Hyunsu Kim

Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Kevin Kam Fung So

Second Advisor

Brian J. Mihalik


Business executives across a wide variety of sectors, including retail, education, banking, healthcare, as well as hospitality and tourism, have increasingly realized that offering a superior customer experience is vital to a firm’s long-term success. Due to the experience-based nature of hospitality and tourism offerings in terms of heterogeneity, inseparability, intangibility, and perishability, providing exceptional CXs has long been recognized as essential to gaining a competitive advantage and establishing a foundation for brand loyalty.

To better understand what CX entails, hospitality and tourism scholars have conceptualized different forms of experiences, including flow experiences and memorable dining experiences. However, little attention has been given to customer touchpoint (CT), referring to “an integrated bundle of critical perceptions” (Duncan & Moriarty, 2006, p. 261) between the customer and the firm, which can form CX. In particular, limited research has been conducted to define and or conceptualize the notion of CT in hospitality and tourism. To fill the aforementioned research gaps, this research aims to define the conceptual domain of CT and operationalize the concept.

This study further aims to develop a CT index (CTi). In order to effectively develop the CTi, hotels and restaurants were selected as the study context because the various service establishments in hotels and restaurants can create distinct CX through the delivery of personalized experiences. After developing a CTi, this study further validates the index by investigating the theoretical relationships between CX, psychological brand ownership, emotional brand attachment, customer engagement, and brand loyalty.

From a theoretical perspective, this study contributes to the literature stream of CX and customer journey by delivering a definition and conceptualization of CT in the hospitality and tourism domain. Additionally, the findings of this dissertation provide the groundwork for future empirical research on CX by developing a robust CTi. From a practical perspective, the results of the dissertation offer a tool to managers for managing and enhancing their customers’ experiential journeys. The development and validation of the measurement for CT give hospitality and tourism managers a valuable index to effectively capture and quantify CT in order to build superior CXs.


© 2022, Hyunsu Kim

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