25-30 June 2013 the Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing & Management conference took place for the third time. This is an international conference and took place in Taipei, Taiwan, this year. The conference organizers received abstracts from 28 countries. Frank Lindberg, associate professor at Bodø Graduate School of Business, and Northern Insight researcher, is one of two Norwegians in the International Scientific Committee of the conference network.
During the last dinner festivities four papers were awarded 'best paper'. One of them was the paper 'Marketplace challenges in the extraordinary arctic' by Frank Lindberg & Dorthe Eide, both working at Bodø Graduate School of Business, University of Nordland, Norway, and being active participants of the Norhern Insight research project.Paper focus: Although extensive research has focused on the positive, magical and communal aspects of extraordinary experiences, little emphasis has been placed on the challenging aspects. The paper provides evidence from Arctic Svalbard that extraordinary consumption can be marked by the tourists' challenges of adjusting to an adventure mindset. Tourists also cope with understanding practises in nature and with animals. In such an extreme context, due to security factors, for example, the assumed provider-orchestrated experience does not hold.
On this background, the paper addresses three paradoxical experiences that influences the meaning and value creation for customers.
First, many tourist struggle to find magical experiences, and some do not find any magic at all. For example, to some tourists the Arctic nature are too tough.
Second, some challenges increase tourist value because they strengthen later experiences. For example, during dog sledding most tourist struggle with the "wild" Alaskian Huskies. However, when they learn how to cope, the sledding trip are reported valuable because they feel they know the dogs and how to handle them properly.
Third, the provider-consumer relationship is dominated by "proper practice" defined as provider-orchestrated practices for ensuring tourists' proper behavior in tourism contexts. The outcome of such relationship is that the provider, and especially the guide, lack focus on meaning creation; such as consumer expectations, abilities, magic and bonding between tourists. The interaction tone tends to be rough, tough and obedient due to the risk of accidents (e.g. Polar bears).
This is the second time these researchers are awarded best paper by this conference network. Two years ago, co-authored with PhD student Ann Heidi Hansen, they presented a paper which suggested a multi-relational approach for understanding tourist experiences. An extended and rewritten version of this paper has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management.