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Title: Solar energy technology as an attraction in hotel children service program : quasi experiment, conjoint and WTP approach
Authors: Jiang, Wanyue Brianda
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: With an increasing number of children staying at hotels on vacations and children following their parents on business trips, more and more hotel managers have begun to realize the importance of children's service program and think of introducing it into their hotel operations. Children's service in hotels provides both parents and kids with a wide range of offers and services. Such activities aim to keep every member entertained during their stay, and are designed with children or kids as the focus.Specifically,the objectives of the study are as follows: (1) Identify attributes of hotel children service for business and leisure family guests ; (2) Design a new and experimental solar themed children service prototype in hotels. The prototype provides a combination of 4E functions:entertainment,education,esthetics and escapist. (3) Examine the guests' attribute towards the designed prototype as well as customers' willingness to pay. The investigation combines the principles of tourism research, theories of product design and processes of product development to create a product prototype. This prototype focuses on the specific product designs with features appealing to children and their companions while they visit in hotels and resorts. The study elucidates how innovative features are developed, starting from conceptualization to realization,and conducts experiment during their visits. The investigation uses multi-disciplinary perspectives to study the hotel children services design and explores new form of solar energy knowledge as an attraction in the hotel industry. Multidisciplinary approach includes marketing research, product design, facility engineering, quasi experiment and willingness-to-pay study for this exploratory research. The methodological framework comprises three stages. During stage 1, the study identifies design attributes and then generates design profile for customers. Stage 2 is Prototype Design that describes prototype as an effective tool for product design and details how the solar prototype is designed. Stage 3 is Prototype Evaluation that comprises the evaluation procedure site observation, charging mode assessment and information collection from visitors.
The study ascertains 18 relevant attributes for designing the prototype features. A total 53 levels, across five domains,were established importance analysis. The investigation also found that there are five price settings including Pay for Entrance, Facilities usage fee, Pay for interested DIY activities,Take-away souvenir, and Donation fee. The finding shows that the most important level is linked with Entrance for free and the least important level is Pay for Entrance. For perception study of willingness to pay, this research uses conjoint analysis to weight the importance of different price settings under Stated Preferences (SP) and Revealed Preference (RP) situations.In order to compare the SP with the RP (i.e. actual preference) and evaluate for designed prototype, the quasi-experiment method is adopted to find the bias between the two. The experimental set up enables different elements of the framework and different stages in the framework to be studied across two levels of contexts: ex-ante and ex-post. Findings reveal that participants in ex-ante stage tend to rate higher on importance of attributes than participants in ex-post stage. In conjoint experiment, participants also reveal a different preference in attributes. This tendency suggests that responses were different over the choice experiment in these two stages. The results also show that RP behavior data have greater criterion validity than SP data regarding willingness to pay responses. The amount of payment in ex-post is higher than in ex-ante stage. This denotes that customers are willing to pay more after visit than they previous indicated. The study represents the first of its kind to investigate solar energy knowledge and application as an attraction for hotel guests and visitors. The study contributes to the theoretical advancement in the development of model with theoretical base and empirical test by combining the conceptual hotel product design with tourism experience model.Regarding contribution to the managerial practices, the study provides future insight for hotel value-added service development and a demonstrative reference for managers. Most importantly,this study provides valuable lesson and experience displaying how hotel owners cooperate with designers and the involvement of hotel staffs from different levels. Equally important are the discovered attributes and features which can serve as reference for designing physical facilities and services specific for children in future.
Subjects: Hotels -- Marketing.
Resorts -- Marketing.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: 313 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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