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Keywords:

  • membership;
  • interaction;
  • relationship;
  • retention;
  • participation;
  • co-creation;
  • tourism
  • Many customers today belong to a number of different membership programs. Memberships have been applied in different ways in tourism settings since the 1970s. Gradually memberships have developed from merely rewarding loyal or frequent customers into building long-term relationships generating mutual value. Membership programs are of increasing importance as competitive marketing tools. Membership bases are often geographically dispersed as membership organizations attract members living in various locations. This study focuses on member behaviours as interactions within a membership relationship. The influence of distance on member behaviours such as retention, participation, and co-creation is studied. A survey of 755 members was conducted at a major Swedish nonprofit tourist attraction. Findings indicate that member behaviours such as supporting, visiting, use of member information channels, recruiting new members, performing volunteer work, sense of doing something good, and to get appreciation of member work show significant differences depending on how far away members live. Further studies of members are needed to find ways of developing memberships as strategic resources and especially member interactions as important innovative elements in performance and competition in tourism settings.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.