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Some new thoughts in researching consumer satisfaction: an extension of Herzberg's motivator and hygiene factor theory

Chan, J.K.L. and Baum, T. (2007) Some new thoughts in researching consumer satisfaction: an extension of Herzberg's motivator and hygiene factor theory. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 23 (1). pp. 71-83. ISSN 1054-8408

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The paper reports the empirical findings of guest satisfaction by extending Herzberg's Motivator and Hygiene Factor Theory. It explores guest satisfaction dimensions and the service attributes that can be termed as satisfiers/ motivators and dissatisfiers/hygiene factors. Data collection is conducted using in-depth interviews, which involved 29 guests who stayed at ecolodges in Sabah, Malaysia. The findings reveal that guest satisfaction measurement can be interpreted into two facets. The empirical evidence reveals that guest satisfaction dimensions can be divided into four categories: a) personal experience (natural environment and experiences, lodge environment), b) social activities (riverboat cruise, jungle walk, and group dynamic), c) performance of guide and boatman (knowledge, experience and skills), and d) instrumental (lodge/room). Interestingly, the instrument of lodge/room is regarded as meeting the expectations and minimum standards of the guests that did not contribute to or influence the guest satisfaction level. Dissatisfaction dimensions are sourced from different sets of constructs and are related to environmental degradation, the operation of the riverboat cruise, the lodge/room maintenance, and facilities. This means that there are two different motivational forces that determine guest satisfaction, via two different continua. Satisfiers are constructs related to personal experiential aspects derived from the natural environment and attractions, physical sites and leisure activities. Dissatisfiers are constructs related to the performance and availability of facilities, amenities and maintenance in the ecolodge context. This seems to indicate that guest satisfaction is a two-dimensional measurement that corresponds well to Herzberg's theory. This theory is capable of informing the two distinct constructs and of expressing service quality dimensions in a more meaningful way as satisfiers and dissatisfiers; this is a better way to address human satisfaction compared to expectancy disconfirmation and service quality theory as both of these theoretical underpinning are driven by product and services. The paper provides the advancement and broad application of Herzberg's theory to further understand guest satisfaction.