Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Decision-Making Framework of Customer Perception of Value in Taiwanese Spa Hotels

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Decision-Making Framework of Customer Perception of Value in Taiwanese Spa Hotels

Article excerpt

In this study we examined the framework linking antecedents of perceived value and willingness to buy in the Taiwanese spa hotel industry. We developed 6 hypotheses to identify the factors that are evaluated by customers. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis of data collected from hotels in 4 major spa regions in Taiwan revealed that the source of multicollinearity among the antecedents resulted in perceived value, which was positively associated with willingness to buy, being assigned varying levels of importance. The results also confirmed the 2 distinct and different effects of perceived price to perceived value and perceived quality in the service domain. Our findings could be used for comparative studies of value perception in other service industries and cultural settings.

Keywords: consumer behavior, perceived value, spa hotel, decision-making framework.

In a survey by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting, and Statistics of Taiwan it was reported that me most desirable Taiwanese lifestyle involves mamtaining good health (59%), enjoying family time (26.7%), and being wealthy (26%) (cited in Chang, Hsiao, & Wu, 2003, p. 55). Based on the increasing number of people traveling for health purposes, it appeared that hot spring tourism would develop as a result of supply and demand (Lee & King, 2008). According to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2003, the percentage of Taiwanese people visiting hot springs soared from 2% in early 1999 to 23% in late 2002, with the latter equating to four million visits annuaUy (cited in Lee & King, 2008, p. 342). This makes hot spring spas one of the fastest growing tourism markets in Taiwan.

Previous researchers have indicated that the creation of outstanding consumer value was necessary for spa hotels to achieve sustainable financial and market success (Bolton & Drew, 1991; Parasuraman, Berry, & Zeithaml, 1991; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1998; Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1996) and that outstanding consumer value is becoming a priority for managers because of the increasingly intense competition of today's customer-centered market (Bolton & Drew, 1991; Hu, Kandampully, & Juwaheer, 2009; McDougall & Levesque, 2000; Ravald & Gronroos, 1996; Zeithaml, 1988). In the past decade, companies and academics have become aware of the business benefits of creating value for customers. However, as yet little empirical research has been conducted on how customers' perceptions of value differ, and what variables may explain such differences (Ruiz, Castro, & Armario, 2007). In a previous explorative study conducted by Lu and Shiu (2009), a conceptual model of perceived value (as lllustrated in Figure 1) was developed in order to assess the factors customers evaluated whüe making purchasing decisions. We used analysis of the correlation to evaluate the relationships between the constructs, and the economical deduction in order to construct the conceptual model. Our findings in the previous study have important implications for understanding how the recent downsizing of Taiwan's economy has made attitudes to leisure service consumption more conservative as a result of the slightly significant relationship between perceived value and willingness to buy. Even in the light of our prior findings, how practitioners can provide superior customer value requires further research. Accordingly, in the current study we used hierarchical multiple regression analysis (HMR) to analyze data from hotels in four major spa regions in Taiwan. We examined the decision-making framework that links the antecedents of customers' perceptions of value and their willingness to buy in the Taiwanese spa hotel industry in order to understand customers' value perceptions and wlllingness to pay for spa services.

LITERATURE REVIEW

PERCEIVED VALUE

Value is perceived and defined by customers (Bettman, Luce, & Payne, 1998; Vandermerwe, 2003) in terms of a tradeoff between salient "give" and "get" components (Zeithaml, 1988). …

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