Do Pictures of Hotel Service Employees Sell? A Quantitative Study of The Presence of Service Employees in Hotels' Pictures
Abstract: The hotel industry is facing a digital disruption with a change in consumer booking pattern and increased competition from companies such as Airbnb. More consumers use digital channels such as online travel agencies and travel aggregators, and can easily compare multiple hotels prior to booking. Consequently, it is crucial for hotels to adapt their digital marketing strategy and market themselves online to stay competitive. Additionally, the changed booking pattern decreases the interaction between the consumer and the hotels. Therefore, one can question what importance the service employees have to consumers. To help hotels market themselves online this thesis aims to examine whether the presence of a service employee in hotels' pictures will affect intentions as well as the effect on emotions and attitudes. To test the research questions the authors performed a quantitative study asking questions about the respondents' intentions, emotions and attitudes. The results showed no significant differences between the groups regarding intentions, emotions or attitudes, and the authors could not draw any statistical inferences from the results. However, conducting a Bayes factor test showed moderate support for the null hypothesis, i.e. that there are no differences in intentions, emotions and attitudes. Finally, the authors discuss alternative explanations to the results, for example the digitalization and Millennial's changed choice criteria when traveling.
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