Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Service Convenience, Perceived Value, Satisfaction, and Loyalty: A Study of Consumers from Low-Cost Fitness Centers in Spain

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Service Convenience, Perceived Value, Satisfaction, and Loyalty: A Study of Consumers from Low-Cost Fitness Centers in Spain

Article excerpt

Introduction

The practice of physical activity in fitness centers continues to grow. According to the Eurobarometer of Sport (European Commission, 2014) there was an increment of two points between 2009 and 2013 in Europe. According to this report, 10% of Spaniards resort to fitness centers, an increase of six points from 2009 through 2013. Likewise, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, IHRSA (2016) also have data positioning Spain as a country with increased practiced of physical activity in this type of sporting facility, in addition to an increase of facilities and financial growth in this industry worldwide. Specifically in this market the new business model low-cost is characterized by fitness centers providing the latest fitness equipment and between two and five rooms with directed physical activity/class. Furthermore, the price for membership fee is below the national median placing the cost at nineteen ninety-nine euros plus tax, a cost that is below the national median for this service (Valcarce, López, & García, 2016).

According to Valls (2010), the incorporation of these business models with a lower cost supposes a change in the marketing paradigm where clients express the offer they want, the format, and the price they are willing to pay. For this reason, the low-cost enterprise must identify their segment of the population and adapt their offer to what this market is willing to pay. The number of low-cost centers has increased by 17.5% between the years 2014 and 2015 (Valcarce et al., 2016). However, because of its recent incorporation, the profile of the client is unknown as well as the perception of decisive variables leading to a new purchase of sport service (García-Fernández, Fernández-Gavira, & Bernal-García, 2014a).

In this regard, the novelty of these sport organizations incorporated in the market creates a need for research in its models of management, commercialization and possible improvements. A bibliografical review of studies related to the management and marketing of fitness centers, García-Fernández, Bernal-García, Fernández-Gavira, and Vélez-Colón (2014b) brought attention to the lack of scientific study in this sector. In their study a revision from the year 1980 through 2013 by way of references from data bases, a total of 87 articles were chosen demonstrating an exponential growth in publications of studies related to this sector when compared to previous years. Similar, there has been an increment in articles during the last decade published in articles indexed in Journal Citation Reports, which suggest an increase of interest in the scientific community and for certain an increase in practitioners worldwide (IHRSA, 2016).

Nevertheless, in general, published work tends to examine perceived quality and satisfaction (i.e. Alexandris, Zahariadis, Tsorbatzoudis, & Grouios, 2004; Avourdiadou & García, 2014; Avourdiadou & Theodorakis, 2014; Gálvez-Ruiz, Boleto-Rosado, & Romero-Galisteo, 2015; García, Bernal, Lara, & Galán, 2013; García, Cepeda, & Martín, 2012; Hsueh & Su, 2013; Murray & Howat, 2002; Pedragosa & Correia, 2009; Theodorakis, Howat, Ko, & Avourdiadou, 2014; Tsitskari, Antoniadis, & Costa, 2014; Vila, Sánchez, & Manassero, 2009), in human resources (i.e. Alves, Franco, Castañer, Camerino, Rodrigues, & Hileno, 2015; García, Fernández, Pereira, & Carvalho, 2014; Huddleston, Fry, & Brown, 2012; Maconachie & Sappey, 2013; Rosado, Araújo, Mesquita, Correia, Mendes, & Guillén, 2014) or new trends such as social media (GarcíaFernández, Fernández-Gavira, Durán-Muñoz, & Vélez-Colón, 2015; García, Gálvez, Vélez, & Bernal, 2015). Although the majority of work is oriented towards answers regarding reduced customer loyalty in fitness centers (García-Fernández et al., 2014b), there is a lack of research in low-cost fitness centers (García-Fernández et al., 2014a), with regards to other variables that could influence customer loyalty. …

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