What do families with children need from a museum?

Kai-Lin Wu (University of Surrey)
Download the full paper here (PDF).

Family visitors with children are vital audiences to museums. Marketing theory suggest that consumers make purchasing decisions in response to their needs of certain products or service. A purchasing choice is a result from evaluations of different options during the decision-making process. This paper is derived from a qualitative decision-making research. Family interviews including the voice of children were employed to understand the complex behaviour in the pre-purchase decisions. The focus of this paper presents the family needs from museum products based on their selections of a suitable museum product. The analysis studied how particular museums had been chosen as the option of family day outing from three analytic dimensions: taken the insider’s perspective, studied the evolution of the decision process in its leisure context and the family evaluations between the emerged museum options.

The inclusion of children in family leisure is a simple fact. Having a relaxing and fun leisure experiences was the dominant desire of family outings. This was particular true for the children. When making family leisure choices, parents tended to constantly considering the nature of the children (they were active and love to play) and seeking a suitable option for the whole family. Museum-visiting was judged as a meaningful leisure choice. Such perception was associated with the educational benefits museums could offer to the children. For parents, the enjoyment of children was the central focus of the any family outings. The museums that offered more interactive and entertainment features became more appealing choices since it would lower the risks of having an unpleasant museum visit and maximise the enjoyment of children.

Keywords: family decision-making process, children, family needs, museum visitors, consumer behaviour, qualitative research

Kai-Lin Wu’s research aims to understand how families with children make their leisure decisions to visit museums and the influential behaviour of children on the decisions. Family interviews were employed to examine the complex interactions during the pre-consumption decisions. Prior to both her master and doctoral studies, Kai-Lin had worked in film distributions and productions in Taiwan. She organised the Taiwan Cinema at Cannes Film Market in 2003. She had been in charged of international affairs for many Taiwanese films, including participating in international film festivals and world sales. She also participated in three Taiwan and France co-produced films. Kai-Lin’s other conference papers include: “Who Decides to Visit Museums? A Qualitative Study of Family Consumers”, 9th International Conference on Arts & Cultural Management, Valencia, Spain (2007) and “The Influence of Children on Family Decisions to Visit Museum”, Cutting Edge Research in Tourism Conference, Surrey, UK (2006)


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