Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Management

Major Professor

Wan Yang

Keywords

Air Travel, Design, Hedonic, Utilitarian, Word-of-mouth

Abstract

The physical attributes of the service setting are critical differentiators among service providers that significantly influence customers' emotional responses. Following the changes in the airport industry and addressing the gap in the existing research, this study aims to investigate the relationship between physical servicescape elements, emotional responses of enjoyment and anxiety and word-of-mouth in the context of airport environment.

This study was conducted in three phases. The first phase incorporated an EFA conducted on a pilot study sample of 174 respondents that proposed a six-factor structure of airport service environment. In the second phase of the study, a self-administered online questionnaire was sent to an online marketing agency, resulting in 311 valid responses. This phase included a CFA that confirmed the validity of the instrument proposed in the pilot study, recommending the following six airport servicescape factors: design, scent, functional organization, air/lighting conditions, seating and cleanliness. Finally, an SEM testing suggested that airport design features and pleasant scent have a positive influence on traveler enjoyment, further generating positive WOM. Nevertheless, poor functional organization and inadequate air and lighting conditions are major predictors of traveler anxiety that leads to negative recommendations.

According to the findings, this study offers several implications for the airport practitioners and developers. Based on the service environment frameworks established in the previous research, this study developed a valid instrument for examining travelers' perceptions of the airport environment. As a result, emphasizing hedonic attributes of the airport environment such as aroma, colors and d[eacute]cor would enhance traveler enjoyment and experience. In addition, airport practitioners are advised to provide successful wayfinding through the facility, appropriate luminosity, air conditioning, and temperature that would reduce travelers' stress and anxiety during their stay. Finally, design was showed to be the most influential environmental stimuli, justifying the need for of airport modernization and renovations.

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