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Title: Value co-creation through ICT-facilitated service in hotels
Authors: Lei, Sut Ieng
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: Facing an increasingly competitive market and sophisticated customers, hoteliers frequently rely on information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve customer service. In the modern era, in which information and knowledge are shared intensively, consumers are no longer passive but actively search out product or service offerings that are of value and relevance. In response, hoteliers have launched a series of ICT-facilitated service, seeking to interact and communicate more with customers to better understand their idiosyncratic needs and wants. The practice of providing accessible resources to allow customers to create their unique experiences through interacting with the service provider is known as the co-creation of value. This practice stems from a service-dominant (S-D) logic, which holds that by co-creating value with customers, service suppliers can incorporate customers' personal needs and wants into their service offerings so as to personalize customers' experience and differentiate themselves from competitors. Allowing customers to participate in co-creating service offerings results in a more memorable and special experience, as customers do not merely select the best available option among those designed by the service provider. While previous studies in the hospitality literature have emphasized the importance of service providers' co-creating value with customers, little is known about how value is actually co-created. Furthermore, these studies have mainly focused on customers' adoption of or intention to use technologies, but paid limited attention to customers' actual use experiences. As the computational power of ICTs offers unprecedented opportunities for firm-customer connections and interactions, this study fills the void in the literature by exploring the value co-creation process through ICT-facilitated service in the hotel context. Following an interpretivist paradigm and guided by the lens of S-D logic and sociomateriality, this study adopts a qualitative research design to understand the underlying mechanism behind the hotel-customer value co-creation process supported by ICT-facilitated service.
Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with hoteliers and customers from a common pool of best-practice hotel companies. Data were analyzed following narrative thematic analysis with the help of Nvivo 11. The findings provide a rich description of the entire value co-creation process supported by ICT-facilitated service in the hotel context. They unearth the underlying structure of the core elements of value co-creation—hoteliers' unique role, customers' participation and collaboration, the resulting co-created value, and the contextual elements that influence the co-creation process. The findings highlight how hoteliers' role and customers' experience are transformed when they co-create value with each other. The unique forms of co-creation in this study context are discussed. From customers' perspective, this study discovers factors that can potentially hinder customers' participation and collaboration. Customers' actual use experience can deviate from hoteliers' expectations due to these contextual factors, which ultimately affects the co-created value. By combining hoteliers' facilitation efforts and customers' actual experiences, this study reveals the important collaboration elements that narrow the gap and maximize customers' value-in-use. This study contributes to the hospitality literature on value co-creation by delineating the underlying mechanism of the hotel-customer value co-creation process facilitated by ICTs. Empirical evidence is provided to explain how perceived technology affordances link with value-in-use. In response to scholars' call for more research focusing on the fundamental identity of technologies and the human intelligence behind technology design, this study explores the phenomenon from both the social and material perspectives and sheds light on the important role of hoteliers' reasoning and intention behind their service design. Rather than treating technology as a tool that produces an effect, this study considers it an effect resulting from the amalgamation of human commitments and technology materiality. By integrating hoteliers' practices with customers' experiences, this study demonstrates how the former can be connected with the latter. This study provides a foundation for future research to pursue this stream of research. Concerning practical implications, hoteliers seeking to co-create with customers using ICTs can take the insights provided from best-practice companies in this study as reference points. The factors identified as influential to the co-creation process can also guide best-practice companies in enhancing their current practices and strategies.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Hotels -- Computer network resources
Hotel management
Customer services -- Management
Customer relations
Pages: ix, 304 pages : illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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