|Small accommodation business growth : patterns, precedents and outcomes observed from rural Zhejiang province of China
|Xiao, Honggen (SHTM)
|SHTM Best PhD Thesis Award
|Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Bed and breakfast accommodations -- China
Tourism -- China
|School of Hotel and Tourism Management
|xx, 371 pages : color illustrations
|Small accommodation businesses (SABs) form the major component of tourism and hospitality industry and play a vital role in shaping tourists experience, boosting local economy and relieving poverty in peripheral areas. It is commonly observed worldwide that SABs vary in characteristics, and they are growing through time. However, the existing researches on SABs commonly treat SABs as "static" and "homogeneous". Few study has delineated or accounted for either the longitudinal or cross-sectional variance. Is the variance in qualitative characteristics correlated with that of quantitative feature? What is the cause of the variance and what are the consequences on guest experience? These questions are rarely addressed. This study proposes a "growth perspective" based on business growth theory, and empirically investigates the pattern, precedents and outcomes of SAB growth in rural China. Four empirical sub-studies are conducted sequentially. Five villages in northern Zhejiang Province of China are selected as study sites and data is collected through online comments, in-depth interview and survey. Sub-study 1 takes quantitative design and aims to investigate pattern of SAB growth. A model depicting the positive relationship between quantitative aspect (increasing size) and qualitative aspect (separation between family and business) is constructed and further tested with survey data collected from 200 SABs by Multiple-Linear-Regression. The research findings support the hypothesized relationship generally, but the effects vary across different growth modes. Specifically, scale growth leads to separation in both premise and goal. Labor-intensive growth, in contrast, only results in separation in labor. Likewise, capital-intensive growth solely leads to separation in premise. Sub-study 2 also takes quantitative research design and aims to examine the factors influencing business size and growth mode choice. Accordingly, two hypothesized models are developed based on social capital theory and human capital theory, and further tested with survey data collected from 200 SABs by Multiple-Linear-Regression. The result demonstrates that business size is more dependent on social capital, with those having more structural and relational social capital tended to growing into larger size, while growth mode choice is more related to human capital, with those having more tacit or explicit knowledge inclined to intensive way of growth.Serving as precursor to Sub-study 4, Sub-study 3 takes mixed design and aims to examine guest experience in SABs and thereby developing measurement scale. Guest experience is approached from cognitive, emotional and symbolic perspectives, and is accordingly decomposed into service quality, experience quality and experience authenticity. Fourteen in-depth interviews, combined with 500 online comments extracted from popular tourism websites, are analyzed to further explore the dimensionality, based on which three measurement scales are constructed and further verified strictly following the steps suggested by Churchill (1979). The objective of sub-study 4 is to investigate the impact of SAB growth on guest experience. A hypothesized model delineating the relationship between SAB size and the three aspects of guest experience is constructed and further tested with Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) under different growth modes based on data collected from 188 SABs and 873 corresponding guests. The results suggests that changes in SAB size do have impacts on guest experience. But the effects also vary across different growth modes. A comprehensive model is thus proposed based on the result of hypotheses test. Serving as a pioneering investigation of SAB growth, this study may further extend the existing understanding of SABs, and provide guidelines for both business owners and destination management organizations for making strategic decision in order for sustainable development. The limitations and further research possibilities are also discussed.
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