Performance theory and consumer engagement: wine-tourism experiences in South Africa and India

Annamma Joy, Russell W. Belk, Steve Charters, Jeff Jian Feng Wang, Camilo Peña

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Purpose: This paper uses performance theory to explore how wine-tourism experiences are orchestrated by wine tour guides to encourage engagement of consumers. It describes how such orchestration is built on material elements such as landscapes, architecture, vineyards, production facilities, and wine tastings.

Design/methodology/approach: A multi-layer ethnographic research on wine-tourism was employed. The interviews, observations, and field notes were analyzed through the lens of performance theory. A constant comparative method was used to identify emergent patterns, and a hermeneutic method was used to interpret the data.

Findings: The paper builds on performance theory and delineates the ways in which guides co-create intense experiences with participants. It portrays how tour guides often adjust their theatrical scripts to consumers’ unique needs through creative variations: surprise treats, activities, and personal stories. When guides take pleasure in tours, participants do as well, resulting in memorable co-created experiences. The tours feature processes such as pitching and relation-building techniques that call upon identity, morality, and materiality scripts, which ultimately build a sense of social obligation among participants toward tour guides and winery staff.

Originality/value: From a theoretical perspective, the paper adds value to the discussion of performance in tourism by suggesting that the service blueprint, architecture, and employee training are only part of the story. This paper shows how consumer engagement and interactions between participants, guides, architecture, and landscapes are essential elements of memorable experiences.

Research limitations: Like other studies, there are limitations to our study as well. Our study only included one-day wine tours. A broader investigation of strategic alliances between tour companies and wineries, and how wine tourists experience and sustain a sense of social obligations to the wineries they visit, will provide further insights into how wine-tourism functions as a co-creative emergent form of consumption involving individuals, products, and processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsumer Culture Theory
EditorsSamantha N. N. Cross, Cecilia Ruvalcaba, Alladi Venkatesh, Russell W. Belk
Place of PublicationBingley UK
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781787439061, 9781787545045
ISBN (Print)9781787439078
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in Consumer Behavior
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN (Print)0885-2111

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