Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Investigating Revisit Intentions for the Boutique Hotels of Penang-A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Investigating Revisit Intentions for the Boutique Hotels of Penang-A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Article excerpt

Abstract

The growth in the number and variety of boutique hotels in tourist destinations has stimulated a wide range of research studies. Nevertheless, within Malaysia, the area remains under studied. In 2008, George Town, a popular heritage destination in Malaysia, was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and since then the number of boutique hotels and tourist arrivals have steadily grown. But, to date, there has been no investigation of the determinants of tourists' revisit intention to boutique hotels. Such a study is timely and needed. Based on the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) as its theoretical foundation, this study investigates the determinants of customers' revisit intention for boutique hotels. The findings from 78 completed questionnaires indicate that attitude, subjective norm and customer satisfaction influence customers' revisit intention. Surprisingly, the effect of perceived behavioural control and overall image upon customer revisit intention was not significant.

Keywords: revisit intention, boutique hotels, UNESCO's World Heritage Site, Malaysia

1. Introduction

Ever since the city of George Town in Penang was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2008, tourist arrivals have risen sharply. In 2013, passenger traffic through Penang airport increased 15.1%, according to Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (2013), with international and domestic arrivals reaching 1.2 million and 1.5 million respectively. Furthermore, in 2014 occupancy rate forecast for boutique heritage hotels in George Town is over 80%, with 70% of the guests visiting from overseas (The Star Property Online, 2014). With the large influx of tourists to Penang and the increasing occupancy rate at boutique heritage hotels, investigating the determinants of customers' revisit intentions is timely and needed. Boutique hotels are gaining popularity and in number in emerging markets, which has, correspondingly, motivated a rise in the number of studies in this area. For example, Bunchua and Chakpitak (2011) examined the use of marketing information systems in boutique hotels at Chiang Mai, Thailand. They noted that the popularity of boutique hotels contributes to more competition with the conventional hotels in Chiang Mai, creating challenges for the hotel operators. Henderson (2011) also noted the growing popularity of the boutique hotel style with hotel owners, operators and guests in Southeast Asia, especially in heritage areas. Because of its World Heritage status, George Town as the Penang capital is chosen for this research study. Penang, being one of the most visited states in Malaysia, is relevant for this study. George Town, as Penang capital, still retains some of its traditional architecture such as those during the British colonial structures despite experiencing rapid development. With the UNESCO's World Heritage Status obtained in 2008, George Town has witnessed the mushrooming of heritage-house-cum-hotels such as Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Yeng Keng hotel, Penaga hotel and so on which are gaining favourable attention from the local and foreigners.

Therefore, this study examines the determinants of customers' revisit intentions for boutique hotels located in George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The author believed that by gaining the understanding on the relative important of each determinant which influences customers' revisit intentions will provide valuable insights and suggestion to owner, managers, and hotel operators to further strengthen and improve services offered in achieving customer satisfaction. Indirectly, it helps to guide the marketers on managing their resources and operation in a timely and efficient way. In brief, this study sheds light on how hotel operators can direct their resources to influence customers' future revisit intention.

2. Review of Literature and Hypotheses Development

2.1 Boutique Hotels

Given the increase in the number of boutique hotels in recent years, empirical studies of this hotel type have also gained in popularity. …

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