A Theory of Lodging: Exploring Hotel Guest Behavior

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.

Editor Chris Roberts of DePaul University recently published a study in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research presenting the habits and perspectives of traveler decisions entitled “A Theory of Lodging: Exploring Hotel Guest Behavior,” co-authored by Dr. Linda Shea. Below, Roberts explains the inspiration for this study:

What inspired you to be int4643862699_f8d70fef26_zerested 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.

Sign up for email alerts so you never miss the latest articles from the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research. 

Hotel lobby photo attributed to fhotels (CC).

Communities as Nested Servicescapes

jsrrr.JPG[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.

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through JSR’s homepage so you never miss a newly published article.

A Matter of Formality: How Dress Code Can Impact Customer Behavior

Retro Fashion Image

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.

The abstract:

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 CQ Covers.inddbehaviors (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.

You can read “The Effects of Other Customers’ Dress Style on Customer’s Approach Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Sense of Power” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Why Would You Choose to Revisit a Dissatisfying Restaurant?

02JSR13_Covers.inddWe’re pleased to welcome Dr. Gabriele Pizzi of the University of Bologna. Dr. Pizzi recently collaborated with Gian Luca Marzocchi, Chiara Orsingher and Alessandra Zammit on their paper published in the Journal of Service Research entitled “The Temporal Construal of Customer Satisfaction.”

A dirty plate at the restaurant where we were having a research meeting at lunch inspired the intuition behind the research idea portrayed in this work. Just upon the exit, we were so dissatisfied that we promised we would never come back to that restaurant. Interestingly, when choosing a restaurant some months later during another research meeting, one of us proposed THAT restaurant. After all, the atmosphere was pleasing and the room was quiet so that we could discuss about our research plans without being bothered. We started wondering why the evaluation of the restaurant had changed over time. Someone proposed that the details of the experience were forgotten: however, all of us perfectly remembered about the dirty plate. Presumably, over time the relevance of the dirty plate had decreased in our evaluations.

We explain this phenomenon through the lenses of Construal Level Theory, which posits that that individuals generate different mental representation of events that are placed at distinct points in the near rather than the distant future. For example, organizing a party for the next month is construed at a high level of abstraction, in terms of “having fun,” and “seeing friends.” A few days before the party, however, the same event is construed at a low level of abstraction, such as “buying food and drinks,” and “decorating the house.”

We show that construal mechanisms are activated also to reconstruct and evaluate past experiences. Basing on the results of two experiments and a field study, we find that the importance of the attributes driving satisfaction shifts over time, with concrete attributes of the experience ranking higher than abstract attributes in the evaluation of near-past experiences. The opposite happens for the evaluation of distant-past experiences. In addition, we show that overall satisfaction judgments shift over time as a function of the different performances of abstract and concrete attributes. Customers are more satisfied with a service experience featuring concrete positive and abstract negative attributes when they evaluate it in the near past. Conversely, they are more satisfied with a service experience featuring abstract positive and concrete negative attributes when they evaluate the experience in the distant past.

Our findings have several important implications for designing satisfaction surveys more effectively. We advise companies to design surveys that measure satisfaction repeatedly to obtain the whole spectrum of evaluations. Focusing on the so-called online evaluations (i.e., evaluation collected immediately after the service experience is over) may be misleading: Online satisfaction surveys might overemphasize (underemphasize) the impact of low-level negative (high-level positive) attributes on the overall satisfaction judgment. Additionally, the content and the wording of satisfaction surveys are relevant: if the content of the questionnaire and the construal level of the past experience are not correctly paired, it may be difficult to find an exhaustive explanation for the determinants of overall customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

In summary, our research shows that when consumers evaluate a service experience that has happened in the near-past (e.g., two days earlier) they rely on concrete service attributes, but they rely on abstract attributes when they evaluate the same experience in the distant-past (e.g., two months earlier). This is why a concrete attribute such as a dirty plate might have been discarded from our distant past satisfaction judgments about the restaurant. Eventually, we came back to that restaurant and we received an unexpected gift at the end of our lunch. But that’s another research project.

You can read “The Temporal Construal of Customer Satisfaction” from Journal of Service Research by clicking here. Want to have all the latest news and research from Journal of Service Research sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts.


pizziGabriele Pizzi is an Assistant Professor of marketing at the University of Bologna. His research interests include customer satisfaction measurement, intertemporal choices, and inventory management. His work has appeared in the Journal of Retailing, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, and the Journal of Economic Psychology.

gianGian Luca Marzocchi is a Professor of marketing and consumer behavior at the University of Bologna. His research specialties include customer satisfaction modeling, waiting perception in service settings, intertemporal choice, and the interplay between brand loyalty and community identification in brand communities. His refereed works have appeared in Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Economic Psychology, Psychology and Marketing, International Journal of Service Industry Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, among others.

chiaraChiara Orsingher is an Associate Professor of marketing at the University of Bologna. Her research interests include service recovery and complaint handling, meta-analysis, and referral reward programs. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Psychology & Marketing and the International Journal of Service Industry Management.

zammitAlessandra Zammit is an Assistant Professor of marketing at the University of Bologna. Her research interests include context effects, social influence, self-customization decisions and identity based consumption. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research and in the Service Industries Journal.

Gerald Zaltman on New Marketing Science for Hospitality Practitioners

cqx coverGerald Zaltman, Joseph C. Wilson Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School and creator of  the first patented market research tool in the United States titled the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique, recently collaborated with Jerry Olson and James Forr of Olson Zaltman Associates on their article “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

The abstract:

A New Marketing Science (NMS) is proposed that can dramatically improve a firm’s marketplace performance. The NMS challenges managers to dare to think and act differently. It generates deep insights into the thoughts and actions of both customers and managers and how the two mind-sets interact. As several examples illustrate, it departs from the “old” marketing science by its emphasis on imagination, knowing how and why a practice works, understanding the total customer experience, and focus on effectiveness over efficiency. The NMS is grounded in principles from the behavioral sciences and humanities such as the importance of the unconscious mind, the way mental frames serve as interpretative lenses, the centrality of emotions, the reconstructive nature of memory, and the importance of metaphor for learning about and influencing choices.

You can read “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly for free by clicking here. Want to know when all the latest research like this is available from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Don’t Miss the 2015 ICHRIE Summer Conference!

2015_ICHRIE_Conf_logoToday is the final day of the 2015 Annual International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) Summer Conference in Orlando, Florida! The Annual Conference promises to be filled with new and innovative educational research, exciting displays at the ICHRIE Marketplace and numerous opportunities to take advantage of networking with members and guests.

International CHRIE continues to be the leader in providing a forum for and facilitating the exchange of knowledge, ideas, research, industry trends, products and services related to education, training and resource development for the hospitality, tourism and culinary arts industry. This exchange is noticeably prevalent through the energetic and thought-provoking dialogue which occurs at ICHRIE conferences and Federation meetings each year.

In honor of this conference, you can read the latest from these hospitality and tourism journals represented at ICHRIE for free for the next week!

2JHTR07_Covers.pdfThe Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research publishes original research, both conceptual and empirical, that clearly enhances the theoretical development of the hospitality and tourism field. The word contribution is key. JHTR encourages research based on a variety of methods, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. To promote the exchange of current and innovative ideas, JHTR also includes a Research Notes and Industry Viewpoints section. Click here to read the latest issue.

cqx coverThe Cornell Hospitality Quarterly publishes theoretically rich, research articles that provide timely hospitality management implications for those involved or interested in the hospitality industry. The quarterly is a leading source for the latest research findings with strategic value addressing a broad range of topics that are relevant to hospitality, travel, and tourism. Click here to read the latest issue.

JTR_72ppiRGB_powerpointJournal of Travel Research is the premier, peer-reviewed research journal focusing on travel and tourism behavior, management and development. The first scholarly journal in North America focused exclusively on travel and tourism, JTR provides researchers, educators, and professionals with up-to-date, high quality, international and multidisciplinary research on behavioral trends and management theory for one of the most influential and dynamic industries. Click here to read the latest issue.

Listen to the Podcast on Cornell Hospitality Quarterly’s 2014 Best Article Award Winner!

cqx coverWe’re pleased to congratulate Kathryn A. LaTour of Cornell University and Lewis P. Carbone of Experience Engineering, winners of Cornell Hospitality Quarterly‘s 2014 Best Article Award for their article “Sticktion: Assessing Memory for the Customer Experience.” The pair discussed their study on assessing memory for the customer experience in the latest podcast from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

You can click here to download the podcast. You can also read the article for free by clicking here.

Want to know about more research like this? Click here to browse all of the podcasts from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and here to subscribe to the SAGE Management and Business podcast channel on iTunes. You can also sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest articles from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly sent directly to your inbox!

klatourKathryn A. LaTour, Ph.D., is an associate professor of services marketing at the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University (kal276@cornell.edu). She is a consumer psychologist focusing on how consumers remember and learn from their consumption experiences. Her current research involves understanding how expertise is developed within the context of wine.

lou-carbone-lgLewis P. Carbone (“Lou”) is a chief experience officer at Experience Engineering, a consulting company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that works with many Fortune 500 companies on the design of their experience offerings (http://www.expeng.com) (lcarbone@expeng.com) He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Thiel College, Greenville, PA.