Standardisation or Customisation? An Investigation of the Attributes of Customer Experience Among International Hotel Brands in China and New Zealand
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The features of international hotel brands are reflected in the standardised hotel products and services they offer (Ivanova et al., 2016). However, the needs and expectations of hotel guests are changing, as they now seek experiential hotel products and services (Bharwani & Butt, 2012). Therefore, it is worthwhile determining the preferences of contemporary hotel guests, especially in terms of experience. Many scholars have explored aspects of the customer experience in the hospitality sector (Alnawas & Hemsley-Brown, 2019; Ren et al., 2016; Wu & Yang, 2018;). Extant studies on customer experience have mainly concentrated on luxury and budget hotels. However, research on the customer experience of international hotel brands is limited, especially in New Zealand. This study, therefore, aims to investigate the attributes affecting customer experience in internationally branded hotels in China and New Zealand. This study was guided by an interpretivist paradigm and adopted a qualitative research approach. A content analysis was employed to analyse a total number of 300 online reviews collected from Booking.com on three international hotel brands. The main attributes affecting customer experience of international hotel brands were rooms, service, staff performance, hotel facilities, food and beverages, and location. Price and social responsibilities were less important but none-the-less influential attributes affecting the overall customer experience. The findings of this study also revealed that guests prefer standardisation of a hotel’s physical environment but customisation of the social environment. Results of this study will be helpful for hospitality industry practitioners, as they provide suggestions on how to improve customer experiences. The findings also contribute to the literature by identifying the attributes affecting customer experience.