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.

Servant Versus Authentic Leadership: Assessing Effectiveness in Chinas Hospitality Industry


This study compares the effectiveness of servant versus authentic leadership in hospitality firms by examining relationships with group-level trust and individual-level work outcomes (i.e., organizational commitment, work engagement, and work performance), and their influencing mechanisms through trust climate. Using two-wave data from 1,132 employee–supervisor pairs from 80 departments in 16 star-level hotels in China, we find that these two forms of leadership have positive effects on group trust climate and employee work outcomes; however, the magnitudes and paths of their effects are distinct. In comparison with authentic leadership, servant leadership has a more significant effect on creating a trust climate and a more direct effect regarding increasing employees’ positive work attitudes (i.e., organizational commitment and work engagement), ultimately influencing work performance. This study also demonstrates the importance of group trust climate in relationships between group-level leadership and individual-level employee work attitudes and performance. These findings extend the scope of servant and authentic leadership research, and advocate servant leadership in the hospitality industry.

Ready to Embrace Genetically Modified Wines? The Role of Knowledge Exposure and Intrinsic Wine Attributes


This study examines whether knowledge exposure and supreme wine attributes such as appearance, aroma, taste, and hangover avoidance influence consumers’ quality evaluation and purchase intentions of genetically modified (GM) wines. We conducted two experimental studies in two different settings involving a total of 321 subjects. Results indicate that educating consumers with knowledge on GM wines efficiently reduces the fear caused by GM identity. Importantly, the desirable organoleptic and functional performances of GM wines not only reduce consumers’ concerns with GM products but also enable GM wines to surpass conventional options that are less salient in these performances. Specifically, consumers would choose a GM wine over traditional options if the GM wine has a superior appearance and the ability to eliminate a hangover. Furthermore, consumers express equal acceptance of GM wines and traditional counterparts when there are no differences in aroma and taste. This research delivers significant implications for wine marketing through examining a timely and controversial subject matter.

Should Hotels Respond to Negative Online Reviews?


The purpose of this study was to determine whether it is beneficial for service providers, such as hotels and restaurants, to respond to online negative reviews, and (a) whether company reputation is moderated by the number of negative versus positive reviews and (b) whether the underlying issue is attributed to controllable versus uncontrollable factors. To test the hypotheses, a 2 × 2 × 2 quasi-experimental design was utilized. Respondents were asked to imagine that they were planning a trip to New York City, were searching online for a hotel near Times Square, and were provided with several reviews. The results indicate, in general, that company reputation is adversely affected as the number of negative to positive reviews becomes greater. When service failures pertain to controllable factors, management responses can mitigate the adverse effects of negative reviews. When service failures stem from uncontrollable factors, company reputation is not adversely affected, and thus a response from management might not be necessary. A follow-up study examined whether the type of response matters. Findings revealed that an apology with assurance versus an apology with correction action is equally effective.

Gender Dynamics from an Arab Perspective: Intercultural Service Encounters


Gender plays an important role in Arab customers’ evaluation of intercultural service encounters. Even though Middle Eastern tourists are a growing market segment in the travel industry, academic research on them from a service management perspective remains relatively sparse. To understand Arab customers’ evaluation of service experiences, this research focuses on the gender dynamics between service providers and Arab customers during a service encounter. Online surveys of a scenario-based experiment were created and distributed to respondents of Arab descent in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. The findings, based on 326 respondents, suggest that Arab customers are more comfortable—more satisfied with the service encounter and more willing to provide feedback—if the employee is the same gender. However, employee efforts to solicit feedback did not intensify the gender interaction effect on comfort. The findings of this research provide valuable implications for hospitality managers to better cater to the needs of Arab customers by understanding gender boundaries of them in an intercultural service encounter.

Linking Firms, Employees, and Customers: A Multilevel Research Agenda for Hospitality Studies


Hospitality studies often point to a need to investigate the linkage between service providers/firms, employees, and customers. Although there is a large body of literature showing that customer behaviors are shaped by the providers while employee performance and commitment are shaped by the organizations they are embedded within, most research exclusively uses data from a single level to infer social phenomena at multiple levels. This limitation creates fallacies that inhibit a complete understanding of research problems that traverse several social hierarchies. This article presents common research problems in the hospitality literature and examples of how multilevel methods could facilitate more rigorous research by controlling contextual and potentially confounding variables that exist at multiple levels. It also presents new research avenues that could advance the knowledge and theoretical development of the field. Based on examples of three scenarios delineating research problems in three major research streams, this article shows how multilevel methods could represent a leap forward to promote more rigorous and fruitful hospitality research. It further explains how multiple methods could bridge the divides between micro and macro research and between science and practice.

Implementing a Delight Strategy in a Restaurant Setting: The Power of Unsolicited Recommendations


Identifying specific initiatives that can be undertaken by frontline employees to enhance customer delight is of great interest to service firms. In the hopes of contributing to this objective, the current research evaluates the impact of server recommendations on customer delight. Findings indicate that unsolicited server recommendations have a significant positive impact on customer delight. Moreover, the research provides no evidence to suggest that repercussions will result for the service provider even if the provision of an unsolicited recommendation leads to a negative outcome. The mediating role of expectations is examined to gain a better understanding of these recommendation effects. Consistent with self-fulfilling prophecy, the results reveal that customers are capable of experiencing delight even in heightened pre-experience expectation situations. These results provide evidence that the pursuance of customer delight as a strategic objective may warrant additional consideration.

Michael LaTour, In Memoriam

Michael (Mike) LaTour served as the editor of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ) from 2013 to 2015. It was a job he was destined to have, and like everything else in his life, one that he served with passion. In the 1960s, his dad who worked in food and beverage read the journal and Mike fondly remembered him jabbing his finger at the journal claiming “it was the source of all knowledge.” Back then the journal was about practical aspects of hospitality, such as keeping food safe. The journal, and the study of hospitality, evolved to become more theory based. Mike believed that an applied discipline like hospitality needed to not only build on theories from more basic areas of research but also develop their own theoretical models.

Mike was my husband, best friend, and personal hero. We were also co-authors, and Mike used to joke that being married to one’s co-author is no easy task. But it was something we enjoyed—many of our vacations were for data collection or became sources of ideation. He was fun and curious. He was also stubborn and pushed through negative reviews and feedback with grace. Some of our best …

Effects of Customer Participation in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs on the CSR-Brand Fit and Brand Loyalty


This paper reports the findings of a study on the effects of corporate social responsibility–brand fit (CSR-brand fit) on service brand loyalty via brand identification in a brand coffee shop industry. The authors also examine how customer participation in a firm’s CSR activities strengthens the formation of service brand loyalty. Using structural equation analysis, the proposed model was tested with 237 actual customers of brand coffee shops. The results indicate that CSR-brand fit strengthens both personal and social brand identification, which in turn increase consumers’ service brand loyalty. The results also indicate that personal identification has a larger influence on service brand loyalty than social identification does. The greater effect for personal versus social identification occurs when customers participate in companies’ CSR activities. This study deepens our understanding of the link between CSR-brand fit and loyalty via personal and social identification. The research is also the first to examine how customers’ active participation in CSR activities influences the process of loyalty formation.

The Influence of Embedded Social Media Channels on Travelers Gratifications, Satisfaction, and Purchase Intentions


Considering the strong influence of social media on internet users, it is important to understand its role for hotel businesses, particularly the online aspect of lodging operations. Although several social media studies have been done, very few studies have focused on travelers’ needs and the specific gratifications they seek when using embedded social media channels on hotel websites, and how those channels would influence their purchasing behavior. The main purpose of the current research is to examine the effectiveness of embedded social media channels on hotel websites and their influence on traveler behavior. Applying the uses and gratifications (U&G) approach, we examined relationships among traveler gratifications, satisfaction, and purchase intentions by comparing user experience with hotel websites that used embedded social media channels to those without embedded social media channels. The results indicated that travelers exposed to the hotel website with embedded social media channels had higher levels of perceived informativeness, perceived enjoyment, and perceived social interaction that directly influenced traveler satisfaction. In the context of embedded social media channels, the gratification factors, such as perceived enjoyment and perceived social interaction, directly influenced traveler satisfaction and purchase intentions, and indirectly influenced purchase intentions through traveler satisfaction. Meanwhile, perceived informativeness did not influence purchase intentions directly in either sample, but it did influence purchase intentions indirectly through travelers’ satisfaction. Furthermore, for the group who used the hotel website without embedded social media channels, perceived social interaction was found to have no significant effect on travelers’ satisfaction and purchase intentions.