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Using self-determination theory to assess the service product at a wellness facility: a case study

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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to propose and test a theoretical framework to identify the specific aspects of the guest experience at a wellness facility that contribute to well-being. Self-determination theory (SDT) is used as the theoretical framework. According to SDT, basic needs must be met in order for psychological well-being to be achieved. Thus, in addition to the services and amenities offered, the quality of interactions with staff and service providers are integral to wellness vacation outcomes or basic need fulfillment. Design/methodology/approach Psychological precursors, or basic needs, were estimated using structural equation modeling, and these precursors were significant with the model explaining considerable variation in the outcome variable, well-being. Findings The results suggest that guest experiences can be enhanced if management facilitates guest autonomy, helps guests develop a sense of mastery with respect to activities and encourages positive interactions between guests. Research limitations/implications Study limitations include the single venue used for data collection, sample size and a focus on exercise activities as a proxy for staff–guest interactions. Practical implications This study sheds light on an under-researched area, providing managerial guidelines for wellness tourism destinations with respect to service delivery. Originality/value This study extends the wellness tourism literature by suggesting a framework to assess the service product and optimize guest experiences within the niche wellness sector of the tourism and hospitality industry.

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... Wellness tourism is defined as the journeys that promote the health and well-being (HWB) of individuals and determine the anatomical connections of their mind, body and soul (Chen et al., 2008). Traveling to a healing retreat, spa, or resort with holidaymaking to enhance well-being is also considered wellness tourism (DeMicco, 2017a, b;Thal and Hudson, 2019). The term "well-being" is largely recognized in literature and is linked to human flourishing in terms of "feeling well," "being well," and "being somewhere" with lifestyle activities (Gatrell, 2013). ...
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The attractiveness of tourism destinations is a topic of great interest to researchers and professionals wishing to understand the ability of destinations to attract and satisfy tourists. However, there is a lack of consensus on the attributes that could explain the attractiveness of destinations, attributes that can also vary according to the tourist product under analysis. An importance–performance–satisfaction approach is adopted, to identify the attributes that are important for tourists travelling to enjoy wellness vacations, assess the performance of Gran Canaria in those attributes and analyze the possible association between the performance of Gran Canaria and tourist satisfaction. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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This paper develops and extends recent work in geography on therapeutic landscapes and the body in an examination of pampering practices in the contemporary spa. Drawing on feminist research on health, gender identity and the body, the paper explores the importance of escape, relaxation and other strategies to combat stress on the well-being practices and routines of women. Using original data collected from interviews in two spas in the South West of England, the paper argues that a visit to the spa is increasingly being seen as an important part of women's wider health and bodily maintenance providing a space for relaxation and withdrawal from responsibilities of the home and workplace. The pampering treatments reinforce the therapeutic benefits of the spa creating a sense of luxury and a focus on the self. The paper locates these arguments within the twin theoretical concerns of the ‘care of the self’ and disciplining the body, suggesting that any attempts to understand the practices and therapies for maintaining bodily well-being must incorporate a recognition of their simultaneous role in regulating the size and shape of women's bodies.
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China's natural and cultural resources are the foremost offerings of the country's wellness tourism sector. Although wellness tourism in China is in its infancy, it can offer new opportunities in, and strengthen the overall competitiveness of, China's tourism industry. To achieve this, the assessment and development of wellness tourism resources in China are required. This study examines the potential for wellness tourism development in terms of resources and promotion from the point of view of wellness tourism experts. It surveys professionals working in tourism, health and education in China. The results reveal that environmental assets, including fresh air, clean water and natural features, are considered the most important attributes for the development of wellness tourism in China and that the promotion of wellness tourism can best be achieved through advertising in mass media, governmental support and organizing new regional events. The study implications and future research directions are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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The objective of this study was to develop a tool for assessing how and why a destination can facilitate vacationers’ recovery from mental fatigue. Using attention restoration theory as a theoretical foundation, this research developed an initial instrument for assessing the perceived restorative qualities of vacation destinations (i.e., perceived destination restorative quality [PDRQ]). A 30-item, six-factor structure of destination restorativeness was identified. The six dimensions are compatibility, extent, mentally away, physically away, discord, and fascination. The proposed PDRQ provides a baseline measure for understanding the specific restorative properties of a particular destination. The proposed PDRQ instrument can potentially be valuable to researchers and industry practitioners interested in planning, designing, and delivering optimal restorative vacation experiences. The assessment of how a tourism destination may provide restorative properties is an understudied area. This research brings much needed attention to this topic.
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Located on the east coast of Australia, Byron Bay is well recognised as a popular tourism and wellness destination that offers an eclectic mix of ‘alternate’ services and businesses that provide health and wellbeing experiences including alternative ‘new-age’ shops, ‘spiritual’ services such as meditation and yoga classes, alternative medicine and holistic healing centres. This article traces the development of wellness tourism products and experiences in the destination and explores the implicit link to wellness and spiritual values that underpin the local community. This case study research forms part of a Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre project undertaken in 2009 that investigates the demand and supply of wellness and medical tourism in Australia. A key outcome of this research was to identify factors that have contributed to establishing Byron Bay as an ‘alternate’ wellness tourism destination for domestic and international visitors. In addition, barriers and opportunities for further development in health and well tourism are identified.
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New research is emerging on the relationships between tourism and quality of life (QOL) and subjective well-being (SWB). This paper develops a measure of SWB and reports findings from a two-step survey that measured changes in well-being amongst low-income individuals who had received financial support to access a holiday break (‘social tourists’). This is the first study to assess well-being amongst social tourists. The findings indicate that tourism contributes to social tourist’s well-being. There are greater effects in some areas including psychological resources, leisure and family life domains contributing to social well-being. Social tourists have lower levels of SWB than the general population. Further studies are needed to compare tourism’s contribution to SWB amongst mainstream tourists.
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The Personal Wellbeing Index (International Wellbeing Group, 2006), along with an item evaluating leisure satisfaction, was administered to 487 adults from the general population (274 women; 207 men; 6 unidentified). Multiple regression analyses confirmed that leisure satisfaction predicts unique variance in life satisfaction, thus supporting its inclusion as a distinct life domain contributing to subjective wellbeing. Additionally, participants’ relationship status (married, de facto or living together; never married; separated or divorced) was found to interact with age group and gender on differences in leisure satisfaction. The relationship between leisure satisfaction and life satisfaction, however, was substantially reduced by the inclusion of core affect (feeling happy, content, or excited) in the regression equations. This is consistent with the proposition that leisure satisfaction is influenced by an individual's subjective wellbeing level as represented by core affect. It is recommended that the measurement of leisure satisfaction should control for the effects of this underlying psychological state.
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Three studies examined the effects of experimentally induced motivational orientations on the subtly different positive affects of vitality and happiness. We hypothesized, based on self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1991; Ryan & Frederick, 1997), that doing well when autonomously motivated would enhance subjective vitality relative to doing well when controlled in one's motivation, but that doing well under the two motivational states would not have differential effects on happiness. Two experiments in which motivation was induced by instructions to participants about task engagement and a third experiment using an attributional methodology yielded the hypothesized pattern of effects. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of differentiating positive outcomes in terms of their underlying motives and of giving increased attention to understanding restorative environments.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate how serious leisure and flow contribute to subjective well‐being (SWB) in the daily lives of older adults. Twenty‐two older adults were recruited from a local aging agency in a midwestern city in the USA. Experience Sampling Method was used to collect data on the daily experiences of the older adults. Hierarchical Linear Modelling was used to predict levels of SWB from experience variables (i.e. serious leisure, flow) and individual difference variables (i.e. gender, retirement). One‐way analyses of variance, random coefficient, and intercepts and slopes‐as‐outcomes models were tested. Serious leisure was positively associated with positive affect (PA), and flow had a significant negative relationship with PA. The results of this study confirm previous findings that SWB is an important consequence of serious leisure in everyday life.