The purpose of this paper is to introduce a theoretical framework, the holistic mental model process, with major contextual factors (cultural, situation, cognitive and affective contexts) to help better understand tourists’ perception and evaluation of intercultural tourists–tour guide service encounters.
Summary tables of an extensive literature review of previous empirical studies relating to intercultural service encounters, service encounter and service quality to help derive the holistic mental model process framework are included.
Gaps from the previous literature were identified along with in-depth explanations as to how a holistic mental model process can be applied to tourists evaluating intercultural tourist–tour guide service encounters and the service quality of their overall travel experience.
The current conceptual framework of the holistic mental model process targets specifically on the intercultural tourists–tour guide service encounters. More in-depth empirical studies can be conducted focusing on specific variables of the intercultural tourist–tour guide service encounters and on the factor differences between specific cultures.
This research has practical implications for travel agencies and tourism companies. Travel agencies and tour companies can apply the holistic mental model process framework to examine and analyze the influential variables between tourists and tour guide (i.e. cultural differences, etiquette, norms and behaviors), thus design better tour guide training programs accordingly.
Service encounter is a social activity that is influenced by the social environment. To achieve the best service quality, all parties, including tourists, tour guide, tour companies, host community, must understand cultural differences; work together in coordination and cooperation.
This is the first study that provides an in-depth holistic mental model process by integrating major contextual factors to examine tourists’ evaluation of intercultural service encounters between themselves and tour guides.
Zhao, D. and Y. Lin, I. (2014), "Understanding tourists’ perception and evaluation of inter-cultural service encounters: a holistic mental model process", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 290-309. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-09-2013-0070Download as .RIS
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