1 THE INTENTION OF MEETING PR OFESSIONALS TO INCORPORATE VOLUNTOURISM INTO CONVENTIONS: PERCEPTIONS OF MEETING PROFESSIONALS By TARA SCHICKEDANZ A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008
2 2008 Tara Schickedanz
3 To my family and friends, who offer unconditional support.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The support of m y family and friends continues to be crucial to the successes I enjoy. My parents have supported me emotionally and fina ncially, and perhaps most importantly, have taught me the value of hard work, for which I am forever grateful. My si sters, Maria, Trina and Karin, and my brother, Kurt, have also been continually supportiv e and loving. I am especially thankful to have the unwavering confidence of my fianc, Billy. He has been my rock. Each of them has played a large role in who I am today, a nd together they have helped me to reach all my goals thus far. I am also extremely grateful for the guidance and advice offered by my committee members. I am thankful to my advisor, Dr. Pennington-Gray, whose assistance has been invaluable and much appreciated. She has allowed me to research and study an industry and area which are of great interest to me while I was also able to make great contacts in this industry. She has allowed me to combine my love of even t planning with the concept of voluntourism, all the while instructing me in the fields of scholarly research and statistics. Finally, I would like to thank the Tallahassee Society of Association Exec utives, especially Fran Gilbert, who was so kind and helpful when most needed. Above all, I would like to thank God for all the blessings in my life.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................9ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... .............10 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 12Conceptual Framework .......................................................................................................... .16Purpose of the Study .......................................................................................................... .....23Research Questions ............................................................................................................ .....23Limitations ................................................................................................................... ...........242 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................................26Event Industry .........................................................................................................................26Voluntourism .................................................................................................................. ........30Voluntourism Today ...............................................................................................................33Meeting Professionals .............................................................................................................34Knowledge .......................................................................................................................36Attitudes ..................................................................................................................... .....38Motivation .......................................................................................................................41Past Experience ...............................................................................................................463 METHOD ........................................................................................................................ .......51Sampling Frame ......................................................................................................................51Data Collection .......................................................................................................................52Instrumentation ............................................................................................................... ........52Operationalization of Variables ..............................................................................................53Creation of the Independent Variable: Knowledge ................................................................ 544 RESULTS ....................................................................................................................... ........59Description of the Sample ..................................................................................................... .59Description of Dependent Variable ........................................................................................ 61Results of the Research Questions .......................................................................................... 61Summary ....................................................................................................................... ..........68
6 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION .................................................................................... 77Discussion of Significant Findings ......................................................................................... 77Recommendations for Industry Professionals ........................................................................81From a Destination Perspective ....................................................................................... 81From a Meeting Professional Perspective .......................................................................82Recommendations for Academics .......................................................................................... 83Recommendations for Future Resear ch and Limitations of Study .........................................84Summary ....................................................................................................................... ..........85APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT......................................................................................................86B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL ............................................................ 91C LETTER TO SURVEY PARTICIPANTS .............................................................................92LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................93BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................99
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Knowledge of Voluntourism..............................................................................................563-2 Attitudes toward the incorporation of voluntourism .......................................................... 563-3 Past experiences with voluntourism...................................................................................573-4 Motivations to include voluntourism ................................................................................. 573-5 Experience of the Meeting Professional ............................................................................ 573-6 Meeting Professional Demographics .................................................................................573-7 Simple Frequencies of each it em in the Knowledge Variable ........................................... 583-8 Low vs. High Industry Knowledge .................................................................................... 584-1 Professional Profile of Respondents ..................................................................................694-2 Socio-Demographic Profile of Respondents ...................................................................... 704-3 CrossTabulations of Meeti ng Professional Characteristics ............................................... 704-4 Intention to Incorporate Voluntourism .............................................................................. 714-5 ANOVA of level of experience and intention ................................................................... 714-6 Percentage of Respondents Familiarity with Voluntourism .............................................714-7 T-Test of Knowledge Variable ..........................................................................................714-8 Descriptive Statistics of the Attitude Variable ................................................................... 724-9 Correlation Matrix of Attitudes and Intention to Include Voluntourism ........................... 734-10 Descriptive Statistics of the Motivation Variables ............................................................ 734-11 Correlation Between Intention Variable and Motivation Items ......................................... 744-12 Frequencies of Past Experience Variable ..........................................................................744-13 T-test of Q20 and Intention Variable .................................................................................744-14 T-test of Q21 and Intention Variable .................................................................................754-15 T-test of Q22 and Intention Variable .................................................................................75
8 4-16 Frequencies of Type of Meeting Professional ................................................................... 754-17 One-Way ANOVA of Types of Meeting Professional ......................................................754-18 Best Predictor of Intent to Incl ude Voluntourism in Convention Plans ............................ 76
9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Typical activities incorp orated into m eetings .................................................................... 251-2 Conceptual model of research ............................................................................................ 252-1 Schematic representation of tourism downturn and recovery ............................................472-2 Economic impacts of busin ess travel and tourism ............................................................. 472-3 Environmental impacts of business travel and tourism .....................................................482-4 Social impacts of busin ess travel and tourism ...................................................................482-5 Conceptual model of alternative tourism ........................................................................... 492-6 Theory of planned behavior diagram ................................................................................. 492-7 Modified theory of pl anned behavior diagram .................................................................. 502-8 Motivation continuum. ..................................................................................................... ..50
10 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science THE INTENTION OF MEETING PR OFESSIONALS TO INCORPORATE VOLUNTOURISM INTO CONVENTIONS: PERCEPTIONS OF MEETING PROFESSIONALS By Tara Schickedanz August 2008 Chair: Lori Pennington-Gray Major Department: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Meetings and conventions repr esent a large and ever-growing industry. Associations and corporations host literally thousa nds of these events each year, and are always looking to include new and exciting free time activities for their atte ndees. However, with rising costs (fuel, airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc.), it has become much more difficult to schedule these free-time activities. Meeting professiona ls are constantly looking for budge t-friendly, exciting endeavors to offer convention attendees. Voluntourism, or a volunteer project undert aken when traveling, could be a great, low-cost alternative to traditio nal add-on activities such as golf and spa visits. For this study, which was exploratory in natu re, the intention of m eeting professionals to incorporate voluntourism into th eir upcoming conventions was an alyzed with four separate variables. These variables were knowledge of voluntourism, attitude toward voluntourism, motivations to include voluntourism, and past experiences with voluntourism. A survey was created online, and an email containing a link to th e survey was sent out. In total, 100 responses were received a low number, but enough to be ab le to generalize the results. Other than the knowledge variable, all the independent variab les significantly correla ted to the intention variable. Just over half (58 %) of the sample did demonstrat e high knowledge of voluntourism,
11 but this did not correlat e significantly with their intent to include it in an upcoming meeting or convention. However, meeting professionals who exhibited a positive attitude toward voluntourism, or higher motivations, or past experience (or some co mbination of all three), were likely to intend to include voluntou rism at upcoming conventions. In terestingly, this sample also admitted the personal importance of what other pe ople thought of their including voluntourism in their conventions. For example, if important othe rs in their lives approv ed of their decision to incorporate voluntourism, meeting pr ofessionals were much more likel y to reveal their intent to do so.
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The convention industry, which is typically considered a young industry, has experienced the m ajority of its growth in th e last 20 years. Some believe that as long as there are people, there is a need to meet to discuss things (Mont gomery & Strick, 1995; Spiller, 2003). It is this belief which has formed the impetus for the m eetings industry being considered the oldest industry in the world. Conventions, however, can tr ace their origins to th e late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries During this period in history, i ndustrialization was spreading rapidly throughout the United States and Western Euro pe. This speedy i ndustrial growth led businessmen and entrepreneurs to realize a need to arrange opportunities to meet with clients, suppliers, and industry leaders. An increase in association activity in the early 1980s has necessitated more meetings among association affiliates (Mont gomery & Strick, 1995). Theref ore, the idea of conferences and conventions was further developed. Laws on (2000) believed that there were numerous reasons for the growth of the convention industr y, including the expans ion of both government and non-government organizations, an escalating need for discussion between public and private segments; development of international corpor ations; progression of a ssociation interests, professional groups, etc.; modification of sales techniques (including the us e of product launches and promotional meetings); consistently impr oving methods of doing business and the need to update/train employees; and finally the ability to p ackage work and play in an inclusive setting. In the United States, Detroit can claim th e first opening of a convention bureau, which was established in 1896 (Spiller 2003). In the United States, convention bureaus were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On February 19, 1896, members of the local Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Club united to form a new institute, The Detroit Convention
13 and Businessmens League. They establishe d their mission as hustling for all these conventions (Ford & Peeper, 2007). Detroits C onvention Bureau began a fast-paced trend, and many other cities followed suit by opening th eir own convention bureaus (Rogers, 1998). According to Ford and Peeper (2007), there are many different factors which can be attributed to the considerable growth in th e convention industry, including the expansion of organizations, introduction of new sales techniques, the n eed to train/update em ployees (Lawson, 2000), technological innovations, the i ndustrial revolution, a nd the Panic of 1893 with its resulting depression and need for economic recovery urban renewal, and economic development. However, the overall reason for the growth of th e industry is its practi cality. Meetings and conventions bring people togeth er to do business, discuss new ideas and innovations, and further their education. These reasons, along with subs equent increases in di sposable income, the availability of technology, and ability to travel, have allowed the meetings and conventions industry to experience unprecedented growth. The convention industry can now be considered quite a sizable business. In fact, in the year 2001 alone, a total of 79,900,000 traveling mee ting attendees generated over $93 billion in spending (Lee, 2006). Then, in 2004, the meeti ngs, incentive travel, convention, and exhibition industry (i.e. MICE industry) contributed more than $122 b illion to the United States economy, and directly created over 1.7 million jobs, according to the Convention Industry Council [CIC]. A relevant deduction, based on the above information, is that many meetings and conventions are being planned in order to create an economic impact. The 2006 Meetings Market Report published by Meetings and Conventions, reported that almost 1.25 million meetings and conventions, for both associations and corporations, were held in 2005. Total direct expenditures for these events were appr oximately $107.2 billion (this is an increase above
14 the Convention Industry Councils 2 004 figures, since incentive travel was included in the earlier estimates and was not in the Meetings Market Report ). Meeting profession als do not expect their workload to decrease; both association and corpor ate meeting professionals expect the number of events held by their organizations to increase within the ne xt year (Meeting Professionals International, 2007). However, although the indu stry and the number of meetings/conventions planned is growing, plan ners budgets are not. According to Meeting Professionals Inte rnationals [MPI] FutureWatch 2007, 46% of 1,433 surveyed meeting professionals did expect an increase in the numbe r of meetings they would personally oversee, but only 48% of those expecting the increase expected a commensurate increase in their personal budgets, so their ability to be able to plan these extra events will be, to say the least, hindered. Ng (2007) indicated that up to 76% of meeting professionals have listed budget pressures and ri sing costs among their largest concerns for 2008. That, along with their concern ove r rising oil and gas prices, make s the lack of increase in budget even more problematic. These factors, along with concerns about war and terrorism, are likely going to cause planners to arrange more m eetings and conventions domestically than internationally (International Association of Expositions and Events [IAEE], 2007; MPI, 2007; CIC, 2007). Although meeting professionals must complete more tasks with less money in their budgets, meeting and convention attendees still e xpect great things. This leaves meeting professionals with a major dilemma: how to cr eate budget-friendly, yet memorable, educational, and fun experiences for their event tourists Yet another predicament facing meeting professionals and their chosen host communitie s is that although conventions offer many economic benefits to a host community, they ha ve been shown to have negative environmental
15 and/or social impacts. Swarbrooke and Horner (2001) found that event tourists, particularly conference delegates, end up sp ending between two and four times as much money in a destination than tourists as a whole spend. Even ts can have their downfalls, and if an event is poorly managed, the effects will be felt by the local community. For example, conference travelers are inclined to use environmentally unfriendly forms of transportation, have a tendency to be wasteful, can be insensitive or ignorant toward local cult ure (thus offending local citizens), and can attract crime, since they are unfamiliar with the area and become easy targets. Also, local citizens may be made to feel inferior by co nvention attendees who have more wealth and/or education than they possess (Swarbrooke & Horner, 2001). The negative publicity has not slowed the conve ntion industrys growth whatsoever. The majority of associations 74% claim to host major conventions at leas t once a year (Meetings and Conventions, 2006). Fifty per cent of attendees at out-of-town association events stay for three or more days at a time, generally in a conference or convention center hotel (IAEE, 2007). Since these events tend to be several days long, meeting professionals must arrange a variety of activities in which attendees can participate in their free time. These add-on activities can, if planned well, draw convention attendees back, and create economic benefits for both the host association and the host city. The most popul ar add-on activities pl anned for association meetings and conventions include golf, spousal pr ograms, attractions/theme parks, spa activities, and team-building activities (IAEE, 2007). A breakdown of the free time activities typically scheduled by meeting professiona ls can be seen in Figure 1-1. These activities are usually expe nsive, so it is typically the responsibility of the attendee to pay for his or her chosen activity. A ccording to Meetings and Conventions (2006), associations pay an average of $465,000 for major conventions, while attendees at these events
16 spend, on average, $1,460 each; this includes the hot el stay (where room rates for convention hotel rooms average $145 per night) So, although conventions have been praised for being able to bring vendors, clients, and thought leader s together while earning money for the host association, they can present a rather significant financial burden for each individual attendee. Add the likely upcoming budget cuts for meeting pr ofessionals, and associa tions could be facing a rather significant dilemma rega rding their annual meetings. A wonderful opportunity presents itself in th e midst of all the problems. This opportunity is known as voluntourism. The inclusion of volunt ourism as an add-on activity at a convention combats issues that convention attendees may have with local citizens (as they will likely be working with some, thus creating a mutual understanding/appreciatio n), and issues with traditional, expensive, familiar add-on activities. Wearing (2001) defines volunteer tourism as it applies to: those tourists who, for various reasons, volunteer in an organi zed way to undertake holidays that might involve aiding or alleviat ing the material poverty of some groups in society, the restoration of certain environments or research into aspects of society or environment (p. 1). Forward-thinking, socially respons ible meeting professionals c ould be on the forefront of a movement if they plan activitie s that allow their convention tour ists to volunteer in the host community. Conceptual Framework The conceptual foundation of this study is based on four characteristics of m eeting professionals: 1) their meeting planning experi ence; 1b) their industr y knowledge; 2) their attitudes toward voluntourism; 2b) their past experiences with voluntourism; 3) their motivations to include voluntourism activities at conventions; and finally 4) th eir past travel experiences. This framework will be used to determine meeting professionals intention to include
17 voluntourism activities into conventions. Meet ing professionals who arrange meetings and conventions were chosen as resear ch subjects in order to gauge th eir interest in philanthropic and socially responsible activ ities (Platzer & Fisher, 2007), as they are the ones responsible for recommending such activities to their convention attendees. The concept of adding voluntourism to meeti ngs and conventions is quite novel, so academic research pertaining to this topic is scar ce. Due to the paucity of research regarding volunteer tourism (i.e. voluntourism), this study will instead synthesize past research in the fields of psychology, leisure, and tourism. This synthesis will be used to prove a case which explains why meeting professionals would be lik ely to include voluntourism activities into their already-full convention schedules. A model has been developed (see Figure 2, below) to show how a combination of the four factors coul d lead a meeting professional to include a voluntourism activity, possibly as a spousal activity, ice breaker, team bu ilding activity, or any other type of free-time activity. The first factor that could potentially affect meeting professionals intention to include voluntourism into the conventions that they plan is each planners event industry experience. There has been a major paucity of high-quality re search directed toward the effect of a meeting professionals industry knowledge and planning e xperience on any decision-making and/or risktaking propensities. In fact, many of the studie s found regarding the experience and/or industry knowledge of meeting professionals was poorly conducted and quite fragmented. The lack of pertinent research was even addressed in one study conducted by Yoo and Weber (2005), who found that academic research on this topic has not kept up with the growth of the convention industry. Meeting professionals tend to be tr endsetters, and their influence in each planned convention is far-reaching. They are usually invo lved in a large percentage of the decisions
18 made for each convention, beginning with site selection, as evidenced in a study conducted by Clark, Price and Murmann, back in 1996. As they wrote, it would be nave of hospitality marketers to underestimate the in fluence of meeting planners, ev en when the decision process does not give them the final saythis individual is placed in a powerful position (p. 76). The large influence of mee ting professionals with aspects such as site selec tion is only one component of the entire package, as associa tions put their faith in meeting professionals throughout the entire planning process. The fact that meeting professionals do play su ch a large role in one of associations and corporations largest money producers makes the lack of pertinent research even more puzzling. One champion of the event i ndustry, Weber (2001), manage d to provide the following information about association planners: a sample of participants from Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) had ample expe rience in the events industry, with 37% of survey respondents claiming to have between 10 and 20 years of industr y experience, and 11% having over 20 years of industry experience. The survey respondents were all association planners, and had arranged conventions for a nywhere between 100 and 68,000 people. The vast majority 89% reported being between the ages of 25 and 55, with 63% of respondents professing to be between the ages of 36 and 55. However, different studies have yielded different results; this issue will be addressed in further detail in Chapter Two. A relevant topic that ties in with indu stry experience is a meeting professionals familiarity with, or knowledge of, voluntourism. Of course, a voluntourism activity cannot be planned if the person responsible for planning has no idea that this concept exists. However, as Milman and Pizam (1995) found, knowledge does not al ways lead to particip ation it leads, at best, to a curiosity in the produc t/service, which could potentially lead to a trial run (or, a
19 meeting professionals possibly in corporating voluntourism on a sm all scale). For a voluntourism program to be successful, there must first be meeting professional knowledge, and a corresponding positive image, or perception, of th e activity. All else being equal, a positive image, not just knowledge, will lead to a firsttime trial. Stringers (1984) findings correlated with those of Milman and Pizam, as he stated, images are a crucial basis of choice and decision-making in tourism, however incomplete or indistinct people's anticipations may be (p. 155). Although both studies were conducted with regard for a universal measure of the tourism industry, the results are generalizab le to special fields in this industry, such as voluntourism. Another substantial factor in the inten tion of meeting professionals to include voluntourism in their conventions co uld be their attitudes toward the act of voluntourism itself. According the Theory of Reasoned Action, and its in-depth offshoot, the Theory of Planned Behavior, attitudes play a significant role in the intentions to and therefore the eventual performance of behaviors (Fishbein, 1965; Aj zen, 1985; 1991; 2002; Ajzen & Fishbein, 2005). Working back from the performance of a behavior behavior stems from an intent, which stems from a combination of attitude toward the behavior, subjectiv e norms i.e. what important others will feel about the performance/nonperf ormance of the behavior and perceived behavioral control (Ajzen, 1985). Therefore, if a meeting professional already exerts a positive attitude toward volunteer activi ties and tourism, and the associ ation (especially the executive board) approves of voluntourism, the meeting prof essional will likely feel a considerable amount of control and therefore be quite likely to include voluntourism activ ities. Although these theories have been criticized a nd updated through the years, the Th eory of Planned Behavior still remains one of the most widely used and well-re spected attitude theories (Ajzen & Fishbein, 2005).
20 Originally, Ajzen and Fishbein came up with a theory that became known as the Theory of Reasoned Action. This theory measured the e ffects of attitudes toward a specific behavior, along with subjective norms, on th e intentions to perform the be havior (Fishbein, 1963; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1970). Unlike the Theory of Pla nned Behavior, the Theory of Reasoned Action assumes that an individual would feel voliti onal control in a situat ion, whereas Theory of Planned behavior accounts for behaviors perfor med when individuals perceptions of control vary. Ajzen (1985) thus devel oped a new concept, and therefor e new theory, that dealt with perceived behavioral control as well as attitudes a nd subjective norms. Therefore, the Theory of Planned Behavior, although seemingly not much different than the Theory of Reasoned Action, represents a whole new realm of thinking. The Theory of Planned Behavior also indi rectly addresses the influence of past behaviors/experiences on the prediction of future behaviors. Although Bandura (1986) found that past experience with a behavior is the most important source of information about feelings of behavioral control, Ajzen (1991) believes that past be havior, in and of itself, is not an actual causal factor of a yet-unperformed behavior. So, although past behavior and its associated experiences can indirectly affect current behaviors (through feelings of perceived behavioral control), it likely will not have an overriding effect on new or even repeated behaviors. The idea of perceived behavior control, which is the distinguishing f actor of the Theory of Planned Behavior, i.e. what separates it from the earlier Theory of Reasoned Action, also happens to tie in well with Self-Determination Th eory, which will be investigated as a source for motivations, both to travel and to incl ude volunteer activit ies in conventions. The Self-Determination Theory will provide the theoretical background for a large portion of this study. Deci and Ryan (1985, 2000) demonstrate that a task which begins as
21 extrinsically motivated (as most work-related tasks tend to be) can move along a continuum to become personally important and therefore feel self-determined. In order for a meeting professional to even consider integrating a vol untourism component into hi s or her event, there must be some motivation to do so. Of course, in order for a meeting professional to become motivated to include voluntourism, he or she must be aware of the opportunities that exist for its inclusion, and not have to feel any constraint s under which the inclusion of voluntourism would be impossible. It can be assumed, therefor e, that the proper co mbination of knowledge, motivation, and lack of constraints represen t underlying currents for self-determination. Typically, the type of motivation which lead s one to action is intrinsic motivation, or doing something simply for the satisfaction one ge ts from the activity. There is no external reward; consequently, true intrinsic motivati on is rare in the modern business world. Associations and corporations alike cannot count on all employees to be intrinsically motivated at all times. However, motivations can become internalized and personally meaningful if a meeting professional feels competent, autonomous, and able to relate to others around them and the task at hand (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Internalization of motivation can be defined as: People taking in values, att itudes, or regulatory structures, such that the external regulation of behavior is transformed into an internal regulation and thus no longer requires the presence of an extern al contingency (Gagne & Deci, 2005). Once the basic antecedents of competency, autonomy, and relatedness have been met, and amotivation (i.e. lack of motivation) has been overcome, the internaliz ation process has three stages: introjections, identificati on, and then integration. These stages will be explained in more detail over the remainder of this study. The past travel experiences of meeting professionals is another relevant factor in their adventuresomeness and therefor e their intention to try something new, like incorporating
22 voluntourism into their conventi on arrangements. Pearce and Ca ltabiano (1983) introduced the idea of past travel experiences having an effect based on Maslows hierarchy of needs, on trip decisions. Their study assisted in the confirmation of the idea of a trave l career, which was studied by Pearce and Lee (2005), as well, who d emonstrated that travel motivation could be identified as patterns and combinations of multiple motives that are influenced by previous travel experience and age (p. 235). The idea of past travel experience has been examined, based on percep tions of risk and/or safety (Sonmez and Graefe, 1998). These factor s become relevant to international meeting professionals, who may be planning conventions in an area that is unfamiliar. Therefore, a meeting professional who has traveled extensively may feel more behavioral control in the planning process and therefore more likely to incorporate voluntourism into his or her association convention. Based on the above theories, a model has been developed (see Figure 1-2) to demonstrate how a combination of the four factors coul d lead a meeting professional to include a voluntourism activity, possibly as a spousal activity, ice breaker, team building activity, or any other type of free-time activity. As can be seen in Figure 1-2, it is the beli ef of this researcher that a simple combination of the proper motivati ons (to both volunteer and travel), positive past travel experiences, and a fairly thorough knowle dge of and/or experience with the events industry will lead a meeting professional to have a greater intention to arrange a voluntourism activity in his or her next convention. Also, more positive experiences in past travels, or even simply more travel experience, especially tr avel experiences related to the planning of conventions and other events, could lead to a greater, more comprehensive knowledge of the
23 event industry and its many forms in different regions and countries. Once again, this graphic representation is a simple outline of the ove rall concepts utilized in this research. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to understa nd and measure the intention of meeting professionals to schedule voluntourism activities in to their associations annual meetings and/or conventions. The dependent variable of each individual meeting professionals intention to include these activities is based on three separate independent variables: their motivations (or, more specifically, their ability to internalize the motivation to in clude voluntourism activities, as described by SDT), their past experiences with travel and volunteerism, and their knowledge and experience in the event industry. Research Questions The basis of this study is to introduce th e idea of adding a voluntourism activity to conventions and address it within a scholarly appr oach. The intention of meeting professionals to do so will be examined, due to the fact that th ey are the change leaders and trend setters in the event industry, and thus more likely to be open to new ideas. The intention of meeting professionals to include a voluntourism activity into one of their conventions will be investigated based on their knowledge of the event industry, their attitudes toward both volunteerism and travel, their overall motivations, and their past experiences with travel and volunteer travel (See Figure 2). Accordingly, the research questions for this study were formulated as follows: 1. To what extent do different levels of planning experience characterize meeting professionals? 2. Is there a relationship between meeting professi onals level of experi ence and intentions to include voluntourism in convention plans? 3. To what extent do meeting professionals ex hibit different levels of industry knowledge?
24 4. Is there a relationship between level of industry knowledge and intentions to include voluntourism in convention plans? 5. To what extent do meeting profe ssionals view voluntourism favorably? 6. Is there a relationship between meeting professi onals attitudes and intentions to include voluntourism in conventions? 7. To what extent do meeting professionals ex hibit different motivations for voluntourism? 8. Is there a relationship between meeting prof essionals type of motivation and their intentions to include voluntourism in their convention plans? 9. To what extent have meeting professionals been exposed to voluntourism? 10. Is there a relationship between meeting prof essionals past exposure/experience with voluntourism and their intentions to include voluntourism in their convention plans? 11. To what extent are different types of mee ting professionals represented by the sample? 12. Is there a relationship between type meeting professionals and their intentions to include voluntourism in their convention plans? 13. What is the best predictor of a meeting professionals inte nt to include voluntourism in their convention plans: knowledge, attitude s, motivations, or past experiences? Limitations The discussion did not include an in-depth an alysis of potential obst acles to incorporating voluntourism activities into associ ation conventions, such as a l ack of time or money necessary for the activity.
25 Figure 1-1: Typical Activities Incorp orated Into Meetings (IAEE, 2007) Figure 1-2: Conceptual Model of Research Industry Knowledge Attitudes Motivations Intentions to include a voluntourism component in association conventions Past Experiences
26 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter contains a synthesized review of lite rature written with regard for pertinent topics such as: the event industry (and, more specifically, meetings and conventions), meeting professionals, their attitudes, motivational theories, travel a nd tourism, and voluntourism. Studies conducted in each of these areas are releva nt to the research purposes of this paper, and therefore should be taken into c onsideration. An overview of the event industry, and its scope, becomes the starting point for this review, and has the ab ility to introduce further topics, such as the events hosted by associations and corporations and those res ponsible for arrang ing meetings. A profile of meeting professionals will include th eir attitudes and motivations and then preview their individual intention to in clude a voluntourism activity in thei r events. Their inclination to include voluntourism will be discussed base d on the above attitudes, motivations and demographics, along with their past travel and tour ism experiences. Then, this review will wrap up with a description of voluntour ism activities that have already been included into meetings and conventions, and the inclusion of some ideas as to how these activities could be offered at a meeting or convention. Event Industry According to international economist Santiago Guerreiro, It is clear that the meetings industry has an economic relevance and is a key driver of [economi c] growth (Meetings Industry Megasite, 2007). Conventions, when co mbined with the already-huge tourism industry, represent huge amounts of business for host commun ities. In fact, according to Montgomery and Strick (1995), the meetings and conventions industry acts as a major source of revenue under the umbrella of the tourism industry. People have been meeting for as long as they have been on this
27 earth, so the value of meetings has been known for many years. As mentioned in Chapter 1, only fairly recently has the meetings and conven tion industry experienced real, rapid growth. This growth has led to the multi-billion dollar meetings and convention industry that exists today. Although this industry, just like tourism, is hi ghly dependent on political and economic stability, as was evidenced by the drop in both travel and meeting attendance after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 (Power, 2001; Vest, 2002), it has always been able to, at the very least, stay afloat. The tourism and meetings industries may be susceptible to any threat of danger and/or risk, but both are qu ite resilient, as can be seen in the schematic representation in Figure 3-1 (Bonham, Edm onds, & Mark, 2006). The monetary figures listed in Chapter 1 pr ove the resiliency of the convention industry, as it is once again booming. Countless events are being planned, which tends to put an extraordinary amount of pressure on meeting professionals. Keep in mind that, of the 46% of meeting professionals that expected an increase in the number of events that they would have to plan, less than half expected a large-enough increase in the planning budget to accommodate extra events, and the rising prices of hotel r ooms and airline tickets (Meeting Professionals International, 2007). In fact, Boehmer and Bake r (2007) predict that in 2008, more and more corporations will be attempting to save some of the money that is currently being spent on travel and hospitality, although decision-makers are awar e that prices will be increasing. So, although the industry itself has proven to be durable, m eeting professionals jobs will only become more difficult in the coming years. In addition to stress over budget cuts, meeti ng professionals must also contend with critics who do not believe that meetings and co nventions are as beneficial as many believe. Sanders (2002), after analyzing market and feasibility studies for over 30 U.S. cities which
28 were conducted between the early 1980s and 2000 found many of the facts and figures to be under researched and over inflat ed. Some of his criticisms were not well-founded, and he did admit that both performance history and opinion surveys [which he apparently used to critique the feasibility studies] are imperfect guides to th e future (p. 206). However, this did not stop Sanders from publishing yet another critique of the success of the even ts industry in 2004. In this study, Sanders took it upon himself to point out what he considered six myths of the convention industry. He wrote that the following were common beliefs ab out the industry that are not true: it is perpetually growing, although it declined afte r 9/11 it has picked back up, all consultants are reliable, more space leads to mo re business, attendees will stay for a long time and spend lots of money, and that there is a need for a headquarters hotel. He presented the idea that the convention industry had been built up beyond its actual potential. While he does present some valid arguments, his issue seems to be with marketing and public relations/research companies than with the events industry itself. Even those who cite Sand ers in their work cannot deny the potential economic impact that conventi ons may have on a host community. Laslo and Judd (2004), in their criticism of convention cent ers and the local politic s responsible for their construction, first mention how profitable meeti ngs and events are to communities, and then argue that local governments are not taking responsibility for the huge investments necessary to build such infrastructure. So, although there ha s been a certain amount of vilification of the industry, the aforementioned authors are actually concerned with the costs of building and maintaining convention centers, not the profitability of the mee tings and conventions market itself. In addition to the claims about the over infl ated potential benefits of convention centers and meetings, the events industry has endured othe r criticisms. While the economic benefits to
29 both host association/corporation and host community have been viewed positively, the social impacts tend to be viewed positively only by conv ention attendees and not local citizens, and the environmental impacts are viewed negatively by many, if not all, involved (Swarbrooke & Horner, 2001). Three figures (Figure 2-2, 2-3, and 2-4) show how a host destination can be both positively and negatively economically, environmentally, and socially affected by business tourists. For the purposes of this research business tourists will be considered very similar, if not exactly the same, as convention tourists, a nd therefore their impacts will be considered comparable. Swarbrooke and Horner (2001) did an excellent job sorting through th e potential impacts, both positive and negative, of busin ess tourism. They also mention that these impacts may be affected by several factors, in cluding the size of the host destination, its population, level of economic development, and existing infrastructure; the overall contributions of business tourism (i.e. use of local facilities/opportu nities other than those provided at the hotel/convention center), the type of tourism that the dest ination attracts, the am ount of tourists from more well-developed and/or richer countries, who owns the facilities/transport services (locally vs. remotely owned), and the local government policies towards tourism. Their analysis of the impacts of business travel and tourism was in-depth and insightful, and should be used by meeting professionals who show concern for their relations hip with a host destination. The budget cuts and criticisms of the even ts industry make planning large-scale conventions and meetings difficult; add to this mix the fact that convention attendees will always expect great things and some c onventions would seem unable to be pulled off. On top of the typical meetings and breakout sessions a nd potential trade shows usually involved in conventions, meeting professionals are also expected to devise i nnovative social and/or free-time
30 activities for all attendees. These activities ar e especially meaningful to association convention attendees, as they are the most likely to stay longer in a destination and bring accompaniment on their travels (Interna tional Association of Exhibitions and Events, 2007). Association convention attendees are also more likely to pa y for these add-on activities along with their rooms and travel expenses than corporate c onvention travelers, so they want a good deal (Meetings and Conventions, 2006). However, add-on activities at meetings and conventions have become fairly standard golf, spa days, etc. and although attendees do a ppreciate these activities, people are always interested in something new and exciting to do. So, what should a meeting professional, working with a bare-bones budget, plan in order to make attendees pay attenti on and appreciate their participation in an annual convent ion? An activity that will pleas e many and cost little: in other words, an activity in which attendees are give n the chance to make a difference and feel good about themselves and the community to wh ich they traveled an activity involving voluntourism. Voluntourism Wearings (2001) definition of voluntourism has already been provided. According to voluntourism.org, voluntourism is a seamlessly integr ated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, tradi tional elements of travelarts, culture, geography, and historyin that destination (2007). Voluntourists are expos ed to a destination in a comprehensive manner, as opposed to undergoing the superficial experien ces characteristic of ma ss tourism (McIntosh & Zahra, 2007). Although traveli ng to volunteer first took off w ith the introduction of the Volunteer Service Overseas [VSO] in 1958, and then the 1961 introduction of the Peace Corps (Voluntourism website, 2007), the amount of those w ho participate in volunteer vacations is far less than those who simply take vacations. Just as the tourism industry as a whole experienced a
31 prolonged development that was dependent on adva nces in knowledge and technology, so must the voluntourism industry. Before the initiation of the Grand Tour a nd ensuing trend of mass tourism, many saw travel as a necessary evil, if they left home at all. Those who did trav el did so strictly for business purpose mostly merchants or had been banned from their hometowns (Enzensberger, 1996). Tourism, with its conno tations of pleasure and choice, as opposed to obligatory travel, became popular after the 1836 publication of John Murrays Red Book, which contained detailed descriptions of the most picturesque and visitworthy sites of several countries in Western Europe. Along with the availability of travel books, the advances in travel technology (i.e. invention of the steam ship/railroad expansion) ai ded in the tourism explosion. Enzensberger (1996) does mention that a love of travel was a characteristic of the Roman Empire, whose idea of travel was actually quite similar to our views today. However, no period in history comes close to matchi ng the volume of travel and tour ism seen in the world today. Tourism is now one of the worlds largest i ndustries, accounting for over 10% of the worlds gross domestic product, and over 840 million arri vals worldwide (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2007). The United States is a world lead er in the tourism indus try: by the end of the third quarter of 2007, the United States had we lcomed 36,135,201 internationa l visitors (Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, 2008). That do es not include all of the domestic travel in which Americans partake. In 2007, travel and tourism in the United States was expected to generate $1,689.3 billion of economic activit y, and generate 15,040,000 jobs (TSA Country Report, 2007). There are many different forms of tourism, a nd as the industry developed, more varieties have been devised. One of the newer forms of t ourism is known as alternative tourism, which is
32 the antithesis of mass tourism. The idea of an alternative vacation was formulated by those who felt disillusioned by the commercialization of popular vacation spots, and wanted to be able to experience the authentic host culture during their tr avels. Alternative tourism is an umbrella term for any type of travel in which the tourist is concerned with the lo cal environment, whether with sustainability of their travels, the host comm unitys culture, or possi bly even biodiversity. There are several types of alte rnative tourism, including: adve nture tourism, ecotourism, and, most importantly, volunteer tourism ot herwise known as voluntourism. The term voluntourism was supposedly recen tly coined at a conference, and is seen by Wearing (2001) as quite similar to ecotourism. Wearings depi ction of how volunteer tourism fits into the concept of tourism overall can be seen in Figure 2-5. To Wearing, voluntourism could fit in to any combination of several types of alternative tourism, as its interpretation can become quite flexible. The term voluntourism was first us ed by the Nevada Board of Tourism in 1998, in the development of a program to encourage local citi zens to volunteer to pr omote tourism in rural areas of the state. The term was used differe ntly than it is today; as with many concepts, voluntourism has and still is undergoing its evolution. Wearing also believes that the commercializat ion inherent in mass tourism leads to the eventual exploitation of host communities. He understands that voluntourism, when wellplanned, can create a powerful link between the voluntourist a nd the destination area; the ensuing relationships are mutually beneficial (McIntosh & Zahra, 2007). However, if it simply becomes yet another tourist commodity to be cons umed at will, the volunto urism experience will not be able to provide the same significance to either the voluntourist or host community, and may therefore become ineffectual. The bene fits may far outweigh and potential damages, though, when used as a model of best practice; by exposing tourists to a new, local culture and
33 people, personal development re lated to tolerance, compassi on, and understanding will likely develop (Wearing, 2004). Adding a voluntourism ac tivity to a convention or meeting agenda provides attendees with a low-cost, yet meaningful experience which could enhance the reputation of not only the associ ation or corporation but also the host community. Meeting professionals must understand all the potential be nefits of incorporating voluntourism, and be able to find activities which fit with the mi ssion of their respective associations and/or corporations, to make these programs successful. Voluntourism Today Although the movement has started out small, voluntourism has, to date, been included as an activity in several meetings and conventi ons. Members who attend Professional Convention Management Associations annual meeting have b een able to participate in community service projects for several years now, although they have yet to arrange voluntourism as a spousal activity (Clemmons, 2005). For their 2008 annua l meeting, held in Seattle in January 2008, PCMA has arranged Hospitality Helping Hands, which is a program that allows the first 120 attendees that sign up the opportunity to venture into a Seattle neighborhood to work on a community service project. The program was fu ll well before the start of the convention (PCMA, 2007). According to Succe ssful Meetings (2007), associations such as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons [AAOS], Nationa l Association of Realtors [NAR] and Future Farmers of America [FFA] have been incorpor ating volunteer activities into their annual meetings since the year 2000. Not surprisingl y, these activities have grown exponentially in popularity. For example, interest in a volunteer program more than doubled in one year for FFA from around 800 attendees signing up for volunt eer programs to over 2,000 the next year! Another great feature of these voluntourism programs is their ability to be expanded and/or replicated on a local level, so those who participated at a nnual conferences can implement
34 similar volunteer programs in their own comm unity. AAOS has begun to do this with their playground-building program it began in 2000 at th eir annual meeting (in Orlando that year), and not only have they built a playground in ev ery host community for their annual meeting since then, but they also now, through individual chapter participation, are building playgrounds throughout the United States. These voluntee r programs have the ability to boost an associations reputation not only in the meeting destination, but all over. This trend is growing, and will continue to do so, especially if meeting professionals are able to continue implementing them successfully at their meetings and convent ions. Rothgery (2007) gives tips for meeting professionals interested in implementing voluntouri sm into their meetings, including: linking the voluntourism activity to the theme of the m eeting, finding an organization that has a good reputation and actually needs whatev er services your attendees are willing to offer, remembering that planning a voluntourism activ ity can be difficult, but that the return on investment to convention participants much outweighs any and all scheduling difficulties, and to use a knowledgeable local source, such as a destin ation management company or convention and visitors bureau, to get in touch with a local charitable organization, among other things. The voluntourism trend is growing; how ever, it is the responsibility of meeting professionals to maintain this growth and implement successful voluntourism activities into their conventions. Meeting Professionals Meeting professionals, or m ore specifica lly, planners who arrange meetings and conventions, were chosen as the focal point sinc e, the planners responsibility is to provide guidance as well as the leg work for the planning Planners oversee budget development, site selection, entertainment, transportation, and on-site management (Montgomery & Strick, 1995, p. 167). Meeting professionals duties include de vising fresh, innovative id eas and activities to incorporate into their events. To integrate vo luntourism into any event, the individual planning
35 the event must be committed to the idea. Alt hough meeting professionals have been included in the scope of past research, the most frequently f ound focus of research is event marketing. There has been a definite paucity in research pert aining to meeting professionals; actually, the academic research pertaining to conventions has not corresponded to the rapid growth of the industry (Yoo & Weber, 2005). In fact, one study claiming through its name to list the attributes of meeting professionals, was quite poorly conducted. Beaulieu and Love (2004) wrote an article entitled Characteristics of a meeting planne r: Attributes of an emerging profession; however, the study contained information regarding minority representation in the industry, availability of educati onal information to high school st udents via their counselors, and a listing of planner certifi cations, none of which really describe characteristics of current meeting professionals. Besides the inherent misrepresentation of facts due to a poor choice of title, the researchers were guilty of aski ng leading questions in their survey, not using a random sample, not conducting any pre-test, and perhaps worst of all, the author alone performed the necessary coding, with no outside help. Each of thes e factors likely led to biased results. There has been a growth in attention to the meetings market research. Jun and McCleary (1999), clustered association planners based on their selection cr iteria for an international meeting site. The only issue with this research is its inability to generalize the results, as they were based on meeting professionals opinion s regarding South Korea as a convention destination. Three clusters emerged in their research: Cluster 1 contained planners who were distance/environment-oriented, Cluster II was comprised of planne rs who were social-elementsoriented, and Cluster III was made up of planners who were logist ics/cost-oriented. There were no differences in these clusters based on age, ge nder, or number of members in the planners associations; differences were found based on level of education, type of meeting planned, and
36 the type of association. The re sults of this research suggest that incorporating voluntourism could potentially be marketed to all three clus ters, especially meeting professionals who belong to Clusters II and III, which were the two largest clusters. Knowledge Likely due to the paucity of research pe rtaining to m eeting pr ofessionals, there was difficulty finding information related to dem ographics or industry knowledge/experience. According to Milman and Pizam, in order for touris ts to want to travel to a destination (or to plan/participate in activities such as voluntourism in a foreign des tination), they must not only be aware that the destination exists, but also po ssess a favorable image toward that destination and/or activities. Unlike ma terial products or pure services, the tourism [and voluntourism] experience is an amalgam of experiences with various products and serv ices. Therefore, it is possible to say that the image of the destination is a sum total of the images of the individual elements or attributes that make up the [ volun]tourism experience (p. 22). A meeting professional must be aware, and also view favorably, the idea of incorporating voluntourism into conventions before they can plan the volunt ourism activity. Their study was conducted to measure tourists knowledge of centr al Florida as a vacation destin ation, and the effects of their knowledge on their actual travel beha vior. They also looked at th e destinations image as it was perceived by the tourists, since the concepts of knowledge and image align closely in the decision to implement (or not implement) an action or behavior or purchase decision. In fact, knowledge is needed in order to form an image of a destination (or action/behavior). Interest in participation increased not when people (i.e meeting professionals) reached a level of knowledge, but instead when that knowledge gave way to familiarity. Stringer (1984) reached a similar conclusion in the examination of the theses/d issertations of six of his own students, all of which were related somehow to tourism, and how social psychology can assist tourism research.
37 His analysis of a study regardi ng a vacation to a tropical destin ation provided interesting an evaluation, especially regard ing destination image. Image is dependent on knowledge, but provi des a much bigger motivation (when the image is positive, of course) to travel to a des tination or participate in (plan) an activity. Although none of Stringers student research was sufficient to publish (due to limited sample sizes/results that were somewhat ambiguous), Stringers analysis of the studies is insightful, and provides enough information in itself to draw relevant conclusions, especially rega rding image. Therefore, based on the conclusions drawn from th ese two studies, one can safely assume that a meeting professional must not only be aware of the voluntourism concept, but also maintain a positive image of the idea of incorporating vol untourism into their conventions. Meeting professional knowledge and ensuing positive imag e toward voluntourism could be achieved through the publication of voluntourism success stories, such as those listed in the Voluntourism Today section, in industry magazi nes and journals. Or, a how-to workshop (or a voluntourism activity) could be organized for an industry conference, li ke the annual Meeting Professionals International or Professional Convention Management Association conventions. That way, meeting professionals could get hands-on experience and become familiar with voluntourism. Possibly due to the amount of accumulated e xperience, meeting professionals have a positive outlook on the amount of work they will be able to find 95% of planners feel secure in their jobs for 2008 (Lemann & Katz, 2007). One stereo type in the event industry is the idea that the vast majority of meeting prof essionals are women. According to Successful Meetings 2005 State of the Industry Report, in 2004, 38% of meeting professionals were male. According to a study conducted by Nice (2004), 79.1% of the participating meeting professionals were female
38 however, this could be due to the fact that female meeting professionals were more willing to participate in the research. Ma le meeting professionals are more likely to work in a corporate setting, though, so association planning is stil l dominated by women (Torrisi, 2005). Meeting professional salaries are somewh at modest, with over 60% of m eeting professionals in Nices (2004) research earning less than $50,000 each year, but money does not seem to be the reason one becomes a planner. In a j ob satisfaction survey conducted by MeetingsNews (Krantz, 2007), association planners top four factors linked to contentment in their careers were, in order: helping their organization achie ve its objectives, the relations hips developed between team members, industry peers and suppl iers, travel, and autonomy/contro l. Interestingly, perceived behavioral control is one of th e essential elements listed in th e Theory of planned behavior, which measures the effects of attitudes on intention to perform certain behaviors. Attitudes The Theory of Planned Behavi or applied to Voluntourism Therefore, if the Theory of Planned Behavior was to be related to meeting professionals, those who already hold positive attitudes towa rds volunteering, and potentially voluntourism, and work for organizations which also view volunteering in a positive light (subjective norms), then they will likely feel volit ional control in the incorporatio n of voluntourism activities into conventions. This could lead to the intenti on to include voluntourism, and intentions are perceived as the immediate antecedents of behavi or, provided that one feels a sufficient degree of actual control (Ajzen, 2002). While control be liefs may be based in part on past behavior, they will also be influenced by second-hand info rmation about a behavior, past experiences of acquaintances and friends, and other factors that could increase or reduce the perceived difficulty of performing the behavior in question. This has led to the discovery that past behavior cannot be considered a direct factor in the performance of a behavior (Ajzen, 1991). It may have
39 indirect influence by swaying one s attitudes or beliefs about perceived control, but as was proved in numerous studies (Ajz en, 1991), it is simply a mediat or; its residual effects may be seen in future behaviors, but only in an ambiguous manner. Th is could also be due to the automaticity of certain behaviors; however, th e introduction of new, re levant information can change even the steadiest of behaviors. A ccording to a study conducted by Bamberg, Ajzen, and Schmidt (2003, p. 186), in which they introduced a semester bus ticket to see if it would change the behaviors of drivi ng or riding a bike, past behavior clearly is not always a good predictor of future behavior. Only when circumstances remain relatively stable does prior behavior make a significant contribution to the prediction of later acti on. Complex human behavior is cognitively regulated and, even after numerous enactments, appears to be subject to at least some degree of monitoring. As a result, new info rmation, if relevant and persuasive, can change behavioral, normative, and control beli efs; can affect intentions and perceptions of behavioral control; and can influence later behavior. So, even if a meeting professi onal is not aware of the volunto urism concept, and has been planning the same types of convention activities for years, the intr oduction of the idea could well change his or her behavior, especially if the n ecessary antecedents to th e behavior of including voluntourism are present. The idea of these beliefs/attit udes eventually leading to be haviors has been empirically proven many times. Ajzen (1985) cited several studies which were used to prove a strong correlation between peoples inte ntions and resulting actions/behaviors. These studies were based on behaviors such as career orientation, the use of birth control pills, voting, and smoking marijuana, among others. The wide variety us ed only further proves that, when faced with choices in a situation in whic h a person feels volitional contro l, actions will closely follow intentions. However, perceived c ontrol differs from the idea of locus of control in the fact that it varies across situations, whereas locus of control remains relativ ely consistent (Ajzen 1991).
40 To reiterate, the Theory of Planned Beha vior recognizes that human action is likely directed by three distinct func tions; the salient beliefs about: the likely outcomes of performing the behavior (which produce either a positive or negative attitude toward the behavior), the normative expectations of important others (i.e loved ones, coworkers, bosses, etc., which produces social pressures), and the presence of c ontrols that may either assist or prevent the performance of the behavior (A jzen, 1991; Bamberg, Ajzen & Schm idt, 2003). This relationship can be seen both in its early stage and most recent configuration in Figures 2-6 and 2-7. One issue in the Theory of Planned Behavi or has been the relatively low correlation between beliefs and corresponding attitudes. However, the reason for this is not likely due to the theory itself, but rather with issues in the met hods of measuring this corre lation. It can be quite difficult to measure intentions, and they can st ill change between the intention assessment and the performance of a behavior. Also, many bac kground factors other than past experiences can have an indirect effect on beha vior through their influences on attitudes, normative beliefs, and control beliefs: age, gender, ethnicity, socio economic status, education, nationality, intelligence, exposure to information, group membership, coping sk ills, etc. People may not realize that these factors are present when participating in a study, a nd that their intentions may become indirectly skewed due to their impact. However, these factors may relate only to specific, specialized behaviors and therefore do not represent authority in the overa ll attitude theo ry (Ajzen, 2002; Ajzen & Fishbein, 2005). This theory ties in well with Self-Determination Theory in the fact that in order for a behavior to be carried out, one must feel a certain amount of c ontrol on his or her own behalf. The ideas of self-efficacy and autonomy rei gn prevalent in both theories, providing a good
41 sounding point for the prediction of behaviors, es pecially those which may not be habitual or even ever performed before, such as the inco rporation of voluntourism into a convention. Motivation Self-Determ ination Theory [SDT] is actually a synthesis of four mini-theories, each relating to its own set of phenomena that aros e during the past three decades of research performed by Deci and Ryan (2004). The four mini-theories, which combine to form the overall constitution of SDT, are: (1) Cognitive Evaluati on Theory, which focuses on the ways in which our social contexts affect intrinsic motivati on; (2) Organismic Integration Theory, which addresses the continuum of intern alization of extrinsic motivati ons; (3) Causality Orientations Theory explains the differences in individuals views of their environmen t and its effect on the level of self-determination in their own resulti ng behaviors; (4) Basic Needs Theory covers the idea of overall health and well-being in relation to the fulfillment of basic human needs (Deci & Ryan, 2004). Self-determination is based on individuals feeling as though they have a choice and control of a situation (i.e an internal locus of causality), wh ich can be easily influenced by ones environment. Self-determination theory posits th at human beings are active organisms, striving at all times to develop and learn; if our environments allow, all human beings would experience an internal locus of causality (Deci & Ryan, 1985). When an individual feels as th ough a task is externally regulated, or not chosen and/or controlled by him or herself, then that activity will lead to feelings of alienation and/or being c ontrolled (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Therefore, when an association planner is scheduling meetings a nd activities, which are mostly extrinsically motivated tasks, if he or she f eels competent to take on the cha llenges inherent in the planning process, is able to personally relate to the ta sk at hand, and feels in control of/autonomous in their current situation, the comp letion of the scheduling will become easier and allow for more
42 intrinsically-oriented motivation. A task that is originally extrinsically motivated (for example, the responsibility for arranging add-on activities for an associ ation convention) may become internalized if the three nutrimen ts of competency, relatedness, a nd autonomy are met. If these three nutriments are not met, the task will never cause feelings of personal importance to the meeting professional, and if this does not lead to feelings of be ing controlled, then another grave consequence could occur: amotivation, or complete lack of motivation. If the nutriments are met, an internalization of an extrinsic motivation can occur. As was mentioned in the Introduction, intern alization is the taking in of external values so that one feels more self-determining, although the goals of the behavior are extrinsi c (Gagne & Deci, 2005; Deci & Ryan, 1985). Internalizat ion of motivations can be repr esented along a continuum; three stages occur as a motivation moves from completely extrinsically motivated to completely intrinsically motivated these st ages are introjection, identificati on, and integration. Introjection represents the most shallow form of internaliz ation, and happens when a task or regulation is taken in by an in by an individual, yet not accepted as his or her own. The motivation represented at this step is st ronger and more personally meaningf ul than extrinsic motivation, yet there is still a sense of outside control. The next step along the continuum is identification. At this stage, an individual accepts a regulation as his or her own, and theref ore feels a greater sense of freedom, since the resulting behavior is more congruent with their views of themselves, and aligns well with their goals. The value of the outcome is understood, and the task is taken on in order to reach the desired outcome. The most comprehensive form of internalization is integration. To reach this step in the motivation continuum, an individual must feel that his or her behavior is self-determined, and the task become s an integral part of who they are. This can happen when the process of intern alization is not thwarted by an individuals environment, and
43 they are able to fully appreci ate the importance of the task and their corresponding choice of behavior (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 200 0; Gagne & Deci, 2005). Figure 2-8 is an illustration of the internalization continuum. Th e drawing represents all aspects of the Self Determination Theory, including the four mini -theories, although the basic needs are not displayed. This representation assumes that basi c needs have been met in order for a regulation to even begin to move along the continuum. This illustration is one of the more recent updates to the original representations of Self Determination Theory. The social environment and its influence on an individual are mentioned several times in all Self-Determination Theory readings. Deci and Ryan ( 1985) described three types of orientations, each of which is exists in everyone, although in differing intensit ies. The first type is autonomy orientation, where an individual feels the freedom to make his or her own choice, and see their environment as informational. Auto nomy oriented individuals are able to use this information to make knowledgeable decisions re garding their actions, and are therefore less likely to lose their intrinsic motivations, or self-determination. The second type is control orientation, in which an individual likely feels ou tside (environmental) pressure to behave or perform a certain way. Those who experience a strong control orientation accommodate the demands of their e nvironment, and ignore their own feelings and needs. The final type is known as the impersonal orientation, in which an indi vidual believes that environmental forces are uncontrollable, and ones behavior and outcomes are independent of one another. Those who naturally lean towards an autonomous orientation would be most likely to volitionally engage in prosocial behavior (Gagne, 2003). Therefore, a meeting profe ssional who is able to feel satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs (competency, autonomy, and relatedness) is more likely to be able to internalize an exte rnal regulation (i.e. the planning of voluntourism
44 activities) than one who may ha ve a control or impersonal orie ntation. The satisfaction of the three aforementioned nutriments ma y also lead to higher job satis faction, effective performance, more positive work-related attit udes, psychological well-being, and organizational citizenship behavior, among other benef its (Gagne & Deci, 2005). Self-Determination Theory provides the best fit in the description of the potential motivations of meeting professi onals to organize voluntourism activ ities, especially when two studies conducted by Gagne (2003) in which she found that, once the basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy and relatedness have been met, autonomy orientation is a significant predictor of particip ating in prosocial behavior are taken into consideration.! Nonetheless, other theories were analyzed dur ing the research period. Clary, et. al. (1998) examined volunteer motivation through six separate studies in order to develop the Volunteer Functions Inventory, or VFI. With the result s of the six studies, six volunteer motivation functions were established. The first was values, which allows an individual to express values related to altruism; the second wa s understanding, described as the opportunity to participate in new learning experiences; the third motivationa l function was social, concerning relationships with others; the fourth was career described as the opportunity to obtain career-related benefits through volunteerism; the fifth motivational function was protective, which se rved to protect the ego from negative features of the self and possi bly reduce guilt; the sixth and final motivational function in volunteering was enhancement, or personal development. Although this study was very well done and explained volunteer motivations quite well, it did so from a perspective of continuous volunteering in one plac e. It relates well to those who are able to volunteer on a regular basis, but did not fit the motivations of a meeting professional interested in adding a voluntourism component to a convention.
45 Another theory which was review ed was Beard and Raghebs (1983) Measuring Leisure Motivation They examined the inten tion of individuals to choos e their particular leisure activities over other available activ ities. Their literature identi fied four factors as relevant measures of leisure motivation. The first factor, intellectual, refers to an individuals motivation to participate in leisur e activities that contain an educational/discovery element. The second factor, social, refers to leisur e activities which showcase an indi viduals needs for friendship and the esteem of others. Yet another factor, compet ence-mastery, measures the extent to which an individual will participate in leisure activities in order to master skills or compete (this factor generally involves physical skills). The final factor listed, stimulus-avoidance, examines an individuals motivation to escape from everyday and/or over stimula ting life situations. Overall, this theory addresses the differing reasons for indi viduals to choose to enga ge in certain activities during their leisure time. Although it could pr ovide an excellent e xplanation as to why convention attendees may partic ipate in voluntourism, this theory does not address the motivations to engage others in voluntourism, as meeting professionals would. Therefore, Beard and Raghebs ideas were not ad apted for this research. Ryan and Glendon (1998) took an interesting appr oach to travel motivation: they applied Beard and Raghebs (1983) scale of leisure motivation to travel and motivation to travel. They found many reasons to explain w hy people take vacations (their individual motivations), and listed them in order of importance: Relax me ntally, discover new place s and things, avoid the hustle and bustle of daily life, relax physically, be in a calm atmosphere, increase my knowledge, have a good time with friends, be with others, buil d friendships with others, use my imagination, gain a feeling of belonging, challenge my abilities, us e my physical abilities/skills in sport, and develop close friendships (p. 183). Their findings could also be applied to uncover the
46 motivations of those who attend conventions, but not necessarily to those who plan the conventions, so their study will no longer be addressed in this research. Past Experience Past experience of meeting professionals is a relevant topic, though, and should be taken into account. Pearce and Caltabia no (1983) introduced th e idea of past travel experiences having an effect, based on Maslows hierarchy of need s, on trip decisions. They found that when tourists had a negative experience, they were more likely to be concerne d with the impediment of their self-actualization, whereas positive experiences caused tourists to be less worried about safety and self-esteem, and more focused on fulfilling physiological, love and belongingness, and self-actualization needs. Als o, this study proved the idea of a travel career to be true, as more experienced travelers reported being conc erned with higher-order needs than their less experienced study peers. The idea of the travel career was further e xplored by Pearce and Lee (2005), However, the concepts of self-developm ent, novelty, escape/relax, and relationship can describe travel motivations for many, re gardless of their travel experience. Sonmez and Graefe (1998) also researched trav el behavior based on past experiences, but added the element of perceived safety and risk to their study. They found that individuals who had previously visited various regions are more confident when traveling and therefore more likely to either return to those regions or travel to a new location. Howe ver, when lacking actual travel experiences, individuals tend to avoid places they perceive as risky in favor of seemingly safe destinations. As they wrote, whether a dest ination or region is really safe or risky does not seem to be as relevant to travel decisions as potential travelers own perceptions (p 176). Therefore, one can safely assume that meeting professionals who have more extensive travel experience, and have undergone positive experiences in their travel career, will be more willing to travel to and plan in foreign locales.
47 Figure 2-1: Schematic representa tion of tourism downturn and recovery (Bonham, Edmonds, & Mark, 2006, p. 17) Figure 2-2: Economic impacts of business travel and tourism (Swarbrooke & Horner, 2001, p. 76)
48 Figure 2-3: Environmental impacts of business travel and tourism (Swarbrooke & Horner, 2001, p. 77) Figure 2-4: Social impacts of business travel and tourism (Swa rbrooke & Horner, 2001, p. 79)
49 Figure 2-5: Conceptual Model of Alte rnative Tourism (Wearing, 2001, p. 30) Figure 2-6: Theory of Planned Beha vior Diagram (Ajzen, 1991, p. 182)
50 Figure 2-7: Modified Theory of Pl anned Behavior Diagram (Ajzen, 2006, http://people.umass.edu/aizen/tpb.diag.html) Figure 2-8: Motivation Continuum (Deci & Ryan, 2000, p. 72).
51 CHAPTER 3 METHOD This chapter will en tail all research methods used for the purposes of this study. The five sections included are as follows: sampling frame, data collection, instrumentation, operationalization of the variables, and data analys is and testing of the research questions. The sampling frame section will describe the sample population used and how it was found, the data collection section will ex plain thoroughly the methods used to collect the actual data, the instrumentation section will explain how the surv ey will be administered, the section regarding operationalization of the variables will specify each variable and how they will be operationalized with the survey instrument, and th e data analysis section will identify any and all findings, and how the research ques tions were tested (Nice, 2004). Sampling Frame For this research, a list of meeting professionals from Teramedia Corporation, a private database firm in Orlando, was purchased to be used. All members of this sample identified themselves as players in the convention industry, more specifically as meeting professionals. The entire sample was sent the invitation to participate in the study via email. Although a list was purchased and utilized for an initial email blast, issues with the list vendor prohibited any and all follow-up email reminders. Therefore, the initial pool of respondents was quite small (73 out of 5,810 em ailed completed the survey), and further measures needed to be taken. In order to gath er data from a larger sample, the Tallahassee Society of Association Executives was approached, and agreed to send the survey to its meeting planner members. On Monday, May 5, 2008, the survey was emailed to 214 more meeting professionals members of the Society of Asso ciation Executives. A follow-up reminder was sent one week later, and a total of 100 completed surveys were submitted (73 from the
52 Teramedia email, and 27 from the Tallahassee So ciety of Association Executives), when the Teramedia list and Tallahassee Society of Association Executives were both included. Therefore, the response rate from the Tera media survey was a disappointing 1.26%, and the response rate from the Tallahassee Society of Association Executives was 12.62%. Since the Teramedia list was composed of meeting professionals from around the nation, and the Tallahassee Society of Associ ation Executives possessed a list composed of meeting professionals from the Southeastern United States, the results may be slightly skewed due to geographical inconsistencies. Data Collection The use of a web survey was chosen as the method based on Kwak and Radlers (2002) findings that web surveys ultimately have a quicker turnaround and more complete responses than mail surveys, albeit lower response rates. The use of an email directing potential participants to the online surve y, and the use of email reminders, was derived from the research of Sue and Ritter (2007). Instrumentation The survey was administered online. An email blast was sent out to all contacts, directing them to the webpage on which the survey instrument will be located. The survey was available for a month, with an initial email sent to a list purchased from Teramedia, and a later blast sent out courtesy of the Tallahassee So ciety of Association Executives, with a reminder sent to the latter list after one week to all those who had not yet comp leted and returned the survey instrument. The survey instrument consists of 43 questions, categorized into eight sections. The explanation for the development of the questions and the past literature from which they were developed can be found in Tabl es 3-1 through 3-6. The independent variables are the industry knowledge and experience of each meeting professional, their attitudes towards
53 voluntourism (including any past experiences with voluntourism), their motivations to include voluntourism activities at conven tions, and their past travel experiences. E ach of these independent variables could poten tially lead a meeting professi onal to incorporate voluntourism at a convention, so the intention to do so is the dependent variable in this study. Operationalization of Variables The first section of the survey instrument consisted of eight true-or-false statements. Four were true (that is, they ar e voluntourism activities), four were false, (that is, they would not be considered voluntourism activities) These stat ements measured the knowledge of meeting professionals regarding voluntourism, and their perceptions rega rding what voluntourism means to each individual. These questions were ra nked on a summated scale; questions answered correctly were given a sc ore of one, and incorrect answers r eceived a score of zero. Respondents who answered four or fewer of the questions correctly were considered to have low knowledge, and those who answer five to eigh t correctly were considered to have high knowledge of voluntourism. Due to a small samp le size, the respondents were split into two, not three, groups ranking knowledge. The final question of the first section was to measure whether or not they would include voluntourism at a convention, based on a seven-point likerttype scale, ranging from (1) strongly disagree to (5) strongly agree. The second section of the survey instrument consisted of 8 questions the first question had four measures of one statement based on a semantic differential scal e. The semantic differential scale will range from 1 7, with (1) showing a negative attitude toward voluntourism, and (7) demonstrating a more favorable attitude toward voluntourism. The second section also boasts two categorical (yes/no) questions, with the second question leading into 2 short answer questions. This section was used to measure meeting professionals attitudes toward voluntourism, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, and therefor e included attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral
54 control. The third section of the survey inst rument contained questions to measure meeting professionals motivations. This section containe d 9 likert-type questions with a range of 1 5, with (1) meaning not at all tru e and (5) meaning very true Th e fourth section of the survey instrument measured travel motivations and past travel experiences of meeting professionals. This section consisted of three yes or no questi ons to distinguish prev ious participation in voluntourism, one ranked question to measure am ount of times the meeting professional had participated in voluntourism (if he or she had ac tually done so), and one question to utilized to determine what types of voluntourism activities had previously been included by the respondents in their conventions, if any had. The last section of the survey instrument was a mixture of typical demographic questions (a ge, gender, level of educati on) and scaling questions to determine length of time in the ev ent industry, type of meeting professional, average length of a convention, average number of attendees, expe cted convention/meeting budget, and typical activities included in a c onvention (See Appendix A). Creation of the Independent Variable: Knowledge Industry knowledge was operationalized through the use of eight survey questions, which m easured meeting professionals familiarity with the concept of voluntourism. The knowledge/familiarity domain contained, as mentioned, eight items, statements about voluntourism that were either true or false. These eight items were: 1) working in a destinations food bank is voluntourism, 2) assembling care packages in a hotels convention room is voluntourism, 3) hosting a fundrai ser, yet not including local citizens is voluntourism, 4) donating bicycles to local chil dren is voluntourism, 5) volunt ourism is tax-deductible, 6) voluntourism activities can never be sponsored, 7) building/renovati ng homes in a destination is voluntourism, and 8) donating money to a charity is voluntourism.
55 In order to determine knowledge of voluntour ism among survey respondents, 8 questions on the survey instrument were created to dir ectly measure familiarity with the voluntourism concept. In Table 3-8, familiarity is measured between 0 and 7. Those who did not answer any of the voluntourism questions corre ctly received a score of and had anyone answered every question correctly, he or she woul d have received a score of Those who received a score below were considered to have low know ledge of voluntourism, and those who received a score of 6 or higher were considered to posse ss a high knowledge of voluntourism. Therefore, 42% of the sample have a low knowledge of the concept of voluntourism, while the majority (58%) enjoy a high level of knowledge regarding the concept of voluntourism.
56 Table 3-1: Knowledge of Voluntourism Example of Voluntourism/No t Voluntourism Reference 1. Working in a food bank (passi ng out food, cooking, etc.) in the destination where you travel is an example of voluntourism (Arai, 2004) 2. Assembling care packages for a charitable organization in a convention room at a destina tion hotel is an example of voluntourism (Rothgery, 2007) 3. Hosting a fundraising event in a local community, although not including local residents, is an example of voluntourism (Exploratory) 4. Donating bicycles to local children is an example of voluntourism (Rothgery, 2007) 5. Voluntourism activities are ta x-deductible (Clemmons, 2005) 6. Voluntourism activities can never be sponsored (Clemmons, 2005) 7. Building/renovating local homes in the destination where you travel is an example of voluntourism (Maloney, 2007) 8. Donating money to the local co mmunity (or a local charity) in the destination where you travel is an example of voluntourism (Clemmons, 2006) Table 3-2: Attitudes toward th e incorporation of voluntourism Domain Item Reference Attitude 1. Valuable/worthless (Ajzen, 2006) 2. Enjoyable/unenjoyable (Ajzen, 2006) 3. Beneficial/harmful (Ajzen, 2006) 4. Good/bad (Ajzen, 2006) Subjective Norm 5. Important others believe I should/should not incorporate voluntourism (Ajzen, 2006) 6. Expectations to include goodwill activities: expected/not expected (Ajzen, 2006) 7. People whose opinions are valued would approve/disapprove of the incorporation of voluntourism (Ajzen, 2006) Perceived Behavioral Control 8. Incorporation of voluntourism would be possible/impossible (Ajzen, 2006) 9. If I wanted to I could incorporate voluntourism; T/F (Ajzen, 2006) 10. How much control over incorporating voluntourism: complete control/no control (Ajzen, 2006) 11. Mostly up to me whether in include voluntourism: strongly agree/strongly disagree (Ajzen, 2006)
57 Table 3-3: Past experiences with voluntourism Question Reference 1. Ever traveled with the specific intent to volunteer (Exploratory) 2. Ever participated in a voluntourism activity as an attendee (Exploratory) 3. Personally incorporated voluntourism (Exploratory) Table 3-4: Motivations to include voluntourism Question Reference 1. Would enjoy myself while planning a voluntourism activity (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 2. Would not feel nervous when planning voluntourism (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 3. Voluntourism does not hold my attention at all (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 4. Understand voluntourism concepts pretty well (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 5. Voluntourism is very interesting (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 6. Understand voluntourism pretty well, compared to other meeting professionals (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 7. Would enjoy planning a voluntourism activity very much (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 8. Would feel very tense while planning voluntourism (Deci & Ryan, 2006) 9. Voluntourism would be fun to plan (Deci & Ryan, 2006) Table 3-5: Experience of the Meeting Professional Question Reference 1. How many years have you been a meeting professional? (Weber, 2001) 2. What type of meeting professional do you consider yourself? (MPI, 2007) 3. How long does your average convention last? (IAEE, 2007) 4. What is the average number of attendees at your convention(s)? (MPI, 2007; Weber, 2001) 5. In the upcoming year, what do you expect your average convention budget to be? (Boehmer & Baker, 2007; MPI, 2007; Ng, 2007) 6. What types of activities have you incorporated into your convention(s)? (IAEE, 2007) Table 3-6: Meeting Prof essional Demographics Question Reference 1. What year were you born? (MPI, 2007; Weber, 2001) 2. Gender (Successful Meetings, 2005; Torrisi, 2005) 3. What is your highest degree earned? (Jun & McCleary, 1999)
58 Table 3-7: Simple Frequencies of ea ch item in the Knowledge Variable Frequency Valid Percent Food Bank True 81 83 False Total 17 98 17 100 Care Packages True False Total 85 14 99 86 14 100 Fundraising Event True False Total 60 38 98 61 39 100 Donating Bicycles True False Total 56 43 99 57 43 100 Tax-Deductible True False Total 46 51 97 47 53 100 Never Sponsored True False Total 12 86 98 12 88 100 Building/renovating Homes True False Total 87 9 99 91 9 100 Donating Money True False Total 58 41 99 59 41 100 Table 3-8: Low vs. High Industry Knowledge Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent 1 42 42.0 42.0 42.0 2 58 58.0 58.0 100.0 Total 100 100.0 100.0
59 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The overall results of the data analysis ar e presented throughout th is chapter in three sections: first, a description of the sample, second a description of the dependent variable and the creation of the independent vari able of knowledge, and finally the results of each individual research question are described. Description of the Sample The survey was distributed to a sample of meeting professionals who fell into one of three categories (see Table 4-1, below). Thirty-fiv e percent of the sample identified themselves as association planners, 31% of the sample identi fied themselves as corporate planners, and 34% identified themselves as either independent plan ners or another type of meeting professional. The largest percentage of respondents (31%) have been involved in the event industry for 11 to 15 years, while 27% have been planning meetings and conventions for one to five years, and 20% of the sample have been involved in planning meetings for over 20 years. The decisions each meeting professional ma kes could be somewhat affected by their demographic profile (Table 4-2). In this sample, 65% of the respondents were female, and 35% were male. The largest age group consisted of those claiming to be between 46 and 55 years old, which represented 34% of this sample. Res pondents between the ages of 25 and 35 made up 17% of the sample, those aged 36 to 45 made up 26% of the sample, and respondents over 55 accounted for 23% of the sample. This group coul d also be considered well-educated, as all respondents had at least finished high school (8%), 15% had earned their associates degree, 36% possessed at least an undergraduate degree, 28% had completed a graduate degree program, and 12% had completed a post-graduate program.
60 Crosstabulations were utilized to get a better feel for the samp le as a whole. As can be seen in Table 4-3, below, women tended to be more likely to be association meeting professionals, while men had a higher tendency to work as independent meeting professionals. Also, although corporate meeting pr ofessionals reported a slightly higher level of education than the other two groups of meeting professionals, this number was not statistically significant. As a whole, the group is fairly well-educated, as was previously mentioned. The last interesting finding of the crosstabulation was the fact that respondents who reported themselves as independent meeting professionals tended to be slightly younger while those who were above the average age of the sample were most lik ely to be association meeting professionals. The most often-cited length of conventions was three days (43% of respondents listed that as the average length of their conventi ons), while only 21% of respondents arranged conventions that lasted one or two days, and 36% of respondents planned c onventions that lasted for four or more days. The amount of attendees per convention varied widely across the sample, from an average of less than 100 attendees per convention to an averag e of over 5,000 attendees per convention. In fact, 12% of the sample did not report an average nu mber of attendees per convention, instead opting to respond that their average number of atte ndees per conventions varies. Budgets varied widely as well, from less than $100,000 per convention (32% of sample) up to over $1 million per convention (12% of samp le). Seven percent of respondents also chose to disclose only that their budgets vary. This group of meeting professionals plan many free-time activities for their convention attendees, most often golf (64% of the sample in clude golf in their conventions), team building activities (54%), and attracti ons/theme parks (48%).
61 Description of Dependent Variable The dependent variable in this study wa s a meeting professionals intentions to incorporate voluntourism into upcoming meetings and/or conventions. This variable was operationalized as a one item indicator called intention to include. As can be seen in Table 4-4, of the total respondents, 14% said they strongly agreed that they would include voluntourism in future plans, whil e 29% agree, 42% remained neut ral in their decision (neither agreeing nor disagreeing, 11% disagree that th ey intend to include voluntourism in future conventions, and only 4% of the sample strongly disagreed to having any intent to include voluntourism. Results of the Research Questions RQ 1: To what extent d o different levels of planning experience characterize meeting professionals? Approximately 27% of the sample has been in the industry for one to five years, 8% have been in the industry for six to 10 y ears, 31% of the respondents have been in the industry for 11 to 15 years, 13% have worked as a meeting professional for 16 to 20 years, and 20% have been a part of the meeting industr y for over 20 years. Therefore, 64% of the population surveyed have been planning meeti ngs for well over 10 years and can thus be considered quite familiar with the meetings and conventions industry. RQ2: Is there a relationship between meeting professionals level of experience and intentions to include volunt ourism in convention plans? The group with the most intention to include voluntourism in their plans was the m eeting professionals w ith over 20 years of experience. The group with the least intention to include volun tourism was the 1-5 years of experience group. Results of the one-way ANOVA (Table 4-5, below) re vealed no statistical differences among the groups. This means that year s of experience as a meeting planner was not significantly related to intentions to include volunt ourism in convention plans.
62 RQ3: To what extent do meeting professi onals exhibit different levels of industry knowledge? The frequencies showed that there were varying levels of knowledge. As can be seen in Table 4-6, the scores ranged from 0 (no correct answers) to seven (seven correct answers). A total of 42% of the sample had a low level of knowledge of the concept of voluntourism, while a slight majority (58%) en joyed a high level of kno wledge regarding the concept of voluntourism. RQ4: Is there a relationship between level of industry knowledge and intentions to include voluntourism in convention plans? Once the survey answers were properly recoded, descriptive statistics were used to divide th e sample into low and high knowledge respondents based on a mean of approximately five (see Chapter 3 for full discussion). Then, independent ttests were utilized to determine whether leve l of industry knowledge would make a meeting professional more likely to incorporate voluntourism into an upc oming convention. The results of this analysis showed no significance betw een a meeting professiona ls industry knowledge and intentions to incorporate voluntourism into upcoming c onventions (see Table 4-7, below). Therefore, the amount of knowledge a meeting professional had regarding voluntourism had no bearing on their intention to include vol untourism in the conventions they plan. RQ 5: To what extent do meeting pr ofessionals view voluntourism favorably? In order to find out how favorably meeting professionals viewed voluntourism, simple frequencies were run, and the results of that can be seen in Ta ble 4-8. The most highly-correlated statement was People in my life whose opinions I value would approve of my incorporating voluntourism into one of my next conventions, with a mean of 5.13 (on a scale of 7). The least-correlated statement (or attitude) was It is expected that I include goodwill ac tivities, such as volunteering in my convention planning which had a mean of 3.04. Since the overall means fell on the
63 positive side of scale, it can be safely assumed that, overall, the meeting professionals in this sample have a positive attitude toward voluntourism. RQ 6: Is there a relationship between meetin g professionals attitudes and intentions to include voluntourism in conventions? Use of bivariate correlations was used to determine if differences existed between attitudes and intentio ns to include voluntourism in conventions. The comprehensive correlation table exists below (T able 4-9). The attitudes which were most highly correlated with intention to in corporate voluntourism were: Mos t people important to me think that (I should) incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions (r=0.685), and For me to incorporate voluntourism into one of my next conventions would be (possible). (r=.651) The least correlated variables were: It is ex pected that I include goodwill activities, such as volunteering in my c onvention planning, (r=0.051) and It is mostly up to me whether or not I incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming convention (r=0.202). In fact, the it is expected variable does not correlate with intention at all. RQ 7: To what extent do meeting prof essionals exhibit different motivations for voluntourism? The motivation variable was measured with a total of 9 items. These items were first analyzed with simple frequencies in order to determine the level of motivation exhibited by the sample as a whole (see Table 4-10). Th e most agreed-with motivation item was When planning a voluntourism activity, I would very much enjoy myself, with a mean of 3.84 (on a scale of one to five). The response with the next-highest mean was I would describe voluntourism as very interesting, with a mean of 3.76. The fact that the sample agreed the most with these two questions shows that the most motivating characteristic s of voluntourism are its aspect of fun and interest. However, since none of the means were very high (i.e. none were very close to 5) overall, the sample did not exhi bit a very high level of motivation to incorporate
64 voluntourism. The least agreed -with item was The concept of voluntourism does not hold my attention at all, with a mean of 2.12. The next least-agreed with item was I would feel tense while planning/incorporating volun tourism, with a mean of 2.35. Even these items, and the answers chosen by the respondents, demonstrat e the importance of being comfortable and enjoying the planning process of voluntourism. So, even the items with low means prove the point that meeting professionals are interested in voluntourism, and in order to be motivated to incorporate voluntourism into upcoming conventi ons, they simply must be able to enjoy themselves. RQ 8: Is there a relationship between meetin g professionals type of motivation and their intentions to include voluntou rism in their convention plans? In order to determine whether a relationship existed between meeti ng professionals motiva tions to incorporate voluntourism into upcoming meetings and/or conventions and their actual intentions to do so, bivariate correlations were r un between the motivation variable and the intention variable. Significant relationships were found between each motivation item and the intention variable (refer to Table 4-11), which leads the researcher to believe that each item in the motivation variable, and the variable itself as a whole, plays a significant role in the meeting professionals intentions to incorporate voluntour ism into upcoming conventions. In fact, the only item that was significant at the .05 level (and not at the .01 level, as all the other items were) was item (8) feeling te nse when planning a voluntourism activity. Therefore, even if a meeting prof essional were to feel some tensi on, he or she is still likely to include voluntourism in their upcoming meeting or convention. The reason for the two negative correlations in Table 4-11 is that those two surv ey items were asked with a negative connotation. Therefore, one can safely assume that Q27 (The concept of voluntourism does not hold my
65 attention at all), and Q32 (I would feel very tense while planning voluntourism) go against the thoughts of the sample. RQ 9: To what extent have meeting pr ofessionals had past experiences with voluntourism? There were five questions which ga uged the meeting professionals past experience with voluntourism. The most agreed with statement (Table 4-12) was I have participated in voluntourism as a convention attendee (45.5%) while th e least agreed with statement was I have traveled with a specific intent to volunteer (29.3%). Past experience was measured by those who had responded that they had previously traveled with the specific intent to volunteer, wi th a range of one to ten times. The answers to this question presented a trimodal distribution, wi th 56.8% of respondents having participated in voluntourism one to two times, 38.4% of respondents having participated between three and seven times, and 12.8% of the resp ondents having participated in voluntourism at least ten times. Respondents who have traveled le ss to volunteer could be consider ed as having been introduced to voluntourism, while the 12.8% who have traveled to volunteer ten or more times could be considered highly experienced voluntourists. Types of voluntourism activities that the samp le had previously incorporated in their meetings and/or conventions ranged from intens ely to moderately involved. Responses were divided into four main categories: Child rens Charities, Construction/Renovation, Environmental, and Food-Related. In the Ch ildrens Charities category, a few examples of activities planned ranged from convention attend ees volunteering at a childrens hospital to visiting schools and libraries to even searching for a lost child in the woods. In the Construction/Renovation category, at least five of the respondents had worked with local chapters of Habitat for Humanity, and others ha d either built or renovated homes or shelters.
66 The Environmental voluntourism activities included such things as planti ng trees and cleaning up local parks and beaches, and a few respondents even mentioned volunteering in post-hurricane cleanups. The respondents who had planned Food-Related voluntourism activities generally worked with local food banks, either packing boxes or distributing food. RQ 10: Is there a relationship between the am ount of meeting professionals past experience with voluntourism and their intentions to include voluntourism in their convention plans? In order to determine the significan ce of the relationship between past experience with voluntourism and intenti ons to include voluntourism in future meetings/conventions, independent-sample T-tests we re run, utilizing the intention variable and each of the first three past experience items As can be seen in Table 4-13, there is a significant statistical di fference between those who answered yes and those who answered no. Therefore, if a respondent had previously traveled to volunteer, he or she would express a higher intention include voluntourism in a future convention (mean = 3.93), than if they did not pa rticipate in voluntouris m in the past (mean = 3.14). Table 4-14 also shows a statisti cally significant relationship be tween this past experience variable (past participa tion in voluntourism at a convention, as an attendee) and in tent to include voluntourism in future conventions. This t-te st proves that if a m eeting professional has previously participated in voluntourism as a convention attendee, he or she will be more likely (mean = 3.76) to include voluntourism in a future convention than if he or she had not ever participated in voluntourism at a convention (mean = 3.06). The third main item in the past experience variable (planning a voluntourism activity for a convention), also asserted a significant statistical relationsh ip with the inte ntion variable
67 (Table 4-15). If a meeting pr ofessional has already included a voluntourism activity in one of their conventions, he or she will be more likely (mean = 3.97) to do so again in the future than a meeting professional who has not personally incor porated voluntourism into one of his or her conventions (mean = 3.10). RQ 11: To what extent are different types of meeting professionals represented by the sample? Simple frequencies were run to dete rmine the breakdown of type of meeting professionals that made up this sample. They we re given a choice of thre e categories in which to place themselves: association planner, corporate planner, or independent planner/other. The breakdown can be seen in Table 4-16. Thirtyfour percent of this sample considered themselves to be association planners, while 30% consider themselves corporate planners and 32% consider themselves independent planners or some other ty pe (possibly a combination of two of the other categories) of planner. RQ 12: Is there a relationship between type of meeting professionals and their intentions to include voluntouri sm in their convention plans? To determine whether or not a relationship existed between intent to include vo luntourism at a future meeting or convention and the type of meeting professional, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was run to compare the means of the sample. As can be seen in Table 4-17, no statistica l significance was found between any type of meeting professional and th eir corresponding intent to include voluntourism at a future convention. Since there was no significance when the initial ANOVA was utilized, no further breakdown or comparison between the types of meeting professionals was necessary. RQ 13: What is the best predictor of a meeting professionals intent to include voluntourism in their convention plans: know ledge, attitudes, motivations, or past experiences? A regression was not utilized to test this research question, because the sample size
68 was too smal. Instead, a table was created to sh ow the significance of each variable as it relates to the Intention Variable. As can be seen from Table 4-18, the most likely predictors of intention to include voluntourism in an upcoming conventi on would be past experiences and motivations. However, as mentioned, this was conducted with a limited sample, and therefore more research should be done in order to cons ider these findings conclusive. Summary Statistically significant relationships were found with the attitude, motivation, and past experience variables, as they related to the inten tion variable. In the an alysis of the attitude variable, it was found that meeting professiona ls have a more positive attitude toward voluntourism if those important to them have positive attitudes toward voluntourism. Also, they must feel as though it is okay for them to be in corporating voluntourism in order for them to do so. Statistical significance was found between e ach motivation item and the intention variable; however, motivations were measured on a scale of one to five, and no mean was higher than 3.84, thus demonstrating that on th e whole, motivations to incor porate voluntourism in upcoming conventions were not very high among this sa mple. For the past experiences variable, a significant relationship was discove red between all three items and the intention variable. These significant relationships reveal that the more a meeting professional is made familiar with voluntourism (through participation), the more li kely he or she will be to incorporate voluntourism at an upcoming convention.
69 Table 4-1: Professional Profile of Respondents Type of Meeting Professional Association Corporate Independent/Other Total Frequency 34 30 32 96 Valid Percent 35 31 34 100 Years in the Industry 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 >20 Total 27 9 31 13 20 100 27 9 31 13 20 100 Average length of Conventions (days) 1 2 3 4 5+ Total 9 10 39 18 15 91 10 11 43 20 16 100 Average number of attendees per convention Less than 100 101-500 501-1,000 1,001-5,000 Over 5,000 Varies Total Frequency 13 34 9 16 4 10 86 Valid Percent 15 40 10 19 4 12 100 Average budget per convention Less than $100,000 $100,001 $500,000 $500,001-$1,000,000 Over $1,000,000 Varies Total Frequency 22 30 3 8 5 68 Valid Percent 32 44 4 12 7 99 Typically Planned Activities Attractions/Theme Park Casinos/Gaming Cooking Program Festivals Golf Skiing Spas/Spa Activities Sporting Events Spousal Programs Team-Building Activities Other Frequency 41 24 17 11 54 6 34 28 36 46 23 Valid Percent 48 28 20 13 64 7 40 33 42 54 27
70 Table 4-2: Socio-Demographi c Profile of Respondents Frequency Valid Percent Gender Male Female Total 34 63 97 35 65 100 Age 25 35 36-45 46-55 56 + Total 16 24 31 21 92 17 26 34 23 100 Education Less than High School High School Associates Degree Undergraduate College Graduate Degree Post-Graduate Degree Total 0 8 14 35 27 12 96 0 8 15 36 28 12 100 Table. 4-3: CrossTabulations of Meeting Professiona l Characteristics Independent Association Corporate Gender Female 59.4 73.5 63.3 Male 40.6 26.5 36.7 Highest Degree Earned Less than High School 15.6 2.9 3.3 High School 12.5 14.7 16.7 Associates Degree 37.5 41.2 30.0 Undergraduate College 25.0 29.4 30.0 Graduate Degree 9.4 12.8 20.0 Age Less than 40 27.0 8.8 10.0 40-50 16.2 12.9 23.3 51-60 35.1 50.0 43.3 61+ 21.9 28.3 23.4 *No significantly different findings based on type of meeting planner
71 Table 4-4: Intention to Incorporate Voluntourism Strongly Disagree DisagreeNeitherAgreeStrongly Agree Total Will Include Frequency Valid percent 4 4 11 11 41 42 28 29 14 14 98 100 Table 4-5: ANOVA of level of experience and intention N MeanStd. DeviationF ValueProbability 1-5 years 27 3.26 0.813.892 .472 6-10 years 9 3.38 0.518 11-15 years 30 3.27 1.112 16-20 years 13 3.31 1.316 over 20 years 20 3.75 0.967 Total 90 3.38 1.034 Table 4-6: Percentage of Respondents Familiarity with Voluntourism Familiarity Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent 0 1 1.0 1.0 2 3 3.0 4.0 3 4 4.0 8.0 4 11 11.0 19.0 5 23 23.0 42.0 6 38 38.0 80.0 7 20 20.0 100.0 Total 100 100.0 Table 4-7: T-Test of Knowledge Variable Sig. TValue Df Sig. (2tailed) Mean Differenc e Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Lower Upper .569 -.506 96 .614 -.104 .206-.512 .304 -.512 89.89 7 .610 -.104 .203-.507 .300
72 Table 4-8: Descriptive Statistics of the Attitude Variable NMean Std. Deviation Q15: The people in my life whose opinions I value would approve of my incorporation of voluntourism into one of my next conventions. 935.13 1.583 Q12: The addition of a voluntour ism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be good. 944.66 1.787 Q12: The addition of a voluntour ism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be valuable. 964.60 1.750 Q12: The addition of a voluntour ism activity into one of my upcoming conventions w ould be beneficial. 954.56 1.791 Q12: The addition of a voluntour ism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be enjoyable. 964.52 1.686 Q17: If I wanted to I could incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. 964.47 1.875 Q16: For me to incorporate volun tourism into one of my next conventions would be possible. 944.21 1.684 Q13: Most people important to me think that I should incorporate voluntourism in to one of my upcoming conventions. 964.12 1.591 Q18: How much control do you believe you have over incorporating voluntourism into any of your upcoming conventions? (complete) 974.10 1.879 Q19: It is mostly up to me whether or not I incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. 953.07 1.925 Q14: It is expected that I in clude goodwill activities, such as volunteering in my convention planning. 953.04 2.108
73 Table 4-9: Correlation Matrix of Attitude s and Intention to Include Voluntourism Pearson Correlation Significance (2-tailed) Q16: For me to incorporate voluntourism into one of my next conventions would be possible. 0.685** .000 Q13: Most people important to me think that I should incorporate voluntourism 0.651** .000 Q17: If I wanted to I could incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. 0.482** .000 Q15: The people in my life whose opinions I value would approve of my incorporation of voluntourism into one of my next conventions. 0.476** .000 Q12: The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be valuable. 0.412** .000 Q12: The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be good. 0.354** .000 Q12: The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be beneficial. 0.327** .001 Q12: The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be enjoyable. 0.323** .001 Q18: How much control do you believe you have over incorporating voluntourism into any of your upcoming conventions (complete) 0.234* .022 Q19: It is mostly up to me whether or not I incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. 0.202 .051 Q14: It is expected that I include goodwill activities, such as volunteering, in my convention planning. 0.047** .000 **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed) Table 4-10: Descriptive Statisti cs of the Motivation Variables NMean Std. Deviation Q25. When planning a voluntour ism activity, I would very much enjoy myself 963.84 0.886 Q29 I would describe voluntourism as very interesting 953.76 0.740 Q33: A voluntourism activity would be fun to plan. 953.75 0.875 Q28: I think I understand voluntourism concepts pretty well. 953.73 .844 Q31: I would enjoy planning a voluntourism activity very much. 963.66 0.881 Q26: I would not feel at all nervous planning a voluntourism activity. 943.49 1.180 Q30: I think I understand the concept of voluntourism very well, compared to other meeting professionals. 953.32 0.902 Q32 I would feel tense while planning/incorporating voluntourism. 952.35 0.965 Q27 I doesnt hold my attention at all. 962.12 0.997
74 Table 4-11: Correlation Between Inten tion Variable and Motivation Items Pearson Correlation Significance (2-tailed) Q25: When planning a volunt ourism activity, I would very much enjoy myself. 0.326** .001 Q26: I would not feel at all nervous planning a voluntourism activity. 0.398** .000 Q27: The concept of voluntourism does not hold my attention at all. -0.411** .000 Q28: I think I understand voluntourism concepts pretty well. 0.424** .000 Q29: I would describe voluntour ism as very interesting 0.393** .000 Q30: I think I understand the concept of voluntourism very well, compared to other meeting professionals. 0.385** .000 Q31: I would enjoy planning a voluntourism activity very much. 0.479** .000 Q32: I would feel very tens e while planning/incorporating voluntourism. -0.243* .018 Q33: A voluntourism activity would be fun to plan. .387** .000 **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *Correlation is signif icant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). Table 4-12: Frequencies of Past Experience Variable Item N (yes) % Mean/ Standard Deviation Q20: Have you every traveled with the specific intent to volunteer 2929.3 Q21: Have you ever partic ipated in a voluntourism activity as a conve ntion attendee 4545.5 Q22: Have you personally incorporated a voluntourism activity into any of your conventions 3232.3 Q23: If you have traveled to volunteer, how many times have you done so? 4750% of total 3.53/2.96 Table 4-13: T-test of Q2 0 and Intention Variable Question 20: Have you ever traveled with the specific intent to volunteer? N Mean Std. Deviation T value Probability Question 11: I will include voluntourism in future meetings I plan No 69 3.14 .959 3.788 .000 Yes 29 3.93 .884
75 Table 4-14: T-test of Q2 1 and Intention Variable Question 21: Have you ever participated in a voluntourism activity as a conve ntion attendee? N Mean Std. Deviation T value Probability Question 11: I will include voluntourism in future meetings I plan No 53 3.06 .949 -3.661 .000 Yes 45 3.76 .933 Table 4-15: T-test of Q2 2 and Intention Variable Question 22: Have you ever personally incorporated a voluntourism activity into any of your conventions? N Mean Std. Deviation T value Probability Question 11: I will include voluntourism in future meetings I plan No 67 3.10 .890 4.320 .000 Yes 31 3.97 .983 Table 4-16: Frequencies of T ype of Meeting Professional N Mean Std. Deviation Independent/Other 31 3.35 .950 Association 34 3.35 .950 Corporate 30 3.43 1.165 Total 95 3.38 1.012 Table 4-17:One-Way ANOVA of Types of Meeting Professional N Mean Std. Deviation F value Significance Independent/Other 313.35.9500.062 0.940 ( ns ) Association 343.35.950 Corporate 303.431.165 Total 953.381.012 (ns) no statistical difference
76 Table 4-18: Best Predictor of Intent to Include Vol untourism in Convention Plans Intention KNOWLEDGE High ns Low ns Attitude For me to incorporate voluntourism into one of my next conventions would be possible. ** Most people important to me think that I should incorporate voluntourism ** If I wanted to I could incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. ** The people in my life whose opinions I va lue would approve of my incorporation of voluntourism into one of my next conventions. ** The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be valuable. ** The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be good. ** The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be beneficial. ** The addition of a voluntourism activity into one of my upcoming conventions would be enjoyable. ** How much control do you believe you ha ve over incorporating voluntourism into any of your upcoming conventions It is mostly up to me whet her or not I incorporate vol untourism into one of my upcoming conventions. ns It is expected that I include goodwill ac tivities, such as volunteering, in my convention planning. ** Motivations When planning a voluntourism activity, I would very much enjoy myself. ** I would not feel at all nervous planning a voluntourism activity. **The concept of voluntourism does not hold my attention at all. **I think I understand voluntour ism concepts pretty well. **I would describe voluntourism as very interesting **I think I understand the c oncept of voluntourism very well, compared to other meeting professionals. **I would enjoy planning a voluntourism activity very much. **I would feel very tense while pl anning/incorporating voluntourism. *A voluntourism activity would be fun to plan. **Past Experiences Have you every traveled with th e specific intent to volunteer ** Have you ever participated in a volunt ourism activity as a convention attendee **Have you personally incorporated a vol untourism activity into any of your conventions ** ns = not significant **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
77 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The objective of this study was to gauge meeting professi onals knowledge, attitudes, past experience and motivations for voluntourism, and their intentions to include voluntourism activities in their upcoming conventions. The understanding of these re lationships and their significance can contribute in formation to the meeting a nd event industry, and the tourism/voluntourism industry. Since this research was exploratory in na ture, this chapter will focus on the following sections: results and relevant findings, r ecommendations for industry professionals, and recommendations for future research. Therefore, the results and conclusions will be presented in the following four sections: 1. Discussion of Significant Findings 2. Recommendations for Industry Professionals From a Destination Perspective From a Meeting Professional Perspective 3. Recommendations to Academics 4. Recommendations for Future Research and Limitations of Current Study Discussion of Significant Findings Chapter 4 contained several exciting significant findings. Si gnificant relationships were found between the attitude variable and the intention variable between the motivations variable and the intention variable, and between the past experi ence variable and the intention variable. The intention variable was measured with a sing le item; whether or not meeting professionals will include voluntourism in future meetings they plan. Forty-three percent of respondents either agree or strongly agree that they intend to do so, while 41% would neither agree nor disagree that they definitely intended to incorporate voluntou rism in future meetings, and only 15% of the
78 sample disagree or strongly disagree that they would include volunt ourism in future meetings. A slight majority showed strong intent, and another large percentage is unsure. This could be due to any of this studys independent variables knowledge of voluntourism, attitudes toward voluntourism, motivations for vol untourism, and past experiences with voluntourism or possibly even an unknown variable. No statistically significan t relationships were discovered between the amount of knowledge one possessed about voluntourism and thei r intention to incorporate voluntourism in future conventions. However, slightly more th an half (58%) of the sample did possess a high knowledge of voluntourism, and could thus be cons idered familiar with the concept. That does leave 42% of meeting professionals with a lower level of knowle dge of voluntourism, and thus a need for further education in voluntourism concepts. Further education could potentially influen ce meeting professionals attitudes toward voluntourism, which (in this st udy) was shown to influence their intention to include voluntourism in their meetings. The link between meeting professional att itudes and intention to include voluntourism in upcoming conventions was c onsistent across all 8 at titudinal variables. The results of the attitude variable were based on the three antecedents to intent listed in the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991; 2006) which are attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control. The results were encouraging in that re spondents who exhibited more positive overall attitudes towa rd voluntourism were more likely to include voluntourism in upcoming conventions, even if they had not done so in the past (Bamberg, Ajzen and Schmidt, 2003). Perhaps the most interesting finding was that the meeting professionals in this sample admitted that they cared about what others thought of their decision to incorporate voluntourism. (i.e. The people in my life whose opinions I value would approve of my incorporation of
79 voluntourism into one of my next conventions). This finding provides proof that guessing the likely outcome of the performance of a certain behavior bei ng admired by peers for including voluntourism is more likely to lead to intent to perform the behavior (Ajzen, 1991). This may have implications for destinations who are marketing to these meeting planners. This will be discussed below. This finding led the researcher to believe that some form of social desirability may be present. According to The Corsini Encyclope dia of Psychology and Beha vioral Science (1994), social desirability can be defined as: the tende ncy for individuals to portray themselves in a generally favorable fashion (p. 1557 ). Since voluntourism could be considered an altruistic and collectively beneficial activity, it is not surpri sing that respondents might respond the way they did. Most noteworthy, however, was the honesty w ith which the meeting professionals in this survey answered the attitude questions. Another significant finding was the relati onship between motivations and intent to incorporate voluntourism at future conventions. Although the correlation between each motivation item and intention was fairly lo w, each relationship represented a significant connection. This shows that although overall motivations for planning voluntourism activities are low, they do influence intention to do so. Once again, several deductions can be made from the answers given for each of the motivation items. The item with the highest mean (meaning highest motivator) of 3.84 was When planning a voluntourism activity, I would ve ry much enjoy myself. The item with the next-highest mean (3.76) was: I would describe voluntourism as very interesting. These findings suggest that meeting planners see volunt ourism as fun and interes ting. This is important for destinations to know. It bodes well for the field of voluntourism that meeting professionals
80 feel this way. Not surprisingly, the more intr insically rewarding meeting professionals find the experience, and the more comforta ble they feel with the volunt ourism concept, the more likely they will be to plan voluntour ism activities for their future co nventions. This idea ties in well with Self-Determination Theory the meeting professional must find the activity personally interesting and/or enjoyable, a nd it helps if important others support their ideas (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Deci & Ryan, 2000). As it was explaine d in Chapter Two, the ideal situation of voluntourism inclusion would be one in whic h a meeting professional feels completely intrinsically motivated to in clude voluntourism at a convention. The three antecedents, competence, relatedness, and autonomy, must be met for intrinsic motivation. This study found that, indeed, these factors must be present. The knowledge variable relates to a meeting professionals competence, the attitude and past experience variables alig n with relatedness, and autonomy represents the confidence of each individua l meeting professional to be able to handle the task. Although the goal of the behavior (possi bly attendee delight, client satisfaction) may be extrinsically motivated, the internalization of the motivation to perform the behavior makes it more likely to occur (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Gagne & Deci, 2005). Yet another predictor of inten tion to include voluntourism in future conventions is past experience. Each item in the past experience vari able demonstrated a sign ificant relationship to the intention variable. Once again, it is not su rprising that the more experience one has with voluntourism, the more likely they will be to incl ude voluntourism in their future meetings and conventions this is very similar to Pearce and L ees (2005) idea of the tra vel career. In fact, those meeting professionals who had not only participated in vo luntourism but actually already included voluntourism in one of their conventions reported the highest intentions to incorporate voluntourism in future conventions (mean = 3.97 out of 5.00). Past experience could also be
81 linked to the type of clientele with which the meeting professional works. If a meeting professional works for a generally flexible, trendsetting client, he or she may have been more likely to travel, or travel to volunteer, or already have incl uded voluntourism at a convention. Recommendations for Industry Professionals The significant findings of this study can and should be used by both destinations attempting to attract more convention business a nd by meeting professionals. Both groups can utilize this research to increase business and reputation. From a Destination Perspective Destination managers should use voluntouris m opportunities as products to differentiate themselves from the competition. Meeting pr ofessionals admittedly care about what others (bosses, peers, event attendees) think of their choices in activi ties. Therefore, they are making social choices about what activities to include in their meetings when given the chance, particularly if these activities are low or no-cost. Therefore, destinations need to provide detailed lists of voluntourism opportunities which exist in their destination in their materials targeted at meeting planners. One of the findings of this study suggests th at meeting professionals are concerned with their choices of including voluntourism and want to feel secure when choosing these, therefore destinations need to employ marketing techniques and messages wh ich ensure that these choices are good choices. Another technique is to use familiarization trips to introduce the meeting planners to the voluntourism activit ies so that they have a scope of what the activity is and the level of involvement by the participants. Destinations have an opportunity to package their volunt ourism experiences for meeting attendees. Partnerships with lo cal charities are a good opportunity but also help keep the cost
82 down. Such charities might include food banks, ch ildrens charities or Habitat for Humanity. The packaging of an opportunity such as visit a local park and then participate in a clean-up effort or a plant a tree program is one way to include a voluntourism e xperience in an overall convention. These experiences could be combined with dinner excursions or spousal programs or various preand post-co nvention opportunities. In order for a meeting professional to choos e a certain destination for their convention, that destination must be innovative and well-prepared. A solid mark eting plan must be in place, and good relationships with local charities must be established and then maintained. This research highlights the importance of attitudes, motivations, and past experiences of meeting professionals and their intentions. If a destinatio n can position itself as an attractive locale that appeals to many and is able to offer volunt ourism opportunities, it wi ll become popular among meeting professionals. From a Meeting Professional Perspective Meeting planners are interested in incor porating voluntourism experiences into future conventions. Therefore, it is important to con tinually learn about voluntou rism opportunities that work and ones that do not work. For example, as part of a continuing education program, a section could be added which covers the ra nge of voluntourism opportunities and costs for varying types of conventions and meetings. A meeting professional must not only know of the benefits and expenditures necessary to implemen t a voluntourism program, but he or she must also be able to communicate thes e items to clients. It is th e responsibility of the meeting professional to keep clients well-informed and updated. Once a meeting professional has experience with voluntourism, he or she is much more likely to incorporate it into future conventions. Once meeting professionals are familiar with voluntourism, they are more likely to have posit ive attitudes and be mo tivated to include the
83 opportunities in their conventions. Several associ ations, such as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, National Asso ciation of Realtors, and the Future Farmers of America have already successfully implemented volunt ourism activities at their conventions. Recommendations for Academics Academic research specific to the event industry is, to say the least, limited. Although several industry associations and/or publications have collect ed data (IAEE, Meetings and Conventions, Successful Meetings), academic research tends to be irrelevant or not wellresearched (Jun & McCleary, 1999; Beaulieu & Love 2004). Academic research which focuses on voluntourism in conventions is, to the knowledge of this resear cher, nonexistent. This study was exploratory in nature, and th ere is much more valuable know ledge to be obtained in this field. In fact, the Conceptual Model (Figure 1-2) was created for this specific research study, and can (and should) be modifi ed in further research. The four independent variables of m eeting professional knowledge, attitudes, motivations, and past experiences present a good gauge with which to measure intent, yet each should be explored further. A different met hod, such as personal in-d epth interviews with meeting professionals, is also recommended. If the interview method was utilized, a researcher could obtain a much deeper insight into each of the four independent variables, or even focus on one at a time with different inte rviewees. This research should be considered an introduction into an untapped discipline. Both of the theories (Self-Determination Theo ry, Theory of Planned Behavior, etc.) could provide even more insight into the intent of meeting professionals to include voluntourism. These theories could also be used to discover in tention of convention attendees to participate in voluntourism, or even the intentions of destinat ions to offer voluntourism activities/packages. The Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985, 1991) could be utilized to gauge attitudes and
84 intentions, while Self-Determination Theory (D eci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Gagne & Deci, 2005) could be utilized to m easure the level of inte rnalization of motivation for a task that was once only extrinsically motivated. Recommendations for Future Research and Limitations of Study Since there is so little resear ch to draw on and/or critique, much more needs to be done in order to truly understand the concept of includi ng voluntourism at conventions. There are many aspects that were not able to be touched on, yet should be in the future. For example, meeting professionals could be broken down to really explore each type further, or each variable could be further explored, or there is th e possibility that there are many other variables that could induce meeting professionals to incl ude voluntourism in their m eetings and conventions. Comparative research could be conducted to find the diffe rence in intentions between association planners, corporate planners, and independent/other planners. For example, an association is more likely to feel a social responsibility to host communities and show more of an interest in goodwill acti vities (Platzer & Fisher, 2007), so an association meeting professional may be more open to the suggestion of addi ng a voluntourism activity to his or her next convention. Corporations tend to be focused on creating positive publicit y and public relations opportunities, so a corporate meeting professiona l may view voluntourism as an excellent public relations prospect. Since an independent m eeting professional may work for either an association or a corporation or bot h, his or her perspective may be much different than that of a meeting professional who focuses stri ctly on one or the other. Another angle to this research would be to conduct it based on how voluntourism affects convention attendees, or voluntour ism destinations both local tour operators and community members affected by the voluntour ism effort. All groups represent significant collections of information yet to be discovered.
85 Limitations of this study include a small sa mple size (and issues in data collection, seen in Chapter 3) and a narrow focus. However, al l of these limitations ar e easily handled through further exploration and research studies. Thus, it is highly recommended that this study be used simply as a starting-off point for much future research. There are many facets of the event industry, and many facets of voluntourism, a ll of which need to be investigated. Summary In summ ary, there were several important findings in this study. Some were methodological be sure that you can trust your source of data collection before you send out surveys, conduct interviews, etc. The other fi ndings will contribute to the understanding of the event industry, more specifically to the activities planned for m eetings and conventions. This industry is strong right now, and w ill continue to be. However, meeting professionals are always looking for ways to do more with less. Voluntourism represents the perfect option, when planned correctly. Meeting profe ssionals are interested in volunt ourism, and intend to include it in their conventions, but this study did not follo w through to see if the meeting professionals actually will do so. However, with the proper combination of attitude, motivation, and past experience, intention to include voluntourism will be high. Future research and meeting professional behaviors will give much more insight into this topic.
86 APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT The Propensity of Meeting Professionals to Incorporate Voluntourism into Association Conventions University of Florida Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management Thank you for participating in this survey! This st udy will measure the propensity of meeting professionals to include voluntourism activities into their association conventions, as a spousal program, free-time activity, ice-breaker, team-building activity, etc. Th e research will gauge your propensity to do so by determining your knowledge of voluntourism and the event industry, your attitudes toward the incorporation of voluntourism, your motivations to include voluntourism, and finally your past experiences with both travel and voluntourism. The study necess itates answering the inquiries on this questionnaire, which will take approximately 7 10 minutes to comple te. Participation in this survey is completely voluntary, but your complete and honest input is vita l to ensure the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and timeliness of this study. The surv ey is confidential, and your confid entiality will be protected according to law. There are no wrong or right answers to these questions, so please feel free to express your true thoughts and feelings. There is no penalty for not participating and you are fr ee to withdraw at anytime without penalty. There are no risks associ ated with participation in this study. If you have any questions or comments regarding this survey, you may contact Lori Pennington-Gray at P.O. Box 118208, Gainesville, FL, 32611-8209, or (352) 392-4042 x 1318. Please Circle either True (T) or Fals e (F) for the following statements: 1. Working in a food bank (passing out food, cooking, etc.) in the destination where you travel is an example of voluntourism T F 2. Assembling care packages for a charitable organization in a convention room at a destination hotel is an example of voluntourism T F 3. Hosting a fundraising event in a local community, although not including local residents, is an example of voluntourism T F 4. Donating bicycles to local children is an example of voluntourism T F 5. Voluntourism activities are tax-deductible T F 6. Voluntourism activities can never be sponsored T F 7. Building/renovating local homes in the destination where you travel is an example of voluntourism T F 8. Donating money to the local community (or a local charity) in the destination where you travel is an example of voluntourism T F
87 Please indicate the extent to which you agree/disagree wi th the following statement: Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree 9. Do you support the idea of includi ng voluntourism in meetings and conventions? 1 2 3 4 5 10. How important is including voluntourism in future meetings to you? 1 2 3 4 5 11. How likely is it that you will incl ude voluntourism in future meetings you plan? 1 2 3 4 5 ATTITUDES TOWARD VOLUNTOURISM Please answer the follo wing accordingly: 12. The addition of a voluntourism activity in one of my upcoming conventions would be: 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Valuable _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________ Worthless Enjoyable_______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________ Unenjoyable Beneficial_______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________ Harmful Good _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________ Bad 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 13. Most people important to me think that I should _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________I should not incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. 14. It is expected that I include goodwill activities, such as volunteering in my convention planning. extremelyexpected _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________not at all expected 15. The people in my life whose opinions I value would approve _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________disapprove of my incorporation of voluntourism into one of my next conventions. 16. For me to incorporate voluntourism into one of my next conventions would be possible _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________ impossible 17. If I wanted to I could incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. definitely true _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________definitely false
88 18. How much control do you believe you have over incorporating voluntourism into any of your upcoming conventions? nocontrol _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________complete control 19. It is mostly up to me whether or not I incorporate voluntourism into one of my upcoming conventions. strongly agree _______:_______:_______:________:________:________:________strongly disagree PAST EXPERIENCES WITH VOLUNTEERISM/VOLUNTOURISM Please answer the following either yes (Y) or no (N) 20. Have you ever traveled with the specific in tent to volunteer (i.e. participated in a voluntourism trip)? Y N 21. Have you ever participated in a voluntourism activity as a convention attendee? Y N 22. Have you personally incorporated a voluntourism activity into any of your conventions? Y N 23. If you answered yes to Question #20, how many times have you done so? 24. If you answered yes to Question #20, what types of voluntourism activities did you incorporate? MOTIVATIONS The following items concern your expe rience with voluntourism. Please answer all items. For each item, pleas e indicate how true the statement is for you, using the following scale as a guide Not at all true Not true Neither True Very true 25. When planning a voluntourism activity, I would very much enjoy myself. 1 2 3 4 5 26. I would not feel at all nervous planning a voluntourism activity. 1 2 3 4 5 27. The concept of voluntourism does not hold my attention at all 1 2 3 4 5 28. I think I understand voluntourism concepts pretty well. 1 2 3 4 5 29. I would describe voluntourism as very interesting. 1 2 3 4 5 30. I think I understand the concept of voluntourism very well, compared to other meeting professionals. 1 2 3 4 5 31. I would enjoy planning a voluntourism activity very much. 1 2 3 4 5 32. I would feel very tense while planning/incorporating voluntourism. 1 2 3 4 5 33. A voluntourism activity would be fun to plan. 1 2 3 4 5
89 MEETING PLANNER EXPE RIENCE/DEM OGRAPHICS 1. Gender: _______ Male _______ Female 2. What year were you born? 19_______ 3. What is your highest degree earned? _______ Less than High School _______ High School _______ Undergraduate College _______ Graduate Degree _______ Post-Graduate Degree 4. What type of meeting professional would you consider yourself to be? _______ Independent _______ Association _______ Corporate _______Trade Show Organizer _______ Other 5. How many years have you been in the meeting planning industry? _______ 1-5 _______11-15 _______ 16-20 _______ > 20 6. What is the average length of your conventions? ________ days 7. What is the average number of attendees at each of your conventions ? ________ attendees 8. What is your average budget per convention? ____________ dollars 9. At your conventions, what types of activities do you typically plan for your attendees? _______ Attractions/Theme Park _______Casinos/Gaming _______ Cooking Program _______ Festivals _______ Golf _______ Skiing _______ Spas/Spa Activities _______ Sporting Events
90 _______ Spousal Programs _______ Team-Building Activities _______ Other 10. If you checked Other, please write what other type s of activities you plan for your convention attendees.
91 APPENDIX B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL
92 APPENDIX C LETTER TO SURVEY PARTICIPANTS Hello! I am a masters candidate of the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida, conducting this rese arch in order to understand the intentions of meeting professionals to incor porate voluntourism at association meetings and/or conventions. I will hopefully be sharing my results, provided by survey respondents, within the next few months. I would greatly appreciate your completing the survey and submitting it. Every response is essential to the accuracy of this study, so your participation would be very helpful. The survey will take only 7 to 10 minutes to complete; all you have to do is click on the link at the end of this note to begin. By completely filling out and submitting this survey, you are indicating your consent to participate in this study. Please be assured that your responses will be held in the strictest confidence. The benefits of your participation include furthering the field of academic research pertaining to meeting professionals which has thus far been sparse. The furthering of scholarly research allows for the growth of our field as a whole. If you have any questions and/or comments regarding this study, please feel free to contact myself or my supervisor: Tara Schickedanz Graduate Student College of Health and Human Performance Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management P.O. Box 118208 Gainesville, FL 32611-8209 Phone: (561) 313-3931 Email: email@example.com Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D., Faculty Supervisor Assistant Professor Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management 325 Florida Gym P.O. Box 118208 Gainesville, FL 32611-8209 Phone: (352) 392-4042 x 1318 Fax: (352) 392-7588 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org I hope that you will be able to participate in this study! Sincerely, Tara Schickedanz LINK TO SURVEY: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB227MGLAB3K6
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99 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Tara Ann Schickedanz w as born in 1985 in Stuart, Florida. The middle of five children, she grew up in sunny South Florid a, graduating as the valedictor ian of Lake Worth Christian High School in May 2003. She graduated cum la ude with her B.S. in recreation and event management from the Univers ity of Florida in August 2007. Tara began pursuing her masters degree to fu rther her education in the fields of both Tourism and Event Management. While at the Univ ersity of Florida, she was able to maintain internships with Sweetwater Branch Inn and United Franchise Groups Plan Ahead Events brand. Tara was awarded her M.S. in August 2008.