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Where are you?: A qualitative investigation of self-service technology in the hotel industry
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Throughout the last years, the service encounter has gone through drastic changes due to rapid technological developments. The research area of service marketing is therefore putting a stronger focus on the academic field of technology-infused service encounters. Marketers have moreover also started to implement self-service technology (SST) within their service encounters, in order enhance their service delivery. This phenomenon has also been visible within the hospitality industry, whereby the hotel industry has experienced an increasing adoption of SST encounters. Consequently, hotels’ implementation of SST kiosks has enhanced the hotel guests’ participation level within the service encounter. Therefore, this thesis aims to gather insights on the emerging SST customer roles, by investigating the guests’ attitude towards the SST encounter. This leads to the investigation of distinctive SST customer roles within hotels’ self-check-ins.

 

The choice of the research topic was driven by the fact that existing research about SST implementation in the service encounter, lacks an investigation of the customers’ perspective. Thereby, a research gap was identified that outlays the customers’ enhanced participation as service co-producers. Previous research has focused on investigating customers’ technology acceptance, rather than their own identification as co-producers. Thereof, this thesis will put an emphasis on hotel guests’ attitude towards SST, as a specific aspect of the technology acceptance process. Moreover, this thesis will focus its investigation on self-check-ins within hotels that do not incorporate a human interaction point for their guests. Consequently, in order to investigate the SST customer roles more thoroughly, this thesis will also consider the viewpoint of the hotel. Therefore, qualitative interviews among nineteen hotel guests and one hotel representative were conducted.

 

The findings of this thesis revealed that SST customer roles cannot be predetermined within a hotel self-check-in. Instead, the hotel guests define their own SST customer roles through a reflection upon their purpose of the hotel stay, expectations of the check-in encounter, arising special needs and perceived benefits of the self-check-in. This determines their individual ‘role file card’, which can be utilized into the proposed SST customer roles archetypes of: technology enthusiast, beneficiary, traditionalist and contradictor. In regard to that, it has been identified that the information provided prior to the hotel guests’ stay, influences the reflection upon their SST customer roles. Moreover, it was discovered that with their increased responsibility over the check-in process, the hotel guests identified themselves as co-producers. Therefore, the findings outlined that the guests would want the price of the hotel stay to reflect their increased involvement in the service delivery.

 

From a theoretical perspective this thesis bridged the identified research gap of investigating hotel guests’ attitude towards SST, in order to classify the different customer roles that arise within a hotel’s self-check-in. Moreover, the findings revealed practical implications for hotel managers in regards of the need to provide their guests with more information about the SST encounter. Thereby, hotel managers will be enabled to increase their guests’ satisfaction with the SST encounter, as the guests’ expectations would be coherent with the hotel’s offerings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
self-check-in, SST in the hotel industry, SST customer roles, attitude towards SST, value creation in SST encounters, SST co-production
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161229OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-161229DiVA, id: diva2:1333008
External cooperation
Anonymous
Educational program
Master's Programme in Marketing
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-30 Created: 2019-06-29 Last updated: 2019-06-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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