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Title: Unveiling the key features of a positive service experience at hostels
Authors: Veríssimo, Medéia
Costa, Carlos
Issue Date: 28-Oct-2019
Publisher: Emerald
Citation: Veríssimo, M. & Costa, C. (2019). Unveiling the key features of a positive service experience at hostels. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 31(11), 4276-4292. Doi: Disponível no Repositório UPT,
Series/Report no.: ;11
Abstract: Purpose This paper aims to unveil the factors that contribute to a positive hostel experience by electing key features and describing their nature from a customer perspective. Design/methodology/approach The study uses an exploratory, empirical approach, applying netnography to collect information about guests’ experiences from the five selected top-rated hostels in Europe and Latin America. A content analysis of 500 positive reviews was conducted exploring the critical features of service experience in hostel sector. Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro were selected for this study as they are among the destinations that have received top-rated hostel awards. Findings The findings reveal that a hostel experience carries a more symbolic than utilitarian meaning, especially in relation to its social dimension. Results indicate that a hostel stay is positively enhanced by ten key features, namely, staff, supplementary services (e.g. social activities), facilities, location, atmosphere, guests’ interactions, cleanliness, design and decoration, value for money and safety. Staff, supplementary services and facilities were the most mentioned hostel features, which emphasizes their potential to create a favourable environment for social interactions. Research limitations/implications Findings are restricted to a limited sample size and geographical area. The main limitation of the study lies, though, in the lack of studies concerning the specific context of hostels within a service experience approach. Practical implications Some hostels renounce low-quality stigma to establish themselves as a “cool” type of tourist accommodation. Offering a stay based on good value for money and social atmosphere, these establishments are shaping the industry’s future by both redefining the contemporary hostel’s image and attending to modern travellers’ specific needs. Given the increasing importance of hostels to tourism, this study provides information to scholars and industry practitioners who are interested in understanding how service experience can be enhanced in the hospitality industry. Originality/value This paper is a preliminary in-depth examination of factors that positively influence a hostel stay from a customer experience perspective. Thus, it provides insights into service experience management for the tourist accommodation sector.
ISSN: 0959-6119
Appears in Collections:REMIT – Artigos em Revistas Internacionais / Papers in International Journals

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