Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Miyoung Jeong

Abstract

Think about yourself traveling to somewhere in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s repeatedly. What would be the most significant difference among those four periods? There would be many differences, including clearer sky and clean air. Imagine how you would plan your three-day vacation. You might need several travel guidebooks and travel agents to plan your trip if you were in the 1990s. In the 2020s, you just need to download some mobile apps to plan and even create organized travel itineraries. After arriving at the destination, how would you find the way to a tourism attraction? You just need your smartphone to find the direction to the attraction, whereas you would need to read an atlas in the 1990s. What if you are lost in the middle of the first night at the destination? You may need to wait for someone to ask questions. Now your friend Siri will help you find wherever you go whenever it is.

As you can see from the examples mentioned above, the most significant change in the hospitality and tourism industry would be technological advancement. As we have witnessed, the development of technology has reshaped the entire landscape of the industry. Particularly, the introduction of guest-facing technologies has changed one of the industry’s key characteristics, human-to-human interactions to guest-technology interactions. Furthermore, as the younger generations, as known as digital natives, are expected to become the next frontier of the industry, the availability of technology is expected to grow continuously to meet consumers’ demands for technology and enrich the consumer experience. Due to the growing importance of technology in the hospitality and tourism industry, much research has been conducted to understand consumer behavior toward technologies. However, most research has focused on consumers’ technology adoption behaviors and post-adoption evaluations, leaving the crucial concept of technology experience under-explored. Since experience has been at the heart of the hospitality and tourism industry and a substantial amount of consumer experience is expected to be created by technologies, a comprehensive understanding of technology experience is called for. However, due to the holistic nature of a consumer’s experience, a single construct might not be enough to capture the various facets of technology experience. Thus, this study primarily sought to develop a solid conceptualization of consumers’ experience with hospitality and tourism technologies by identifying the multiple dimensions that collectively represent the dynamic nature of technology experience.

While defining consumers’ technology experience and identifying its dimensions would provide a certain level of understanding of consumer experience, the implications would be limited without empirical evidence. Particularly, the industry might not fully digest the conceptual domain of technology experience without findings from empirical research. Therefore, this study also sought to develop a set of scales to measure the holistic nature of technology experience. In addition, this study aimed to explore the potential consequences of technology experience with an interdisciplinary approach by using preeminent theories, and assess the extent to which the developed scale would provide appropriate levels of reliability and validity.

Guided by the sequential exploratory approach and scale development procedures, both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed to achieve the study’s objectives. More specifically, Phase I was devoted to specifying the domain of technology experience through an extant review of the literature. Phase II was intended to develop the initial items to measure technology experience by conducting two focus group discussions and two rounds of expert reviews. The developed scale was assessed for its validity and reliability, and it was further refined based on the findings in Phase III. Lastly, in Phase IV, the refined scale from Phase III was validated with a new sample, thereby finalizing the scale. Furthermore, the finalized scale was used to assess the research framework and test the proposed relationships.

The findings offered empirical supports for the proposed second-order formative construct of technology experience, and a higher degree of reliability and validity. Particularly, the factor structure of technology experience was investigated by employing multiple techniques (e.g., exploratory factor analysis, principal component analysis, parallel analysis, simple structure). The results showed a strong consistency supporting the nine dimensions of technology experience. Furthermore, the measurement model test in Phase IV was consistent with the findings from Phase III without any item change, demonstrating that the developed scale's psychometric properties were established. The structural model test results revealed significant relationships among technology experience, satisfaction with hospitality and tourism technologies, overall experience, overall satisfaction, and future behavioral intention, implying the significant role of technology experience as an antecedent of consumers’ general hospitality and tourism experiences.

This study provides theoretical and practical implications by developing a comprehensive conceptualization of technology experience and practical tools to measure the concept. First and foremost, defining consumers’ experience with hospitality and tourism technologies and identifying its dimensions enrich the current knowledge on consumer experience and establish the foundation for future hospitality and tourism research. The development of the technology experience scale would shed light on industry professionals’ understanding of their performance in creating technology experience. By utilizing the developed scale, the industry would assess their performance and allocate appropriate investment in the focal dimensions of technology experience, thereby increasing satisfaction and generating favorable future behavioral intentions.

Available for download on Monday, May 15, 2023

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