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Assessing service quality at wineries and cellar doors through service mapping

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate the importance of cellar door sales in wineries and test a method of assessing service quality using the services mapping approach, for the purposes of enhancing research in this important area. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Service mapping involved a group of students in using participant observation techniques to map service quality at three stages of the winery visit: approach and entry; the cellar door; departure and other observations. Observers were instructed to use all five senses in making their observations, i.e. the look, smell, sound, taste and feel of the experience. Physical evidence and staff interactions were also recorded and invisible management processes were implied. Findings ‐ Each of the three wineries studied provided a distinct theme and presentation, sensorial experience and level of service quality based on the observations. The technique of service mapping could provide winery and cellar door managers with unique insights into the totality of the cellar door visitor experience. Research limitations/implications ‐ Research on cellar door service quality has implications for the presentation of the wine brand and corresponding brand awareness, loyalty and sales. This research method has utility in assessing the cellar door experience and associated cellar door and winery management processes. Originality/value ‐ This is the first time that service mapping has been used to assess the cellar door experience. It has provided some new and useful insights for researchers and managers in the wine industry.

Keywords: Australia; Cellar door; Consumer behaviour; Service mapping; Service quality; Tourism; Wine business; Wineries

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17511061111163087

Publication date: August 23, 2011

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