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.

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Hotel lobby photo attributed to fhotels (CC).

The Effect of Social Networking Sites’ Activities on Customers’ Well-Being

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[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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Do Consumers Avoid Genetically Modified Wines?

25725080022_cd89993d82_z[We’re pleased to welcome Christina Chi of Washington State University. Christina recently published an article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly entitled “Ready to Embrace Genetically Modified Wines? The Role of Knowledge Exposure and Intrinsic Wine Attributes” with co-authors Lu Lu of Washington State University and Imran Rahman of Auburn University.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

The consumption of genetically modified (GM) products is one of the most debatable and significant issues that influence consumers’ purchase behaviors and dining trends. As a critical component of hospitality business, alcoholic beverages (e.g., wines) are highly influential on guests’ dining experience and business revenues. However, existing research provides little insight concerning consumers’ experience with GM wines and their purchase decisions. Therefore, we were inspired to open up a research avenue in this area.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

What slightly surprised us was the strength of aroma and taste in wine drinkers’ decision making. Our study reveals that consumers’ decision making is solely driven by wines’ aroma and taste, which override health or environmental concerns. This finding is critical for wine sellers to better understand the importance of different wine attributes in influencing wine appreciation and purchase decision making.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

CQ CoverIn addition to opening up a significant but underexplored research stream, this study highlights the rigor of using experimental approach and sensory techniques to understand the behavioral dynamics of experiential products, which may not be fully captured using self-report surveys. More importantly, this research delivers timely strategies for the industry against the backdrop of labeling GM products and offers an in-depth analysis of wine drinkers’ behavior involving conflicts of choice.

The abstract for the paper:

This study examines whether knowledge exposure and supreme wine attributes such as appearance, aroma, taste, and hangover avoidance influence consumers’ quality evaluation and purchase intentions of genetically modified (GM) wines. We conducted two experimental studies in two different settings involving a total of 321 subjects. Results indicate that educating consumers with knowledge on GM wines efficiently reduces the fear caused by GM identity. Importantly, the desirable organoleptic and functional performances of GM wines not only reduce consumers’ concerns with GM products but also enable GM wines to surpass conventional options that are less salient in these performances. Specifically, consumers would choose a GM wine over traditional options if the GM wine has a superior appearance and the ability to eliminate a hangover. Furthermore, consumers express equal acceptance of GM wines and traditional counterparts when there are no differences in aroma and taste. This research delivers significant implications for wine marketing through examining a timely and controversial subject matter.

You can read “Ready to Embrace Genetically Modified Wines? The Role of Knowledge Exposure and Intrinsic Wine Attributes” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Cornell Hospitality QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Wine image attributed to James Petts (CC)

Christina Geng-Qing Chi is an associate professor at the School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business, Washington State University. Her area of research includes tourism marketing, hospitality/tourism consumer behavior and sustainability in tourism/ hospitality industry. Her research has been published broadly in top tier tourism/hospitality journals and presented at numerous hospitality/tourism conferences. Dr. Chi serves on the editorial boards for several hospitality/tourism journals and reviews papers for top tier hospitality/tourism journals.

Imran Rahman is an Assistant Professor in the department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Hospitality Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA. His current research program focuses on sustainability in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on consumer behavior in green hotels. He is also actively researching in food and beverage emphasizing primarily on wine consumer behavior.

Lu Lu is a Ph.D. candidate and instructor of School of Hospitality Business Management, Carson College of Business at Washington State University. Her research interests encompass consumer behavior in food and beverage consumption, culture and tourists’ destination experience and complaining efforts.

Tourism as a Tool for Peace and Revitalization in Afghanistan

Kabul MountainsMuch has been said on the tragedy and complications of war, more than can be expounded upon here. But considering the complexity of international conflict, it is not hard to understand that the transition from war to peace is far from a simple, fast process. War leaves a lasting impact on the countries and people involved, not only in terms of physical damage, but also psychological and social damage that in some ways can be much more difficult to heal. Undoubtedly, one of the questions that emerges after a conflict ends is how can two countries with recent conflict surmount persisting cultural ambiguity and negatives stereotypes? In the Journal of Travel Research article, “The Nutella Project: An Education Initiative to Suggest Tourism as a Means to Peace between the United States and Afghanistan,” authors Angela Durko and James Petrick of Texas A&M University consider tourism as a tool to promote peace and combat the lasting negative social impact of war.

The abstract:JTR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint

How different the world would be had countries not reopened their borders to
welcome tourists after conflict, thus providing opportunities for travelers to learn, understand, and overcome potential stereotypes and negative perceptions of a country’s residents and environment. This study reveals preliminary results of an education initiative focused on understanding, addressing, and overcoming negative perceptions, with the possibility of creating interest in, and opportunities for, a revitalization of tourism in Afghanistan. The study offers contact theory as a way to present organic images of a place to help create perceptions of destinations that are more accurate than induced images. Results revealed that contact theory, through intergroup dialogue between residents of two countries with noted historic conflict, provided the means for reducing cultural ambiguity and overcoming stereotypes. The findings offer implications for both the tourism and education sectors and suggest that intergroup dialogue may be key to increasing visit intentions and, most importantly, enhancing a destination’s image after conflict.

You can read “The Nutella Project: An Education Initiative to Suggest Tourism as a Means to Peace between the United States and Afghanistan” from Journal of Travel Research free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Travel Research? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Diversify and Conquer: An Argument for Reinvigorating Marketing Science with Behavioral Science and Humanities

[We’re pleased to welcome Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School and Olson Zaltman Associates. Dr. Zaltman recently published an article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly with co-authors Jerry Olson and James Forr of Olson Zaltman Associates, entitled “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers.”]

In “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers,” published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Jerry Olson, James Forr, and I point out that much of CQ_57_1_Cover.inddmarketing research and a great deal of marketing thought and action is influenced by the ideas and methods of an old marketing science.  We argue that a New Marketing Science is needed in which scientifically sound ideas and methods from the behavioral sciences and humanities are integrated around a coherent scientific perspective.  We feel this is especially important since life in the marketplace is experienced holistically and not in the silo like ways that companies, universities, and specific professions are organized.

Although current marketing does explore new ideas and methods, including neuro/biometric methods and big data approaches, these ideas are often treated piecemeal — used in isolation or as independent add-ons to more traditional work.  In contrast, we advocate integrating the best ideas and approaches from diverse fields to develop a new marketing science.  In “Toward a New Marketing Science” we focus on how key ideas from the mind sciences can produce a deeper and richer understanding of the minds of customers and also the minds of managers.  Other fields containing equally exciting marketing related advances include, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, ethnomusicology, and art therapy, to name a few.

We provide four examples of applying a New Marketing Science approach to create emotionally resonant hospitality experiences.  However, the principles of a NMS can be applied to any marketing problem in any industry.  Practicing the NMS requires bold, imaginative thinking that goes beyond simple borrowing of ideas and imitation of best practices.

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 free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


 
Gerald ZaltmanGerald Zaltman is Founding partner in Olson Zaltman Associates and the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School, where he also was co-director of The Mind of the Market Laboratory. He has authored over 20 books including: How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market and Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers.

Jerry OlsonJerry Olson is Founding Partner in Olson Zaltman Associates and Professor Emeritus at Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business where he was Earl P. Strong Professor of Marketing and Department Chair. He has published more than 60 papers on these topics in conference proceedings and academic journals , including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, and Journal of Marketing.

James ForrJames Forr is a director at Olson Zaltman Associates. He has led projects for Fortune 100 clients including IBM, Bank of America, PepsiCo, and P&G along with non-profit and public sector clients such as the AFL-CIO and the Funeral Service Foundation.  He also has led two projects that have helped clients win prestigious Ogilvy Awards from the Advertising Research Foundation.

 

What Effect Does Status Endowment Have on Customer Loyalty Programs?

02JSR13_Covers.indd[We’re pleased to welcome Lena Steinhoff of the University of Paderborn in Germany. Dr. Steinhoff recently collaborated with Andreas Eggert of University of Paderborn and Ina Garnefeld of the University of Wuppertal on their paper from Journal of Service Research entitled “Managing the Bright and Dark Sides of Status Endowment in Hierarchical Loyalty Programs.”]

When I opened the envelope and found a golden customer card issued by a hotel chain that I had hardly patronized, I was surprised and had some mixed feelings about it, which is how this research project began. Indeed, service companies purposefully offer elevated status to some customers who do not meet the required spending level, in an attempt to profit from the profound allure of status. This is what we call status endowment, which we define in our paper as awards of elevated status to customers who are not entitled to it.

Recently, several service firms have begun experimenting with status endowment, including Accor Hotels (A|Club), Hertz Car Rental (Hertz Gold Plus Rewards), and Hilton Hotels & Resorts (Hilton HHonors). An Internet search of company websites and customer forums reveals that among the top 100 North American loyalty programs, status endowment exists in more than 40% of those that rely on hierarchical programs. Yet, the emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral consequences of status endowment are not well understood, so scholarly research has a chance to provide marketing practitioners with a better understanding of this customer management instrument before it becomes a standard tool.

Employing three research formats (qualitative, experimental, survey) and covering various industries, we identify differential effects of status endowment that have three key implications for services management. First, there is a bright and a dark side of status endowment. Customer gratitude enhances loyalty, yet customer skepticism acts as an opposing force. Conventional wisdom assumes that people react positively to preferential treatment, but our research also demonstrates the unintended dark sides of relationship marketing investments on focal customers.

Second, the dark side of endowed elevated customer status is contingent on the design of the status endowment. Managers should carefully consider how to avoid fostering further skepticism. Status endowment should not be designed as a “pure” endowment but rather should augment customers’ perceptions of their own personal choice or achievement.

Third, the effectiveness of status endowment also depends on the characteristics of the loyalty program, including the perceived value of the preferential treatment. When elevated status offers high value benefits, customers’ attitudinal loyalty is higher than if the company provides elevated status with only low value, stemming from enhanced customer gratitude and reduced customer skepticism. While service companies such as airlines and hotels can easily offer high value preferential treatment by exploiting their underutilized, perishable assets at low additional costs, firms that lack unused capacities face a more challenging position.

You can read “Managing the Bright and Dark Sides of Status Endowment in Hierarchical Loyalty Programs” from Journal of Service Research for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Service Research? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


EggertAndreas Eggert is a chaired professor of marketing at the University of Paderborn, Germany. He is also a strategic research advisor at Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. His research interests focus on the profitable management of customer relationships in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets, and his work has appeared in Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, and Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, among others.

csm_Lena_Steinhoff_2014_7847c236f1Lena Steinhoff is an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Paderborn, Germany. Her research interest is relationship marketing, with a particular focus on managing customer relationships through loyalty programs and customer engagement initiatives. Current projects include examining the impact of customer engagement initiatives on existing customer relationships and the performance effects of relationship marketing investments over the relationship life cycle. Her work has appeared in Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Management, and the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Working Paper Series.

inaIna Garnefeld is a chaired professor of service management at the Schumpeter School of Business and Economics at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. Her research interests are services marketing and customer relationship management. Current projects include examining online and off-line word-of-mouth behavior and the use of incentives for managing customer communication behavior. Her work has appeared in Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, and Journal of Service Management, among others.

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!