Co-creation and higher order customer engagement in hospitality and tourism services: A critical review

Prakash K. Chathoth, Gerardo R. Ungson, Robert J. Harrington, Eric Siu Wa Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

265 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper aims to present a review of the literature associated with co-creation and higher-order customer engagement concepts and poses critical questions related to the current state of research. Additionally, the paper presents a framework for customer engagement and co-creation with relevance to hospitality transactions. Design/methodology/approach – Earlier research on co-production, co-creation, consumer engagement and service-dominant logic are discussed and synthesized. Based on this synthesis, links and contrasts of these varying research streams are presented providing an articulation of key characteristics of each and how these might be applied within a hospitality context. Findings – Modalities in service transactions vary among traditional production, co-production and co-creation based on changes in attitudes, enabling technologies and the logic or ideology supporting the change. Transaction characteristics vary among manufacturing, quasi-manufacturing and services based on several key categories including differences in boundary conditions, enablers, success requirements, sustainability requirements, the dominant logic used and key barriers/vulnerabilities. When creating experiential value for consumers, firms should consider several aspects ex-ante, in-situ and ex-post of the change and during the change process. Research limitations/implications – Firms need to move toward higher-order customer engagement using co-creative modalities to enhance value creation. Current practices in the hotel industry may not in their entirety support this notion. Ex-ante, in-situ and ex-post considerations for creating experiential value need to be used as part of a checklist of questions for firms to pose in order to move toward managing customer experiences using the service-dominant logic as part of the firm’s orientation toward its market. This would give it the required thrust to create superior engagement platforms that use co-creative modalities while addressing the barriers to higher-order customer engagement as identified in the literature. Originality/value – The hospitality and tourism literature on co-creation and higher-order customer engagement is still in its infancy. A synthesis of these early studies provides support for the need for future research on co-creation that more clearly articulates the modality firms could use to move toward co-creation. This paper develops a dynamic framework using characteristics of co-creation that integrate the various stages of value creation (i.e. input, throughput and output).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-245
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2016


  • Co-creation
  • Co-creative modalities
  • Co-production
  • Customer engagement
  • Experience marketing
  • Service-dominant logic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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