Visitor segmentation for a park system using research and managerial judgement
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Visitors to parks and protected areas are not a homogeneous group. Therefore, it is important for managers of such areas to have an understanding of the diversity of these visitors. One technique applied to understanding the diversity of visitors is segmentation whereby visitors are clustered based on variables of interest. Through a partnership of university-based and protected area agency researchers, this study segmented visitors to 33 parks across the Western Australian protected area estate. Using both psychographic and behavioural variables, four clusters were identified and these were subsequently discussed and validated with agency staff. These discussions identified opportunities for using the segmentation results to inform park and site planning and for marketing and potential re-distribution of supply and demand across the park system to better match visitor needs and the management resources available. Collaborative research efforts such as these, including validation by managers, can contribute to robust findings with a greater chance of being adopted by protected area agencies.
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