[We’re pleased to welcome Seonjeong Lee, Assistant Professor at Kent State University in Hospitality Management. Lee recently published an article in Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research entitled “The Effect of Social Networking Sites’ Activities on Customers’ Well-Being.” From Lee:]
- What inspired you to be interested in this topic?
With customers’ increased interests in their well-being, many hotels have opened their eyes to the concept of “well-being” to promote their service offerings, to distinguish their brands from competitors, and to attract more customers. For instance, Westin Hotels & Resorts launched a well-being movement to promote their brands through meeting customers’ well-being needs. Scholars have also responded to increased interests in well-being, by investigating employees’ and customers’ perspectives; however, it was still puzzling what made customers fulfill their psychological needs that fostered their well-being perceptions when customers engaged with SNSs to share their hotel experiences. Thus, this study explored the effectiveness of the well-being marketing to investigate SNSs’ activities that influenced customers’ psychological needs and impact of a sense of well-being on customers’ brand usage intent in the context of the hotel industry.
- Were there findings that were surprising to you?
Results revealed that not all customers’ SNSs’ activities had positive effects on their autonomy and relatedness needs. When customers engaged with SNSs’ activities for self-centered motivations, such as self-enhancement and venting negative feelings, they fulfilled their autonomy and relatedness needs. However, customers did not positively fulfill their psychological needs when they posted their hotel experiences with other-centered motivations, such as concern for others. Even though one of the main motivations for customers to engage with SNSs’ activities was to add values to others (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004), customers might not be able to fulfill their psychological needs when they post comments of concern for others.
- How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?
Based on prior well-being marketing research and self-determination theory, this study examined how SNSs’ activities influenced customers’ sense of well-being when customers shared their hotel experiences and how hotel brands could benefit from customers’ well-being perceptions in SNSs. Results suggest hotel marketers need to promote their well-being marketing in SNSs. As customers positively fulfill their psychological needs through self-centered SNSs’ activities, hotels need to provide a place where customers share their experience to resolve any dissatisfied incidents and promote themselves to enhance their self-concept. In addition, hotels need to develop proper response strategies to customers’ negative comments. Even though venting negative feelings positively fulfilled customers’ psychological needs, negative comments might negatively influence prospective customers. Hotels need to adopt proper response strategies to develop a positive relationship with customers.
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