Self-service Phone Kiosk Attributes and Pilgrims Experience: Toward an Integrated Conceptual Framework
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The launching of a self-service phone kiosk in what is considered the most holy place for Muslims in the entire world is the main context of this thesis. Pilgrimage or visit (i.e., Hajj and Umrah in Arabic) to these holy places play a pivotal role in Islamic faith. Therefore, a huge number of pilgrims and visitors gather in this place annually, either during specific months, or for Umrah, at any time of the year. To cater for the needs of this pilgrim group in terms of services and facilities, this study sets out to understand this special market segment concerning the use of a self-service phone kiosk. Particularly, this research aims to 1) explore the motivational factors that underlie pilgrim experience and to develop a measurement scale for the construct of pilgrim experience; and 2) examine the influence of self-service phone kiosk attributes (i.e., functionality, security, accessibility, customisation and design) on pilgrim’s satisfaction with their self-service phone kiosk encounter and their overall pilgrim experience, as well as the impact on the continued usage intention of this service. This study employed focus group interviews and a field survey. The focus group interviewees were from Muslim community in Auckland. The outcomes from the focus group interviews were used to develop a measurement scale for the construct of pilgrim experience and to determine the types of self-service phone kiosk attributes preferred by pilgrims and visitors. The survey data (n=274) was collected at several phone kiosk around a holy site located in Makkah recruited Muslims pilgrims and visitors of the holy mosque. Structural equation modelling was used to assess the hypothesised relationships. The findings of this research revealed that the subjects were generally satisfied with the self-service phone kiosk and that functionality was among the most important attribute for pilgrims in terms of satisfaction with using self-service phone kiosk as well as enhancing the pilgrim experience. Also, the results of satisfaction with the usage of self-service phone kiosk showed a significant impact on the continue usage intention amongst pilgrim, which support the past research findings on this aspect. This study contributes theoretically, methodologically and practically to this field in many ways, the model developed in this thesis add solid contributions to the marketing and tourism literature.