Hospitality in a theatre: The role of physical warmth

Ruth Pijls-Hoekstra*, Mirjam Galetzka, Brenda H Groen, Ad T H Pruyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Insight into psychological mechanisms offers service organisations the opportunity to increase their hospitality performance. The present research shows that physical warmth positively contributes to people’s experience of hospitality. In a field experiment among 127 visitors to a theatre, the effects of cold versus hot drinks and furniture on the experience of hospitality were examined using the Experience of Hospitality Scale (EH scale), measuring the three experiential factors of hospitality: inviting, care and comfort. In line with embodiment theory, hot drinks positively influenced the experience of the care factor of hospitality in the theatre foyer by triggering the abstract metaphor of mental warmth. However, warm furniture showed no effect, which supports the assumption that the effects of short- and long-term exposure to physical warmth are different. This study is the first to show a relationship between physically warm objects and the experience of hospitality in a service-oriented environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225
Number of pages233
JournalResearch in Hospitality Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021


  • Customer experience
  • Embodiment
  • Hospitable environment
  • Service delivery
  • Service environment


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