Service Quality Perceptions’ Impact on Membership Renewal of Junior Executive Golf Memberships

Authors: Dr. Lorenda Prier

Corresponding Author:
Dr. Lorenda Prier
Consultant/Researcher, Prier Consulting
Online Sports Management Instructor, State University of New York at Canton
459 Juno Dunes Way
Juno Beach, FL 33408
Prierl@canton.edu

Dr. Lorenda Prier is a research consultant with sport industry, academic, and small business experience. Dr. Prier has conducted comprehensive research on age based marketing incentives and on the junior executive golf member segment.

Co-Author: Dr. Fred J. Cromartie

Fred J. Cromartie, Ed. D.
Director of Doctoral Studies
United States Sports Academy
One Academy Drive
Daphne, AL 36527
cromarti@ussa.edu

Dr. Fred J. Cromartie, is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.

Co-Author: Dr. Stephen L. Butler

Stephen L. Butler, Ed. D.
Dean of Academic Affairs
United States Sports Academy
One Academy Drive
Daphne, AL 36527
sbutler@ussa.edu

Dr. Stephen L. Butler, is the Dean of Academic Affairs at the United States Sports Academy.

Service Quality Perceptions’ Impact on Membership Renewal of Junior Executive Golf Memberships

ABSTRACT
This research addresses age based price incentives in private golf courses in South Florida. These membership options are often termed junior executive memberships and provide initiation and annual membership dues discounting for members under a set age, often 45. The evaluation is a comparison of family and nonfamily subgroups within junior executive membership categories. Due to the newness of this marketing strategy, insight into member perceptions is desired for retention efforts.
A survey instrument developed by Prier (2016) was distributed to 25 golf courses with age based price incentives in the South Florida region. The components relating to service quality and behavior intentions are addressed in this research. The service quality components of the survey instrument were selected from the SERVQUAL scale for measuring customer perceptions of service quality (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1988).

Survey respondents provided expectation levels and club evaluation levels on a 5 point Likert scale and a resultant gap was also utilized in analysis. Family respondents, those indicating a membership size of three or more, had higher expectations of service quality, lower club evaluations of service quality, and thus higher negative service quality gaps than nonfamily respondents (membership size of one or two).

Additionally, family respondents had a significantly lower proportion of likeliness to continue membership to the next membership tier, willingness to recommend, and intention to renew next year. The combination of more negative service quality evaluation and less favorable renewal intentions by family memberships provides an alert that managerial efforts to alleviate these perceptions is necessary. The significant differences between family and nonfamily membership perceptions supports the need for recognition of subgroups within the junior executive membership category. Service quality enhancement, specifically in employee behavior, provides an actionable strategy to enhance junior executive membership renewal.

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Influence of Service in a Sports Environment: Case Study on Borussia Bortmund

Authors: Philipp Sauer, Brandon D. Spradley, Fred J. Cromartie

Affiliations: United States Sports Academy

Corresponding Author:
Philipp Sauer, Ed.D.
Breddestr.36
58452 Witten
Germany
japhil@t-online.de
+49 151 44510307

Philipp Sauer received his doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy.

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of internal and external service factors on customer satisfaction in a sports environment. The study was conducted at Germany’s largest soccer stadium, the Signal Iduna Park of Borussia Dortmund, with a capacity of 80,720 people. The study used two questionnaires: (1) a demographic survey and (2) a customer satisfaction survey on service quality. This questionnaire focused on the five dimensions of facilities, staff, security, access, and reliability.

Several statistical methods were used for analyzing the results. Descriptive statistics were used to compare and illustrate research findings. Spearman Rank-Order Correlation was used to identify correlations between customer satisfaction of service quality and demographic characteristics. In addition, regression analysis was used to investigate the relationships between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. It was used to find the equation that represents the relationship between the variables.

The findings revealed that satisfaction with employee services had the highest impact on the overall customer satisfaction. As a result, the sport managers must create an attractive organizational climate to recruit and retain highly-motivated employees who are positive and courteous every time they speak to a customer. Service managers must understand that employees have a major impact on overall customer satisfaction.

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The Impact of Perceived Value, Satisfaction, Service Quality on Customer Loyalty in Women’s Fitness Clubs

Authors: Jon Lim, Bryan Romsa, & Suzannah Armentrout
Jon Lim is an Associate Professor of Sport Management at the Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Bryan Romsa is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at the South Dakota State University.
Suzannah Armentrout is a Professor of Sport Management at the Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Corresponding Author:
Jon Lim, Ed.D.
Minnesota State University, Mankato
1400 Highland Center
Mankato, MN 56001
jon.lim@mnsu.edu
507-389-5231

ABSTRACT
While the importance of customer loyalty has been recognized in the marketing literature, empirical research on the antecedents of customer loyalty and their relative importance to predict loyalty in the health and fitness club context has been lacking, especially for women-only clubs. Thus, this study investigated the impact of customer perceived value, satisfaction, and service quality on customer loyalty in women-only health and fitness clubs. The participants for this study consisted of 221 adults who were current members at women-only health and fitness clubs in a major metropolitan area in the Midwest. The results of the multiple regression analysis revealed that customer perceived value, satisfaction, and service quality significantly influence customers’ psychological commitment and behavioral intentions of membership renewal and customer referrals. Therefore, the higher customer perceived value, satisfaction, and service quality, the higher customer loyalty. The findings suggest that customer loyalty can be generated through improving customer value, satisfaction, and service quality.

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Assessing the Impact of Service Quality Attributes on Customer Satisfaction: A Case of Private Golf Courses in South Korea

Author: Boyun Woo*

*Corresponding Author:
Boyun Woo
Associate Professor
Endicott College
School of Sport Science
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Phone: 978-335-9966
Email: bwoo@endicott.edu

ABSTRACT
Responding to a highly competitive golf course environment in South Korea, it is important to investigate factors that influence customer satisfaction that will lead to a revisit. The purpose of the study was to examine the influence of different service quality attributes on customer satisfaction among golf courses in South Korea. Service quality attributes included in this study were website reservation system, caddy competency, accessibility, physical environment, cost, course difficulty, and employee service. Data was collected from 609 recreational golfers who played golf in 12 private golf courses across South Korea. The results of multiple regression analysis showed that all the service quality attributes together, with an exception of convenience of website reservation system, explained 40.5% of the variance in customer satisfaction. In terms of the individual attributes of the service quality, caddy competency had the greatest influence on customer satisfaction followed by accessibility, physical environment, cost, course difficulty, and employee service. The findings suggest golf course managers on what service quality attributes they need to focus on in order to satisfy customers.

Keywords: service quality, customer satisfaction, golf, South Korea

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Determining team identification, service quality perceptions, and sport consumption intentions of professional soccer spectators: An investigation of gender differences

Submitted by Ali Aycan, Olcay Kiremitci, Erdinç Demiray, R. Timuçin Gençer

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study has been to determine the relationships among gender, team identification, service quality perceptions and sport consumption intentions of professional soccer team spectators. 694 soccer spectators (female = 180, male = 514) participated in the study. T-test results demonstrated no significant difference between male and female sample groups in team identification and sport consumption intentions. T-test results revealed statistically significant difference between male and female only in physical environment quality perceptions. In the male spectators’ sample, the physical environment quality perception stands out among service quality sub-dimensions whereas the merchandising consumption intention stands out among sport consumption intentions. For female spectators, the physical environment quality perception stands out among service quality sub-dimensions, whereas the media consumption intention stands out among sport consumption intentions.

INTRODUCTION

Today, sports and leisure activities continue to affect society (1). Attending sporting events, the top leisure activity, is a common interest long-held especially in modern societies (28). Despite its gradually increasing popularity, competition for spectators is increasing among sports organizations (14). Determining what variables attract spectators is important to clubs’ continued existence in this competitive environment (9, 30).

Professional soccer is a main part of the sports industry, bringing in many spectators, supporters, facilities, events, media connections, and sponsors. Shank (26) stated that “if the sporting event is the heart of sports industry, then the spectator is the blood that keeps it pumping”. Soccer clubs are the building blocks of professional soccer and draw their strength from spectators. The budget of soccer clubs depends on attendance fees, but also on media and merchandising revenues (13, 14). In this regard, rather than the behavioral intentions of the spectators, determining the factors affecting these intentions may be beneficial for soccer clubs to develop efficient strategies.

Professional soccer clubs are basically service organizations. Each exists for a specific purpose, and its success depends on the consistency of its efforts to accomplish that purpose (23). The concept of “quality” plays a critical role in the success of service organizations. Meeting and exceeding target customers’ expectations of service quality sets an organization apart (17).
Because services have an intangible character, service quality has an intangible structure. Therefore, we speak of “perceived service quality,” not objective service quality (4). Perceived service quality is the direction and degree of difference between customers’ expectations before they receive the service (expected service) and their real service experience (perceived service or perceived performance) (21, 22).

While measurement of service quality has become more advanced, very little development has concerned what is measured (2). All that sources seem to agree upon is the necessity of performance measurement. The roles of expectations and importance of service quality measurement have become the two most commonly discussed issues (24). Some definitions of quality in services have focused on what to assess. These definitions include the core service, the physical environment including service-related equipment and facilities, and the interaction among individuals in service performance (5).

These three elements shape spectators’ perceptions of service quality. The core service provided by professional soccer clubs is the game of soccer itself. A game of soccer can only become a service delivery in the presence of people who will watch it. Hence, the clubs produce each game with the spectators, who also consume it simultaneously (20). This causes interactions among the spectators, and between them and the service providers. These interactions need a physical environment in which to take place.

Although sports are an important social institution, sport spectatorship is an individual behavior that can take different forms such as attendance, watching, and listening (12). Identification with the team has been found to be the most important predictor in many studies (31). However, along with individual factors, environmental factors affect sport’s relationship with individuals as well (20). Wakefield and Sloan (33) state that attendance in soccer matches is not only a function of team performance or team attachment, but also of all the experiences of spectators in the stadium.

Understanding spectators’ intentions regarding their sport consumption is important to efficient, targeted strategy. This study aims to determine team identification levels, service quality perceptions, and sport consumption intentions of professional soccer spectators by gender. It should also specify the relationship between sport consumption and service quality perceptions of female and male spectators.

METHODS

Participants
Participants in this study included 694 spectators of professional soccer teams operating in Izmir, the third-largest city in Turkey, and playing in the PTT 1.League. Among these participants, 233 (33.6%) were Göztepe SC spectators, 247 (35.6%) were Karşıyaka SC spectators, and 214 (30.8%) were Buca SC spectators. Among them, 514 (74.1%) were males while 180 (25.9%) were females. Their average age was 25.27 ± 8.66 years.

Measures
The study used the Scale of Perceived Service Quality in Professional Sport (8), Sport Consumption Behavior Intention Scale (15) and team identification subscale of the Points of Attachment Index (25, 29). The S_PSQPS, consists of 20 items within three subscales, including: (a) Interaction Quality (IQ, 6 items) (b) Physical Environment Quality (PEQ, 8 items) and (c) Core Service Quality (CSQ, 6 items). Items were scored on a five-point Likert-scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) and each item was preceded with the phrase, “In (the name of the stadium) stadium …”. Confirmatory factor analysis results (χ2 = 468.46, df = 162, χ2/df = 2.89, RMSEA = .056, SRMR = .048, GFI = .93, AGFI = .91, CFI = .94, IFI = .94, NFI = .92, NNFI = .93) and Cronbach’s alpha coefficients (varied between .83 and .88) reveal the measurement tool is valid and reliable.

The Sport Consumption Behavior Intention Scale (15) consists of three items each listed under the sub-dimensions of attendance intention, sport media consumption intention and licensed merchandise consumption intention. The Turkish version of the scale is assessed over a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Confirmatory factor analysis results (χ2 = 22.73 df = 12, χ2/df = 1.89, RMSEA = .036, SRMR = .012, NFI = 1.00, CFI = 1.00, IFI = 1.00, NNFI = .99, GFI = .99, and AGFI = .97) and Cronbach’s alpha coefficients (varied between .80 and .87) reveal that the measurement tool is valid and reliable (16).

Team identification is one of the subscales of the Points of Attachment Index (PAI) (25, 29) and consists of three items based on a seven-point Likert-type scale response format ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). The Turkish version of PAI is valid and reliable (10, 11).

Statistical Analysis
For the descriptive analyses of the data obtained from participants, we used the SPSS 13.0 statistic package program to make t-test and canonical correlation analyses. In the data analysis, first, we compared average spectator scores for each gender in the sub-dimensions of service quality, sport consumption, and team identification. To present the relationship between spectators’ service quality perceptions and sport consumption intentions, we applied canonical correlation analysis separately to each gender. Within the scope of this analysis, we considered canonical correlation coefficients, canonical redundancy analysis results and cross-loadings of the sub-dimensions.

RESULTS

Results showed a significant difference in service quality perceptions between male and female sample groups in the physical environment quality sub-dimension (p<.05). Other sub-dimensions, including consumption and team identification, show no such significant difference (p>.05) (Table 1).

In addition, we analyzed canonical correlations to determine the relationship between variable sets of service quality perceptions and sport consumption intentions to the data obtained from male and female sample groups separately. The first canonical function of both groups was statistically significant (p<.01) (Table 2). That first function considered redundancy analysis results, presenting the explanation percentages of variable sets. For male spectators, service quality perception explains 75.9% of its variable set, while sport consumption intentions explain 6.0%. Sport consumption intentions explain 73.9% of its variable set whereas service quality perceptions explain 5.9%. As for female spectators, service quality perception explains 72.5% of its variable, sport consumption 11.2%; sport consumption intention 79.3% of its variable set and service quality perception 12.2% (Table 2). In terms of perceived service quality, males seemed to pay the most attention to quality of the physical environment (canonical loading = -.991; cross loading = -.279) and interaction (canonical loading = -.837; cross loading = -.236); and in terms of their intentions, they cared most about merchandising (canonical loading = .963; cross loading = .271) and attendance (canonical loading = .930; cross loading = -.262) (Table 3). Females seemed to care most about physical environment (canonical loading=-.978; cross loading=-.384), interaction (canonical loading=-.954; cross loading=-.375), media (canonical loading=.946; cross loading=.372) and attendance (canonical loading=.910; cross loading=.357) (Table 3). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

Although female and male spectators’ media and merchandising-related intentions were high, their service quality perceptions were rather low. There was no significant difference between males and females in terms of team identification or consumption intentions. Quality perceptions of core service, interaction and physical environment may be low because these spectators’ teams compete in a lower league, and their stadiums suffer by comparison to the super league. Their directors spend most of their budget on player transfers to create a team that can move up to the super league and therefore ignore stadiums’ issues.

Physical environment quality perceptions of the female spectators participating in the study are significantly lower than the male spectators. Social interaction plays an important role in female attendance. Dietz-Uhler et al. (6) says that women often attend games with family and friends, and continue their sport spectatorship for social reasons. Although the structure of stadiums and popularity of soccer provide social opportunities, low perceptions regarding physical environment quality may affect female attendance. Physical environment does affect the quality of social interaction (3, 34).

Although males have a poor opinion of soccer’s physical environment and interaction low, they maintain their merchandising and attendance intentions positively. This situation results from their high team identification levels. Spectators with high team identification levels attend more games and watch more sports through media. They also buy more merchandise (31). Although Matsuoka et al. (19) states that the satisfaction from team identification and game experience have a remarkable effect on attendance intentions for future games, Mahony and Moorman (18) claim spectators with high identification levels attend games regardless of any other factors. However, according to Theodorakis et al. (27), high service quality raises the willingness to attend future games among those with medium and high identification levels, but does not influence those with the highest identification levels.

The high identification levels of this study’s participants and the negligible gender difference in those levels increases the importance of physical environment and interaction for female spectators. Females often attend sports for social interaction, attaching more importance to the stadium environment. Even though they have high identification levels, their poor perception of the environment and interaction makes them more likely to consume media than attend games. Media help spectators sustain their emotional attachment and feel the uncertainty of the score (7), particularly through live broadcasting. Wann et al. (32) emphasizes that spectators should not be mistaken for fans. Some fans with high identification levels do not attend games, and some spectators have very low identification levels.

In conclusion, professional soccer spectators with high levels of identification do not consider service quality perceptions very much. They continue attending the games of their teams, consume merchandise and follow their teams on the media even when the related service quality is low. Male spectators show a special interest in their teams’ merchandise despite their low service quality perceptions. However, female spectators’ high media consumption intentions compared to their attendance intentions shows the importance of the physical environment. Sports directors and marketers who wish to attract spectators, especially female spectators, to stadiums should work to improve their environment, not just identification with their teams.

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TABLES

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