The Effect of Service Quality on Customer Loyalty within the Context of Ski Resorts
Keywords:Service quality, loyalty, psychological commitment
AbstractIn this investigation, we tested a model examining the effect of service quality on skiers’ satisfaction and loyalty related to two ski resorts in northern Greece. We conceptualized service quality in terms of three dimensions: interaction quality, which reflected the quality of staff at the resort; facility quality, which reflected the quality of the physical servicescape at the resort; and outcome quality, which reflected the quality of the experiential outcomes. Satisfaction was measured using a single indicator examining respondents’ satisfaction with their resort experience. For loyalty, we considered the construct in terms of two dimensions. Its attitudinal dimension was measured using items examining respondents’ psychological commitment to the resort, and its behavioral dimension was measured using indicators of their use history of the resort (i.e., years of visitation and days within the past 12 months). Consistent with past research, the dimensions of service quality were hypothesized to have direct positive influence on satisfaction, which was hypothesized to positively influence psychological commitment and behavioral loyalty. Last, owing to literature examining the influence of activity involvement on consumer evaluations of service quality, satisfaction, and subsequent loyalty, we split our sample into low and high involvement groups and tested our model among the two groups. From our analyses, we observed positive direct associations for all of our hypothesized relations. Among the involvement groups, and contrary to our expectations, we observed that the path model better fit the data for the low involvement group in addition to accounting for a greater share of the variance in each of the dependent variables. Given the relatively compressed nature of the Greek ski season and crowded conditions impacting snow and ski quality, it appears that more highly involved skiers are more prone to move among ski resorts depending on the best available ski conditions. Also, with approximately six ski resorts within a two-and-one-half hour drive of one another, resource substitutes are readily available. These findings add to a growing literature illustrating the influence of providing quality service on consumer satisfaction, attachment, and consumption of the service offering. The model we tested illustrates that consumer loyalty reflects a developmental process that begins with the provision of quality services. Efforts to retain consumers should begin with efforts to improve the quality of the services delivered.?
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