Research Article
VISITORS’ MOTIVATION AND SATISFACTION OF TWO MAJOR SPORTS TOURISM EVENTS IN MALAYSIA
Khong Chiu, Lim*, Andy Lim Teik Hong, Khor Poy Hua, Radzliyana Radzuwan.
Corresponding Author: Khong Chiu, Lim, School of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management, University Utara Malaysia, Malaysia.
Received: 13 October 2021; Revised: 19 October 2021; Accepted: 22 October 2021 Available Online: 07 December 2021
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Abstract

Currently, the numbers of visitors attending a sport tourism event in Malaysia is growing rapidly. Thus, knowing visitors’ motivation and factors which encourage them to attend a particular sports event as well as their satisfaction towards the service and the quality of events is crucial as it can help the event organizers to examine how the two variables affect the behaviour of the visitors. Hence, this study aims to investigate visitors’ motivation and satisfaction at two sports tourism events, namely the Monsoon Cup and the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. A quantitative survey in the form of questionnaire was utilized to gather data from respondents who attended the two events. The findings shows that knowledge, sociability, relaxation, entertainment, and prestige were the motivating factors for tourists’ participation in both events. Comparatively, the main motivational factor to participate in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix is for entertainment purpose, whereas knowledge is the main factor for visitors to participate in the Monsoon Cup. In terms of their satisfaction, both events’ visitors seem satisfied with overall site related features, staff, and other event-related features. Thus, this study has portrayed significant insights for tourism managers and marketers in planning targeted marketing strategies to attract more visitors to participate in sports tourism events in future. Furthermore, this study presented in order to assist tourism managers and marketers in developing strategies and tactics to entice more visitors to the destination.

Keywords: Visitor motivation, Visitor satisfaction, Sports tourism events, Malaysia

INTRODUCTION

The sports tourism events industry has seen tremendous growth in the 21st century. Currently, the number of tourists who travel to attend a sporting event is growing rapidly. Besides participating sport tournament during the visit, some of the visitors decide to visit a destination to become as a spectator or the participants. Many big sporting events started out as a regional event and eventually grown to be an international event. Several examples include the Dragon Boat Race in Chine, NASCAR, and Tour de France bicycle race. Malaysia too was no exception in the field of sports tourism events as Malaysia was able to host many mega events such as the Commonwealth Games in 1998, the Le Tour de Langkawi bicycle race, the PETRONAS Grand Prix Formula 1, and the Monsoon Cup.

As many of sport event has been organized these days, the event organizer should try to use the event as one of their marketing strategies which give more choices for tourists who are concerned about their recreational and leisure activities. Thus, from the perspective of an event organizer, sports tourism event organizations should market the event as attractive tourism products which is high in quality, reasonably priced, and specified to travellers’ needs. As different individuals attend a sport event for a variety of reasons, their motivations and level of satisfaction with the service offered by the event organisers may also vary. Hence, from the perspective of sport tourism, motivation and satisfaction are the main aspects which predict visitors’ attitude (Funk, Beaton, & Alexandris, 2012; Prayag & Grivel, 2014). Therefore, marketers should set the goal of understanding visitors’ motives and satisfaction when preparing a marketing strategy.

In the field of event management and marketing, visitors’ motivations and satisfaction are vital elements (Pearce, 2005). Thus, knowing visitors’ motivation and factors which encourage them to attend a particular sports event as well as their satisfaction towards the service and the quality of events is crucial as it can help the event organizers to examine how the two variables affect the behaviour of the visitors. Fuchs and Weiermair (2004) put forward that satisfaction plays an immense role in predicting the expectations and intentions for the customer’s next destination purchasing decision. Without a doubt, an event with satisfied customers will promote more visitors to come to the target destination, persuade people to stay longer, and can encourage people to revisit the destination again. As such, this study attempted to determine visitors’ motivation and satisfaction of two different major sports tourism events in Malaysia.
 
Literature Review

Overview of Sports Tourism Events in Malaysia
The sports tourism events (STE) sector in Malaysia has become one of the main sectors which contributed to the country’s economy and provide profitable incomes. Currently, the rising growth of STE allows Malaysia to organize many world-class sports events. Evidently, the success of Malaysia in organizing the Commonwealth Games in 1998 event has provided the biggest opportunity for Malaysia to organize other mega sporting events such as the Formula One Grand Prix, the Monsoon Cup and Le Tour de Langkawi. As a result, Malaysia has been awarded Asia’s Leading Sport Tourism Destination in 2011 by World Travel Award (Dolinting, Yusof, & Chee, 2013). Moreover, Malaysia has been entrusted to organize other major sports events such as FMA (Muaythai) World Championships in 2014, PGA Tour, ATP/WTP tennis tournaments and many others.

In the current study, the Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) and the Monsoon Cup are the settings for this research. The Malaysian MotoGP is a part of the of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing season which is held at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). According to McCartney (2010), the strategic positioning of the SIC allows it to host various mega motorsport events throughout the year. Therefore, it has attracted local and international motorsport enthusiasts to attend the events as spectators. On the other hand, The Monsoon Cup sailing regatta is a part of the World Match Racing Tour which is held during the monsoon season between November and January in Pulau Duyong, Terengganu. It is one of the initiatives supported by the Malaysian Government to promote the country as a sport tourism destination. Additionally, the event not only help to introduce sailing as one of the competitive sports in Malaysia, but also help the state of Terengganu to the Centre of marine-based business activities in Malaysia.

According to Gibson et al. (2012), organizing sports events can certainly contribute to the economic, social, and tourism sustainability. Likewise, Standeven and De Knop (1999) and Higham (2005) agreed that sports tourism events will be able to generate benefits and provide positive impacts on economic, sociocultural, environmental, as well as health to sports tourists, host community and events’ destinations. Therefore, aside from mega sporting events, Malaysia also offers a diverse range of sports tourism opportunities, including adventure, extreme, and traditional sports. For example, adventure sports tourism offers a wide range of outdoor adventure sport such as the Kenyir 4x4 Challenge and Kenyir Mountain Bike Challenge. Besides, extreme sport activities such flyboarding, bungy jumping, and sky diving have garnered considerable attention from sports event organizers and the tourism local authority to develop sport activities in the rural area. Additionally, the uniqueness of traditional sport activities which were acknowledged by visitors also contributed to the development of sports tourism events in Malaysia.

Visitors’ Motivation

The motives of sports visitor differ according to the sports attraction, desired, country and also socio-demographic profile. Based on Aicher and Brenner (2015), sport tourists’ motivation can be defined as a function based on their perceived needs and becomes the drivers through the decision-making process which led to their intention to participate. Thus, in studying the sport event visitors, motivation becomes a part of attributes which influence the visitors’ psychological behaviour to attend the sports tourism events. Motivation becomes a strongest reason why visitors deciding to attend the event because different motives will lead to the difference reason of travel, characteristics, and event types. Hence, the motives become an important factor that should be the concern in order to understand the sports visitors’ behaviour.

In recent years, a substantial amount of research has been conducted on the motivations of people who participate in events sports tourism (Dolinting et al., 2015; Yusof et al., 2009; Zarei & Yusof, 2014). Aicher, Karadakis and Eddosary (2015) in their study of running event has stated that understanding why visitors participate an event should be started from the stronger understanding of sport tourist motivation. Although researchers employed a variety of tools, they consistently discovered that visitors' reasons were substantially associated with escape, excitement, learning and discovery, participation, prestige, and sociability. Furthermore, Cassidy (2005) maintained that visitors usually have multiple motives to attend a particular event rather than a single motive.

On the other hand, McDonnell et al. (1999) proposed four main categories of visitors’ motives to attend event which social, organisational, physiological, and personal motives. Social motives are the ability to engage in social interaction with others to be a part of the event's communal spirit. Organisational motives include the need of recognition or prestige when attending an event which encompasses sponsorship and community support. This is because by participating in the events, organisations will indirectly support the community.  Organizations want to look as if they are supporting the community by participating in the event. On the other hand, physiological motives involve the need for relaxation, food, and entertainment whereas personal motives refer to an individual motive which differs for each tourist. For example, some visitors’ aims to seek new experiences and some aims to achieve something they always wanted to do.

Previous study has established that the motivations for participating in events are diverse and unique to each individual. Wann, Grieve, Zapalac, and Pease (2008) have indicated that motivation varied according to country, sport, and emotional attachment. For example, Funk, Alexandria, and Ping (2009) discovered that Australians' motivations for attending the Beijing Olympic Games were centred on their interest in the event which is to experience the atmosphere and thrill of this once-in-a-lifetime event, desire to learn about Chinese culture which includes language, politics, and music, and also their desire to have a cultural experience by interacting with the local people and visiting historical and cultural sites. Similarly, Nicholson and Pearce (2001) demonstrated the diversity of visitor motivations at four South Island, New Zealand events, namely two food and beverage festivals, an aviation show, and a country and music festival.

Visitors’ Satisfaction

According to Krohn and Backman (2011), satisfaction is related to the optimal result or outcome of an experience. On the other hand, Chen and Tsai (2008) stated that satisfaction refers to the perceived discrepancy between prior expectation and perceived performance after consumption. Thus, customer satisfaction has traditionally been associated with marketing techniques, positive word of mouth, and as a factor that influences visitors' intentions to return and to recommend the positive things to others in addition to other factors. According to Kim et al., (2010); Ko et al.; (2010) and Lee and Beeler (2009), understanding of the visitors’ satisfaction is the critical aspect to predict visitors’ intention to repurchase a certain product based on their expectation and experience in the tourism industry. Without a doubt, satisfied customers often resulted in continuous intention to repurchase the product or service.

In the context of sports tourism, the component of satisfaction has been studied by several researchers (Ramírez-hurtado, 2014; Tzetzis, Alexandris & Kapsampeli, 2014). Kaplanidou and Vogt (2007) examined on the likelihood of repeated visits by active sports tourists following their participation in the event. Likewise, Kaplanidou and Gibson (2010) studied on the active sport behavioural intentions towards past participation, attitudes, satisfaction and destination image in small-scale events sports tourism. Therefore, in order to assess visitors’ satisfaction, a variety of viewpoints have been expressed by several researchers regarding the aspects that influence visitor satisfaction. Based on Lee and Beeler (2009), satisfaction can be linked to visitors’ experience based on a two-way judgment, namely product performance and the product itself. Likewise, Grace and OCass (2004) argued that another critical dimension aside from the core service and employee service is the interpersonal dimension, which will directly influence the level of satisfaction. Besides, a recent study by Markovic (2019) has identified that staff service quality, event offerings and programmes as well as event area projected the strongest significant influence on visitors’ satisfaction.
 
METHOD

This quantitative study in the form of survey attempted to examine visitors’ motivation and satisfaction to participate in two sports tourism events. A total of 711 respondents were involved in the study selected through purposive sampling. The respondents were domestic visitors from various states of Malaysia. Of the total, 281 respondents were selected from the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix event and 430 respondents were selected from the Terengganu Monsoon Cup. Questionnaire was used as research instrument to obtain data from visitors. The questionnaire consists of 15 items on visitors’ motivation for event participation and 24 items on visitors’ satisfaction. The motivational items are derived from Beerli and Martin (2004) and Fodness (1994) which outline five motivational factors in relation to event participation, namely knowledge, sociability, relaxation, prestige, and entertainment, whereas, the satisfaction items are based on Neill, Carlsen, and Getz (1999) which examines visitors’ satisfaction in relation to sites related features, staff related features, and other related features. A pilot study has been done to test the reliability of the questionnaire and the results have displayed good internal consistency and construct reliability. The quantitative data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 25 to obtain descriptive statistics.
 
Results AND DISCUSSION

Visitors’ Motivation at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix
Table 1 below depicts the mean and standard deviation for motivational item for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix Event.


As shown in Table 1, all event participation motives scored above 3 in a 5-point scale (with 5.0 being extremely important), indicating that these attributes were deemed important to the respondents participating in the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix event. Based on the fifteen motivational items extracted from the questionnaire, the motivational items examined indicated that the most important motivation for participating the event was to seek adventure and pleasure (M = 4.20), followed by ‘to have some entertainment’ (M = 4.12), and ‘to develop knowledge’ (M = 3.95).

In relation to the event participation motives, the results in Table 2 seem to support that knowledge, sociability, relaxation, entertainment, and prestige were the motivating factors for the tourist participating in the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix event. Entertainment (M=4.03) and relaxation (M=3.83) factors were the most important motives, followed by prestige, knowledge and sociability factors perceived by visitors who attended the event.

Visitors’ Satisfaction at the Terengganu Monsoon Cup.

On the other hand, Table 3 below depicts the mean and standard deviation for motivational item for the Terengganu Monsoon Cup Event.

 


Based on Table 3 above, motivational items which scored above 3 in a 5-point scales (with 5.0 being extremely important), indicating that these attributes were deemed important to the respondents participating in the Terengganu Monsoon Cup event. Based on the fifteen motivational items extracted from the questionnaire, the motivational items examined indicated that the most important motivation for participating the event was wanted to rest and relaxation (M = 4.09), followed by wanted to develop knowledge (M = 4.06), to seek adventure and pleasure (M = 4.03), and to alleviate stress and tension (M = 4.02).

In relation to the event participation motives, the results in Table 4 seem to support that knowledge, relaxation, entertainment, prestige, and sociability were the motivating factors for the tourist participating in the Terengganu Monsoon Cup. Knowledge (M=3.96) and relaxation (M=3.95) factors were the most important motives, followed by prestige, knowledge and sociability factors as perceived by tourists who attended the event.

Visitors’ Satisfaction at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix

 Site related features

As shown in Table 5 the visitors’ overall satisfaction of the site features was quite positive with recorded mean score 3.13 in a 5-point scales. In terms of overall percentage perception of respondents on site related features, about 10% were very satisfied, 21.9% were satisfied and about 43% rated as moderately satisfied. However, more than 20% of the respondents were not satisfied with overall features of the event’s site.


Based on the findings, about 30% of the respondents were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with most of the site elements surveyed such as, parking availability, accessibility to the site, cleanliness of the surrounding, lack of food and beverage outlets, availability of seat, signage to the site, and the condition of the toilet. Overall, most of the respondents were only moderately satisfied with all the site elements listed in the questionnaire.

Staff related features

As shown in Table 6, the tourists’ overall satisfaction of the staff features was quite positive with recorded mean score 3.54 in a 5- point scales. In terms of overall percentage perception of respondents on staff related features, slightly more than 40% of the respondents were either very satisfied (12%) or satisfied (29.9%) and more than one third (39.2%) rated as moderately satisfied. However, slightly more than 10% of the respondents were not satisfied with overall features of the event’s staff (Figure 1).

Based on the findings, more than 40% of the respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with most of the staff elements surveyed such as, helpfulness, knowledgeable, availability, presentable and appearance, and approachable attitude.


Other related features

The results in the Table 7 indicate that all the item of the other related elements being perceived by the respondents as above average with more than half (over 50%) were satisfied and very satisfied. About 27% of the respondents were very satisfied with the overall organization of the event (Figure 2).


Visitor’ Satisfaction at the Terengganu Monsoon Cup

Site related features

As shown in Table 8, the tourists’ overall satisfaction of the site features was quite positive with recorded mean score 3.93 in a 5-point scales. In terms of overall percentage perception of respondents on site related features, about a quarter (26%) of the visitors were very satisfied, 46.3% were satisfied and about 24% rated as moderately satisfied. However, 3.5% of the respondents were not satisfied with overall features of the event’s site (Figure 3).


Based on the findings, less than 10% of the respondents were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with most of the site elements surveyed except for parking availability, accessibility to the site and seating availability slightly more than 10%. Overall, the vast majority of respondents were satisfied with all the site elements listed in the questionnaire.

 
Staff related features

As shown in Table 9, the tourists’ overall satisfaction of the staff features was quite positive with recorded mean score 3.67 in a 5- point scales. In terms of overall percentage perception of respondents on staff related features, slightly more than 60% of the respondents were very satisfied (14.4%) and satisfied (46.7%). However, only slightly more than 5% of the respondents were not satisfied with overall features of the event’s staff (Figure 4).

Based on the findings, more than 50% of the respondents were either satisfied and very satisfied with most of the staff elements features such as, helpfulness, knowledgeable, availability, presentable and appearance, and approachable attitude.



Other related features

The results in the Table 10 indicate that all the items of the other related elements being perceived by the respondents as positive with more than 60% were satisfied and very satisfied. About 20% of the respondents were very satisfied with the overall organization of the event. (Figure 5).


DISCUSSION

Therefore, it is clear that all five motivating factors for tourists’ participation in both events, namely knowledge, sociability, relaxation, entertainment, and prestige yield significant data. Hence, it highlighted the importance of these factors in influencing visitors’ decision to attend the events (Egresi & Kara, 2014). As seen from the Moto GP event, entertainment is the main motivating factor for visitors’ who attended the event. The results in line with Kim et al., (2013) who concluded that visitors’ attending a mega-sporting event mainly for entertainment purpose. On the other hand, knowledge is the main motivating factor for visitors who attended the Monsoon Cup. Thus, it proves that this type of event has been accepted as one of the sport events that visitors can learn something with their family and friends. Although the sociability factor yields the lowest mean for both events, the overall mean still shows significant result, thus making it an important factor too in determining visitors’ participation. It is supported by Prayag and Grivel (2014) who found out that sociability is one of the main motive of visitors to attend a sport event. However, based on the motivating factors listed, it can be concluded that visitors have multiple motives to attend both events rather than a single motive (Cassidy, 2005) (Figure 6).

In terms of overall satisfaction, both events’ visitors seem satisfied with overall site related features, staff, and other event-related features. An in-depth comparison of the site-related features have shown that visitors at the MotoGP event were moderately satisfied whereas visitors of the Monsoon Cup are satisfied. Hence, the findings suggested that several basic site-related features needed more attention particularly in the aspects such as food and beverage, toilet, parking availability, cleanliness, and site accessibility as those are considered essential needs by tourist when evaluating a certain event. Therefore, it is clear that most of the site features require improvement during future organization of the event.

Furthermore, the result from both events indicated that the respondents are perceived to be more satisfied than dissatisfied towards the staff-related features. Thus, the result is in line with Markovic (2019) who identified that staff service quality is one of the strongest significant impacts on visitors’ satisfaction. No doubt, the services provided by staff and largely depends on their knowledge, skills, appearance and behavior towards tourists (Peric, et al., 2018).  Hence, the findings certainly proved that the staffs and personnel are trained professionally and able to do their respective duties accordingly. On the other hand, both events have garnered an above average level of satisfaction in terms of other event-related quality in relation to the event timing, venue, crowd, and others. Thus, it explained the importance of proper timing, venue, and convenience and accessibility of the event which will lead to higher overall visitors’ satisfaction.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, an event can be a strong marketing and promotional tool, particularly for the organizer and marketer of the event. Thus, the findings showed that all the five motivating factors, namely knowledge, sociability, relaxation, entertainment, and prestige are significant in determining tourists’ participation in both events. Comparatively, the main motivational factor to participate in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix is for entertainment purpose whereas knowledge is the main factor for visitors to participate in the Monsoon Cup.  In terms of satisfaction, visitors were satisfied with overall site related features, staff, and other event-related features for both events. In addition, the findings of the survey indicated that there is moderate satisfaction towards the site-related features, but visitors were satisfied with the staffs’ presentable appearance, friendliness, and approachable attitude. Therefore, the findings revealed important aspects to be taken into consideration in relation to event planning and tourism promotion. Hence, the insights gathered from this research will eventually assist event marketers and managers in determining what motivates visitors to attend an event and, at the same time, meeting their requirements.

Nevertheless, the limitation of this study is in terms of the generalizability of the research findings. As the questionnaire was completed by sport tourists who attended the two events stated in this study, they may not be a representation of the whole population of the study. As a result, the findings are prone to bias. Additionally, this study collected data on event visitors without determining if they were first-time visitors, repeat visitor, domestic visitors, international visitors. Therefore, future research can take into account the limitations of the study in term of the sampling strategies used and also the type of visitors. On the other hand, this study also recommends the use of modification measuring scales to acquire qualitative data that may be utilised to explicitly describe visitors' motivations and satisfaction.

 

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