This paper aims to, building on the concept of relational benefits, relationship marketing investments, gratitude, satisfaction and favorable reciprocal behaviors, examine the mechanism of cultivating relationships with valued customers at an upscale restaurant.
To capture the traits of the population (upscale restaurant customers who perceive relationship marketing investments by experiencing relational benefits), upscale restaurant customers with membership cards were contacted in the survey. Structural equation modeling was used to test measurement and structural models.
Empirical findings indicated that confidence and social benefits positively contributed to relationship marketing investments, whereas special treatment benefits were not significantly related to relationship marketing investments. In turn, relationship marketing investments positively affected both gratitude and satisfaction; relationship marketing investments were also more associated with gratitude than satisfaction. Gratitude positively evoked favorable reciprocal behaviors; however, satisfaction did not trigger favorable reciprocal behaviors.
The integration of relationship marketing investments and gratitude into the conceptual model would allow the current findings to generate rich theoretical and practical implications that the extant hospitality literature has not elucidated.
The authors would like to thank Rex Warren of Johnson & Wales University and Kevin Mallory of CBRE Hotels for providing access to the STR Weekly RevPAR data set.
Lee, J.-S., Kim, S. and Pan, S. (2014), "The role of relationship marketing investments in customer reciprocity", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 1200-1224. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2013-0166
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