Original article

Relationships between Tourist Experiential Value and Ice-Snow Tourism Loyalty in Zhangjiakou City, and the Moderating Effects of Travel Companions

  • WANG Juan , * ,
  • SUN Yuhao
  • School of Management, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, Shandong 266100, China
*WANG Juan, E-mail:

Received date: 2021-10-15

  Accepted date: 2021-12-30

  Online published: 2022-06-07

Supported by

The National Social Science Foundation of China(20BJY199)


The successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics has provided a new opportunity for the popularization of ice-snow sports and making improvements in the efficiency of ice-snow tourism in China. Taking Zhangjiakou City in Hebei Province as the research object and using questionnaire analysis and the structural equation model (SEM), this paper examined several hypotheses of the relationship between tourist experiential value and tourist loyalty in the context of ice-snow tourism, and a mediation analysis was conducted to explore the moderating role of travel companions. The results show that: (1) The functional value, emotional value and social value have significant positive effects on tourist loyalty; (2) Tourist satisfaction is a partial mediator between functional value, emotional value, social value and tourist loyalty, and a full mediator between cognitive value and tourist loyalty; and (3) Travel companions play a significant moderating role in the influence of emotional value on tourist loyalty. Based on these findings, several suggestions are put forward for the high-quality development of ice-snow tourism in China, including developing ice-snow family tourism products, building an ice-snow brand with winter Olympics characteristics, constructing the ice-snow industrial system, and cultivating ice-snow culture.

Cite this article

WANG Juan , SUN Yuhao . Relationships between Tourist Experiential Value and Ice-Snow Tourism Loyalty in Zhangjiakou City, and the Moderating Effects of Travel Companions[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2022 , 13(4) : 646 -654 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2022.04.010

1 Introduction

In the context of the 2022 Winter Olympics, ice-snow tourism in China has been booming. Advanced regions like northeast China, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Xinjiang regions have been forming since 2016, and the authorities have issued relevant policies to promote ice-snow industry development. At the national level, the Ice and Snow Tourism Development Action Plan (2021-2023), the 14th Five-Year Plan for Cultural and Tourism Development, the 14th Five-Year Plan for Sports Development and Classification for Ski Tourist Resort have been issued to provide guidance for the further development of ice-snow tourism from the aspects of positioning, promotion and facility construction. At the local level, regions like Beijing, Jilin, Xinjiang and Hebei have also formulated plans to facilitate the ice-snow economy based on their own resource endowments.
Thus far, 20 cities have hosted the Winter Olympic Games all over the world. Cities such as Salt Lake City, Turin, Vancouver, Sochi and Pyeongchang all built featured development modes of ice-snow tourism in terms of venue utilization, ice-snow urban cultural brand promotion and ice-snow sports popularization, and they can provide valuable experience references for China.
The concept of ice-snow tourism was formally proposed in the mid-20th century. International scholars generally thought that ice-snow tourism was mainly about ice-snow sports so it was included in eco-tourism (Jin et al., 2020). The concept of ice-snow tourism was more extensive in China, and it was defined from the perspectives of ecological resources (Tang et al., 2021) and various types of ice-snow tourism activities, including ice-snow sports, ice-snow sightseeing and entertainment activities. The literature has mainly focused on ice-snow tourism resource evaluation and development, as well as ice-snow tourism marketing and tourist behavior. Close attention was paid to the negative impacts of climatic conditions on ice-snow tourism resources (Rutty et al., 2017). The spatial agglomeration characteristics of ice-snow tourism resources in Xinjiang (Zhang et al., 2018) and Inner Mongolia (Hao et al., 2017) were analyzed, and ice-snow tourism resource carrying capacity was evaluated (Wu et al., 2014) in China. In addition, scholars studied the ice-snow tourism market from the perspectives of snow resort conditions (Spandre et al., 2016) and tourist market conditions (Wang et al., 2019). Generally, the existing literature on ice-snow tourism is abundant from the macro supply side, but the demand-side ice-snow tourist behavior research remains insufficient. In particular, little is known about (a) the relationship between tourist experiential value and tourist loyalty during ice-snow tourism, (b) how the ice-snow tourism experiential value affects tourist loyalty, and (c) how travel companions affect tourist experiential value in the ice-snow tourism context, which requires certain skill challenges and emotional dependence. This paper took Zhangjiakou City as an example, which will host the snowboarding events in the 2022 Winter Olympics, and explored the mechanism of ice-snow tourist experiential value and tourist loyalty quantitatively by means of a structural equation model.

2 Literature review

2.1 Experiential value

‘Value’ is literally used to reflect the objects’ attributes and functions that meet the subjects’ needs. Customer experience was proposed by Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) in the field of Marketing, and it is believed that customer experience is the emotional meaning generated in the process of interaction. Subsequently, customer experience was introduced into the tourism domain, and hence tourist experiential value was formed. Scholars have defined tourist experiential value as tourist feelings in emotions and functions (Wu et al., 2018). In China, ‘tourist experience’ was defined as the psychological feelings of tourists (Xie, 2005). Na et al. (2019) further pointed out that tourist experience is the carrier and expression of the relationship between tourists and the tourism destination. Since the concept of tourist experiential value was first introduced, its measurement dimension has become a major focus of scholars in terms of the introspective experiential value dimension, the relational experiential value dimension and the hierarchical experiential value dimension (Table 1).
Table 1 Dimensions of tourist experiential value in the current studies
Type Dimension Scholar
Introspective Physical presence, situational involvement, competence Takatalo et al., 2008
Relational Extrinsic value versus intrinsic value, self-oriented value versus other-oriented value Holbrook, 2006;
Perceptions of playfulness, aesthetics, customer return on investment and service excellence Mathwick et al., 2001
Hierarchical Cognitive value, emotional value, social value Ma and Zhang, 2017;
Functional value, hedonic value, and symbolic value Na et al., 2019
The hierarchical experiential value emphasizes multidimensional interactions between tourists and destinations, so it can more effectively measure the tourist experiential value. It is widely used in the research of hotels, theme parks and historical cultural scenic spots, but it is rarely used in the research of ice-snow tourism with strong participation by the tourists.

2.2 Tourist satisfaction

Satisfaction is a kind of psychological state, and it is generally regarded as a realistic reaction of the consumers’ post- consumption (Ma, 2019). Scholars have a common understanding of tourist satisfaction based on the comparative standard paradigm, which holds that tourist satisfaction is the result of a comparison between tourist expectations and tourism actual experience (Pestana et al., 2020). Multi- dimensional methods such as importance-performance analysis (IPA) and asymmetric impact analysis have been used to measure tourism satisfaction in island tourism (Moon and Han, 2019), cultural heritage tourism (Dominguez- Quintero et al., 2020) and eco-tourism (Dong and Zhang, 2019). Due to the differences between specific evaluation objects, there have been differences in the measurement indices of tourist satisfaction, including tourist expectation, tourist perception and other aspects.

2.3 Tourist loyalty

“Customer loyalty” refers to customers’ constant purchasing behavior in the Marketing domain, from which the concept of tourist loyalty developed (Qu and Li, 2010). There are three theoretical schools concerning the concept and measurement of tourist loyalty: behavioral theory, attitudinal theory and compound theory. In behavioral theory, scholars define tourist loyalty as tourists’ repeated purchase behavior (Suhartanto, 2018). In attitudinal theory, tourist loyalty is a tourists’ subjective recognition and it is reflected more in the tourists’ views on tourism destinations (Suhartanto et al., 2020). In compound theory, scholars synthesized the first two theories and tend to believe that tourist loyalty includes tourists’ preferential choice, repeated choice, recommendation to others, and tourists’ positive attitude (Lv et al., 2020). Therefore, tourist loyalty can be reflected comprehensively in compound theory, which makes it suitable for research on the tourist loyalty of ice-snow tourism.

2.4 Peer effect

Peers refer to people who have the same characteristics and study, work or live together. The generally accepted definition of travel companions is that it mostly refers to informal groups that met the tourist needs with obvious emotional meaning (Huang and Liu, 2016). The literature on travel companions has mainly focused on the its classification and influence. Regarding travel companion classification, ‘spouse/partner’, ‘family/relatives’, and ‘friends’ have been the dominant categories (Cantis et al., 2016). In recent years, literature on the impact of travel companions has emerged rapidly, including the impact on tourism intention (Hong and Cho, 2018), tourist emotional arousal (Su et al., 2020) and travel conflicts (Hong, 2020). This paper defines travel companions as people who travel with tourists, which can be divided into family, friends/classmates/colleagues tour groups and no travel companions. Most of the literature has focused on the effect of travel companions on tourist experience and satisfaction, but there are few studies on the impact on tourist loyalty.
In summary, the theories of tourist experiential value, tourist satisfaction and tourist loyalty are comparatively mature and sufficient. However, the existing literature on ice-snow tourism from the perspective of tourists is scarce, with much less on the peer effect. Taking Zhangjiakou as a case study, this study conducted targeted research on ice-snow tourist experiential value, and tested the moderating effect of travel companions on ice-snow tourist loyalty with SEM from novel perspectives.

3 Study area

Zhangjiakou is located in the northwest of Hebei Province, 180 km from Beijing and 300 km from Tianjin, and its transportation is convenient via the Beijing-Zhangjiakou High-speed Railway. The city plays an important role in the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. It has a temperate continental climate, with an average temperature of -12 ℃ in winter and an annual snowfall level of more than 1 m. It is suitable for ice-snow tourism in terms of snowfall amount, the scale of ski resorts and the quality of ski slopes.
After Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, ice-snow tourism has developed rapidly in Zhangjiakou City, which will host some of the snow events. In the past five years, the arriving ice-snow tourists have numbered more than 2 million per year. There are seven large ski resorts in Zhangjiakou City, and all of them have multiple high, medium, and low-level ski slopes. The industrial chain of ice-snow tourism has extended to tourist catering, accommodation, competitions, and other relevant fields.

4 Research hypotheses, model construction and research design

4.1 Index selection

According to the research of Wu et al. (2018), Ma and Zhang (2017), Na et al. (2019), the tourist experiential value of ice-snow tourists was divided into four dimensions (Table 2): functional value, emotional value, social value and cognitive value.
Table 2 Dimensions of tourist experiential value
Dimension Definition
Functional value Tourists are subjectively satisfied with the scenic spots, accommodation, catering, entertainment, transportation and shopping environment of the tourism destination
Emotional value Tourists’ subjective perception of mood and emotional changes in the process of their tourism experience. This includes relaxation, escape and restoration
Social value The satisfaction of tourists’ subjective perception when communicating with other personnel
Cognitive value Tourists gain pleasure in the process of tourism. This includes knowledge enhancement and novelty

4.2 Research hypotheses

4.2.1 Tourist experiential value and tourist loyalty

Obtaining unique experiential value is the main purpose of participating in ice-snow tourism for tourists, so there is a close relationship between tourist loyalty and experiential value. Xiang (2017), Wu et al. (2018), Zhang and Xu (2019) all pointed out that tourist experiential value has a significant effect on tourist loyalty. Therefore, the following hypotheses were tested:
H1a: Functional value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on loyalty.
H1b: Emotional value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on loyalty.
H1c: Social value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on loyalty.
H1d: Cognitive value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on loyalty.

4.2.2 Tourist experiential value and tourist satisfaction

Tourist satisfaction is closely related to tourist experiential value, and tourist satisfaction is usually based on the acquisition of experiential value. The existing literature has proven that different dimensions of tourist experience value in different situations have a significant impact on tourist satisfaction (Xiang, 2017; Yin and Luo, 2018). Therefore, the following hypotheses were tested:
H2a: Functional value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on satisfaction.
H2b: Emotional value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on satisfaction.
H2c: Social value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on satisfaction.
H2d: Cognitive value of ice-snow tourists has a significant effect on satisfaction.

4.2.3 The mediating effect of tourist satisfaction

Tourist perception has been found to have a significantly positive effect on behavioral intention, with satisfaction as the mediator (Bai, 2009; Liu et al., 2018). The tourist experiential value belongs to the tourist perception, and tourist loyalty also reflects the tourists’ post-tour behavior. Therefore, the following hypotheses were proposed:
H3a: Ice-snow tourist satisfaction has a mediating effect between functional value and loyalty.
H3b: Ice-snow tourist satisfaction has a mediating effect between emotional value and loyalty.
H3c: Ice-snow tourist satisfaction has a mediating effect between social value and loyalty.
H3d: Ice-snow tourist satisfaction has a mediating effect between cognitive value and loyalty.

4.2.4 The moderating effect of travel companions

Travel companions are one of the important factors of tourism activities, which has an important impact on experiential value and loyalty. The existing literature has shown that tourists traveling with family members or colleagues, classmates, friends and tour groups have completely different experiences, hence the experiential value and tourist loyalty also vary (Cantis et al., 2016; Huang and Liu, 2016). Since it features skill challenges and emotional dependence, the effect of travel companions on the experiential value of ice-snow tourism is different. Therefore, the following hypotheses were proposed:
H4a: Travel companions have a significant moderating effect on the relationship between functional value and tourist loyalty in ice-snow tourism.
H4b: Travel companions have a significant moderating effect on the relationship between emotional value and tourist loyalty in ice-snow tourism.
H4c: Travel companions have a significant moderating effect on the relationship between social value and tourist loyalty in ice-snow tourism.
H4d: Travel companions have a significant moderating effect on the relationship between cognitive value and tourist loyalty in ice-snow tourism.

4.3 Variables and measures

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between tourist experiential value and loyalty in ice-snow tourism. The variables included functional value, emotional value, social value, cognitive value, tourist satisfaction and tourist loyalty. The measured items were related on a five-point Likert scale, ranging from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree).

4.3.1 Measures

Based on the hypothetical relationships discussed above (Ma and Zhang, 2017; Wu et al., 2018; Na et al., 2019), a scale was devised to measure ice-snow tourist experiential value (Table 3).
Table 3 Ice-snow tourist experiential value scale
Dimension Code Measurement items
Functional value FV1 The service and facilities of the ski resort are generally satisfactory
FV2 The ski resort is rich in ice-snow tourism resources with distinctive characteristics
FV3 The ice-snow landscape is beautiful and has ornamental value
FV4 The ski resort has perfect safety facilities and special medical personnel
FV5 The ski resort provides professional technical guidance, and the guidance is good
Emotional value EV1 I gained relief in this ice-snow tourism experience
EV2 I temporarily released my pressure in this ice-snow tourism experience
EV3 I feel free in this ice-snow tourism experience
EV4 I am pleasant in this ice-snow tourism experience
Social value SV1 The service staff are warm and friendly and their service attitude is good
SV2 I made new friends in this ice-snow tourism experience
SV3 I will upload the photos of the ice-snow tourism experience to social media
SV4 I will share my experience with my friends and colleagues
Cognitive value CV1 I acquired knowledge about ice-snow tourism
CV2 I experienced the local folk customs in this ice-snow tourism experience
CV3 I skillfully used ski equipment and ski resort infrastructure in this ice-snow tourism experience
CV4 I improved my skills in a certain ice-snow tourism sport

4.3.2 Tourist satisfaction and tourist loyalty

For tourist satisfaction, this study referred to existing literature (Dong and Zhang, 2019), combined the ideas found there with the actual situation of ice-snow tourism, and ultimately three questions were selected. For tourist loyalty, due to the special circumstances of ice-snow tourism in Zhangjiakou City, tourists from neighboring areas may conduct tourism activities frequently in winter. Therefore, this study measured tourist loyalty from three aspects: “revisiting intention”, “revisiting behavior”, and “recommendation intention”. The relevant measurement items are summarized in Table 4.
Table 4 Measurement items of tourist satisfaction and tourist loyalty
Dimension Code Measurement items
Satisfaction M1 In general, I really enjoyed my time in this ice-snow tourism experience
M2 In general, I think this ice-snow tourism experience is worthwhile
M3 In general, I really liked these ice-snow tourism activities
Loyalty Z1 I would like to come to this destination again for ice-snow tourism activities
Z2 I would like to recommend this place to my relatives and friends
Z3 I will come back to this destination again soon

5 Empirical analysis

5.1 Descriptive analysis

In order to ensure the rationality and feasibility of the survey, this study conducted a pre-survey by means of a preliminary distribution of the questionnaires. The results showed that the questionnaire has high internal consistency of variable setting items and good data reliability. The factor analysis results met expectations, so the questionnaire has good structural validity and content validity.
For the formal survey, 302 questionnaires were distributed in ice-snow scenic spots in Zhangjiakou. A total of 253 (83.77%) were returned, and 229 of the questionnaires were completed and standardized with high reliability, and were ultimately used for data analysis as valid data. Gender was evenly distributed, with 73.8% of the respondents aged 18-40. The majority of tourists (56.81%) held a bachelor or higher degree, and travelled with family (51.53%). Over 85.96% of the tourists came from Zhangjiakou City and the neighboring Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Self-driving was the most popular way to travel (48.91%), which was consistent with the family tour, and 37.99% of the tourists traveled by train.

5.2 Reliability and validity test

The values of Cronbach’s α coefficients for all variables exceeded the recommended level of 0.7, so they all passed the reliability test.
Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used for testing the structural validity. The spherical test was conducted for the experiential value, satisfaction and loyalty of ice-snow tourists, and the three coefficients are all significant at the 1% level. The principal component extraction was carried out. Among the experiential values of ice-snow tourists, four factors had an initial eigenvalue greater than 1. Satisfaction and loyalty each had one factor with an initial eigenvalue greater than 1. These factors explained a cumulative total of 70% of the variance in the data. Next, the varimax-rotation method was used to analyze the four factors of ice-snow tourist experiential value, and the factor loadings for the retained items were all above 0.7. After the EFA was conducted, the dimensions of functional value, cognitive value, social value and emotional value were retained.
To further ensure the validity, AMOS was used to carry out confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on the data, mainly using χ2/DF(Chi-Square/Degree of Freedom), RMSEA (Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation), GFI (Goodness-of-Fit Index), AGFI (Adjust Goodness-of-Fit Index), CFI (Comparative Fit Index), IFI (Incremental Fit Index) and TLI (Tucker Lewis Index). The results in Table 5 show that the fitting indexes were in line with the usual standards of SEM research, and the model has good validity.
Table 5 Confirmatory factor analysis results
Acceptable range <3 <0.08 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9
Experiential value 1.274 0.035 0.933 0.910 0.986 0.986 0.983
Satisfaction and loyalty 1.819 0.060 0.979 0.946 0.992 0.992 0.985

5.3 Data analysis

Pearson correlation values showed that the four variables of the ice-snow tourist experiential value were significantly positively correlated with tourist satisfaction and tourist loyalty. In addition, there was a strong correlation between the tourist satisfaction and the tourist loyalty at the 1% significance level.

5.3.1 Structural equation model

This study involved six latent variables: ice-snow tourist experiential value, ice-snow tourist satisfaction, and ice- snow tourist loyalty; and the tourist experiential value was divided into four dimensions: functional value, emotional value, social value and cognitive value. The tourist satisfaction and loyalty were composed of three measurement items each, with a total of 23 measurement items. AMOS23.0 software was used to analyze the measurement items, and the initial model structure fitting index passed the test. According to the path analysis results of the initial model, the result of cognitive value → loyalty is not valid, since its P-value is 0.310, which is above 0.05. Therefore, this path was deleted. The modified model is shown in Fig. 1, and the analysis results of the modified model are shown in Table 6.
Fig. 1 Final structural equation model
Table 6 Analysis of final structural equations model
Regression equation path Standardized coefficients P-value Result
A1: Functional value → Loyalty 0.240 < 0.01 Support
A2: Emotional value → Loyalty 0.199 < 0.01 Support
A3: Social value → Loyalty 0.191 < 0.001 Support
A4: Cognitive value → Loyalty Invalid
B1: Functional value → Satisfaction 0.520 < 0.001 Support
B2: Emotional value → Satisfaction 0.365 < 0.001 Support
B3: Social value → Satisfaction 0.222 < 0.01 Support
B4: Cognitive value → Satisfaction 0.247 < 0.001 Support

Note: The correlation is significant when the P-value is less than 0.05. — means invalid.

The ratio χ2/DF is 1.222, which is less than 3. The RMSEA is 0.031, which is less than 0.08. At the same time, GFI, CFI, IFI TLI are 0.913, 0.985, 0.985, 0.983 respectively, all of which are greater than 0.9, indicating that the model has good fitness. Therefore, compared with the expected hypothesis, all the paths are supported except for A4.

5.3.2 Mediating effect analysis

Two thousand Bootstrap samples were drawn to obtain a 95% confidence interval of the mediating effect (Table 7). The confidence intervals of the indirect effects of the functional value, emotional value, social value and cognitive value on tourist loyalty are all the same, indicating that tourist satisfaction has a mediating effect among these factors. Moreover, the confidence intervals of the direct effects do not include 0, indicating that tourist satisfaction plays a partial mediating effect among the functional value, emotional value, social value and tourist loyalty, and a full mediating effect between cognitive value and tourist loyalty.
Table 7 Results of mediating effect
Effect path Total effect value Direct effect value Indirect effect value BootLLCI BootULCI Percentile
Functional value → Loyalty 0.632 0.427 0.205 0.148 0.305 36.28%
Emotional value → Loyalty 0.703 0.358 0.345 0.141 0.285 36.96%
Social value → Loyalty 0.621 0.315 0.306 0.096 0.206 37.02%
Cognitive value → Loyalty 0.527 0.527 -0.013 0.063 100%

Note: — means invalid.

5.3.3 Moderating effect analysis

Based on the personal relationships of travel companions, the values were set to no travel companions, tour group, classmates/friends/colleagues and family. A moderating analysis was then conducted using bootstrap tests with 2000 replications and a 95% confidence interval (Table 8).
Table 8 Analysis of moderating effect
Moderating relationship Regression coefficient P value Result
Functional value → Loyalty -0.056 0.337 Invalid
Emotional value → Loyalty 0.142 < 0.001 Support
Social value → Loyalty -0.088 0.127 Invalid
Cognitive value → Loyalty -0.011 0.858 Invalid

Note: The correlation is significant when the P-value is less than 0.05. — means invalid.

The interaction between emotional value and travel companions has a significant positive effect on tourist loyalty (β=0.142, P<0.001), implying that travel companions play a positive moderating effect between emotional value and tourist loyalty, so hypothesis H4b is accepted. The P-values of the other regression coefficients are greater than 0.05, so hypotheses H4a, H4c and H4d are rejected.

6 Conclusions and implications

6.1 Conclusions

This study took tourist satisfaction as a mediator and travel companions as a moderator to analyze the influencing mechanism of tourist experiential value on tourist loyalty in ice-snow tourism. This analysis led to three main conclusions.
(1) In ice-snow tourism, the functional value, emotional value and social value of tourist experiential value have significant positive effects on tourist loyalty. However, the cognitive value of tourist experiential value has little correlation with tourist loyalty, which is different from the conclusions of other situational studies (Na et al., 2019). The reason for this difference is that many ice-snow tourism activities involve complicated knowledge of cognitive value in Zhangjiakou, such as the ice-snow landscape, Winter Olympic Games, ice-snow sports theoretical and practical operational knowledge, so that it is difficult for ice-snow tourists to improve the cognitive value. Moreover, functional value and emotional value have greater effects on tourist loyalty. The reason for this effect is that ice-snow tourists frequently travel for relaxing with their family on weekends, so they attach the most importance on the functional value and emotional value.
(2) Ice-snow tourist satisfaction plays a partial mediating effect among functional value, emotional value, social value and tourist loyalty, and the direct effect is greater than that of the indirect effect. Tourist satisfaction plays a full mediating effect between cognitive value and tourist loyalty, indicating that cognitive value affects tourist loyalty entirely through tourist satisfaction in ice-snow tourism.
(3) Travel companions play a positive moderating role in the impact of emotional value on tourist loyalty. In ice-snow tourism, the closer the relationship between travel partners and tourists, the more likely it is that the satisfaction of emotional value will make tourists have a good impression on the destination and improve their loyalty. On the contrary, the satisfaction of tourist emotional value has a relatively weak effect on destination loyalty. This result is different from the existing literature on other scenarios. The reason for this difference is that ice-snow sports is more dangerous at the low temperature, so tourists are strongly dependent on their travel companions. They are more eager to be accompanied by people close to them, so that the emotional value is more important.

6.2 Implications

6.2.1 Theoretical contributions

(1) This study establishes the ice-snow tourist experiential value scale. Based on relevant theories and studies, a targeted experiential value scale for ice-snow tourists was established in this paper for the first time, and then its validity was tested by exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis, which provides a reference for the development of ice-snow tourism research.
(2) This study explores the relationship between tourist experiential value, tourist loyalty and tourist satisfaction from the perspective of ice-snow tourist behaviors. Previous studies on ice-snow tourism mainly focused on the supply side perspective. In contrast, this study focuses on the relationship between experiential value of ice-snow tourists and tourist loyalty from the demand side with behavioral concerns.
(3) This study takes the peer effect as a moderating variable to influence the relationship between experiential value and loyalty. It innovatively brings the travel companions into the framework, which deepens the research on ice-snow tourism experiential value and tourist loyalty, and further tests the moderating role of travel companions on relevant variables through empirical research.

6.2.2 Suggestions

To effectively meet the high-quality demands of tourists in ice-snow tourism, more measures should be taken to coordinate relations among ice-snow experiential value, tourist loyalty and travel companions.
(1) Develop ice-snow family tourism products with leisure and entertainment functions. Family travel is the most important form of ice-snow tourism at present. The leisure and entertainment function of the ice-snow tourism is not prominent in Zhangjiakou City, ice-snow tourism products are seriously homogenized, and the emotional value needs of family tourists cannot be effectively met. Therefore, Zhangjiakou City should deeply excavate and integrate ice-snow resources, and highlight the recreational function of its ice-snow products. Government-oriented capital and corporate financial investments should be given full play to promote the construction of new ice-snow tourism service facilities such as tourist distribution centers, resort hotels, theme parks and so on. Tourism corporations could develop an ecological family tourism product system of ice-snow that integrates skiing, leisure, entertainment and sightseeing in order to improve the emotional value of tourists, meet the needs of family tourists, and ultimately attract and retain more tourists.
(2) Build an ice-snow tourism brand with Winter Olympics characteristics. At present, although the popularity of ice-snow tourism in Zhangjiakou City is high, its characteristics are not distinct compared with other regions, which means that the social value of tourists cannot be well satisfied. Therefore, Zhangjiakou City should build its own Winter Olympics ice-snow tourism brand and enhance its international influence. High-quality international events and conventions should be warmly welcomed to build a tourist city with core characteristics of international ice- snow competitions.
(3) Forge ice-snow industrial chains. The development of the ice-snow industry in Zhangjiakou City still focuses only on the tourism projects and ignores the extension of the industrial chains, so that the functional value needs of tourists cannot be fully met. The ice-snow tourism industry should be extended with other service industries such as sports training and event marketing. The city can give full play to its regional advantages in ice-snow and ecological resources, and actively develop Winter Olympics derivative industries such as recreation, business exhibitions, and high-end ice-snow equipment manufacturing. Some emerging related industries, such as renewable energy, green ecology and big data, can develop rapidly to accelerate the pace of industrial innovation.
(4) Cultivate the ice-snow culture with characteristics of the Winter Olympics. A unique ice-snow culture atmosphere of ice-snow tourism in Zhangjiakou City has not formed. Ice-snow tourists are limited only to the experience of physical facilities, and it is difficult to acquire rich knowledge of ice-snow tourism and integrate into the local culture, resulting in a lack of cognitive value acquisition. Therefore, the government should actively popularize the ice-snow culture of the Winter Olympics, combine China’s excellent traditional cultural elements with ice-snow culture, and deepen the connotation of ice-snow culture. The integration of sports and education into the ice-snow culture of the Winter Olympics should be promoted. Additional outreach measures should also be taken, such as teaching the knowledge and skills of ice-snow sports in primary and secondary schools and popularizing ice-snow sports and culture through the construction of ice-snow schools and winter camps.
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