A comparative study of self-service technology with service employees: a qualitative analysis of hotels in China

Chun Liu, Kam Hung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The rise of self-service technology (SST) has transformed the lodging industry. Clarifying how hotels and customers can use SST offers insights for hoteliers and fills a research gap regarding SST and the service employees such technology replaces. To accomplish these aims, the researchers held 4 focus groups followed by 60 in-depth interviews with hoteliers and customers, respectively, to explore the role of SST relative to service employees and their influences on SST use. Findings revealed seven comparison dimensions between SST and service employees along with employees’ influences on SST use. SST were more effective than service employees in terms of cost savings, consistent service quality, and provision of high-tech customer experiences. However, service personnel tended to outperform SST in communication, ease of use, usefulness, and high-touch experiences. The merits and disadvantages of SST are dynamic and related to interactions among SST, users (hotels), end users (customers), and alternative service agents (employees).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-52
Number of pages20
JournalInformation Technology and Tourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Comparison
  • Hotel
  • Prospect theory
  • Self-service technology
  • Service employee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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