Crowding vs. Skiing: When and How Does Crowding Influence Experience Evaluations in a Ski Resort Setting?
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- Studentoppgaver (SV-NHS) 
Background Although crowding has been recognized as an important indicator of experience quality and its impact on tourists’ and locals’ experiences and behaviours are important topics for visitor management to understand, there is limited theoretical knowledge existing about crowding within ski resorts. Research conducted at ski resorts indicates that crowding and queuing are topics that matter to the customers of ski resorts. Furthermore a better understanding of the consequences of crowding is not just interesting for the management of ski resorts but also for other tourism settings in Norway, such as outdoor recreation where visitor numbers are growing exponentially during recent years. Objectives This study set in a ski resort context aims at a better understanding of the mechanisms at work when visitors evaluate experiences that are likely to be influenced by crowding and specifically looks at whether the crowding-satisfaction relationship is mediated by emotion types and depends on visitors’ prior expectations of crowding and tolerance for crowding. Secondary objectives involve the exploration of the effect of crowding on loyalty behavioural intentions (to recommend and revisit) and the exploration of the role of the perceived acceptability of the wait at lifts. Methods A study from retail shopping was adapted and extended to fit the special outdoor recreation service setting at a ski resort. Quantitative data was collected via an online survey from a convenience sample of 248 skiers and snowboarders who visited a small-scale ski resort in Norway, and analysed with ordinary least squares regression by means of PROCESS for SPSS. Results The crowding-satisfaction relationship is (partially) mediated by the emotions joy and anger, while the effects of crowding and acceptability of wait on loyalty are indicated to be indirect and mediated by satisfaction. The effect of crowding on satisfaction did neither seem to depend prior expectations nor on tolerance for crowding. Nonetheless there are indications that these moderators play a role in the relationship between visitor density and crowding. A discussion of the results is provided; theoretical, methodological, and management implications as well as suggestions for future research are outlined.
Master's thesis in International hotel and tourism management