Relationship Quality in Tourism: A Case of Local Tourism Cluster in Lithuania

  • Ausra Rutelione Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business, Gedmino 50, 44239 Kaunas
  • Rimante Hopeniene Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business, Gedmino 50, 44239 Kaunas
Keywords: tourism, relationship quality, cooperation, local cluster


Relationship quality is usually studied only in terms of a few tourism subsectors, and the quality of buyer-seller relationship is revealed in the context. The dimensions of interorganizational relationships are analyzed only in a fragmentary manner; only a few separate dimensions, as opposed to their entirety, are evaluated. There is a lack of studies that would reveal the relationship quality of tourism cluster participants and its impact on tourism cluster performance. Thus the purpose of the paper is to identify the quality dimensions of interorganizational relationships in a tourism cluster and to verify their expression using a local example of Kedainiai region tourism cluster. The paper contributes to the domain of interorganizational relationships quality research through the analysis of in-depth interview with participants of Kedainiai region tourism cluster.

Author Biographies

Ausra Rutelione, Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business, Gedmino 50, 44239 Kaunas
Associate Professor
Rimante Hopeniene, Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business, Gedmino 50, 44239 Kaunas
Associate Professor


Adomavičius, B. & Lydeka, Z. (2007) Cooperation among the Competitors in international cargo transportation sector: key factors to success, Engineering Economics, 1(51), pp. 80-90.
Afsarmanesh, H. & Camarinha-Matos, M. L. (2000) Future smart-organizations: a virtual tourism enterprise. Web Information Systems Engineering, 2000. Proceedings of the First International Conference on, 1, pp. 456-461. IEEE, 2000, doi:10.1109/WISE.2000.882426.
Anderson, E. & Weitz, B. (1989) Determinants of continuity in conventional industrial channel dyads, Marketing science, 8(4), pp. 310-323,
Anderson, E. & Weitz, B. (1992) The use of pledges to build and sustain commitment in distribution channels. Journal of marketing research, 29(1), pp. 18-34, doi: 10.2307/3172490.
Bagdoniene, L. & Hopeniene, R. (2006) Cooperation and partnership as competitiveness opportunity: the case of Lithuanian tourism business system, Socialiniai mokslai-Social sciences, 4(54), pp. 32–41.
Bagdoniene, L. & Zilione, R. (2009) Business to business relationships: the variables in the context of success, Socialiniai mokslai-Social Sciences, 4(66), pp. 16-25.
Bramwell, B. & Lane, B. (eds.) (2000) Tourism Collaboration and Partnerships: Politics, Practice and Sustainability (Clevedon: Channel View Publications).
Braun, P. (2005) Creating value to tourism products through tourism networks and clusters: uncovering destination value chains. OECD & Korea Conference on Global Tourism Growth: A Challenge for SMEs, Gwangju, Korea.
Bridgewater, S. & Egan, C. (2001) International Marketing Relationship (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
Brito, C. & Correla, R. F. (2006) A model of understanding the dynamics of territorial networks: the case of tourism in Douro Valley. Proceedings of 22nd IMP conference. Milano, Italy, pp. 1–17.
Buhalis, D, & Laws, E. (2001) Tourism distribution channels. Practices, issues and transformations (Cengage Learning EMEA).
Buhalis, D. & Molinaroli, E. (2002) Entrepreneurial networks and supply communities in the Italian eTourism. Information Technology & Tourism, 5(1), pp. 175–184, doi: 10.3727/109830503108751126.
Caffyn, A. & Lutz, J. (1999) Developing the heritage tourism product in multi-ethnic cities, Tourism Management, 20(2), pp. 213-221, doi:10.1016/S0261-5177(98)00075-2.
Chen, C., & Chen, F. (2010) Experience quality, perceived value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions for heritage tourists, Tourism management, 31(1), pp. 29-35, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2009.02.008.
Conway, T. & Swift, J. S. (2000) International relationship marketing. The importance of psychic distance, European Journal of Marketing, 34(11/12), pp. 1397–1401, doi: 10.1108/03090560010348641.
Correia, R. F. & Brito, C. M. (2014) Mutual influence between firms and tourist destination: a case in the Douro Valley, International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, 11(3), pp. 209-228, doi: 10.1007/s12208-014-0115-2.
Crotts, J. C. & Turner, G. B. (1999) Determinants of intra-firm trust in buyer-seller relationships in the international travel trade, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 11(2/3), pp. 116-123, doi: 10.1108/09596119910251020.
Erkuş-Öztürk, H. & Eraydın, A. (2010) Environmental governance for sustainable tourism development: Collaborative networks and organisation building in the Antalya tourism region, Tourism Management, 31(1), pp. 113-124, doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2009.01.002.
Fearon, C., Ballantine, J. & Philip, G. (2010) Understanding the role of electronic trading and inter-organisational cooperation and coordination: A conceptual matrix framework, Internet Research, 20(5), pp. 545-562, doi: doi: 10.1108/10662241011084095.
Fernando, I. N. & Long, W. (2012) New conceptual model on cluster competitiveness: A new paradigm for tourism?, International Journal of Business and Management, 7(9), pp. 75-84, doi: 10.5539/ijbm.v7n9p75.
Fruchter, G. E. & Sigué, S. P. (2004) Managing relational exchanges, Journal of Service Research, 7(2), pp. 142-154, doi: 10.1177/1094670504268421.
Heffernan, T. (2004) Trust formation in cross-cultural business-to-business relationships, Qualitative market research: An international Journal, 7(2), pp. 114-125, doi: doi: 10.1108/13522750410530020.
Inkpen, A. C. & Tsang, E. W. (2005) Social capital, networks, and knowledge transfer, Academy of management review, 30(1), pp. 146-165, doi: 10.5465/AMR.2005.15281445.
Jucevicius, R. (2009) Klasteriu vadovas (Vilnius: Cluster Network of Excellence).
Lade, C. (2006) Tourism Factors on the Murray River: Success Factors and Barriers [online], Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 12 (3), pp. 321-342.
Laing, A. W. & Lian, P. C. (2005) Inter-organisational relationships in professional services: towards a typology of service relationships, Journal of Services Marketing, 19(2), pp. 114-128doi: 10.1108/08876040510591420.
Medina-Muñoz, D. & Garcı́a-Falcón, J. M. (2000) Successful relationships between hotels and agencies, Annals of Tourism Research, 27(3), pp. 737-762, doi:c10.1016/S0160-7383(99)00104-8.
Moliner-Velazquez, B., Fuentes-Blasco, M. & Gil-Saura, I. (2014) Value antecedents in relationship between tourism companies, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 29(3), pp. 215-226, doi: 10.1108/JBIM-12-2011-0179.
Morgan, R. M. & Hunt, S. D. (1994) The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing, Journal of Marketing, 58 (3), pp. 20-38, doi: 10.2307/1252308.
Mummalaneni, V. & Wilson, D. (1991) Modeling the influence of a close personal relationship on buyer commitment to a supplier (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University).
Naudé, P. & Buttle, F. (2000) Assessing relationship quality, Industrial Marketing Management, 29(4), pp. 351-361, doi: 10.1016/S0019-8501(00)00112-7.
Navickas, V. & Malakauskaite, A. (2015) The possibilities for the identification and evaluation of tourism sector competitiveness factors, Engineering Economics, 61(1), pp. 37-44.
Newell, S. & Swan, J. (2000) Trust and inter-organizational networking, Human relations, 53(10), pp. 1287-1328, doi: 1287–1328: 014106
Nordin, S. (2003) Tourism Clustering and Innovation. Path to Economic Growth and Development (Östersund: European Tourism Reserach Institute).
Novelli, M., Schmitz, B. & Spencer, T. (2006) Networks, clusters and innovation in tourism: A UK experience, Tourism management, 27(6), pp. 1141-1152, doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2005.11.011
Palmer, A. & McCole, P. (2000) The role of electronic commerce in creating virtual tourism destination marketing organisations, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 12(3), pp. 198-204, doi: 10.1108/09596110010320760.
Pavlovich, K. (2003) The evolution and transformation of a tourism destination network: the Waitomo Caves, New Zealand, Tourism Management, 24(2), pp. 203-216, doi: 10.1016/S0261-5177(02)00056-0.
Pesämaa, O., Örtqvist, D. & Hair Jr, J. F. (2007) It’s all about trust and loyalty: Partner selection mechanisms in tourism networks, World Journal of Tourism Small Business Management, 1(2), pp. 12-18.
Ramayah, T., Lee, J. W. C. & In, J. B. C. (2011) Network collaboration and performance in the tourism sector, Service Business, 5(4), pp. 411-428, doi: 10.1007/s11628-011-0120-z.
Segarra-Moliner, J. R., Moliner-Tena, M. A. & Sánchez-Garcia, J. (2013) Relationship quality in business to business: a cross-cultural perspective from universities, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 31(3), pp. 196-215, doi: 10.1108/02634501311324573.
Shaw, G., & Williams, A. M. (2004) Tourism and tourism spaces (London: Sage).
Sigala, M. (2004) Using data envelopment analysis for measuring and benchmarking productivity in the hotel sector, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 16(2-3), pp. 39-60, doi:10.1300/J073v16n02_04.
Smith, J. B. (1998) Buyer–seller relationships: similarity, relationship management, and quality, Psychology & Marketing, 15(1), pp. 3-21, doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(199801).
Smith, J. B. & Barclay, D. W. (1997) The effects of organizational differences and trust on the effectiveness of selling partner relationships, The Journal of Marketing, 67(1), pp. 3-21, doi: 10.2307/1252186.
Smith, M. (2015) Baltic Health Tourism: Uniqueness and Commonalities. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 15(4), pp. 357-379, doi:10.1080/15022250.2015.1024819.
Sotiriadis, M. & Loedolff, C. (2015) Nature-Based Visitor Attractions and Alliances/Partnerships: Suggesting a Collaboration Framework and the Factors Determining Effectiveness, Journal of Human Ecology, 49(1-2), pp. 89-101.
Trafford, S. & Proctor, T. (2006) Successful joint venture partnerships: public-private partnerships, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 19(2), pp. 117-129, doi: 10.1108/09513550610650392.
Tremblay, P. (2000) An evolutionary interpretation of the role of collaborative partnerships in sustainable tourism, In: Bramwell B. & Lane, B. S. (eds) Tourism Collaboration and partnerships (Sydney: Channel View Publications), pp. 320–321.
Vojinovic, B., Mikac, M. & Oplotnik, Z. J. (2013) The microeconomics of regional development: measuring convergences of local and regional business cycles, Lex Localis – Journal of Local Self-Government, 11(3), pp. 777-797, doi: 10.4335/11.3.777-797.
Von Friedrichs Grängsjö, Y. (2003) Destination networking: Co-opetition in peripheral surroundings, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 33(5), pp. 427-448, doi: 10.1108/09600030310481997.
Wang, Y., & Krakover, S. (2008) Destination marketing: competition, cooperation or coopetition?, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 20(2), pp. 126-141, doi: 10.1108/09596110810852122.