This paper aims to explore theme park visitors’ attitudes toward interacting with robots and investigated the qualities and functions of robotic servers and their influence on customers’ loyalty. A structural equation modeling approach was used to identify the complex relationships among variables in the entire network.
An online survey randomly assigned respondents to four different robotic server scenarios with robots that look like humans, animals, cartoon characters and anime features. The influence of robot types was investigated by manipulating robot type with four different pictures; however, the data were analyzed with a structural equation modeling model to identify the complex relationships rather than one-way analysis of variance to identify influences of robot types on different variables in separate analyzes.
The data collected from the 385 experienced theme park visitors revealed that perception of robots with human orientation and safety qualities had the strongest effect on the perceived robotic functionality, while emotions and co-creation qualities hardly had any effect on the perceived functionality, which included utilitarian rather than experiential functions such as excitement. Human orientation qualities, regardless of the specific robotic design, had a significant impact on perceived robotic functionality. The study also revealed a strong positive influence of perceived robotic functionality on customer loyalty.
The debate of whether or not to introduce and blend the growing robotic technology into the theme park experience is in its infancy. The study contributes to the theory of how robotics qualities and functions can augment customer loyalty.
2019-2020 Dean’s research scholars program, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida.
Milman, A., Tasci, A. and Zhang, T.(C). (2020), "Perceived robotic server qualities and functions explaining customer loyalty in the theme park context", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 32 No. 12, pp. 3895-3923. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2020-0597Download as .RIS
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