Service theory and its influence in hospitality literature

Service and hospitality are very close concepts that influence each other in many different ways. When we talk about hospitality we not only refer to accommodation and the food-service sector, we also refer to travel, leisure, attractions, and conventions.

The problem today is that when hospitality is commercially driven, it creates a conflicting phenomena – running a business for profit’s sake while demonstrating genuine hospitality at the same time (Teng 2011). With that in mind, Kandampully et all, 2014 researched about the impact of service-related studies in hospitality, especially trying to understand the conflict between paradigms as a way to balance the tension between theory and practice.

Kandampully et all, 2014 analyzed 3,365 hospitality-related articles from 1998 to 2002 and found out that 30.9% were service focused and 62.6% service ancillary (or service context). Only 6.5% were not service related. They observed that there was an increasing trend in the number of service-based articles published over this period. The most popular topic among those service-related articles was service experience, accounting for around 14% of the papers.

What is interesting about this research is that they found out that 38 papers included “service(s)” in their title or abstract, but they were not related to service at all. This is consistent with the difficulty that academics have found when defining the nature of service (Berry 1999; Berry and Parasuraman 1993; Fisk, Brown, and Bitner 1993). This finding suggests that further research may be warranted to examine the specific nature of service within the hospitality context.

Kandampully et all, 2014 also found that most service-related studies (85%) used some form of empirical data collected for their research purpose. Surveys were the most frequently used means of data collection, followed by qualitative and field study methods. An opportunity here would be to make better use of experimental methods to explore causal relationships among phenomena in the hospitality literature and to control for specific contextual factors.

The value of this paper is that highlights the importance and influence of service in hospitality. One of the reasons that the hospitality sector provides a unique context for the study of service is that customers and employees often have the opportunity to develop genuine bonding relationships far beyond most other service contexts (Kandampully et all, 2014).

For future research, it would be interesting to take a backward approach: research service literature to understand the contribution of this particular science into hospitality.

References

Berry, L., and A. Parasuraman. 1993. Building a new academic field—The case of services marketing. Journal of Retailing 69 (1): 13-60.

Fisk, R., S. Brown, and M. J. Bitner. 1993. Tracking the evolution of the services marketing literature. Journal of Retailing 60 (1): 61-100.

Kandampully, J., Keating, B. W., Kim, B. (., Mattila, A. S., & Solnet, D. (2014). Service Research in the Hospitality Literature: Insights from a Systematic Review. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 55(3), 287-299. doi:10.1177/1938965514536778

Teng, C. 2011. Commercial hospitality in restaurants and tourist accommodation: Perspectives from international consumer experience in Scotland. International Journal of Hospitality Management 30(4): 866-874.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s