The Special Role of ‘Hospitableness’ for Customer Satisfaction in South Tyrol (Italy)

Authored by: Anja Marcher , Philipp Corradini , Harald Pechlaner , Michael Volgger

The Routledge Companion To International Hospitality Management

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138386372
eBook ISBN: 9780429426834
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429426834-33

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Abstract

Elements of host-guest relationships in tourism destinations gained importance and became a central aspect of service quality of hospitality and tourism. These relational and inter-personal aspects can be summarized as core elements of hospitableness, including a system of values and relationships that goes beyond professional service quality. Service elements such as helpfulness, friendliness, or reliability may enhance the competitiveness of a destination. As these aspects of hospitableness are critical for a comprehensive tourism management strategy in a tourism destination, this chapter focuses on the relevance of a positive welcoming behavior (hospitableness) from a customer point of view and focuses on visitors’ perceptions of hospitableness in the North Italian destination of South Tyrol. The results illustrate that hospitableness is the third important reason for choosing the destination and plays a central role for host-guest interactions. Therefore, the mode of interaction between guests and hosts can be a central feature to enhance customer satisfaction and service quality and may create particular experiences. A more detailed analysis of the importance as well as the performance of the constituting factors of hospitableness shows high levels for the diverse range of hospitableness aspects and shows improvement possibilities regarding communications skills, interest and openness. Those were below the average satisfaction level of the customers and did not fully meet guests’ expectations. South Tyrol as a tourism destination should focus its improvement efforts especially on those elements of hospitable behavior. Moreover, the segmentation of findings between domestic (Italian) and international (predominately German) tourists revealed that the perceived importance and satisfaction highly depend on different (cultural) backgrounds.

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