Designing memorable guest experiences: Development of constructs and value generating factors in luxury hotels
O'Mahony, G. Barry
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Purpose Managing the customer experience is critical for hospitality businesses because business viability can depend on the delivery of valued guest experiences. The industry lacks research that can assist in developing the specific measures and tools to design experiences that meet guests’ expectations. The purpose of this paper is to identify the constructs and generators of memorable experiences (ME) from the perspectives of luxury hotel hosts and guests. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected in two sequential phases. In the first phase, non-probability sampling was used to engage luxury hotel experts in a Delphi study. This was followed by in-depth, face-to-face interviews with frequently staying luxury hotel guests. Findings In total, 40 value generating factors emerged from the host data. These were validated with guests; however, guests also revealed a further 19 value generating factors that develop ME. These factors were clustered into five constructs and formulated into a ME framework that presents the constructs and supporting variables that can facilitate memorable luxury hotel experiences. Research limitations/implications Guests were asked to recall previous luxury hotel experiences and it is acknowledged that recall of past experiences can be inaccurate. The sample size was also relatively small. Practical implications Critical, value generating factors were identified that hotel operators can employ to actively engage luxury hotel guests and ensure their experiences are memorable. Originality/value The study extends our understanding of the constructs and variables that contribute to the development of ME identifying the importance of sensory generators and the role of authenticity and destination specific culture in creating unique, ME. These key drivers can be used to increase guest satisfaction, loyalty and repeat visitation.