Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Eun-Kyong Choi

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

During the Covid-19 pandemic, people have had differing opinions about traveling and visiting popular destinations. This study analyzes why people decide to visit or not visit Disney World during the pandemic. To understand motivational factors affecting customers’ visit intention, a Qualtrics survey was administered through GroupMe, Disney Facebook fan pages, and MTurk. Questions applied the theory of planned behavior and additional constructs of perceived severity and perceived vulnerability to understand the reasons behind participants’ decision-making process to visit or not visit Disney World.

From the 553 responses analyzed, it was found that the most influential factors on Disney World visit intention during the pandemic were perceived severity, subjective norm, attitude, and perceived behavioral control. Annual passholders had a higher mean for subjective norm and visit intention than non-annual passholders. This could be because the family and friends of annual passholders know they are already inclined to visit Disney World often, so they may be more accepting of them visiting during the pandemic. Further, the study found that cleaning and sanitizing was the most important safety initiative followed by reduced capacity, social distancing, and mask requirements. As for the influence of eliminated park activities on a person’s decision to visit, not having fireworks was the most influential followed by no character meet and greets and no parades. The implementation of safety initiatives had more of an influence on people’s visit intention than the elimination of activities. This is useful information because by eliminating activities, Disney World is able to enforce the safety initiatives and measures.

This study provides helpful information for park managers to better understand their guests’ decision-making process when it comes to visiting theme parks during a pandemic. This study can be useful for the hospitality and tourism industry when it comes to understanding how consumer behavior changes when there is a crisis event such as a pandemic, and it can be referred to if the industry is faced with a crisis event similar to Covid-19 in the future. Moreover, it can help theme park managers design their marketing strategies and park operations based on what customers want.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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