Stakeholder and quality management in regional sports tourism (RST) networks
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Sport tourism as a field has undergone various changes during the last decades. More and more organizations (for-profit, not-for-profit, public) have entered this market and research suggests that this development will continue over the next years. This study was designed to find out how sport tourism field functions in terms of cooperation among different actors involved in it especially under the viewpoint that many actors/stakeholders have highly divergent needs and targets. As these so-called Regional Sports Tourism (RST) networks are a relatively new field in regard of academic research there has not been a high amount of academic literature and thus this study aimed to take the field a step further. The main objective of this study was to find out how stakeholder and quality management is practiced within an RST network, the corresponding extensiveness of such network and the divergent needs of stakeholders. This was done through a case study setup with the main reference being Salzburger Land Fußball Camps (SLFC) – a sport business company in Austria which is organising training camps for professional football teams. The data was collected through expert interviews with the CEO of the above-mentioned company and subsequently the most important stakeholders who were identified through expert interview. The expert interview was conducted as a personal open in-depth interview whereas the stakeholder interviews were done through email interview during the year 2018. In total four stakeholder interviews were conducted and analysed by using content analysis. Furthermore, the author of this study was part of the organization and thus, ethnographic methods were also used for data analysis. The results show that - as already existing literature reveals - RST networks are highly extensive in terms of number of stakeholders and their relationships to each other. Furthermore, they revealed that this field is enormously heterogenic. This means that highly divergent needs exist within the field, which need to be considered in relationship creation. This can be done by using “soft” traits which are one of the most important factors for a successful cooperation. Trust, experience in the field, problem-solving skills and others are a key to create a long-lasting relationship between the coordinating organization and their stakeholders and thus, need to be taken into consideration when entering relationships with stakeholders. ...
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