To create positive customer experiences, the service industry is increasingly paying attention to hospitality. However, service organisations are in need of tools to improve the experience of hospitality of their customers. What service attributes result in an experience of hospitality? Research on hospitality has thus far focussed on service staff behaviour (Ariffin & Maghzi, 2012; Blain & Lashley, 2014; Tasci & Semrad, 2016). However, there is a lack of knowledge on the role of environmental attributes in the experience of hospitality. Besides Brotherton (2005), who showed that modern, clean, comfortable and bright are aspects people associate with hospitality, little is known about how the perception of attributes of the physical service environment contribute to our experience of hospitality. Research has shown that the experience of hospitality in service environments is represented by three factors: inviting, care and comfort (Pijls, Groen, Galetzka & Pruyn, 2017). These factors are expected to be triggered by mental concepts grounded in bodily sensations. According to embodied cognition theory, attributes we perceive with our senses result in bodily sensation, such as warmth, weight or distance, which in turn affect our mental state. Embodied cognition is the idea that emotions and thoughts not only originate in the brain, but that we also think and feel with our body (Lobel, 2014). We expect that embodied cognition is one of the mechanisms underlying the experience of hospitality, linking the experience of hospitality to the impact of the physical environment. As far as we know the theory of embodied cognition has not yet been studied in the context of hospitality. Mental warmth is one of the abstract metaphors grounded in a concrete experience, in this case in the sensation of physical warmth (Williams & Bargh, 2008; Lakoff and Johnson, 1999). This experiment explores the effect of the perceived physical warmth on the experience of mental warmth among customers of a theatre by examining the effect of cold versus warm furniture material and by examining the effect of cold versus hot drinks. Based on the studies performed by Williams and Bargh (2008) and IJzerman & Semin (2009) on the effect of holding cold versus hot drinks, it is expected that: H1 Touching and drinking a hot drink will lead to the experience of hospitality H2 Touching and drinking a hot drink will lead to the experience of physical warmth, and subsequently mental warmth, which will result an increased experience of hospitality, compared to touching and drinking a cold drink. H3 Sitting on furniture made of warm material will lead to the experience of hospitality H4 Sitting on furniture made of warm material will lead to the experience of physical warmth, and subsequently mental warmth, which will result an increased experience of hospitality, compared to touching and drinking a cold drink. The experience of hospitality will be measured in a theatre foyer. A 3 (warm versus neutral versus cold furniture material) x 2 (warm versus cold drink) between-subjects factorial design will be employed. Visitors to the theatre will be asked to fill in the survey, while holding and drinking either a warm or a cold drink, and while sitting either on warm, neutral or cold furniture. The experience of hospitality will be measured with the 13-item Experience of Hospitality Scale. Mental warmth will be measured by 5 questions, such as ‘the foyer has an intimate atmosphere’, ‘I’m warmly treated in this theatre’, ‘this theatre is a warm organisation’. Results are forthcoming.
|Publication status||Published - 24 Oct 2017|
|Event||EuroCHRIE 2017: Reach the unreached – touch the untouched - Nairobi, Kenya|
Duration: 23 Oct 2017 → 25 Oct 2017
|Period||23/10/17 → 25/10/17|
Pijls-Hoekstra, R., Galetzka, M., Groen, B. H., & Pruyn, A. T. H. (2017). The role of warmth in the experience of hospitality: An exploratory study. Poster session presented at EuroCHRIE 2017, Nairobi, Kenya.