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Swipe and Book: How Consumers Evaluate the Functionality of Hotel-Reservation Apps

Objective: Since mobile experiences (e.g., touch-operated) can differ from traditional computer experiences (i.e., mouse-operated), it is worthwhile to investigate how consumers evaluate the functionality of hotel-reservation mobile apps, whether they are comparable to traditional e-service quality dimensions or not. Thus, this study is not only focused on examining the contents of attributes of hotelbooking- apps currently available in the markets, but also attempted to categorize a number of apps’ functions by the level of perceived importance as measured by mobile device users. Methodology: First, a preliminary content analysis of hotel-booking apps was utilized to develop a list of service features. Then, an online self-administrated questionnaire was distributed to mobile device users. A factor analysis was performed to identify the underlying functions and consumers’ evaluations of hotel-booking-related apps. Results: A major finding that was drawn from the factor analysis in this study is that many functions of hotel-booking apps can be categorized into several e-service dimensions. Four factors (hotel reservation experience, hedonic experience, online support, and sharing experience) were identified. Conclusion: The growing popularity of mobile devices has prompted many hospitality firms to redesign their traditional channel structures by developing and engaging in mobile applications. With an assorted number of apps in the mobile device market, investigations of using mobile apps in the hospitality industry as a relatively new electronic distribution channel and user interface are warranted. Moreover, the means-end chain theory was used as a theoretical framework to analyze the attributes of the apps with the dimensions of e-service quality.

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