- Jonathan M Yachin, Doctoral Student Tourism Studies
Subject: "The 'Customer Journey': Learning from Customers in Tourism Experience Encounters"
For micro-tourism firms, customers are a readily-accessible and highly important knowledge source that often remains unused. This study explores firm-customer encounters along the customer journey as learning opportunities. Based on data collected through participant observations, interviews and a review of user-generated content, this case study provides an in-depth look into a customer journey with a Swedish micro-tourism firm. The findings suggest that the possibility to generate knowledge about experiential purposes is conditioned by the firm's ability to involve customers and bestow their encounters with an experience-like quality. This is facilitated by adopting a discourse that focuses on imagination and fulfilment. Moreover, in-situ supporting moments are more applicable for learning and user-generated-content provides an opportunity to learn what generates value for customers. The study concludes that in the context of learning from customers, being small is an advantage that micro-tourism firms should embrace and that they should engage in personal relationships with customers.