Gratuity purchasing at wineries: the role of gratitude and obligation in purchases by winery visitors
Kolyesnikova, Nataliya P.
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Building on reciprocity theory, the current study investigated the role that gratitude and obligation, along with other consumer characteristics, play in purchasing at wineries. While at wineries, visitors may feel grateful to winery personnel for the quality of services received. These feelings of gratitude may trigger a desire to buy wine to show appreciation to the personnel. Alternatively, a sense of obligation, rather than gratitude, may be dominant. This sense of obligation may be the result of the free tasting and hospitality offered at the winery. Gratitude and obligation may lead to a perceived need to buy wine in return for services received at a winery. In this research, wine and souvenirs bought out of gratitude and obligation were defined as gratuity purchasing. The study was based on a survey of 357 visitors at six Texas wineries during summer 2005. A new instrument to measure gratitude and obligation was developed. Based on the multivariate statistical analysis of the data, gratitude and obligation were found to be strong predictors of visitors’ purchasing behavior. Product involvement, purchase involvement, and product knowledge also have predictive value for visitors’ purchasing decisions. Additional results indicated that visitors who travel to wineries in smaller groups feel more grateful to winery personnel and more obliged to buy wine than those visitors who travel in larger groups. Consequently, visitors who travel in smaller groups tend to spend more money on wine than larger groups.