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The role of relationship marketing investments in customer reciprocity

Jin-Soo Lee (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Seongseop Kim (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Steve Pan (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

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.

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited