Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

A Study of Mediating Effect of Trust on Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty Relationship in Malaysian Rural Tourism

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

A Study of Mediating Effect of Trust on Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty Relationship in Malaysian Rural Tourism

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


In today's global economy, tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors. A strong growth catalyst that can generate higher multiplier effect, tourism plays a very important role in the economy and stimulates the growth of other economy. In Malaysia, tourism is the third largest industry, in terms of foreign exchange earnings, after manufacturing and palm oil sector. Tourism sector contributes about 7.9% to the GDP of Malaysia, suggesting that the industry, which is considered still new, but yet, has offered so much good potential for further and future growth. In 2011, the global tourism and travel sector has generated USD 7 trillion in economic activities and this will offer more than 260 million jobs opportunity (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2003). In 2011, Malaysia had been visited by more than 24.7 million tourists which an increase of 0.4% from 2010 which was about 24.6 million tourists. (Tourism Malaysia Annual Report, 2011). In tourism industry, tourists are very important to ensure the customer will visit the tourist attraction again, after they have experience it the first time. The concept of loyalty can be defined that a customer would come back or continuously to utilize the same product or service from the same organization, make business referrals, and directly, or even indirectly, offering strong word-of-mouth references and publicity (Bowen & Shoemaker, 1998). Customers, who are loyal, are not easily influenced or swayed by price enticement from their competitors, and they often buy more, compared to those who are not so loyal (Baldinger & Rubinson, 1996). Conversely, service providers must not feel comfortable because not all retained customers are satisfied ones and similarly not all of them can be always retained. There are many factors for such manner of loyal customers. There are customers who will remain loyal because the existing of high switching barriers, or the lack, of real substitutes, whereas other customers continue to be loyal since they are satisfied with the service offered. Some customers may remain loyal due to high switching barriers, or the lack of real substitutes, while others continue to be loyal because they are satisfied with the services provided. The purpose of this paper to show the link between customer satisfaction and trust in customer loyalty in Malaysian rural tourism market to test the conceptual research model that connect, customer satisfaction, trust and customer loyalty.

Literature Review

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is one the most areas being researched in many tourism studies due to its importance in determining the success and the continued existence of the tourism business (Gursoy, Mc Cleary and Lepsito, 2007). Customer satisfaction conceptually has been defined as feeling of the post utilization that the consumers experience from their purchase (Westbrook and Oliver, 1991; Um et al., 2006). Opposite to cognitive focus of perceptions, customer satisfaction is deemed as affective response to a products or services (Yuan and Jang, 2008). A consumer is deemed to be satisfied upon the experience weighted sum total produce a feeling of enjoyment when compared with the expectation (Choi and Chu, 2001). In tourism studies, customer satisfaction is the visitor's state of emotion after they experiencing their tour (Baker and Crompton, 2000; Sanchez et al., 2006). Destination holiday's customer satisfaction is the extent of overall enjoyment that the tourists feel, the result that the tour experience able to fulfill the tourists' desires, expectation, needs and wants from the tour (Chen and Tsai, 2007). Taylor, (2004) pointed out that customer satisfaction has a direct influence on customer loyalty. Kotler, (2008) describes customer satisfaction is the feeling of happiness or unhappiness as a result of comparing the perceived performance of services or products with the expected performance. …

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