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Business and Management., 5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Religious studies
Despite growing interest in understanding the sacred site visitor experience management, scholars have predominantly explored the phenomenon from the visitor’s perspective. There is very little exploration from the managerial perspectives, given that decisions regarding the nature of the experience and product and service delivery strategies aimed at providing a diversity of visitors with rewarding, satisfying and memorable experiences solely depends on these individuals, whose personal attributes may play a fundamental role. In this case their spirituality, that may either implicitly or explicitly influence visitor experience management strategies and their implementations have not received attention in the religious and pilgrimage tourism scholarship. Especially, given its relevance in providing an understanding in to the rather complex and sensitive sacred site visitor experience management phenomenon. Thus, representing a significant gap in literature the current study seeks to fill, through an exploration of the ways in which the spirituality of leaders at a diverse category of Irish sacred sites influences visitor experience management at these holy places and the implications for resource development and visitor satisfaction. Through qualitative interviews with 23 leaders. An analysis of these interviews provides participants own words that reveal how the spirituality of leaders at different levels in the organisations influences visitor experience management strategies and their implementations, revealing that the more spiritual the leader the more inclined they were to visitor experience management strategies that catered to the religiously/ spiritually -motivated visitor and vice versa. Hence, the results of the study suggest that the spirituality of the leader, either based on religion or upon secular, implicitly or explicitly determines and influences the visitor experience management strategy development and their implementations, and have significant implications for resource development and visitor satisfaction. Such observations have significant implications in the management of a diversity of visitor needs and expectations, and questions to what extent visitors needs and expectations are effectively catered for, while highlighting the complexities involved in effectively catering to the visitor experiences at sacred sites.
Enongene, V & Griffin, K. (2017).The Spirituality of the Leader and its influence on Visitor Experience Management at Sacred Sites in the Island of Ireland: Insights and implications, The 9th annual international Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage Conference, Armeno, Orta Lake, Italy.