The Influence of Culture on the Perceived Attractiveness of Hotel Loyalty Programs: Chinese versus Japanese Customers

Fiona Ke Wei Hu, Karin Weber

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Loyalty programs have risen in popularity as a tool to build customer loyalty in many industries, including the hotel industry. Though their effectiveness in building customer loyalty is still under debate (Dowling & Uncles, 1997; Hu, Huang, & Chen, 2010; Wirtz, Mattila, & Lwin, 2007), to attract customers to enroll is a prerequisite. This study examines the perceived attractiveness of various attributes of hotel loyalty programs. In particular, the influence of culture on the perceived attractiveness of hotel loyalty programs is investigated, an aspect seldom considered by hotel practitioners when promoting their loyalty programs to international customers. Drawing on a sample of business travelers, this study identifies significant differences between Chinese and Japanese respondents in their perceptions of seven attributes of hotel loyalty programs. "Guaranteed room availability upon reservation" was perceived as the most attractive attribute regardless of culture, whereas communication-related attributes were considered least important. Multiple regression analysis was employed to gain new insights into the role of culture in attracting customers to hotel loyalty programs. Hofstede's five cultural orientations were used to explain the perceived attractiveness of hotel loyalty programs. Study results showed that culture played a more important role in attracting Japanese customers when compared to Chinese ones. These results imply that hotels should not omit the role of culture when targeting international customers to enroll and retain them in their loyalty programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-205
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of China Tourism Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • business traveler
  • cross-culture
  • Hofstede
  • Loyalty program
  • perceived attractiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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