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Going Mobile TTRA 2018 Halifax submission revised

Going Mobile: Outcomes of device use during a festival experience
Mobile devices have changed communication across the world (Poushter, 2016).
Today there are more than 4.93 billion mobile device users worldwide (Statista, 2018).
With such ubiquitous use it is important to understand the opportunities that mobile
devices offer consumers and gain insight into how the technology is used in different
contexts. At festivals, mobile device use has been facilitated by offering on-festival-site
internet access, developing mobile applications, and creating social networking profiles.
Festivals use these opportunities to facilitate festival administration, attract new
audiences, satisfy existing patrons and develop innovative programming (Van Winkle,
Cairns, MacKay, & Halpenny, 2016). While research has demonstrated the various ways
in which mobile device use has been integrated into festivals, we know little about the
implications of mobile device use on the attendees’ experiences.
Within a tourism context, the implications of mobile device use have been
examined and reveal that adoption has changed travel activities (easier planning, more
flexibility), interpretation, and sensations (more connected, informed, sense of security,
etc.) (Kim & Law, 2015; Wang et al., 2012). Visitors make more spontaneous decisions
mid-trip with the assistance of devices and tourism researchers have found evidence of
spillover of daily life into travel facilitated by mobile devices (Wang et al., 2012;
MacKay and Vogt, 2012). While devices are integrated into the festival experience in a
myriad of ways, we know little about the implications of their use during the festival
experience, as research is just beginning to surface (Van Winkle et al., 2016). For
example, Luxford and Dickinson (2015) asked festival attendees to
reect on how mobile apps might a!ect their experience. Bene$ts and
drawbacks were examined and the authors concluded that festival
organizers should ensure apps do not interfere with communitas or
liminal experiences sought by many visitors.
Overall festival satisfaction is important to festival loyalty and the long-term
success of festivals (Yoon et al., 2010). Satisfaction has often been conceptualized in
terms of the cognitive match between need and experience while dissatisfaction occurs
when a gap exists (Ryan, 1997). Within festival settings overall satisfaction, based on the
customers’ experience of quality attributes and information, has typically focused on the
complete festival experience (Crompton & Love, 1995). Satisfied attendees have been
shown to be loyal to a festival organization (Yoon et al, 2010). Loyalty is important to
festival administrators as retaining attendees affects the sustainability of the organization.
Positive on-site event experiences are key to long-term success of an event as
these experiences can affect overall satisfaction and loyalty (Van Winkle & Backman,
2008). The purpose of this research is to understand how on-site mobile device use
affects visitors’ satisfaction with their festival experience and loyalty to the festival. This
abstract addresses the following research question: How does the way in which a mobile
device is used during a festival experience affect satisfaction and loyalty?
During summer 2017 survey invitation cards were issued to adult festival
attendees at three Canadian festivals. The Winnipeg Folk Festival in Manitoba, Pelee
Island Unplugged in Ontario and Symphony Under the Sky in Alberta. As attendees
passed by the main gates of each festival they were offered an invitation card and were
asked visit a web link to complete an on-line survey within 48 hours of their festival
experience. This resulted in 292 completed questionnaires with a response rate of 20%.
Despite a prize incentive (draw to win a $500 WestJet gift card), the response rate was
lower than anticipated. The results therefore should be interpreted with caution.
Almost all survey participants reported that they own a mobile device (99%). Out
of those who had a mobile device, 95% brought it to the festival. Most of those who
brought a device to the festival had a smartphone (71%). On average, attendees have had
a device for 11 years. When asked about using their mobile devices in relation to the
festival ‘never’ the most frequent response to how often respondents talk (55.7%), view
(43.8%), or post (55.4%). ‘Once in a while’ was the most frequent response to how often
respondents text (42.9%) and capture photo/video (45.9%). When asked about using their
mobile devices for activities not related to the festival, ‘never’ was the most frequent
response to how often respondents talk (59.5%), post (84.2%), or capture photo/video
(84.9%). The most frequent response to how often respondents text (49.0%) and view
information (47.0%) not related to the festival was ‘once in a while’.
Satisfaction was based on three items (7-point Likert scales) used in previous
literature (Crompton & Love, 1995; Yoon et al., 2010). Overall satisfaction was quite
high with a median of 6 for all three items: ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the festival’, ‘As
a whole, I am happy with the festival’, and ‘I believe I did the right thing in attending the
festival’. Loyalty was also based on three items (7-point Likert scales) used in the
previous literature (Yoon et al., 2010). In general attendees feel loyal to the festival
organization. Respondents report intending to return to the festival in a year (Med = 5),
repeat the same festival activities in a year (Med = 4) and recommend the festival to
others (Med = 5).
Sums of device use (festival related and not festival related) were calculated for
subsequent analysis. Device use included talk, text, capturing photo/video, viewing and
posting. Grand means were calculated for both satisfaction and loyalty. Spearman rho
correlations reveal that mobile device use related to the festival was not significantly
related to loyalty or satisfaction (rs = .041, p = .523 and rs=.056, p = .385). Mobile
device use not related to the festival was significantly and negatively related to both
loyalty and satisfaction (rs-.198, p=.002 and rs=-.242, p<.001).
Discussion / Conclusion
Results from this study provide insight about mobile device use at festivals that
can be used by administrators to enhance visitors’ experiences. While there are limitation
to the generalizability of the findings due to low response rate and possible differences
between attendees at the different festivals, the findings provide preliminary insights into
issues that should be studied in future research. As festivals strive to enhance their
attendees’ experience through mobile technology apps and social media, these findings
suggest devices may serve to detract rather than enhance an experience due to non-
festival related usage; therefore, an alternative strategy may be to find ways to discourage
non-festival related use. Future research will examine the mechanisms that affect the
relationship between device use and loyalty and satisfaction. Recent research has
suggested that memorable tourism experiences on-site affect satisfaction. It is possible
that mobile device use unrelated to the festival affects the memorability of the
experience, which in turn impacts attendees’ satisfaction.
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