Evolution and implications of a paradigm shift in the marketing of leisure services in the USA Academic Article uri icon


  • The evolution of leisure services marketing in the USA has passed through five stages in the past half-century: pre-marketing (activity/ custodial focus), selling, user benefits orientation, community-wide benefits orientation and repositioning. The first two stages were supplanted by the user benefits orientation in the late 1970s. The user benefits focus transitioned into the leisure field from the business literature and remained pre-eminent until the mid-1990s. It was superseded because it had two conceptual flaws. First, it failed to address the notion of equity. Second, its focus on being responsive to individual users was inconsistent with the broader mandate of public leisure agencies to provide community-wide services. The emergence of credible scientific research in the past decade to support advocates' claims of community-wide benefits has facilitated emergence of the most recent evolutionary stage of leisure services marketing which is repositioning. Repositioning seeks to connect community-wide benefits the agency has the potential to deliver with an issue that is important to taxpayers and elected officials. It is argued that repositioning is the key to the future viability of public leisure agencies.

published proceedings

  • Leisure Studies

author list (cited authors)

  • Crompton, J. L.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Crompton, John L

publication date

  • April 2008