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Exploring and validating social identification and social exchange-based drivers of hospitality customer loyalty

Raouf Ahmad Rather (The Business School, University of Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India)
Linda D. Hollebeek (Montpellier Business School – Montpellier Research in Management, Montpellier, France Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia and NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 13 February 2019

Issue publication date: 30 April 2019




Despite growing academic interest in social identification (e.g. customer brand identification) and social exchange (e.g. commitment/loyalty), little remains known regarding the theoretical interface of these concepts in hospitality sector. Building on this research gap, the purpose of this study is to develop and test a model that explores the effects of brand identification, satisfaction, commitment and trust on customer loyalty toward four and five-star hotels. The authors also explore the mediating role of commitment, satisfaction and trust in the association of brand identification and loyalty.


To investigate the objectives of this study, the authors deployed a convenience sample of 345 consumers from four- and five-star hotels in the emerging markets context. Data analysis consisted of confirmatory factor analysis as well as structural equation modeling.


The findings of this study indicate that customer brand identification, trust, commitment and satisfaction exert a positive impact on loyalty. Brand identification also exerts a favorable impact on customer trust, commitment and satisfaction. Specifically, satisfaction was found to exert the largest effect on commitment, trust and loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

The findings may have limited applicability in contexts other than four- and five-star hotels in the emerging market context. Theoretically, this study adds insight into the dynamics characterizing focal social identification and social exchange-based theoretical relationships as observed in the hospitality sector.


The authors adopt an under-explored hybrid social identity/social exchange theoretical perspective to identify the nature and strength of associations among a set of relational, social identity/exchange-based constructs and discuss their key implications for academicians and hospitality managers.



Rather, R.A. and Hollebeek, L.D. (2019), "Exploring and validating social identification and social exchange-based drivers of hospitality customer loyalty", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 1432-1451.



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