Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Diagnosing Customers Experience, Emotions and Satisfaction in Malaysian Resort Hotels

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Diagnosing Customers Experience, Emotions and Satisfaction in Malaysian Resort Hotels

Article excerpt

Introduction

Resort hotels are becoming one of the fastest growing segments of tourism attractions around the world. Since economic boom from 1960s, resort hotels are gaining gradual popularity and the service providers are facing challenges to satisfy the needs and wants of the tourists visiting these facilities (Ali et al., 2013). In the recent decade, a drastic increase is observed in the number of tourists travelling to resort hotels situated in the natural exotic locations to escape from their daily routine life and to enjoy and entertain themselves. Yang and Chan (2010) states that studying resort hotels are important as it can help the establishments to design better products and services to satisfy the customers, understand their decisionmaking process and emotions.

The rapid development in this tourism sector makes it very competitive and enforces the resort hotels to develop various marketing strategies for ensuring customer satisfaction (Geissler and Rucks, 2011; Wu and Liang, 2009). Contextually, Gee (2000, p.22) stated that, 'the core principle of the resort concept is the creation of an environment that will promote and enhance a feeling of well-being, enjoyment and satisfaction'. Moreover, emperical studies in hospitality industry observed that customer satisfaction can be ensured by eliciting positive emotions (Lin and Liang, 2011; Kincaid et al., 2010) and provision of memorable service experiences (Hou et al., 2013). In this regard, Hosany and Witham (2010) posited that customer experience can effect their emotions and satisfaction levels and also develops a competitive advantge for service providers that is difficult to imitate.

An initial conceptualisation of customer experience was developed by Pine and Gilmore (1999) who proposed four dimensions of customer experience including education, entertainment, escapism, and esthetics. Their conceptualisation is based on the argument that customers no longer assess the functional and technical attributes of the service quality (Gentile et al., 2007); Rather, they look for affective memories to create a holistic personal experience that dazzle their senses, engage them personally, touch their hearts, and stimulate their minds, while indulging in fantasies, feelings and fun (Hosany and Witham, 2010). This concept served as base for a number of studies focusing on the understanding of consumer experiences (Gentile et al., 2007). However, with a few exceptions, research on the measurement and application of Pine and Gilmore's (1999) dimensions of customer experience remain sparse (Hosany and Witham, 2010). Contextually, Oh et al. (2007) developed a measurement scale and tested it in bed-andbreakfast industry. Later, this scale was tested by Hosany and Witham (2010) in the context of cruise holidays, however, they called for further research to validate this measurement scale in other service contexts and test its relationship with consumer consumption evaluations. Therefore, this study aims to validate Oh et al.'s (2007) measurement model in the context of resort hotels and examine the effects of four realms of customer experience on customer emotions and satisfaction levels. Specific objectives of the study include (i) to validate the experience economy scale proposed by Oh et al. (2007); (ii) to examine the effect of experience economy dimensions on customer emotions; and (iii) to examine how these customer emotions develop customer satisfaction.

A report published by www.ey.com titled as "Global Hospitality Insights 2014" stated that the changes in leisure travel preferences and the rise of emerging markets has resulted in bookings for resort hotels increasing at a much higher rate than the industry average. Yet, it is very surprising that, despite being one of the fastest growing tourism industries, resort hotels are often overlooked by the researchers (Ali et al., 2013). In this context, Line and Runyan (2012) reviewed 274 articles published in four top hospitality journals from 2008 to 2010. …

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