Understanding emotional customer experience and co-creation behaviour in luxury hotels

Szu-Hsin Wu, Yuhui Gao

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    80 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: A holistic understanding of sources that evoke customer emotions is essential for creating a positive emotional customer experience (ECX). Despite a significant focus on the cognitive aspect of customer experience and traditional customer behaviours (e.g. loyalty and satisfaction), limited attention has been paid to ECX and co-creation behaviours. The purpose of this paper is to address this important knowledge gap by identifying different emotions and prominent sources of ECX (i.e. emotion triggers and constructors) during service interactions. By doing so, key customer co-creation behaviours are also identified, which help enhance positive customer experience.

    Design/methodology/approach: A combined application of the appraisal theory and thematic analysis was used to explore ECX, its sources and co-creation behaviours as observed from 1,063 TripAdvisor customer reviews of luxury hotels in Ireland.

    Findings: The results show that a single service interaction can evoke multiple emotions during the interaction process. The findings capture prominent emotions that customers experience and various important emotion triggers (physical environment, service management and offerings and human interaction) and constructors (customer expectation, accumulated service experience and culture fusion and authenticity). Three main customer co-creation behaviours (reinforcing intention, active and resourceful behaviours), which help facilitate the co-creation of positive customer emotions, are also identified.

    Originality/value: The study proposes a new framework that provides unique insights into ECX to guide service improvement and innovation. A novel approach of applying the appraisal theory to a netnographic study is used to develop an ECX framework, which integrates various emotion triggers and constructors, and subsequent customer co-creation behaviours in the hotel industry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4247-4275
    Number of pages29
    JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2019


    • Hotels
    • Customer co-creation behaviours
    • Emotion triggers and constructors
    • Emotional customer experience


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