry logistics and transportation platform.
This peak within the broad range should theoretically be the sweet spot where
tourists are most satisfied and the industry has the potential to realize the
most profit.
Figure 4: Co-Creation Sweet Spot Regarding Phase 1 Planning Effort
Conclusion and further research
This paper presented a conceptual premise that a gap exists between what
the gastro-tourist seeks and what is currently available. It also suggested that
the co-creation of gastro-experiences will accelerate the growth of this market.
It also cited and agreed with research that proposed that when hosts of gas-
tro-experiences loosely organize and create shared co-branded promises, a
destination may have greater success as a gastro-destination.
Likewise, individual gastro-tourist activities should become more profita-
ble when they are:
- Co-created with tourists
- Co-branded with other hosts within a reasonable geographic proximity
WILLIAMS, WILLIAMS & OMAR
Transnational Press London www.transnationalmarket.com
35
- Packaged, priced and marketed to attract gastro-tourists across the globe
and across multiple economic strata.
Quantitative studies that survey identified culinary tourists and self-
identified foodies to determine their gastronomic travel preferences compared
to their actual travel experiences would shed more light on this issue. Addi-
tionally it would be useful to test exactly how much travel planning and what
level of co-creation would be tolerated by both potential gastro-tourists and
food purveyors within the tourist industry. A range similar to the one depicted
in Figure 4 could be used to determine a more accurate quantitative represen-
tation of the peak range for optimum growth. It would also be useful to test a
rating system for gastro-experiences that identifies impact factors that corre-
late to the selection of the activity as well as the ultimate satisfaction of the
experience, including satisfaction/ease during each of the three travel phases
(before leaving, getting there, and on-site).
Since this field is new and the research currently available is limited, the
arena of tourism, particularly gastronomic tourism, would benefit from fur-
ther research in any of the areas touched upon in this paper. Quantitative
studies of any kind, particularly those involving primary research would be of
great value in either strengthening or contradicting the conceptual premises
introduced in this paper. Additionally, studies that identify and analyse exist-
ing tourism enterprises that are operating as transnational businesses would be
valuable. Comparing and contrasting transnational travel businesses to those
with international or global departments or components might also be a valu-
able exercise and might help promote more effective borderless tourism op-
portunities, especially for gastronomic tourists.
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Celem artykułu jest szczegółowa charakterystyka istoty, składników, roli i znaczenia doświadczenia we współczesnej gastronomii i turystyce kulinarnej. W pracy zaprezentowano m.in.: piramidę potrzeb konsumenta (turysty kulinarnego), która wskazuje na ciągłe różnicowanie i wzrost znaczenia potrzeb wyższego rzędu (społecznych, szacunku i uznania, samorealizacji). Następnie scharakteryzowano uniwersalne i indywidualne wymiary produktu gastronomicznego. Ich analiza dowiodła, że w szerokim rozumieniu jest to produkt bardzo skomplikowany, wieloaspektowy, zawierający liczne elementy materialne, jak i niematerialne. Kluczowa okazuje się przy tym relacja pomiędzy produktem oczekiwanym a psychologicznym. O ostatecznej satysfakcji klienta decyduje przekroczenie jego oczekiwań, zaskoczenie, wzbudzenie żywych emocji, wywołanie zachwytu (tzw. efekt „wow!”). W odrębnym rozdziale zaprezentowano szerokie możliwości i sposoby kreowania wyjątkowego, ponadprzeciętnego doświadczenia w gastronomii i turystyce kulinarnej. Na atrakcyjność „podróży w poszukiwaniu nowych smaków” składają się trzy nierozłączne komponenty: żywność, poznanie i doświadczenie. Zaprezentowane w artykule rozważania prowadzą do zasadniczej konkluzji: turystyka kulinarna jest doskonałą emanacją współczesnej gospodarki doświadczeń. The purpose of this article is a detailed description of the essence, components, role and meaning of experience in contemporary gastronomy and culinary tourism. The paper presents i.a.: a hierarchy of the consumer’s (culinary tourist’s) needs, which points to a continuous diversification and an increasing significance of higher order needs (social, respect and esteem, self-actualization needs). Next, the author describes the universal and individual dimensions of the gastronomical product. The analysis proves that, in a broad sense, it is a highly complex, multifaceted product, containing many material and immaterial elements. The key relation here is the one between the expected and the psychological product. The customer feels ultimate satisfaction when his/her expectations are exceeded, if he/she experiences a feeling of astonishment, strong emotions and a feeling of amazement (the “wow!” effect). A separate chapter presents the wide range of possibilities and ways of efficient creation of experience in gastronomy and culinary tourism. The attractiveness of “a journey in search of new tastes” consists in three inseparable components: food, cognition and experience. The deliberations presented in the article lead to a fundamental conclusion: culinary tourism is a perfect emanation of the contemporary economy of experiences.
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This chapter examines the emergence of craft beer as a noteworthy component of gastro-tourism. A grounded theory approach over a 2-year period (2017–2019) established the research and analysis framework, and provided the findings reported in this chapter. Our research has confirmed that: (1) large, global conglomerates; (2) national craft beer brands with bicoastal or multilocations; and (3) local boutique craft beer establishments are appealing to sought-after tourist attractions within their geographic locales. This chapter identified six aspects that optimize craft brewery–tourism relationships and six brewery-specific hospitality features, regardless of brewery type. Ultimately, a brewery-driven gastro-tourism development (12-point) model was developed to illustrate how craft breweries of all sizes contribute to the overall gastronomic reputation and highlight how the open, friendly, inclusive, brewery ethos, or gastro-communitas can help to positively shape an area’s overall unique local tourism culture—the area’s unique story!
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Abstrakt Cel. Celem artykułu jest przeniesienie wybranych elementów teorii gospodarki doświadczeń (experience economy) na grunt turystyczny, ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem usług pilockich i przewodnickich. Zamierzeniem autora było przedstawienie ogólnych podstaw teoretycznych tej koncepcji, podkreślenie specyfiki i odmienności doświadczeń turystycznych, a także określenie roli pilotów i przewodników w ich kreowaniu. W drugiej części opracowania szczegółowo omówione zostały najważniejsze narzędzia oraz zasady świadomego i celowego inscenizowania doświadczeń turystów przez pilotów i przewodników (aspekt aplikacyjny). Metoda. Opracowanie powstało na podstawie studiów literaturowych (polskich i zagranicznych publikacji naukowych), wyników wcześniejszych własnych badań nad doświadczeniami turystycznymi oraz wieloletniej praktyki zawodowej autora (jako pilota wycieczek, wykładowcy kursów i egzaminatora). Rozważania teoretyczne zostały zilustrowane wynikami obserwacji (uczestniczącej, niejawnej, niekontrolowanej) kilkunastu imprez turystycznych jednego z naj-większych polskich touroperatorów. Wyniki. Na podstawie przeprowadzonych rozważań można stwierdzić, że: 1) doświadczenie turystyczne różni się znacząco od "zwykłego" doświadczenia rynkowego, gdyż jest zarazem istotą i sensem podróżowania, 2) zadaniem pilotów wycieczek powinna być m.in. dbałość o po-żądany kształt końcowego doświadczenia uczestników wyjazdu, 3) najważniejszym narzędziem kreowania doświadczeń turystycznych pozostaje storytelling, 4) inscenizowanie doświadczeń turystycznych jest swego rodzaju sztuką, którą rządzą określone reguły. Ograniczenia badań i wnioskowania. Ze względu na teoretyczny charakter rozważań i ograniczony zasięg badań własnych przedstawione w artykule tezy wymagają empirycznego potwierdzenia na szerszej próbie. Praca może stać się zaczątkiem dyskusji nad uzupełnieniem teoretycznych podstaw warsztatu pilota (przewodnika) o wybrane elementy koncepcji gospodarki doświadczeń, a także inspiracją do podjęcia bardziej szczegółowych badań nad świadomym inscenizowaniem doświadczeń turystycznych przez pilotów i przewodników. Implikacje praktyczne. W artykule zaprezentowano zestaw konkretnych, szczegółowych zasad służących efektywnemu kreowaniu wyjątkowych, niepowtarzalnych doświadczeń turystycznych. Zalecenia te powinny okazać się przydatne w codziennej pracy pilotów wycieczek i przewodników turystycznych. Oryginalność. Praca jest pierwszą w polskiej, a być może i światowej literaturze przedmiotu próbą adaptacji elementów teorii gospodarki doświadczeń do zagadnień pilotażu i przewodnictwa turystycznego. Rodzaj pracy. W artykule zaprezentowano zarówno koncepcje teoretyczne, jak i wyniki badań empirycznych. Słowa kluczowe: gospodarka doświadczeń, piloci i przewodnicy, kreowanie doświadczeń, memorable experience, storytelling. Abstract Purpose. The aim of the article is to apply selected elements of the experience economy theory in the domain of tourism, with particular consideration of tour leader and tour guides services. The author’s intention is to present the general theoretical outline of this conception, emphasize the specificity and particularity of tourist experiences, as well as to define the role of leaders and guides in creating them. In the second part of the article, the author discusses, in detail, the most important tools and the rules of conscious and purposeful staging of tourist experiences by leaders and guides (application aspect). Method. The article is based on a review of literature (Polish and foreign scientific publications), the results of the author’s earlier research on tourist experiences, as well as his substantial professional experience (as a courier, course leader and examiner). Theoretical deliberations have been illustrated with the results of participant, covert and uncontrolled observation of several tourist events organised by a major Polish tour-operator. Findings. Based on the discussion, it can be concluded that: 1) tourist experience differs considerably from “ordinary” market experience, because it is, at the same time, the essence and the sense of travelling ; 2) the tour leaders’ role should be, among others, care for the desired form of the trip participants’ ultimate experience; 3) storytelling still remains the main tool for creating tourist experience; 4) staging tourist experiences is a kind of art, governed by specific rules. Research and conclusions limitations. Due to the theoretical nature of the deliberations and the limited range of the author’s own studies, the theses presented in the article require empirical verification on a larger sample. The article may initiate a discussion on supplementing the theoretical basis of the tour leader’s (guide’s) instruments with selected elements of the experience economy conception, and may become an inspiration to undertake even more detailed research on conscious staging of tourist experiences by tour leaders and tour guides. Practical implications. The article presents a set of well-defined, detailed rules of effectively creating exceptional, unique tourist experiences. These recommendations should prove useful in the everyday work of tour leaders and guides. Originality. This article is the first publication in Polish or even among world literature on the subject, which presents an attempt to adapt elements of the experience economy theory to the issues of tour leader and tour guide work. Type of paper. The article presents both – theoretical concepts and empirical studies. Keywords: experience economy, tour leaders and tour guides, creating experiences, memorable experience, storytelling.
Article
Purpose. The aim of the article is to apply selected elements of the experience economy theory in the domain of tourism, with particular consideration of tour leader and tour guides services. The author's intention is to present the general theoretical outline of this conception, emphasize the specificity and particularity of tourist experiences, as well as to define the role of leaders and guides in creating them. In the second part of the article, the author discusses, in detail, the most important tools and the rules of conscious and purposeful staging of tourist experiences by leaders and guides (application aspect). Method. The article is based on a review of literature (Polish and foreign scientific publications), the results of the author's earlier research on tourist experiences, as well as his substantial professional experience (as a courier, course leader and examiner). Theoretical deliberations have been illustrated with the results of participant, covert and uncontrolled observation of several tourist events organised by a major Polish tour-operator. Findings. Based on the discussion, it can be concluded that: 1) tourist experience differs considerably from "ordinary" market experience, because it is, at the same time, the essence and the sense of travelling ; 2) the tour leaders' role should be, among others, care for the desired form of the trip participants' ultimate experience; 3) storytelling still remains the main tool for creating tourist experience; 4) staging tourist experiences is a kind of art, governed by specific rules. Research and conclusions limitations. Due to the theoretical nature of the deliberations and the limited range of the author's own studies, the theses presented in the article require empirical verification on a larger sample. The article may initiate a discussion on supplementing the theoretical basis of the tour leader's (guide's) instruments with selected elements of the experience economy conception, and may become an inspiration to undertake even more detailed research on conscious staging of tourist experiences by tour leaders and tour guides. Practical implications. The article presents a set of well-defined, detailed rules of effectively creating exceptional, unique tourist experiences. These recommendations should prove useful in the everyday work of tour leaders and guides. Originality. This article is the first publication in Polish or even among world literature on the subject, which presents an attempt to adapt elements of the experience economy theory to the issues of tour leader and tour guide work. Type of paper. The article presents both – theoretical concepts and empirical studies.
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