Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2014, 2, 44-47
Published Online March 2014 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/jss
How to cite this paper: Chen, T.-L., Gau, L.-S. and Wu, T.-F. (2014) Apply Ground Theory to Interpret Escapist Experiences in
Mudanwan Villa. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 44-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jss.2014.23009
Apply Ground Theory to Interpret Escapist
Experiences in Mudanwan Villa
Tase-Lung Chen1, Li-Shiue Gau2, Tain-Fung Wu1
1Depart men t of Business Administration, Asia University, Taichung, Chinese Taipei
2Depart men t of Leisure and Recreation Management, Asia University, Taichung, Chinese Taipei
Email: longlo ng99.t w@yahoo .com.tw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received Dec emb er 2013
The escapist experience requires great immersion and participation. Tourists participating in es-
capist experiences embark from their daily life and voyage to a specific place and do activities
worthy of their time (Oh, Fiore, & Jeoung, 2007; Pine & Gilmore, 1999). This study attempted to
apply the ground theory to interpret escapist experiences and use Mudanwan Villa in the south of
Taiwan as an exemplary place for the escapists to be away from their daily life. “Mu dan wa n Villa”
was used as a key word in the traditional Chinese Google to search for comments left by the villa
visitors or other online respondents. Secondary data were then collected from 25 blogs, Pixnets,
or discussion forums in travel advisor websites. Content analysis was used, following the
grounded data techniques to do the coding and find the themes by an inductive reasoning. The
findings provide three propositions. First, temporary residents coming to Mudanwan Villa actively
pursue positive experiences such as relaxation and enjoyment. Second, the destination is so
unique and special that visitors are willing to pay the high price and endure the long-range trans-
portation difficulties in order to arrive at the villa. Third, the emphasized values associated with
the escapist experiences in Mudanwan Villa are detachment, pleasure, wealth, and social recogni-
tion (Struch, Schwartz, & van der Kloot, 2002). The d etachme nt value indicates that visitors in the
villa can get away from the daily routine and immerse into the destination (Oh, Fiore, & Jeoung,
2007). The pleasure value implies that the escapists can enjoy the space, experience the environ-
ment nearby, and actively use any facilities here in the villa. The wealth value suggests that those
people who come to the villa are able to afford the high price. The value of social recognition
means that escapist experiences in this unique destination become a status symbol to share with
others. This study provides useful information for managers to design a unique experiencescape
particularly perhaps to attract independent tourists from Mainland China.
Experience scape; Experience Economy; Escapist Experience; Mudanwan Villa
After the new tourism law was implemented in Mainland China, the cost of cross-strait tourism products truly
T.-L. Chen et al.
reflects the payment of reasonable travel expenses. Tourism industry operators also construct better business en-
vironment. Nevertheless, the free and independent travelers (FIT) are not subject to the new tourism law, so
Taiwan Tourism Bureau aggressively promotes FIT market. Mudanwan Villa is a southern T a i wan’s high-priced
resort, which is also one of the star products many travel agents recommend to high-class customers. This paper
will discuss the application of experience economy in the case of Mudanwan Villa.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Rural Tourism Consumption
China implemented new tourism law since October 1, 2013. New law regulates all of the domestic and interna-
tional tourism market. The travel agency shall not arrange any unreasonably cheap tour, nor the agency obtains
any rebate through shopping or tourism packages at customers’ own expenses. The improper way to get tips is
Nevertheless, the Mainland China’s rural tourism industry has to create some star products . Because both
Mainland China and Taiwan have the same culture kinship, rural tourism cooperation has been at the forefront
of both sides’ cooperation. The tourism strategy in China needs to develop more diverse marketing programs.
One of them is to pursue escapist experiences in Taiwan, particularly for those free and independent travelers
who can afford star products.
From the perspective of customer satisfaction, newspapers’ and magazines’ information and friends’ recom-
mendation are the biggest pushing motivation for consumption, whereas the attributes of products are the big-
gest factor of pulling motivation for consumption . The attributes which can contribute to the fulfillment of
the values of detachment, pleasure, wealth, and social recognition might be able to attract some specific segment
In addition, the customers generally care about if the sellers provide the satisfaction guarantee. They also care
if they have to pay tips or additional cost for the goods or services besides the main cost . Therefore, all in
one price without additional tips or cost might demonstrate goodwill of a business to attract tourists. A guarantee
to provide a wonderful escapist experiences along with a package price to enjoy all most everything in a subur-
ban villa might be a right tourism design in the age of experience economy.
2.2. Experience Economy
Pine II and Gilmore [4-6] proposed “experience economy” concept. They divided human economic develop-
ment into four stages. The first is “agricultural economy” which produces commodities; the second is “industrial
economy” which makes goods; the third is “service economy” which delivers services. The fourth is “expe-
rience economy” which stages experiences. An experience can be further divided into four realms: entertainment
experience, educational experience, esthetic experience, and escapist experience. Typically the most abundant
experience people feel covers all of the four realms, which is called the “sweet spot” (甜蜜点) in the center ex-
perience. For example, Disneyland is such a place where children can get to experience the sweet spot. However,
the scope of experience is so vast, therefore, that managers should ask themselves: "What specific experience
will my company offer?” And by that experience, the company will determine their positioning in the market.
The escapist experience requires great immersion and participation. Tourists participating in escapist expe-
riences embark from their daily life and voyage to a specific place and do activities worthy of their time [5,7 ].
This study attempted to apply ground theory to interpret escapist experiences and use Mudanwan Villa in the
south of Taiwan as an exemplary place for the escapists to be away from their daily life.
2.3. Grounded Theory
Grounded theory has its data analysis procedure. First, we interview the participants and record the conversation.
Second, the interviews are turned into verbatim transcripts. The third step is to separate interview transcripts into
meaningful units, find repeating ideas, and give a code for each unit. Fourth, rewrite the draft as the third person,
and categorize the codes. Fifth, label each of the categories, and proceed axial coding. Sixth, extract themes. Fi-
nally, choose the encoding original context to form a story line, and develop theoretical propositions through
writing stories in a narrative style [8-10]. The guiding principles of grounded theory are to produce quality data
with theoretical sense, and analyze data relying on continued comparison and repeated research processes .
T.-L. Chen et al.
The research processes can be divided into pre-study stage and formal research process.
3.1. Pre-Study Stage
This study adopted a more cost- and time- effective method to collect data through the Internet social media in-
stead of direct interviews. “Mudanwan Villa” was used as a key word in the traditional Chinese Google to
search for comments left by the villa visitors or other online respondents. Secondary data were then collected
from 25 blogs, Pixnets, or other discussion forums in travel advisor websites. Content analysis was used, fol-
lowing the grounded data techniques.
3.2. Data Analysis Procedure
We collected data from the Internet instead of direct interviews. And this is an anonymous research. Grounded
theory is used to discuss the escapist experiences in the high-priced resort by the following procedure.
• Blog posts and responses are transferred to the content of transcripts. For example, “juice-bar is a 24 hours
service.” “Here food is provided in the midnight.”
• The verbatim scripts were rewritten into meaningful units and then been c ategorized, such as a category,
“provide good food and wonderful services in the resort.”
• Label each of categories. For example, “the resort offers excellent services”.
• Identify core themes. Then, theoretical propositions are extracted. For example, one proposition is “provid-
ing more customized products and better services will increase guests’ willingness to pay higher price.”
• The relationships between theme s are organized and presented in the form of storytelling narrative. For ex-
ample, “because Mudawan Villa is a high-priced resort, guests mostly come with better financial and social
resources. They endure a long drive in order to temporarily escape from earthly annoyance. Living into this
paradise in southern Taiwan, the visitors feel relaxed in the separated area and enjoy the services and facili-
ties in the resort.”
Content analysis was used, following the grounded data techniques to do the coding and find the themes by an
inductive reasoning. The findings provide three propositions.
4.1. Proposition P1
First, temporary residents coming to Mudanwan Villa actively pursue positive experiences such as relaxation and
enjoyment. Buyers usually focus on comparison of price and pursuit of function. But guests in Mudanwan Villa
focus on the escapis t experiences and enjoyment. For example, one visitor said, “The escapist experience in natu-
ral aesthetics away from the urban noise let me enjoy a complete relaxation for a weekend. If you want to be very
close to the nature and also enjoy attentive services in a resort, Mudanwan Villa is definitely a great choice.”
4.2. Proposition P2
Second, like a star product, the destination is so unique, scarce, and special that visitors are willing to pay the
high price and endure difficulties of the long-distance transportation in order to arrive at the villa. One guest re-
called that “although the price is not cheap nor the transportation is easy, but the experience is very valuable.”
Another guest mentioned that “even compared with very famous Sunmoon Lake Lalu Hotel, the Villas provides
even warmer atmosphere and better hospitality and becomes customers’ favorite paradise.”
4.3. Proposition P3
Third, the emphasized values associated with the escapist experiences in Mudanwan Villa are detachment, plea-
sure, wealth, and social recognition . The detachment value indicates that visitors in the villa can get away
from the daily routine and immerse into the destination . For example, one couple recalled that “this trip to-
tally belongs to my husband and me in this lovely resort—Mudanwan Villa. And thank grandmother to take care
T.-L. Chen et al.
of our little daughter so we can relax, empty our mind, and enjoy here.”
The pleasure value implies that the escapists can enjoy the space, experience the environment nearby, and ac-
tively use any facilities here in the villa. For example, one visitor mentioned that “what a great environment!
This is really a good place for a holiday to stay where the package contains everything including very nice
amenities, good food and services.”
The wealth value suggests that those people who come to the villa are able to afford the high price. Many
respondents agreed that “Mudanwan Villa is one of the most expensive resorts in Taiwan.” The value of social
recognition means that escapist experiences in this unique destination become a status symbol to share with oth-
ers. A response to a visitor’s experience in the Villa said that “I admire those rich people who can afford to stay
in so expensive place [Mudanwan Villa].” A premium price for a product with an equivalent quality seems to
create prestige in customers’ mind and produce admiration in others’ eyes .
Applying the ground theory, this study uses Mudanwan Villa in the south of Taiwan as an exemplary place for
the escapists to be away from their daily life to interpret escapist experiences. The findings provide three propo-
sitions, which are useful information for managers to design a unique escape experience particularly perhaps to
attract independent tourists from Mainland China. Based on the results of the study, we are able to interpret es-
capist experiences realized through staying at a high-priced resort. However, most collected secondary data in
this study were from participants who had consumed in Mudanwan Villa before and posted tourist accommoda-
tion feelings and comments on the websi tes. One could argue that the sample might not be the representative of
general consumers of the segment in the high-prices resorts. This would be a limitation of the current study and
there should be a caution not to over generalize the research findings. In the future, we recommend conducting a
larger empirical study with a more diverse sample along with diverse data collection such as interviews.
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