Category Archives: California

Different Service, Same Experience: Documenting the Subtlety of Modern Racial Discrimination in U.S. Restaurants


Restaurant servers’ negative sentiments toward Black customers have been well documented. Further, existing research has shown that a large proportion of waiters/waitresses confess that they sometimes discriminate against Black Americans by giving them less than their optimal service effort. However, research assessing the generalized consequences of servers’ discriminatory practices on consumers’ experiences is lacking. In response, this study analyzes survey data from a demographically diverse sample of Black and White consumers (N = 415) to test for interracial differences in nine distinct self-reported outcomes assessing typical and recent dining experiences in full-service restaurants. Given widespread anti-Black sentiments and discriminatory actions among servers, we posit that Black Americans will on average report diminished dining experiences relative to their White counterparts. In contrast to our predictions, results indicate that Black and White respondents report similar dining experiences when visiting full-service restaurants and, where differences exist, Black respondents appear to report slightly more positive and less negative experiences compared with their White counterparts. We identify a number of interconnected factors that may account for this observed pattern and conclude by encouraging additional scholarship on the nature and downstream effects of race-based restaurant service.

The Effect of Cost of Living on Employee Wages in the Hospitality Industry


This study examines the effect of cost of living (COL) on employee wages in the hotel industry. Although prior research clearly indicates that COL and wages are positively related, there is a lack of research explicitly considering the specific nature of the relationship between COL and wages, and potential moderators to the relationship. Using a dataset containing information on 97 jobs over 67 cities, our study shows that while there is a positive effect of COL on wages, the adjustment is not equal in magnitude to the difference that the COL levels would indicate. Furthermore, the effect of COL decreases as the average wage for the given job increases. We also show differences in COL’s effects for full-service versus limited-service hotels. We illustrate the implications of our findings by showing predicted wage rates for four jobs in five different cities, at both full-service and limit-service hotels. The study has implications for research, particularly for future work on COL and compensation. The findings also have important implications for practice, and may be particularly useful when managers need to set pay levels when local market data are unavailable.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Equity-Holder Risk in the Hospitality Industry


This study examined whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) enhances firm value for shareholders, who ultimately fund a firm’s CSR initiatives. Specifically, we investigated the relationship between the CSR activities of a hospitality firm and the risks associated with equity holding of the firm. Using MSCI Environmental, Social, and Governance ratings from 1991 to 2008, we measured the extent of CSR efforts of firms and tested the effect of CSR on two different types of equity-holder risks (i.e., systematic and unsystematic risks) across four segments in the hospitality industry (airlines, hotels, casinos, and restaurants). CSR was found to reduce the systematic risk of restaurants and casinos firms significantly, whereas it had no significant influence on the unsystematic risk in any of the segments. The results of this study have important theoretical and practical implications to the academia and the hospitality industry.

Improving the Review Policy and Process for Authors and Reviewers

In this issue’s “From the Editor,” I describe a new review policy and process for both authors and reviewers. Authors should find that this new policy and process provides them with faster editorial decisions, higher quality feedback, and greater clarity about required revisions, as well as greater freedom to disagree with reviewers and to write the papers they (the authors) want. Reviewers should find that this new policy and process saves them from having to review obviously flawed papers and from having to review different versions of the same paper over and over again.

Under my editorship, the CQ’s review policy and process includes the following key elements:

Manuscripts may be submitted for review in any recognized formatting style. No longer do papers have to be formatted using the journal’s style guide on the first round of reviews. Also, the managing editor no longer has to check and approve a paper’s formatting before it is put in the editor’s queue.

All submitted papers are first read by me. I then decide either to desk-reject the paper or to send it out for review. The desk-reject rate is deliberately high (about 60%) in order to reduce both the journal’s demands on reviewers and the amount of time authors must wait before receiving negative decisions on their manuscripts.

Submissions passing my initial screening are then sent to several reviewers, who are recruited from the list of authors in the manuscripts’ references, from the results of electronic/web searches for …

Whats in a Word? Building Program Loyalty through Social Media Communication


Customer loyalty is paramount for hospitality businesses, and social media communication is becoming a powerful way to increase touchpoints with customers. However, scant research evaluates the impact of social media behavior on program loyalty. Thus, the goal of our study is to determine the impact of social media communication on hotel program loyalty. We present a quantitative model of the differential impact of various forms of social media word of mouth (WOM) and verify it with a random sample of 575 participants. Our results suggest that hotelier social media communication style and information quality significantly affect consumer social media behavior; this leads to increased loyalty toward hotel reward programs. Combined with other findings, the friendly dimension of communication style has the highest impact, whereas interactive and professional display the lowest scores. In other words, study respondents are more likely to participate in friendly social media environments; such participation is more limited with regard to those that are simply interactive and professional. Therefore, this study adds to the body of knowledge on loyalty, WOM, social media communication, and rewards programs by proposing and testing an integrative model between social media communication style, information quality, social media behavior, and all of their ultimate impact on program loyalty.

Antecedents and Outcomes of Hospitality Loyalty: A Meta-Analysis


Customer loyalty is vital for hospitality businesses. A large body of literature has accumulated on the topic, requiring integration to form generalizations and to make it accessible to operators. In this research, I provide a conceptual framework for classifying indirect and direct loyalty antecedents and outcomes, and quantifying its components using meta-analysis. I analyze 102 studies that produce 423 effect sizes, which are distilled into a summary effect size for each relationship. The analysis reveals strong relationships between direct loyalty antecedents (satisfaction, emotional commitment, service quality, trust, and switching costs) and overall loyalty. However, the magnitude of effects declines significantly as the outcome moves from attitudinal loyalty to behavioral intentions to behavior. As most of our knowledge about loyalty is based on intention measures, the findings suggest that effects on actual loyalty may be smaller than the research would suggest. Indirect loyalty antecedents include experiential, monetary, and relational attributes. It appears that each of these categories affect loyalty through somewhat different processes, although they all relate to satisfaction. The meta-analysis approach allows operators to glean key findings relevant to their business from a single source. It enables researchers to answer research questions and to summarize relationships from a body of literature that cannot be tested conclusively with a single study.

A Comparison of the Performance of Brand-Affiliated and Unaffiliated Hotel Properties


Research has shown that performance differences exist between brand-affiliated hotels and unaffiliated properties. However, the extant empirical results are mixed. Some research has shown that brands outperform unaffiliated hotels on various metrics, whereas other research has shown the opposite. This article analyzes this issue using a matched-pair approach where we compare the performance differences of brand-affiliated and unaffiliated properties between 1998 and 2010. The matched-pair approach ensures that local competitive conditions as well as hotel characteristics are the same across the comparison pair. In addition, all potential omitted-variable bias and model misspecifications are avoided. Thus, to address our research question, we compare branded hotels with unaffiliated properties that are identical in age, market segment, location, and duration of operation, as well as having a similar number of rooms. Our analysis shows that performance differentials are present, albeit not systematic. We found no consistent advantages in all segments for either the affiliated hotels or the comparable unaffiliated properties, taking into account our comparison factors. That said, the methodology of our approach yields results that are more informative to the affiliation choice of owners and to the growth strategies of hotel brand–owner companies than those of previous empirical studies.

Factors Contributing to Popularity of Loyalty Programs: Evidence From Emerging Markets


Using secondary data from multiple sources, this study empirically examines the factors that contribute to the popularity of loyalty programs in the airline and hotel industries in the context of emerging market economies. We find that the number of partners, the number of redemption options, and the threshold for obtaining elite status all positively contribute to a loyalty program’s popularity. However, the award redemption requirement has the opposite effects on a program’s popularity. Our results show that the redemption requirement of top-tier preferential treatment negatively affects the program’s popularity. Surprisingly, the redemption requirement of entry-tier preferential treatment positively affects the program’s popularity. As one of the few program-level empirical studies, this study contributes new insights to the extant literature on loyalty program management and provides managerial guidelines for practitioners in the hospitality sector.

Airline Passenger Loyalty: The Distinct Effects of Airline Passenger Perceived Pre-Flight and In-Flight Service Quality


The current study contributes to the extant literature by illustrating that airlines can enhance passenger (customer) satisfaction and loyalty by focusing on the enhancement of those aspects of the pre-flight and in-flight service experience over which they have direct control. The results indicate that airline passenger perceived pre-flight service quality and perceived in-flight service quality are distinct aspects of airline service quality that have independent and positive direct effects on airline passenger satisfaction. Moreover, perceived pre-flight service quality had a substantive, positive impact on airline passenger loyalty. Our findings illustrate the importance of airline pre-flight service quality and highlight the focal role that customer perceptions of pre-experience service quality (e.g., pre-experience communication, procedures, and interactions) play in the enhancement of customer satisfaction and fostering customer loyalty.

High Tech Versus High Touch: Comparing Electronic and Hard-Copy Gift Cards


Previous research in the area of how individuals respond to hard-copy versus electronic communications indicates inconsistent results. Although media richness theory suggests that there is no theoretical distinction between physical, hard-copy and electronic, text-based communications, other research has shown that an individual’s response varies depending on the type of communication. The present research explores the reaction to unexpected opportunities as a function of how the communications are received—either via email or as a hard-copy. Results indicate that participants were equally satisfied to receive either an electronic or a physical gift certificate; however, they redeemed them in unequal amounts. Participants who received a physical gift card were more likely to redeem their gifts and were more likely to spend a greater amount of the total gift card than those who received an electronic one.