Understanding the normative expectations of customers toward Buddhism-themed hotels: A revisit of service quality

Kam Hung, Sha Wang, Chaohua Tang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This study aims to understand the normative expectations of travelers on the services and experiences provided by Buddhism-themed hotels as well as how service providers perceive such expectations. The growth of religion-themed hotels in China follows a larger and more generalized global marketing trend in terms of providing tourists and consumers with “themed” experiences. Design/methodology/approach – Using the service quality model, this study investigates these expectations of Buddhism-themed hotels in China. The Delphi method was used with two expert panels, namely, travelers and tourism/hotel practitioners. Preliminary interviews revealed 98 normative expectations from Buddhism-themed hotels. Two sets of Delphi questionnaires were used to compare tourist expectations with practitioner perceptions. Findings – Results show a wide range of expectations of travelers staying in Buddhism-themed hotels. They also reveal how the expectations of the two groups aligned as well as differed. Research limitations/implications – This study extends the application of the service quality model to the context of religion-themed hotels. As this study adopted the Delphi technique through criterion sampling, future studies should use a larger random sample to verify the results of this study. Practical implications – The results help religion-themed hoteliers to understand their customer expectations better. Originality/value – Given the lack of studies on religion-themed hotels, especially on the gap between tourist expectations and service providers’ perceptions, this study is a timely contribution to improve the understanding on the needs and expectations of customers when visiting religion-themed hotels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1441
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Buddhism-themed hotels
  • China
  • Normative expectation
  • Religious tourism
  • Service quality
  • Theming
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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