Hotels on fire: investigating consumers' responses and perceptions

Aikaterini Vassilikopoulou (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
George Siomkos (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Kalliopi Chatzipanagiotou (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Amalia Triantafillidou (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 2 October 2009



This paper aims to investigate the consumer responses associated with crises in the hotel industry. More precisely, the current research explores the factors that affect consumer attitudes (i.e. impressions, perceived social responsibility, and future purchases) during a hotel crisis.


An experiment was conducted relying on four factors: the hotel's reputation, the extent of the crisis, external effects from regulatory agencies, and press and organisational response. Respondents were randomly assigned to 36 treatment groups (three levels of crisis extent×two levels of hotel corporate reputation×two levels of external effects×three levels of hotel response). Scenarios were developed, each describing one of the 36 treatments.


The results revealed that reputation, external effects and organisational response significantly influenced consumers. Specifically, consumers were more likely to have a positive impression of a hotel in crisis, to perceive the hotel as being more socially responsible, and to revisit the hotel when it was highly reputed, accepted responsibility, and was viewed favourably by the media. The extent of the crisis was found to be an insignificant factor.

Practical implications

Hotel managers could incorporate the results of this study into their crisis management plans. As consumer attitudes are explored, the hotel might begin to achieve more effective crisis management strategies.


There is a lack of research investigating hotel crisis management from the customer's perspective. By adopting effective crisis management practices, hotel managers could reduce the negative outcomes of crises such as fires.



Vassilikopoulou, A., Siomkos, G., Chatzipanagiotou, K. and Triantafillidou, A. (2009), "Hotels on fire: investigating consumers' responses and perceptions", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 21 No. 7, pp. 791-815.

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