Volunteers: their role in the management of the visitor and pilgrimage experience
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractThis research acknowledges the strong customer-relationship management achievements of a Cathedral located in Derby in the Midlands of England. In conjunction with the clergy and volunteers, the researcher identifies, through visitor data capture and analysis of a customer satisfaction survey and interviews with key stakeholders, that high levels of satisfied visitors and volunteers exist. Using a recognised expectations and perceptions approach driven by the service quality model (SERVQUAL) and elaborated by literature, the researcher offers recommendations to maintain customer and volunteer satisfaction (Bitner et al., 1997; Atilgan et al., 2003; Williams et al., 2000). These recommendations include a reliable reward system generated for volunteers, some compelling narratives for sacred and secular pilgrims, relevant displays and performance and appropriate resource allocation. The exceptional service and experience model is derived from an analysis of data from visitor surveys conducted by the Cathedral’s volunteer greeters and guides over the course of a year. In addition to delivering outcomes on the importance attached to expected and perceived service quality attributes, the report concludes by suggesting factors to help maintain a low-cost strategy for sites of pilgrimage and worship that inform future management. As a result of the volunteers and visitor strategy, this Cathedral benefits from delivering a low cost visitor-friendly invitation, welcome and experience and is able to use core human resources to support the mission and share faith and identity in a continuously refreshed manner. Recommendations for marketing the Cathedral, for managing and inspiring volunteers and for recruitment of volunteers and customer-relationship management are offered. Key
CitationWiltshier, Peter (2014) "Volunteers: Their Role in the Management of the Visitor and Pilgrimage Experience," International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage: Vol. 2: Iss. 2, Article 5.
JournalInternational Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage