Although customer quality evaluations is a recognized precursor to loyalty, several studies have indicated that loyalty also depends on favorable customer emotions toward a hotel or restaurant. This model of developing loyalty can be summarized as a process that begins with the customer's favorable assessment of service quality; continues with positive feelings toward the establishment; and ends with loyalty behavior, including repeat purchases and favorable recommendations. To assess this process, a cognitive-affective-conative model is tested, using separate constructs to clarify the specific role of customers' positive affective responses in enhancing customer loyalty. Based on a sample of 586 hotel customers and 571 restaurant customers from 120 Spanish establishments, the results of the multigroup structural equation modeling analyses confirmed the proposed hypothesis that service quality increases positive affective responses, and these, in turn, increase customer loyalty. Thus, positive affective responses partially mediate the relationship between service quality perceptions and customer loyalty in hotels and restaurants simultaneously. These results suggest that customer loyalty in hotels and restaurants may follow a process were cognitive evaluations and emotions play an important role.

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Cornell Hospitality Quarterly
Department of Psychology

Gracia, E., Bakker, A., & Grau, V. (2011). Positive emotions: The connection between customer quality evaluations and loyalty. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 52(4), 458–465. doi:10.1177/1938965510395379