This study aims to explore the hospitality and religious experience of Israeli travelers visiting the globally prevalent Jewish Orthodox Chabad Houses that provide religious, spiritual, educational and hospitality havens in their locales, regardless of the degree of observance.
Using Schmitt’s (1999b) experiential consumption dimensions of Sense, Feel, Think, Relate and Act, this study measured the various visitors’ experiences, satisfaction and loyalty using a sample of 488 Israeli travelers obtained from online social media sites, popular with Israeli travelers.
The findings reveal that Israeli visits to Chabad Houses were primarily characterized by Act, Feel and Relate experiences like meeting fellow Israeli travelers, a sense of togetherness and a feeling of belonging. In predicting satisfaction and loyalty, the visitors’ religious experience did not play a major role, but rather the actual hospitality extended by their religious hosts, like a home-like feeling, comfort, tasty food and a sense of togetherness did.
Collecting data from an online sample might yield results that would not be applicable to the typical Chabad House visitor. Due to the Chabad Houses’ global presence, their visitors’ experiences may vary from one house to another and the findings may not represent an accurate picture of the typical Chabad House visit.
To continue its hospitality brand, the Chabad movement’s decision-makers should continue focusing on innovative visitor experiences and balance the religious and secular components of their hospitality, as well as consider carefully how to direct their marketing and operational budgets.
Adding to the body of literature on travelers’ experience at religious sites, this research is a pioneering attempt to study and explore visitors’ religious and hospitality experiences while visiting small non-conspicuous religious centers that extend their global hospitality brand to travelers.
Milman, A. and Oren, G. (2018), "In praise of hospitality: the role extended by religious hosts as drivers of satisfaction and loyalty", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 348-365. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-04-2018-0049
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