Edited by Arja Ropo, Perttu Salovaara, Erika Sauer and Donatella De Paoli
Chapter 8: Front stage with no front-stage employees: customer perceptions of self-service hotels
This chapter looks at customers’ perceptions of space in a case when the space is the service. Self-service hotels provide an illustration of this phenomenon. A classical theatre metaphor is used to describe a self-service hotel as a service performance where customers are replacing the actors on a stage. A few customers shared their experiences on overnighting in a self-service hotel. Six themes emerged from these customers’ narratives: the need for front stage employees in service encounters, virtual back stage employees, perceptions of hospitality, sensuous experiences, the meaning of co-customers, and a target group of a self-service hotel. This study contributes to designing services in a case when the space is the service. The study is explorative in nature. Hence, it gives a number of ideas for future research.
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