Emotional design for hotel stay experiences : research on guest emotions and design opportunities

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Emotional design for hotel stay experiences : research on guest emotions and design opportunities

 

Author: Lo, Kathy Pui-ying
Title: Emotional design for hotel stay experiences : research on guest emotions and design opportunities
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Hotels -- Design and construction -- Psychological aspects
Tourists -- Attitudes
Department: School of Design
Pages: 307 leaves : ill. ; 31 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2374512
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/5793
Abstract: Situated in the context of experience design and emotion-oriented design, this qualitative design research uses photo elicitation and in-depth interviews as the key methods in studying hotel guests' emotions for insights on design opportunities that will enhance hotel stay experiences. Female business travelers are chosen as the research targets because they are a rapidly growing but under-studied traveler segment. The literature review and the pilot interviews with travelers, hotel professionals and hospitality academics were carried out as pre-research activities to identify fruitful research directions and develop appropriate research questions. The empirical research consisted of two parts: the photo elicitation study and the in-depth interview study. In the photo elicitation study, research participants took photos during hotel stays to show things, places and events in hotels that evoked their emotions. A follow-up interview with each participant was carried out using the collected photos to elicit the participant's narratives and comments about emotions experienced during her hotel stay. In the in-depth interview study, one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with female business travelers were conducted to understand hotel stay experiences based on past experiences and expectations. Interview questions mainly focused on three broad topics related to hotel stays: pleasant experiences, unpleasant experiences, and anticipated experiences. The collected visual and verbal data were analyzed with multiple approaches for design-relevant insights, including the use of an analytical template based on appraisal theory in psychology, enumerative analysis, thematic analysis, coding, and memoing. Apart from identifying common hotel-evoked emotions and their triggers, the findings indicate that it is often small details that elicit guest emotions and make the guest experience different. Female business travelers are most concerned about care expressed by hotels. The other major concerns are practicality, relaxation, exploration, safety, and aesthetics. Details on how hotel features evoked female business travelers' emotions in relation to their concerns are elaborated through example cases of emotions and supplemented by photos and quotations. These are followed by a discussion of the key characteristics of female business travelers' pleasant, unpleasant, and anticipated hotel stay experiences. A model is proposed to clarify the relationships between hotel offerings, design emphases, guest emotions and guest perception. The core argument is that design can influence guest experience and elicit pleasant guest emotions on three progressive levels: Actual Offerings, Augmented Offerings, and Experiential Offerings. The design emphasis increases in complexity with higher levels of hotel offerings, resulting in greater emotional impact that uplifts the level of guest perception from mere acceptance to satisfaction and memorable experience. In the implications section, relational messages in design are highlighted as part of the key factors that influence female business travelers' hotel stay experiences. Also, design opportunities regarding enhancement of female business travelers' hotel stay experiences are suggested. They center around four main aspects: conveying care through thoughtful details, matching with female business travelers' concerns, integrating functional, sensorial, and meaning-oriented enhancements, and offering explorative features. Two series of optimal hotel stay scenarios are presented in the form of guest journeys during female business travelers' hotel stays. The thesis ends with recommendations on fruitful directions for future research which include the relational aspect of design, sustainability and emotions, transformational experiences, tools and methods, as well as customization of hotel stay experiences.

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