Tag Archives: service quality

The service quality and performance of higher education institutions

This is an excerpt from one of my latest articles that was published in the International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences.

Higher education service delivery and the students’ learning experiences

Higher education institutions (HEIs) are expected to adapt to ongoing developments in their macro and microenvironments as they are usually operating with budget constraints (Camilleri, 2019). They compete for funding and for student numbers in a global marketplace (OECD, 2019; Hägg and Schölin, 2018; Tian and Martin, 2014). Very often, they are using the corporate language as they formulate marketing plans, set objectives to control their resources, and are becoming customer-driven (Lynch, 2015; Sojkin, Bartkowiak and Skuza, 2012; Naidoo, Shankar and Veer, 2011; Ng and Forbes, 2009). The logic behind these managerial reforms is to improve the HEIs’ service quality and performance (Rutter, Roper and Lettice, 2016; Mourad, Ennew and Kortam, 2011; Abdullah. 2006a).

The challenge for HEI leaders is to identify their students’ and other stakeholders’ expectations on service quality. The consumers’ perceived service quality is defined as the degree and direction of discrepancy between their perceptions and expectations (Quinn et al., 2009; Parasuraman et al., 1988). Quality is distinguished from satisfaction, in that, the latter is assumed to involve specific transactions. As part of the conceptualization, expectations are viewed as desires or wants of consumers (Zeithaml, Berry and Parasuraman, 1993).

Parasuraman et al. (1988) measured the individuals’ perceptions and expectations about service quality. Their SERVQUAL scales assessed service quality in terms of tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy services (Brochado, 2009; Tan and Kek, 2004). In a similar vein, other authors noted that service quality comprises three significant dimensions; service processes, interpersonal factors, and physical evidence (Tsinidou, Gerogiannis and Fitsilis, 2010; Angell, Heffernan and Megicks, 2008; Oldfield and Baron, 2000). Notwithstanding, the HEIs’ physical evidence (that is associated with their tangible aspect) can also influence the students’ satisfaction levels (Wilkins and Balakrishnan, 2013; Ford, Joseph and Joseph, 1999).

The students are considered as the primary customers of tertiary education institutions (Quinn et al., 2009; Lomas, 2007; Snipes et al., 2005). Their expectations on the HEIs’ service performance plays a key role on their quality perceptions (Raaper, 2009; Brochado, 2009; Abdullah, 2006b; Hill, 1995). Students spend a considerable amount of time on campus, in lecture rooms, libraries, IT labs, canteens, sport grounds, et cetera (Hill, 1995). They will probably use the HEIs’ service facilities, technologies and equipment.

Ozkan and Kozeler (2009) maintained that the learners’ perceived satisfaction with higher education technologies is dependent on the quality of the instructors, the quality of the systems, information (content) quality and supportive issues. Hence, HEI leaders have to ensure that the tangible aspects of their higher educational services ought to be in good working order for the benefit of their users.

The provision of higher education services involves “person‐to‐person” interactions (Clemes et al., 2008; Solomon et al., 1985). The frontline employees (like faculty employees) can influence the degree of their consumers’ (or students’) satisfaction and experiences (Raaper, 2019; Ng and Forbes, 2009; Ford et al., 1999; Bitner et al., 1990). Both academic and administrative employees’ ability and willingness to deliver appropriate service quality will determine the students’ overall satisfaction with their higher education services (Tsinidou et al., 2010).

Oldfield and Baron (2000) contended that students rely on the non‐academic employees, including administrators and support staff, over whom the course management teams have no direct control. They pointed out that the students may not be interested in the HEIs’ organizational hierarchies, as they expect their employees to work in tandem. Therefore, the administrative employees should also communicate and liaise with the academic members of staff, to ensure that the students receive an appropriate quality of service. The course instructors should be evaluated in terms of their technical and interpersonal skills, consistency of performance and appearance (Camilleri, 2021; Angell et al., 2008).

Students want their lecturers to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, approachable, and friendly (Voss, Gruber and Szmigin, 2007). The HEI leaders should be aware that their employees’ interactions with their students will have an effect on their satisfaction during their learning journey (Quinn et al., 2009). The members of staff represent their employer whenever they engage with students and other stakeholders (Voss et al., 2007). Therefore, HEI leaders ought to foster an organizational culture that represents the institutions’ shared values, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes and norms of behavior that bind employees to deliver appropriate service quality and the desired performance outcomes (Kollenscher, Popper and Ronen, 2018; Pedro, Mendes and Lourenço, 2018; Trivellas and Dargenidou, 2009; O’Neill and Palmer, 2004).

Measuring higher education service performance

The employees’ performance is usually evaluated against their HEIs’ priorities, commitments, and aims; by using relevant international benchmarks and targets (OECD, 2019; Brochado, 2009; Lo, 2009 O’Neill and Palmer, 2004). Generally, the academics are usually appraised on their research impact, teaching activities and outreach (Camilleri, 2021).

Their academic services, including their teaching, administrative support as well as the research and development (R&D) duties, all serve as performance indicators that can contribute to build the reputation and standing of their employer (Geuna and Martin, 2003). The university leaders should keep a track record about the age and distribution of their faculty members; diversity of students and staff, in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, et cetera.

In addition, their faculties could examine discipline-specific rankings; and determine the expenditures per academic member of staff, among other responsibilities (Camilleri, 2019). The quantitative metrics concerning the students’ performance may include their enrolment ratios, graduate rates, student drop-out rates, the students’ continuation of studies at the next academic level, and the employability index of graduates, among others (QS Rankin 2019; THE, 2019).

Moreover, qualitative indicators can also provide insightful data to HEIs on the students’ opinions and perceptions about their learning environment. HEIs could evaluate the students’ satisfaction with teaching; satisfaction with research opportunities and training; perceptions of international and public engagement opportunities; ease of taking courses across boundaries; and may also determine whether there are administrative and/or bureaucratic barriers for them (Kivisto, Pekkola and Lyytinen, 2017).

HEIs should regularly analyze their service quality and performance through financial and non-financial indicators (Camilleri, 2021; Lagrosen, Seyyed-Hashemi and Leitner, 2004). A relevant review of the literature suggests that the institutions ought to be evaluated on their organization; corporate governance, autonomy; accountability; system structures; resourcing and funding; consultation processes; digitalization; admission processes; student-centered education, internationalization; regional development; continuing education; lifelong learning qualifications; research, innovation and technology transfer; high impact publications, stakeholder engagement with business and industry; labour market relevance; collaborations with other HEIs and researcher centers; and quality assurance among other issues (OECD, 2019; EU, 2017; Lagrosen et al., 2004; O’Neill and Palmer, 2004; Cheng and Tam, 1997; Owlia and Aspinwall, 1996).

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regularly reviews the current state of higher education systems in its member countries. Its benchmarking exercises are intended to scrutinize the performance of universities and colleges. OECD (2019) has used 24 domains to evaluate different aspects of the HEIs’ organizational performance. The following table features a list of 45 performance indicators that can be used to assess the HEIs’ resources and their key functions

qual HEI

There are different methodologies and key performance indicators that can be used to evaluate the service quality in higher education. The above metrics are used to compare the OECD countries’ HEI performance in terms of allocated resources, the provision of student-centered education, research and engagement. However, this scorecard and the quality of its outputs ought to be validated in different contexts.

There are other performance variables, including the pedagogical knowledge and experience of the course instructors, the HEIs’ working conditions, teaching methodologies and practices, the usage of education technologies, engagement with business and industry, et cetera, that were not featured in this scorecard. Perhaps, in reality it may prove difficult to measure qualitative issues. For instance, while HEIs may be willing to demonstrate their engagement with different stakeholders, currently, there are no mechanisms in place to monitor, report and assess their outreach activities.

The HEIs’ responsibility is to address the skill gaps and mismatches in their labor market (EU, 2017). The governments’ policy makers together with the HEI leaders need to address sector-specific skill shortages. Specifically, EU (2017) proposed that HEIs ought to: (i) better understand what skills are required by the prospective employers (ii) communicate to society, practitioners and policy-makers about what they are already doing to prepare graduates for the labor market; (iii) prepare students and influence their choice of study; and (iv) implement effective learning programs that rely on blended learning methodologies including traditional and digital learning approach.

Suggested citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2021). Evaluating service quality and performance of higher education institutions: A systematic review and a post COVID-19 outlook. International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, 13(2), 268-281. DOI: 10.1108/IJQSS-03-2020-0034

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Customers are always right, even after their shopping cart checkout!

Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

The outbreak of COVID-19 and its preventative measures have led several businesses and consumers to change their shopping behaviors. Many individuals have inevitably reduced their human-to-human interactions in physical service environments and were increasingly relying on the adoption of digital media and mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets for their shopping requirements.

Consumers as well as businesses are benefiting of faster connections as the loading speeds of these devices is one of the critical determining factors as to whether visitors may (or may not) be willing to browse through e-commerce websites or apps, to proceed to check out, and to lay down their credit cards.

Advances in technological capabilities have improved the consumers’ online shopping experiences. As a result, more businesses are benefiting from the expertise of online marketplaces to deliver personalized services to their customers. For instance, Amazon provides product recommendations to its visitors, that are based on their previous searches.

Ecommerce giants utilize machine learning technologies to segment consumers by geographical location, age and gender, buying habits, total expenditure, and more. They capture data from online users, including their browsing and purchase histories. They distinguish between profitable, loyal customers, price-sensitive customers, and identify those who are likely to abandon their shopping carts.

Prospective consumers will usually compare a wide variety of products and their corresponding prices, in different virtual marketplaces, before making their purchase decision. They will probably check out the consumer reviews to confirm the reputation and trustworthiness of online merchants. At times, they will not be in a position to confirm the legitimacy of certain websites and to determine if it is safe to disclose their payment details to anonymous vendors.

A few websites may require consumers to join their mailing list. They may expect them to provide their email addresses, that they may share with third parties. As a result, consumers could receive unwanted ads and scams in their inboxes. Moreover, they may experience phishing and spoofing. Therefore, shopping web pages should use SSL certificates to prove that their transactions are safe and secure.

Furthermore, e-commerce websites ought to feature accurate, timely and reliable content. They have to be as transparent as possible with online users. They should clarify their terms and conditions as well as their refund policies. The smallest thing that’s out of place in their e-commerce pages could rapidly erode the customers’ trust in their products and services.

Online users cannot inspect (or try) their chosen products until they receive them. They may experience delays in the delivery of their shopping items, particularly, if they get lost, detoured or delivered in the wrong address. Once they receive the product they ordered, they may decide to return it, if for some reason they are not satisfied by its quality. In this case, they could (or could not) be reimbursed for incurring shipping and packaging costs. Shopping websites are increasingly offering synchronous communications facilities to enhance their personalized services through web chat facilities that enable instantaneous conversations with online users.

This development has significantly improved the consumers’ perceptions about the service quality of e-commerce websites and their satisfaction levels. They also increased the chances of their repeat purchases. In sum, this contribution suggests that online businesses and marketplaces should identify the critical success factors that are differentiating e-commerce websites from one another. The most popular online marketplaces are capable of attracting repeat consumers through a consistent delivery of personalized customer service, thereby increasing their sales potential and growth prospects

This research confirmed that the consumers’ satisfaction with e-commerce websites has a significant effect on their loyalty as well as on their electronic word-of-mouth publicity. This is an important finding, considering that there are several shopping websites and online marketplaces where consumers can find identical or alternative products. In this case, the respondents suggested that e-commerce websites delivered good value to them and that they triggered their loyal behaviors. The research participants indicated that they were satisfied with the quality of the shopping websites and with their electronic services.

This study showed that customers were intrigued to share their positive or negative experiences with products and/or services with other online users. Hence, they were willing to cocreate online content for the benefit of prospective consumers. Many customers are increasingly voicing their opinions and recommendations through qualitative reviews and/or quantitative ratings to support other individuals in their purchase decisions. They may either encourage or discourage others from shopping from a particular vendor and/or website.

This research confirmed that the online users’ satisfaction levels with the service quality of the e-commerce website relied on different factors, including website attractiveness, functionality and security as well as on consumer order fulfillment, during and after a purchase. The websites’ designs and layouts can capture their visitors’ attention and may possibly improve the online consumers’ experiences during their purchase transactions.

The e-commerce websites’ appearance and their functionality may entice online users to continue browsing through their content and to revisit them again, in the future. Online users would be satisfied if the e-commerce websites are informative, useful and easy to use. They utilize shopping websites to access relevant content on the attributes and features of products, including consumer reviews. Therefore, the technical functionality of these websites’ inventory systems should feature accurate and timely information on the availability of items as well as on their prices and costs of delivery.

In this day and age, shopping websites should provide approximate shipping dates, estimated delivery times, et cetera. Online sellers should also establish clear information on their returning policies. They may direct online users and past consumers to frequently answered questions, and/or to chatbots. Alternatively, they may offer webchat facilities to engage with their valued customers, in real time.

Key Takeaway

Although there are many studies that have explored the service quality of e-commerce websites during a purchase transaction, only a few of them have focused on consumer fulfillment (and on their after-sales services). The findings from this research reported that timely deliveries, and the provision of personalized services have a highly significant effect on consumer satisfaction and loyalty.

Service providers ought to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations in different stages of their order fulfilment in online retailing contexts. They ought to deliver the ordered items as expeditiously as possible, to improve their service quality. Online retailers should respond to consumer enquiries, in a timely manner. This way, they can increase consumer satisfaction, minimize complaints and reduce the likelihood of negative criticism (and damaging e-WOM) in review websites and social media.

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This is an excerpt of my latest academic article that was published in the Journal of Strategy and Management. It is available here: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JSMA-02-2021-0045/full/html

A prepublication version is available through ResearchGate.

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Call for Chapters: Consumer Engagement in Tourism and Hospitality (pre, during and post covid-19)

This academic book will be published by Goodfellow Publishers (Oxford, UK)

consumer interactive engagement in tourism and hospitality

Editors
Prof. Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri
University of Malta, Malta.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

Dr. Rather Raouf
University of Jammu, India.

Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Buhalis
Bournemouth University, UK.

Important Dates
Abstract submission: 31st July 2020
Full chapters due: 31st January 2021
Final submission date: 15th March 2021

Introduction
The customer engagement concept has received lots of attention in different academic disciplines including: organisational behaviour (and employee engagement), psychology (and task engagement), sociology (and civic engagement) as well as in marketing (and branding) (Brodie, Hollebeek, Jurić, & Ilić, 2011; Chu & Kim, 2011; Taheri, Jafari, & O’Gorman, 2014; Buhalis & Foerste, 2015). In a similar vein, the tourism industry practitioners are also recognising the importance of customer engagement as they are increasingly delivering enjoyable, transformative activities that improve the customers’ experiences (Walls, Okumus, Wang, & Kwun, 2011; So, King & Sparks, 2014; Ali, Ryu & Hussain, 2016; Harrigan, Evers, Miles & Daly, 2017; Camilleri, 2019a, 2019b). The latest trends comprise the adaptation of new technologies, interactive service delivery and offerings, and service personalisation (e.g. Hollebeek, Shrivastava, & Chen, 2019; Rather & Camilleri, 2019; Rather, Hollebeek, Islam, 2019; Hollebeek & Rather, 2019).

In tourism research, there are different drivers, antecedents, and/or determinants of customer engagement (So et al., 2014). These may comprise: the customers’ perceptions of authenticity, prior knowledge, mood regulation, brand sincerity, cultural capital, perceived intimacy, and desire for social interaction, among others (Taheri et al., 2014; Ram, Björk & Weidenfeld, 2016; Camilleri, 2018; Liang, Choi & Joppe, 2018; Rather et al., 2019; Fan, Buhalis & Lin, 2019). Existing research has also indicated that there are positive consequences if tourism service providers or destination management organisations engage with their customers, including; loyalty, satisfaction, self-brand connection, co-creation, commitment, positive word-of-mouth and online reviews, as well as purchase intentions (Litvin, Goldsmith & Pan, 2008; Bilgihan, Okumus & Cobanoglu, 2013; Harrigan et al., 2017; Rasoolimanesh, Noor, Schuberth & Jaafar, 2019; Buhalis & Sinarta, 2019; Buhalis, Andreu & Gnoth, 2020). In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the topics of customer engagement and customer experience, as academics started to investigate how customer interact with the businesses through different marketing channels and touch-points (Walls et al., 2011; Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). These stimuli can have an effect on the customers’ purchase decision (Fang, Ye, Kucukusta & Law, 2016). Similarly, the tourism practitioners are using the digital media and mobile technologies to engage with customers to improve their experience (Sigala, Christou & Gretzel, 2012; Camilleri, 2018; Buhalis, 2020). For example, tourism service providers are increasingly using high-fidelity, interactive channels (e.g. virtual reality, social media, online and mobile booking systems) in an attempt to enhance their customers’ experience (Sigala et al., 2012).

However, despite the concepts of customer engagement and customer experience have received significant attention from the industry practitioners, there are gaps in academic knowledge, as there are still limited theoretical and empirical studies that have explored these topics in the tourism context, including; tourist destinations, airlines, cruises, tour operators, travel agencies, accommodation service providers, like hotels, Airbnb operators, timeshare, etc. Moreover, there are even fewer contributions that have explored the effect of the 2019-2020 corona virus pandemic (COVID19) on these sectors. The closure of the international borders as well as the latest travel ban and lock down conditions have inevitably led to grounded air planes, docked cruise ships, idle tour buses, shuttered tourism businesses and tourist attractions. This dramatic situation has resulted in a sudden downward spiral in international tourism arrivals and receipts. In this light, this timely publication will feature high impact research on consumer engagement within the tourism and hospitality: pre, during and post COVID-19.

Detailed Synopsis
This prospective title shall offer a thorough understanding about why there is scope for the tourism service providers and destination management organisations to successfully create, manage, and market tourism experiences. It will also provide theoretical and practical evidence of how, where and when they can seize the opportunities and address the challenges for effective consumer engagement in the tourism arena. Therefore, this book will include conceptual and empirical chapters covering the themes of Tourism Customer Engagement: Dimensions, Theories, and Frameworks; Tourism Customer Engagement: Key Antecedents and Consequences; Tourism Customer Experience: Theories, Structure and Frameworks; Customer Engagement in Evolving Technological Environments; Open innovation Technologies, Co-creation Experiences and Customer Engagement Approaches; and Emerging Issues. It is very likely that the tourism and hospitality businesses will be operating in the context of a “new normal” in a post COVID19 era. The editors are committed to enrich the existing body of academic literature on “Customer
Engagement and Experience in Tourism: pre, during and post COVID-19” by consolidating the marketing topics in the form of a comprehensive volume. Hence, this book will be accepting contributions that are related to the following themes:

• Customer Engagement in Tourism: Dimensionality, Theories and Frameworks
• Tourism engagement conceptualisations
• Dynamic framework of consumer engagement
• Dimensionality (cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and social dimensions) of consumer engagement)
• Typology of consumer engagement
• Employee engagement (emotional, cognitive and behavioural)
• Customer Engagement: Key Antecedents and Consequence
• Key antecedents and/or drivers of consumer engagement
• Customer engagement behaviours in tourism, travel and hospitality
• Key consequences of consumer engagement in tourism
• Tourist engagement and its impact on their satisfaction and behaviours
• Tourism Customer Experience: Theories and Conceptual Frameworks
• Conceptualisations of tourism experience
• Evolution of tourism experience research
• Dynamic framework of the tourist experience
• Key drivers of tourism experience
• Key consequences of tourism experience
• Cognitive, emotional, sensory, social and spiritual dimensions of customer experiences
• Role and measurement of emotions in tourism experiences
• Typology of tourism experience
• The essence of memorable experience
• Service employees and customer experience
• Tourism experiences in the light of global trends
• Issues and opportunities in customer journey mapping in tourism & hospitality experiences
• Open Innovation Technologies, Co-creation Experiences and Customer Engagement
• The role of technology in engagement and service experience
• Virtual reality, augmented reality in tourism engagement and experience
• Games and gamification in tourism, travel and hospitality
• Social media, online brand communities, and mobile applications in tourism engagement and experience
• Co-construction of the tourist engagement and experience in social networking sites
• Role of themes and stories about tourist engagement and experiences
• Role of customer touch points in smart tourism destinations and experiences.
• Open innovation and co-creation approaches
• Co-creation of tourism experience
• Key drivers of co-creation
• Key consequences of co-creation
• Co-creation through service dominant logic (SDL)
• Role of tourists and visitors in service experience for innovation
• Service innovation and value co-creation processes
Emerging Issues
• The socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on tourism and/or hospitality services
• Diversification of tourism and/or hospitality services during/after COVID-19
• The use of digital media during/after COVID-19
• The consumer engagement in a post COVID-19 era

Aims and Objectives
This academic book differentiates itself as it covers consumer engagement and experience in the realms of tourism, Moreover, it will include both theory and practical cases from around the globe.
• This academic book aims to explore and critically investigate the current debates, questions and controversies in the rapidly growing disciplines of Consumer Engagement and Experience in Tourism.
• It brings together leading specialists, including experienced academic researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds and geographical regions, to offer state-of-the-art theoretical reflection and empirical research on contemporary issues and debates in these timely topics.
• It also encourages constructive dialogue among academia across marketing-related fields of study.
• It will be international in its focus, as it transcends national boundaries.

Target Audience
• The book shall be a comprehensive reference point and source for academics who are interested on contemporary concepts, ideas and debates relating to consumer engagement and experience in tourism.
• The target audience of the book will be composed of experienced academic researchers, Ph.D. candidates, post-graduate researchers and advanced under-graduates in the field of consumer engagement, consumer experience and relationship marketing in various disciplines including tourism, hospitality, leisure, festivals and events.
• Furthermore, the book will offer good insights to prospective tourism industry practitioners including managers, executives and other employees who are willing to broaden their knowledge to better engage with consumers.

Submission Details
Academics and researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract before the 31st July 2020. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision in August 2020. The accepted chapters should be submitted before the 31st January 2021. Their length should be around 7,000 words (excluding references, figures and tables). The manuscripts have to be typed double spaced in Times New Roman, font size 12, in an A4 paper. The contributions should feature the text, in the following sequence: title, abstract, keywords, introduction, literature review, methods, data analysis or interpretation of the findings, conclusions and implications, recommendations for future research, acknowledgements, references and a figure/table captions list in the same Word document. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be
critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications –before the 15th March 2021.

References
Ali, F., Ryu, K., & Hussain, K. (2016). Influence of experiences on memories, satisfaction and behavioral intentions: A study of creative tourism. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 33(1), 85-100.

Bilgihan, A., Okumus, F., & Cobanoglu, C. (2013). Generation Y travelers’ commitment to online social network websites. Tourism Management, 35, 13-22.

Brodie, R. J., Hollebeek, L. D., Jurić, B., & Ilić, A. (2011). Customer engagement: Conceptual domain, fundamental propositions, and implications for research. Journal of Service Research, 14(3), 252-271.

Buhalis, D. & Foerste, M. (2015). SoCoMo marketing for travel and tourism: Empowering co-creation of value. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 4(3), 151-161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdmm.2015.04.001

Buhalis, D. & Sinarta, Y. (2019). Real-time co-creation and nowness service: lessons from tourism and hospitality. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 36(5), 563-582. https://doi.org/10.1080/10548408.2019.1592059

Fan, D., Buhalis, D. & Lin, B. (2019). A tourist typology of online and face-to-face social contact: Destination immersion and tourism encapsulation/decapsulation, Annals of Tourism Research, 78, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2019.102757

Buhalis, D. (2020), Technology in tourism-from information communication technologies to eTourism and smart tourism towards ambient intelligence tourism: a perspective article, Tourism Review 75(1), 267-272.

Buhalis D, Andreu L. & Gnoth J. (2020). The dark side of the sharing economy: Balancing value co‐creation and value co‐destruction. Psychology and Marketing. Vol. 37(5), pp.689–704..https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21344 or https://www.academia.edu/42133651

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Travel marketing, tourism economics and the airline product. Cham: Springer.

Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.) (2019a). Tourism planning and destination marketing. Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

Camilleri, M. A. (Ed.). (2019b). The Branding of Tourist Destinations: Theoretical and Empirical Insights. Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

Chu, S. C., & Kim, Y. (2011). Determinants of consumer engagement in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) in social networking sites. International journal of Advertising, 30(1), 47-75.

Fang, B., Ye, Q., Kucukusta, D., & Law, R. (2016). Analysis of the perceived value of online tourism reviews: Influence of readability and reviewer characteristics. Tourism Management, 52, 498-506.

Harrigan, P., Evers, U., Miles, M., & Daly, T. (2017). Customer engagement with tourism social media brands. Tourism Management, 59, 597-609.

Hollebeek, L. D., Srivastava, R. K., & Chen, T. (2019). SD logic–informed customer engagement: integrative framework, revised fundamental propositions, and application to CRM. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47(1), 161-185.

Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 69-96.

Litvin, S. W., Goldsmith, R. E., & Pan, B. (2008). Electronic word-of-mouth in hospitality and tourism management. Tourism Management, 29(3), 458-468.

Rasoolimanesh, S. M., Md Noor, S., Schuberth, F., & Jaafar, M. (2019). Investigating the effects of tourist engagement on satisfaction and loyalty. The Service Industries Journal, 39(7-8), 559- 574.

Ram, Y., Björk, P., & Weidenfeld, A. (2016). Authenticity and place attachment of major visitor attractions. Tourism Management, 52, 110-122.

Rather, R. A., & Camilleri, M. A. (2019a). The effects of service quality and consumer-brand value congruity on hospitality brand loyalty. Anatolia, 30(4), 547-559.

Rather, R. A., & Hollebeek, L. D. (2019). Exploring and validating social identification and social exchange-based drivers of hospitality customer loyalty. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 31(3), 1432-1451.

Rather, R. A., Hollebeek, L. D., & Islam, J. U. (2019). Tourism-based customer engagement: the construct, antecedents, and consequences. The Service Industries Journal, 39(7-8), 519-540.

Sigala, M., Christou, E., & Gretzel, U. (Eds.). (2012). Social media in travel, tourism and hospitality: Theory, practice and cases. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

So, K. K. F., King, C., & Sparks, B. (2014). Customer engagement with tourism brands: Scale development and validation. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 38(3), 304-329.

Taheri, B., Jafari, A., & O’Gorman, K. (2014). Keeping your audience: Presenting a visitor engagement scale. Tourism Management, 42, 321-329.

Walls, A. R., Okumus, F., Wang, Y. R., & Kwun, D. J. W. (2011). An epistemological view of consumer experiences. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(1), 10-21.

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Filed under consumer brand identification, destination marketing, Hospitality, Marketing

Delivering service quality to increase brand loyalty

IMG-5907(C) M.A. Camilleri

This is an excerpt from my latest academic article.

How to Cite: Rather, R. A. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The effects of service quality and consumer-brand value congruity on hospitality brand loyalty, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research. https://doi.org/10.1080/13032917.2019.1650289

This study has proved that the combined effects of value congruity and service quality can have an impact on consumer-brand identification and engagement. The results from this study indicated that the consumer-brand identification as well as consumer-brand engagement were predicting the consumers’ loyalty toward the brand. The findings also reported that consumer-brand identification, perceived service quality as well as value congruity were significant antecedents of consumer-brand engagement. In addition, the service quality and value congruity had moderate, direct effects on consumer brand identification. Furthermore, the empirical results revealed that consumer brand identification has mediated the relationships between value congruity and brand loyalty, and between service quality and brand loyalty.

In a similar vein, a critical analysis of the relevant literature revealed that consumer-brand relationships are dependent on the customers’ identification with their favorite brands (Çifci et al., 2016; Rather & Camilleri, 2019; Rather, 2018; Tuskej & Podnar, 2018; So et al., 2013; 2014). Specifically, the consumer-brand identification is related with the consumer-brand value congruity (Rather, 2018). As a matter of fact, past research also reported that consumer-brand identification has a positive effect on customer behaviors and attitudes (in terms of loyalty and commitment) (Rather & Camilleri, 2019). However, in this case, the findings of this study suggest that both the consumer-brand value congruity and perceived service quality are the significant antecedents of consumer-brand identification and engagement.

The consumer-brand identification will inevitably trigger supporting behaviors like increased purchase / repurchase intentions (e.g., Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008) or positive word-of-mouth recommendations (Tuskej et al., 2013), among other positive outcomes. Therefore, hospitality practitioners ought to nurture physical and virtual relationships with their stakeholders via a multitude of approaches, if they want them to remain loyal to their business (Dedeoğlu & Demirer, 2015). Public activities such as sponsorship, charity events, social campaigns and so on can be used to enhance the brands’ image among interested parties, including customers (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). For this reason, several hospitality brands are increasingly engaging in interactive communications either individually or in groups, via digital technologies, including social media, blogs, v-blogs, video clips, review sites, etc. (Camilleri, 2018a; So et al., 2017; Su, Mariadoss, & Reynolds, 2015). Very often, individuals are intrigued to share their travel experiences, including their hotel accommodation (Camilleri, 2018b).

In a nutshell, this contribution posited that the hotel guests will probably engage and remain loyal to particular hospitality brands if they feel and perceive that their values reflect their own values. This study reported that the consumer-brand value congruity had a very significant effect on the consumers’ identification and engagement with the upscale hospitality brands. It indicated that the hotel guests who have experienced excellent service quality are more likely to share their experience with other individuals. Hence, hospitality managers need to ensure that their brand consistently delivers high levels of tangible and intangible service quality (at all times) to their valued guests in order to create long-lasting relationships with them.

The hotels’ provision of the service quality and brand experience ought to meet and exceed their guests’ expectations to satisfy their self-enhancement needs and their sense of well-being.

 

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