Study to assess
visitor experience at state parks

Vincent Magnini, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management, has received a $75,000 award from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to analyze visitor satisfaction in each of the 35 state parks over the next five years.

Magnini says his study will assess all major dimensions of visitors’ park experiences. His research tools will include data mining techniques “to detect non-obvious, yet managerially relevant, patterns in the data.” He will provide regular feedback to the Virginia State Parks Division regarding the performance of each park, along with an annual report.

Photograph of 4 people sitting on a beach at sunset, with 2 kayaks in the corner of the photo
Kiptopeke State Park, located on Virginia’s eastern shore

Virginia’s state parks received more than 7.5 million visitors in 2009, according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Its website notes that state parks provide outdoor recreation opportunities; are places where natural and cultural treasures are conserved; and are an important contributor to the state’s economy, “generating more than $170 million in economic activity annually.”

Magnini’s previous marketing-related projects for Virginia State Parks have included participation in a statewide pricing study, Rails-to-Trails feasibility research, and a couponing experiment for parks with swimming areas.

Focusing on research in services marketing, Magnini investigates communications between managers and potential customers, connections between managerial behaviors and frontline employee performance, and interactions between frontline employees’ actions and customer responses. He teaches courses on hospitality and tourism marketing and service management.

He serves on the editorial boards of Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, International Journal of Tourism Sciences, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, and Journal of Vacation Marketing.



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