Consumer complaint behaviour of Asians and non-Asians about hotel services: An empirical analysis

Wai Ting Ngai, Vincent C.S. Heung, Y. H. Wong, Fanny K.Y. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to test the differences in the consumer complaint behaviour of Asian and non-Asian hotel guests in terms of culture dimensions. It also aims to examine the relationship between demographic factors (age, gender and education level) and complaint behaviour. Design/methodology/approach: The paper adopts the Hofstede's typology of culture as a framework to investigate cultural differences and demographic characteristics in the complaint behaviour of hotel guests. A face-to-face interview survey is conducted to collect data in this research. Data are then analyzed by various statistical methods such as two-way contingency table analysis, non-parametric Mann-Whitney U and Chi-square tests. Findings: The survey reveals that older complainants tend to resort to "public actions," but people with a higher level of education tend not to complain publicly. In addition, Asian guests are less likely to complain to the hotel for fear of "losing face" and are less familiar with the channels for complaint than non-Asian guests. They are more likely than non-Asian guests to take private complaint action, such as making negative word-of-mouth comments. The findings also indicate that there is a significant relationship between "complaint encouraging factor" and respondents' nationality and between "effective complaint handling method" and respondents' nationality. Originality/value: Few studies have focused on the cultural differences in complaint behaviour of Asians and non-Asian hotel guests in the hotel industry. The result will be most valuable in assisting hotel managers and marketers to better understand the customer complaint behaviour and intentions both from the Asian and non-Asian contexts, and help formulate strategies and tactics to effectively manage the customer complaint.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1391
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2007


  • Complaints
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Hotels
  • Service industries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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