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Product Quality and Standards

Meeting and exceeding visitor expectations leads to positive word of mouth and potentially repeat visitation. Poor quality products and standards below visitor expectations can undermine the long-term sustainability of a destination. Product quality and standards influence visitor satisfaction, their length of stay and expenditure, and their likelihood to visit again or refer the destination to a friend or relative; and these are the fundamentals of sustainable visitation.Read more
Meeting and exceeding visitor expectations leads to positive word of mouth and potentially repeat visitation. Poor quality products and standards below visitor expectations can undermine the long-term sustainability of a destination. Product quality and standards influence visitor satisfaction, their length of stay and expenditure, and their likelihood to visit again or refer the destination to a friend or relative; and these are the fundamentals of sustainable visitation.


Influencing Perceptions of Product Quality

Perceptions of product quality in the visitor’s mind can be influenced by a number of factors. Pre-trip, the perception of product quality can be influenced by product branding, price, promotion and advertising techniques, location, affiliations, accreditations and the corporate social responsibility of the organisation. During a visitors trip, the perception of a product can be influenced by physical appearance and upkeep, customer service, value added features, uniqueness, interest and enjoyment. Business owners and destination managers need to keep these factors in mind when developing or marketing a tourism product or destination for a particular target market.

Destination Management Tip

Initiatives aimed at improving product quality are required to ensure that a destination’s image is maintained over time. The STCRC EarthCheck program is a leading international certification program for sustainable tourism.


Accreditation and Certification Programs

Accreditation programs provide business owners and destinations with the opportunity to have their products or communities assessed and then recognised as providing a certain standard of practice. There are a range of different accreditation or certification programs available within the tourism industry, from national and international product quality accreditation to environmental certification and sustainability programs and specific quality standards for tourism industry sectors. The New Zealand destination of Kaikoura provides an excellent example of a regional approach to sustainability, with the community undertaking the Green Globe Asia Pacific benchmarking and certification program to enhance the region’s image and environmental credentials. Promoting visitor awareness of these accreditation programs is important in influencing consumer purchasing behaviour and perceptions of a product, business or destination. Accreditation programs also provide a businesses or destination managers with a framework for identifying areas for improvement or development.


Assessing Visitor Satisfaction

Visitor satisfaction surveys can be used to evaluate visitor perceptions of product or destination quality. In Australia, assessing visitor satisfaction at a destination level can be undertaken through Visitor Profile and Satisfaction Surveys developed by Tourism Australia. These surveys can then be benchmarked against other destinations nation-wide. For further information on assessing customer expectations and satisfaction please see the ‘Visitor Satisfaction’ section.


Further information on product quality for individual businesses can be found in the ‘Business Operations’ section.

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