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Elevating the boutique appeal: generating a sense of place in luxury hospitality through virtual tours

Attila Pohlmann (School of Busines, Instituto de Empresa y Desarrollo IED, Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ, Quito, Ecuador)
Franklin Velasco (School of Busines, Instituto de Empresa y Desarrollo IED, Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ, Quito, Ecuador)
Eva M. Guerra-Leal (EGADE Business School, Tecnnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)
Cesar J. Sepulveda (EGADE Business School, Tecnnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)

Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality

ISSN: 2752-6666

Article publication date: 27 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Place identity refers to the combination of physical setting, social interactions, emotions and associated meanings. This research paper aims to broaden knowledge about boutique concepts and to examine the role of advertisement types suited to generate a heightened sense of place for customers. The design and delivery of tangible and intangible components of the boutique service experience are investigated to better understand business-relevant customer outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

An introductory qualitative study explores the key features and managerial relevance of the boutique appeal as a means to communicate personalization and a sense of place. Interviews with managers of a boutique catering service are conducted and thematically analyzed. A quantitative follow-up study examines the effect of the boutique appeal on hotel image, purchase intention and willingness to pay.

Findings

A boutique hotel appeal is more attractive to customers (compared to traditional luxury appeals) when it is advertised using visually engaging virtual tours because it augments customers’ sensation of place identity. The mediating psychological mechanism, place identity, represents the essential emotional component evoked by boutique concepts and its positive effect on managerially relevant customer outcomes.

Originality/value

This paper provides insight for the design and management of boutique concepts to better shape and predict consumer responses in various luxury hospitality industries. The process by which customers identify with the location where the service is provided, socialize with staff and attach meaning to these settings evokes a sense of place identity, a critical resource in the process of value co-creation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Serena Volo, Noel Scott and the entire editorial team, as well as the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.

Citation

Pohlmann, A., Velasco, F., Guerra-Leal, E.M. and Sepulveda, C.J. (2022), "Elevating the boutique appeal: generating a sense of place in luxury hospitality through virtual tours", Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CBTH-05-2022-0121

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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