“What is beautiful we book”: hotel visual appeal and expected service quality

Ksenia Kirillova, Janelle Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the effect of hotel aesthetics as represented in online spaces (e.g. online travel agency website) in prospective guests’ evaluation of expected service quality and booking intentions, as well as the interplay between aesthetic and functional values as related to those outcomes. Design/methodology/approach: A scenario-based experimental design is conducted with 203 Chinese respondents. A between-subject two-way multivariate analysis of covariance (high vs low aesthetic value; high vs low functional value), which also controlled for respondents’ individual tendency to appreciate beauty, is used. Findings: Results show that high aesthetic value hotels are more likely to be booked and perceived as able to deliver better services in SERVQUAL dimensions of tangibles, reliability and assurance. There are no significant effects for responsiveness and empathy. Given the presence of the aesthetic effect, hotel functional value has no impact on the outcome variables. Practical implications: Hotel managers are recommended to employ professional photographer-artists who are aware of the aesthetic value of hotels and can translate this value into information technology-mediated spaces. Such professionals should be able to create a composition that balances the elements of classic (e.g. symmetry vs asymmetry) and expressive (e.g. color) aesthetics. Originality/value: This research brings out a number of insights from the product experience literature in the hospitality context and points to the limitations of the product visual attractiveness in engendering positive service quality evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1788-1807
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Booking intention
  • Hotel aesthetics
  • Hotel design
  • Hotel visual appeal
  • OTA
  • Service quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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