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Sensory marketing in hospitality: a critical synthesis and reflection

Lawrence Hoc Nang Fong (Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China)
Soey Sut Ieng Lei (Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, Macau SAR, China)
Cheris W.C. Chow (Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China)
Long W. Lam (Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 20 December 2022

131

Abstract

Purpose

Through a critical synthesis and reflection on the theoretical foundations and empirical evidence related to sensory marketing, this study aims to offer meaningful insights for hospitality operators and provides future research directions on sensory marketing in hospitality.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on an extensive review of sensory marketing studies across disciplines, this paper presents critical discussions of the theories and findings on the five senses in the context of hospitality.

Findings

The critical synthesis and discussion indicate that sensory marketing is highly relevant and applicable to operations in various hospitality sectors such as hotels and restaurants. Still, empirical evidence is required to lend support to the discussions. Although scholarly interest in sensory marketing has surged in the past decade, some research streams, such as sensory incongruence, cross-modal correspondence and sensory intensity, have yet to be extended. These under-researched areas provide directions for future hospitality research.

Practical implications

Through discussions of empirical evidence related to the five senses, mental simulation, cross-modal correspondence and sensory congruence, this paper provides implications for managing customers’ sensory experiences and behavior in hospitality settings.

Originality/value

Despite the increase of research on sensory marketing in the past decade, its full implications in the context of hospitality remain unknown. Through a critical synthesis and reflection on the hospitality literature, this paper offers research directions for a systematic expansion of sensory marketing.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Multi-year Research Grant of the University of Macau (no. MYRG2020-00267-FBA).

Citation

Fong, L.H.N., Lei, S.S.I., Chow, C.W.C. and Lam, L.W. (2022), "Sensory marketing in hospitality: a critical synthesis and reflection", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2022-0764

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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