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Customer experience and brand loyalty in the full-service hotel sector: the role of brand affect

Jingjing Guan (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China and School of Tourism and Urban-rural Planning, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Wanfei Wang (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Zhigang Guo (Business School, Anyang Institute of Technology, Anyang, China)
Jin Hooi Chan (Faculty of Business, University of Greenwich, London, UK)
Xiaoguang Qi (S Plus Academy, Shanghai, China, and Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 19 May 2021

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021

3602

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to propose a comprehensive causal model to examine the relationships between customer experience and four key factors in brand building, i.e., brand loyalty, brand trust, brand affect and brand involvement. The dimensionality of customer experience in full-service hotel is also particularly examined in relation to brand building.

Design/methodology/approach

Three steps of data collection were used: interviews of 50 customers on their experiences of staying full-service hotels, a small survey of 176 hotel guests to establish the measurement scale of customer experience and a major survey of 732 hotel customers in ten major Chinese cities to test the model of brand loyalty.

Findings

Customers’ experiences with full-service hotels are proposed to be categorized into functional, affective and social. There is a chain effect from customer experience to brand trust and to brand affect and then to brand loyalty. The brand involvement does moderate relationships between customer experience and brand trust and brand affect but not brand loyalty.

Practical implications

For full-service hotels, social and functional experiences are critical in building brand loyalty, and therefore, they need to be the focal points in the enhancement of customer experience. Also, hoteliers are advised to develop emotional connections between the customers and the hotel brand – an effective way of building trust and affection.

Originality/value

According to the authors’ knowledge, this paper is one of the first few studies to link customer experience to brand loyalty with comprehensive causal effect analysis. This study also contributes to the knowledge of customer experience in the context of the full-service hotel sector.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the financial support of the National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No.18BJY203) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 72074194; 41701166). The authors would like to acknowledge the comments and proofreading works done by Robert Cottey.

Citation

Guan, J., Wang, W., Guo, Z., Chan, J.H. and Qi, X. (2021), "Customer experience and brand loyalty in the full-service hotel sector: the role of brand affect", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 1620-1645. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2020-1177

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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