2. Literature Review
7. Limitations of Study
Appendix A - Questionnaires
Appendix B - Coding Sheet
Prior to World War I, skiing had already established itself as a leisure activity and as an integral part of winter sports tourism (www.kokotele.com). In Scandinavia and the central European alpine states, skiing evolved as an industry around 1890. The first exhibition of winter sports equipment was held in Muerzzuschlag in Austria in 1894, two German and 14 Austrian manufacturers put their products on display (www.land.heim.at). Also around this time the first international skiing, cross-country and ski jumping championships took place. The winter sport industry in particular the skiing industry obtained a tremendous boost through the first winter Olympics, held in Chamonix in 1924 (www.olympic.org/uk).
With growing prosperity of European countries in the late fifties, the skiing industry developed into an important part of the leisure and tourism sector. These days whole regions are dependent on ski tourism and it provides many jobs for people in mountainous areas (www.skimuseum.net). These days Europeans go for vacation rather than recreation, and skiing is as much a social as a sporting activity (Lennon, 1997).
2. Literature Review
The recent emergence of snowboarding has contributed to the ski tourism industry, attracting many youngsters to ski resorts (Marzella, 2001). Snowboarding as a sport was invented through surfers in the 1960`s who fixed bindings on to modified surfboards. As the yuppie age ended and the “Generation X’ers” began to get into skateboarding, BMX bikes, bungee jumping, and roller blading., snowboarding took off (Reichenfeld & Bruechert, 1995). By the late 1980`s, rapid growth in the sport had been tipped into motion by a number of important catalysts. Effective technical innovations and the formation of a world professional tour (backed by enthusiastic media) were the main factors in widening the sports commercial market and creating what is now an established and vibrant industry. However, many ski resorts still treat snowboarding as a secondary market, although it must be added, that by 1996 97% of all ski resorts “welcomed” snowboarders (Marzella, 2001). Through the increased popularity of snowboarding over the last 10 years, it is inevitable that some resorts would develop a strong attraction for boarders (Lennon, 1997).
Roger Hauser, the director of Massanutten Ski School, said that there were many reasons for resorts to target snowboarders. He added, that since the resort had introduced a funpark for snowboarders, five years ago, business had picked up by 15%.
Major resorts, like Val Thorens, Les Trois Valees and Val d’Isere, have invested in large T. V. and newspaper advertisement campaigns to attract as many snow sport tourists (Skiers & Snowboarders) as possible. On the other hand smaller resorts find it increasingly difficult to compete with the major ones, as tourists expect extended leisure activities, such as retail facilities and nightlife (Small, 1999). These smaller resorts tend to struggle for new customers.
They have tried to woo skiers offering low-price season passes, frequent-skier discounts and non-skiing activities, from spa treatments to snowshoeing (Markels, 2001).
Cateora & Ghauri (2001) identify the need for smaller ski resorts to internationalise their marketing approach, and therefore also their advertising. Another problem is that marketing efforts, especially advertising, now must target two audiences, snowboarders and skiers, in order to attract more customers (Marzella, 2001).
Papadopoulos (2001) puts it as marketing decision-making activities, however original and exciting must be compatible with the organisations own resource, constraints and objectives. This is of particular importance when developing international communication strategies. Significant variations exist between countries and cultures as to the most appropriate methods of promoting goods and services.
Smaller winter sport resorts must identify their strengths, if they truly want to fulfil the potential that awaits them. The resorts need to recognise that marketers should not define the business they are in as skiing/snowboarding, they need to see themselves as marketers of the mountain experience not only in the winter season but also in spring, summer, and autumn (Marzella, 2001). Successful winter travel sellers share a common trait: They sell the destination, not skiing (Gebhart, 2002). According to Gebhart (2002) the key is an expanding set of activities. Mountain resorts are developing winter activity menus as broad as anything their competitors in Florida, Hawaii or the cruise industry can offer. Marzella (2001) states that if ski resorts would refine the business they are in and form strategic alliances or vertically integrate with companies that could deliver the total mountain experience, they would utilize natural resources differently, promote their product more broadly, and develop in a different and most appealing manner.
Bruhn (2001) notes that the best way of reaching an international audience economically is by creating a multi-lingual website. A further step that generally proves to be of ever increasing importance for a resort is the implementation of either an international alpine ski race, international snowboard event or cross-country race that receives media coverage in many countries (www.hyperski.com). Gebhart (2002) states that one of the best ways to sell a ski resort is to sell the nonski activities to nonskiers who are part of almost every skiing family (Gebhart, 2002).
Many traditional ski resorts, like St. Moritz, Chamonix and Davos, are known to mainly target middle- and upper class families and prosperous individuals. Ischgl, St. Anton and Whistler Mountain on the other hand target a younger population that is looking for extensive nightlife and fun events (www.skiresort.co.uk). The winter destination market today is almost all couples and families (Gebhart, 2002) though for ski operators, kids are the future. If you grab people’s interest while there young, the thinking goes, they will remain skiers-and paying customers-for life (Gebhart, 2002).
In literature there are many studies on the advertising strategies of ski resorts but unfortunately very few on differences in perception between skiers and snowboarders, and nationalities. Most studies do not consider how cultural values impact perception (Weiermair, 2000).
Overall, France is blessed with the perfect setting for ski resorts, in arguably the best part of the alps (Lisella, 2002). However, this does not mean the resorts’ advertising efforts are of the same standard. This project aims to readdress this gap in the literature, in relation to (Marzella 2001), (Gebhart 2002), and (Papadopoulos, 2001) by examining people from different nationalities and different winter sport backgrounds on how they perceive the advertising campaigns of Chatel, a “smaller” ski resort in the French Alps.
3.1 Rationale for Triangulation & Research Design
This study relies on multiple modes of data generation to help assess the ´validity of
inferences between indicators and concepts´ (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995).
In particular, triangulation will be used. It implies that the results of an investigation employing a method associated with one research strategy are cross-checked against the results of using a method associated with the other research strategy. It is an adaptation of the argument by authors like Webb et al. (1966) that confidence in the findings deriving from a study using a quantitative research strategy can be enhanced by using more than one way of measuring a concept (Bryman, 2001).
The questionnaire consisted of 9 numbered questions to make the statistical analysis easier (Fowler, 1993). Further, most questions were answered on a 5 point Likert Scale as according to Oppenheim (1992) this guarantees good reliability.
The data was collected by a means of a researcher-administered questionnaire. Which is beneficial in that any misunderstood questions may be further explained, thus increasing the accuracy of the results gained (Borg & Gall, 1989).
3.2 Sample & Procedure
For the purposes of this study a sample of winter sport participants (WSP) (N=60) was chosen, as they are the main target population for winter sport resorts such as Chatel. The sample utilised could be considered under the definition of Hakim (1987), as that of a convenience. As mentioned above, the research tool utilised for data collection in this study was a structured questionnaire. This was regarded as the most appropriate method, as questionnaires allow information to be gathered relatively quickly, inexpensively and achieve the acquisition of empirical data (May, 1993; Gummesson, 2000). The questionnaires were handed out in the “La Terrasse du Morclan Cafe” (Chatel / France) to WSP’s between the 14. January 2003 and the 17. January 2003.
This study is predominately of quantitative design. However, qualitative data in form of a secondary analysis was collected to gain a wider perspective.
3.3 Data Analysis
All items on the questionnaire were coded in order to enter into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences 8.0 (SPSS) for analysis, as utilised by Auld and Case (1997). Non-parametric tests had to be used as the data did not meet parametric requirements. On the four hypotheses, multiple comparison tests where then performed to discover where any significant relationships or differences lay. The significance level was set at p <0.05.
For the secondary analysis, advertisement material was collected and analyzed using a coding sheet. The coding sheet was used to collect information from primary text sources” (Cooper, 1998: 26).
The main themes and categories were identified, and then used to elicit information (quotes) from the material (Cooper,1998). The quotes selected are crucial as they are the smallest meaningful unit of information that can stand by itself (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The amount of quotes found for one category will then indicate where the most information is given (Silverman, 2001).
“The results from the secondary analysis were then compared with the results obtained from the questionnaires.
Hypothesis 1: There is a sig. relationship between the main winter sport participated in and the awareness of Chatel’s advertisement campaigns.
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The descriptive statistics suggest that subjects who mainly participate in snowboarding (N=26) have a higher awareness of Chatel’s advertisement campaigns than people who mainly participate in skiing (N=34).
- Quote paper
- Robert Schiele (Author), 2002, An Investigation into customers' perception on a French Ski Resorts advertisement campaign, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/27572