We observed that most research on the drivers of customer satisfaction (CS) used large samples, often aggregated from several month and/or several properties. Although this is a fine method to look at CS trends it is not practical at the property level for immediate action. The current methods require large samples in order to achieve sufficient power and find significant estimates in models. Unfortunately, most hotel property monthly survey yield samples of less than 100 that will make driver analyses problematic and more likely most drivers will have non-significant estimates.
We asked ourselves if there would not be a method that could circumvent the problem of property managers that want and need to address CS drivers on a monthly basis, if not on a daily basis.
What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?
We used a Bayesian statistical framework, borrowing from several literature areas to construct a model. Bayesian statistical analysis is still a fairly new method in practice, often not well understood, and can be computationally heavy. Therefore we first needed to explain the advantages of the method in a way that was pragmatic enough because our goal in this paper was to appeal to the hospitality manager.
Bayesian statistics work from the belief that the unknown parameter is a random variable and is associated with a probability distribution (prior distribution). The information in the sample data is used to adjust the prior perception of the unknown parameter and results in the final estimation of the parameter (posterior distribution). Therefore, even if the sample is small, significance can be determined.
Maybe more pragmatically, Bayesian analysis is “often a more direct way to tackle questions we usually want to know, such as: is the hypothesis likely to be true?” Bayesian analysis does not use double negatives, such as we often encounter, e.g., “we failed to reject the null hypothesis that there is no difference.” Bayesian analysis reports are straight forward: “given these data, it is likely that the difference is X% probable” (Chapman and McDonnell Fei 2015, p. 150).
There are many other advantages that we discuss in the paper.
In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?
We believe that our Bayesian model, for which we share the code at http://tinyurl.com/kdqjf4u, could be used by hospitality properties or hospitality corporate departments, to enhance monthly reporting along with other marketing metrics, and shared via dashboards.
It’s often seen and experienced that retail stores, restaurants, and supermarkets ask for a donation to the cause of the season when you checkout. How often do you donate and agree to that $1-$5 on the pin pad? If you do donate, do you feel like an avid supporter of both the store you’re shopping at and the featured charity? Researchers and authors Michael Giebelhausen, Benjamin Lawrence, HaeEun Helen Chun, and Liwu Hsu go so far as to say people feel a “warm glow” when agreeing to donate on a whim.
Checkout charity is a phenomenon whereby frontline employees (or self-service technologies) solicit charitable donations from customers during the payment process. Despite its growing ubiquity, little is known about this salient aspect of the service experience. The present research examines checkout charity in the context of fast-food restaurants and finds that, when customers donate, they experience a “warm glow” that mediates a relationship between donating and store repatronage. Study 1 utilizes three scenario-based experiments to explore the phenomenon across different charities and different participant populations using both self-selection and random assignment designs. Study 2 replicates with a field study. Study 3 examines national store–level sales data from a fast-food chain and finds that checkout fund-raising, as a percentage of sales, predicts store revenue—a finding consistent with results of Studies 1 and 2. Managers often infer, quite correctly, that many consumers do not like being asked to donate. Paradoxically, our results suggest this ostensibly negative experience can increase service repatronage. For academics, these results add to a growing body of literature refuting the notion that small prosocial acts affect behavior by altering an individual’s self-concept.
SAGE Publishing would like to highlight one of the newer textbooks that provides a foundation of basic marketing principles applied to global tourism. The book, Marketing for Tourism, Hospitality & Events, is co-authored by Simon Hudson of the University of South Carolina and Louise Hudson who is an Independent Researcher.
The book is complimented by a companion website featuring a range of tools and resources for lecturers and students, including PowerPoint slides, an instructor manual, a test bank of multiple choice questions, and author-curated video links to make the examples in each chapter come to life. Below is a featured video supplement where David Edelman explains how companies can now shape the consumer decision journey:
Click here to preview the book, as well as view other content topics and resources.
Interested in other tourism topics? Click below to view SAGE’s journals that publish the latest research in the field:
“Which hotel looks nicer for the better price? Where should we eat? What excursions did the concierge recommend?”These are all questions couples ask each other when planning a vacation, and when plans change during the trip. For some couples, the decision time on where to eat can take longer than others, and the even bigger decision is where to travel in the first place. So how are couples approaching the decision process, and is there a gender correlation between who makes what decision? I.e. when to travel, budget on the hotel, the bus tour to sign up for.
A quasi-experiment is used to examine the dynamics of the shared decision-making process by observing couples in real time as they make decisions about an overnight stay at a luxury resort. Observations and video recordings of the decision processes of 24 couples were coded and analyzed. The time to final decision, number, and type of tactics used were found to vary with couples’ length of experience with one another. Observation indicated that couples with greater travel experience together relied on “predealing” based on their experience together to avoid conflict, while less-experienced couples’ decisions were more likely to yield winners and losers. These findings and those related to the use of persuasive tactics by members of the couple dyads provide the basis for specific recommendations for marketing travel products.
Traveling is generally looked forward to by most, and when planning where to stay, we rely on reviews from past hotel guests. Does the hotel have consistently clean rooms? A lobby bar to meet up with my coworkers? A pool, spa, or gym? Regardless of our questions, they are approached through a mentality of short-term requirements; that is, we don’t have to reference our list of “deal breakers” like when purchasing a home.
What inspired you to be interested in this topic? The field of hospitality is often classified as an applied field as it appears to lack theory of its own. Instead, theories from other related fields are used in hospitality research. However, the authors are asking the hospitality research academy to engage in a discussion about lodging. Is there a theory that explains human behavior when staying in a hotel? It appears that many humans behave differently when they are at home versus when staying overnight in a hotel. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate thought among hospitality researchers to explore this idea.
Were there findings that were surprising to you? We are not declaring there is a distinctive theory of lodging; however, the difference in behavior is observable, suggesting there may be something to explore.
How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice? Interested researchers are encouraged to attend the ICHRIE Conference to be held July 23-25, 2017 in Baltimore, MD, USA. An opportunity to explore this will be available. Please join us as we wrestle with this idea of a theory of lodging.
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.
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How an individual dresses can be quite revealing about their personality and how they would like to be perceived, but there is more to be said on the effect of dress style beyond first impressions. Customer experience and behavior, for instance, can be significantly impacted by the dress style of other customers around them. In their article, “The Effects of Other Customers’ Dress Style on Customer’s Approach Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Sense of Power,”published in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Choongbeom Choi of University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Anna S. Mattila of Pennsylvania State University explore how a customer’s sense of power can change depending upon the dress style of others, particularly in formal situations. For some businesses, enforcing a dress code could have the positive effect of encouraging customers with low sense of power to engage in word-of-mouth behaviors.
Most hospitality services are delivered in the same location in which they are produced, and, thus, their delivery involves the presence of other customers. Yet, the role of other customers’ physical appearances in influencing service encounter evaluations has received scant attention. Moreover, previous research shows that consumers with a low sense of power are motivated to seek status by engaging in conspicuous consumption. The current study examines the joint impact of other customers’ dress styles and the observer’s sense of power in influencing customers’ approach behaviors (e.g., willingness to stay longer in a restaurant, interact with other customers). The results from our experiment show that customers’ approach behaviors among observers with a low sense of power were significantly higher when other customers’ dress styles were formal rather than informal. Conversely, the effect of other customers’ dress styles was minimal among observers with a high sense of power. Results from this study indicate that approach behaviors mediate the impact of other customers’ dress styles on word-of-mouth intentions among customers with a low sense of power. The findings of this study help hospitality operators use dress codes to their advantage.