Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The Dynamics of Traveler Destination Awareness and Search for Information Associated with Hosting the Olympic Games. (Research Paper)

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The Dynamics of Traveler Destination Awareness and Search for Information Associated with Hosting the Olympic Games. (Research Paper)

Article excerpt

Abstract: This article proposes a theory of direct and indirect influences of the Olympic Games on international tourism behavior and presents test results of the theory using a quasi-experimental research design and visitor exit data (n = 3,875 useable surveys). Key finding: among prior visitors to Australia, the share searching for information nearly doubles (from 30 to 59 per cent) in comparing visitors reporting no change in awareness to substantial increase in awareness of Australia as a vacation destination due to hosting the Olympic Games. Conclusion: hosting international mega-events may result in substantial increases in activities and expenditures by visitors but such impacts occur through increases in visitors' search for information.

Keywords: Olympics, tourism, information search, theory

Theory and Preliminary test results of the impact of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games on International Tourism Behavior.

Executive Summary

The study of sports marketing influences on international travel and tourism behavior focuses on two core issues. First, how do external influences, such as marketing strategies and suggestions from friend and family members, affect travel and trips to destinations that would not have occurred otherwise? Second, given that the traveler has made the destination visit, how do external influences affect the nature of the visit? This report focuses on the second issue in regards to how the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games influences visitors' search for information and behaviors during their visits.

The article tests eight hypotheses:

[H.sub.1]: Prior versus first-time visiting behavior increases self-reports that knowledge of hosting the Olympic Games increased awareness of the country as a holiday/vacation destination. The findings do not support [H.sub.1]. Strategy implication: the impact of hosting the Olympic Games on international visitor behavior is likely to be indirect rather than direct: hosting such mega-events may result in stimulating visitor search behavior even though country awareness does not increase.

[H.sub.2]: A greater share of first-time visitors compared to prior visitors search for information about the country of destination. The findings strongly support [H.sub.2]. Countries hosting sports mega-events need to plan on responding to first-time visitors' heightened information search.

[H.sub.3]: Awareness of country as a vacation destination based on its hosting the Olympic Games reduces the negative impact of prior versus first-time visits on information search. The findings strongly support [H.sub.3]. Thus, hosting international mega-sporting events changes the nature of both the prior and repeat visitors' search behaviors; such dynamics may lead to increases in visitor expenditures only if the visitors' information needs are met.

[H.sub.4]: Increases in awareness of a country as a vacation destination due to its hosting the Olympic Games serves to increase search for information prior to visiting the country. The findings strongly support [H.sub.4]. The positive impact of hosting the Olympic Games requires planning to meet visitors' heightened information needs.

[H.sub.5]: Self-perceived awareness of a country as a holiday/vacation destination due to hosting the Olympic Games reduces the negative influence of prior trip behavior on current trip expenditures. The findings do not support [H.sub.5]. Strategic implications: awareness of the influence of the Olympic Games on current trip expenditures occurs through influencing search behavior of both new and prior visitors; thus, perceived Olympic Games influence is not limited only to new visitors.

[H.sub.6]: Increasing search for information related to the country hosting the Olympic Games results in increases in tourism activities during the visit. The findings support [H.sub.6]. Strategic implications: information suggestions on activities are likely to help increase expenditures of international visitors attending the Olympic Games. …

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