Original Research

Customer experiences and return patronage in airport hotels: Evidence from OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa

Oswald Mhlanga
Acta Commercii | Vol 18, No 1 | a471 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v18i1.471 | © 2018 Oswald Mhlanga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 February 2017 | Published: 08 May 2018


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Abstract

Orientation: Although OR Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport in Africa, hotel occupancies and revenue per available room at or near the airport have been lower than the industry average.
Research purpose: The aim of this research was to gain an improved understanding of customer experiences and return intentions in hotels at or near OR Tambo International Airport.
Motivation for the study: The research was pursued to determine hotel attributes that are important for customer experiences and return intentions in hotels at or near OR Tambo International Airport. To determine the difference in domestic visitors’ experiences and return intentions in hotels and to determine a difference in customers’ experiences and return intentions in the respective hotels.
Research design, approach and method: This study was mainly quantitative with some qualitative elements. A meeting was held with five hoteliers and airport management (qualitative), and 400 return guests of hotels at or near OR Tambo International Airport successfully completed questionnaires (quantitative).
Main findings: The findings showed that ‘reliability’, ‘empathy’ and ‘assurance’ are important attributes contributing to customers’ experiences in hotels at or near airports. Reliability and overall hotel experience were regarded as important attributes for hotel customers’ decision to return to hotels in airports.
Practical/managerial implications: To improve customer experiences, hoteliers should emphasise more the following attributes: ‘reliability’, ‘empathy’ and ‘assurance’.
Contribution/value-add: To the best of the researchers’ knowledge, this study is a first attempt to determine customer experiences and return patronage in hotels at or near airports in South Africa. The results could help airport hotels to gain a competitive advantage over other hotel categories.

Keywords

customer experience; airports; domestic visitors; hotel occupancies

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