Are you feeling served: The embodied experience of hospitality in service environments

Ruth Pijls-Hoekstra

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research external, graduation UT

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This dissertation presents research on the experience of hospitality in service environments. The research contributes to the gap in the literature on hospitality examined from a customer perspective, and adds to the understanding of the effects of environmental service cues on the experience of hospitality of service customers.
Part one of the dissertation contains the understanding and measurement of the experience of hospitality. Results revealed that the experience of hospitality consists of three factors: inviting, care and comfort. Subsequently, the Experience of Hospitality Scale (EH-Scale) was developed and validated in different types of service organisation, resulting in a 13-item questionnaire that is applicable to all types of service organisations.
Part two of the dissertation presents experimental research on the effects of particular physical sensations in the service environment on the experience of hospitality. It furthermore explores to what extent the effects of these service cues on the experience of hospitality can be explained by embodied cognition theory. The research demonstrated that particular environmental service cues affect the experience of hospitality: a warm drink in a theatre foyer, comfortable seating in a self-service restaurant and a transparent entrance of a hotel or a dental practice positively affect the hospitality associated with the organization. Furthermore, the research provides empirical support for embodied cognition as one of the mechanisms involved in the effects.
The research provides knowledge that is relevant for various academic fields such as hospitality, services marketing, psychology and design. Overall, this dissertation increases our understanding of the experience of hospitality by enabling us to measure both the concept itself and the effects of particular sensory cues in service environments.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Pruijn, A.Th.H., Supervisor
  • Galetzka, Mirjam, Co-Supervisor
  • Groen, Brenda H., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date9 Nov 2020
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5066-6
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5066-6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020


  • Hospitality
  • Customer Experience
  • Sensory perception
  • Services
  • Servicescape
  • Scale development
  • Warmth
  • Comfort
  • Inviting


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