Visitor loyalty at a private South Carolina protected area
Visitor loyalty is necessary to generate a virtuous cycle of people-park symbiosis, but knowledge about loyalty expectations is insufficient. A survey of 300 repeat visitors to South Carolina's Francis Beidler Forest, a private protected area, yielded a hierarchical pattern of loyalties, with positive overall place identity attitudes and positive intentions on site referrals, future visits, and engagement in advocacy. However, also evident were ambivalent place dependency attitudes, ambivalent intentions about donating and paying higher entry fees, and unwillingness to volunteer. Cluster analysis yielded exclusive loyalists (23%) preferring Beidler above other sites, nonexclusive loyalists (31%) not preferring the site, referral and repeat loyalists (33%), and ambivalent loyalists (13%) displaying low levels of loyalty uniformly. Attribute satisfaction levels were very high across clusters. Income, education, residency, and birding skill level all significantly differentiated the clusters. Implications for the marketing and product development of such sites are considered.
Journal of Travel Research
Tourism Resource Appraisal