[We’re pleased to welcome Xiaojing Sheng from the University of Texas at Rio Grande. Sheng co-authored a recently published article in the Journal of Service Research entitled “Communities as Nested Servicescapes” with Penny Simpson and Judy Siguaw. From Sheng:]
- What inspired you to be interested in this topic?
From groups of four to sixteen sipping margaritas in local restaurants to dancing at a beach or Mexican fiesta, retired winter migrants are a ubiquitous presence in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas each winter. These migrating consumers repeatedly come to the area in large numbers each winter to enjoy the warm tropical weather, to participate in the many available activities, and to enjoy each other in their highly social living environment of mobile homes and recreational vehicle communities. These senior citizens also become an inseparable part of the region by routinely going to restaurants, events, shows and stores where they seem to exude a comradery and enjoyment of life not seen by typical residents of any community. For these migrants, winter life in the Valley seems to be a fun-filled, months-long vacation. Through casual observation of the lifestyle of these hundreds of thousands of active retirees, we were driven to understand their experiences as they become immersed in the broader servicescape of the Valley and in the nested servicescapes of their mobile home/recreational vehicle communities in which they reside for extended periods of time.
- Were there findings that were surprising to you?
The finding that servicescape engagement weakened the positive effect of perceived servicescape satisfaction on loyalty intention is unexpected and surprising. This is probably because high levels of activity engagement become all-consuming, making perceived servicescape satisfaction itself less important in loyalty intention. For example, consumers may be willing to overlook a rundown beach villa if the beach activities are exceptional. On the other hand, lower levels of engagement strengthened the impact of perceived servicescape satisfaction on loyalty intentions, conceivably because consumer attention is less distracted by activity involvement, and therefore, more focused on servicescape factors.
- How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?
An interesting finding from our study is that, when consumers interact with two servicescapes of which one is nested within another, their experiences are shaped by the effects of the individual servicescape, the compounding effects of both servicescapes, and by the transference effects between the two servicescapes. Consequently, marketers need to take a holistic approach to managing servicescapes at all levels to create an overall positive consumer experience. We hope that our research serves as a catalyst for future studies that examine effects of nested servicescapes. Moreover, we hope our work encourages other researchers to investigate less conventional servicescapes, such as regions, towns, and neighborhoods, because there is so much more to be learned about how the places in which we live, work, and play affect and transform our lives.