Yes, Looks Do Matter in the Workplace

An article recently published in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly found that hotel customers prefer physically attractive front desk employees because they “increase the guest’s confidence that the service provider can provide a knowledgeable and courteous exchange.” Using a study that compared photographs of models, authors Vincent P. Magnini of Virginia Tech, Melissa Baker of the University of Massachusetts, and Kiran Karande of Old Dominion University determined that customers make positive or negative personality attributions based upon employees’ physical appearances, including facial hair (or lack thereof) and other features:

CQ_v53n3_72ppiRGB_150pixWThis study applies an attribution model to demonstrate the effects of facial characteristics such as a beard, a smile, and attractiveness on the assurance perceived by the customer. The study found that an attractive demeanor appeared to increase the guest’s confidence that the service provider can provide a knowledgeable and courteous exchange. This fills a gap found in past studies that have found that consumers often prefer to interact with attractive providers, but did not establish the reasons for such a finding. This research also contributes to existing knowledge by replicating these findings for African-American and Caucasian hotel workers, which increases the generalizability of the findings and is especially important for the hospitality industry, with its diversity of ethnicities and races.

Click here to continue reading “The Frontline Provider’s Appearance: A Driver of Guest Perceptions,” forthcoming in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

This entry was posted in Customer Satisfaction, Hospitality Management and tagged , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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