2018 Volume 73 Issue 2 Pages 50-65
When accessing goods, services, and products that they are uncertain of, people normally rely on word-of-mouth (WoM) communication. Previous studies have shown that tourism behavior can also be categorized as consumption behavior and can therefore be a suitable subject of analysis in research focusing on the effect of WoM on increases in the rate of regular customers and customer satisfaction. Therefore, in the present study, conducted at a small spring-fed spot called Anantan in Toyama Prefecture, we probed the motives and characteristics of the visitors, and investigated the effect of WoM on maintaining the number of visitors. A questionnaire survey with semi-structured interviews of 86 visitors revealed that their motives of visit were categorized into convalescing treatment, health maintenance, and gastronome. Although the pond has a sacred origin, this influence has largely been lost. In addition, 76% of the visitors recalled that they made their first visit after receiving face-to-face WoM recommendation from relatives and acquaintances. These results support the findings of previous WoM research.