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The impact of satisfaction and image on loyalty: the case of Alpine ski resorts

Rita Faullant (Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria)
Kurt Matzler (Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria)
Johann Füller (Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 21 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Customer satisfaction is seen to be one of the main determinants of loyalty. However, the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty does not seem to be linear, many researchers have reported doubts about the predictability of loyalty solely due to customer satisfaction ratings which ignore image as predictor of loyalty. This paper aims to address the issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors report a study of ski resorts where they first established a causal model of customer satisfaction and image predicting customer loyalty, and then map the scores in a four‐fields‐grid. Additionally the authors conducted a moderator analysis to assess the relative importance of image and satisfaction for loyalty intentions between two different groups (first‐time‐visitors, and regular guests).

Findings

The results show that those ski resorts with the highest satisfaction ratings and the highest image ratings have the highest loyalty scores. Among first‐time‐visitors overall satisfaction is more important than image, with increasing number of repeat visits the importance of overall satisfaction declines and that of image relatively augments.

Practical implications

Besides measuring customer satisfaction, managers must assess also image ratings in order to get a realistic view of the loyalty intentions of their customer base. The scores can than be mapped together with the ratings of other ski resorts, and serve as a benchmark study.

Originality/value

Second order analysis of image (comprising three different dimensions), the image‐satisfaction‐grid, moderating effect of experience to relative importance of satisfaction and image on loyalty.

Keywords

Citation

Faullant, R., Matzler, K. and Füller, J. (2008), "The impact of satisfaction and image on loyalty: the case of Alpine ski resorts", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 163-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520810859210

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited