Customer responses to intercultural communication accommodation strategies in hospitality service encounters

Chen Ya Wang, Li Miao, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


With the increasing pace of globalization, hospitality firms are serving more and more international customers from distinctively different cultural backgrounds. In order to enhance intercultural consumption experiences, some hospitality firms have implemented two types of communication accommodation strategies: (a) match the cultural background of the service provider and the customer and/or (b) use the customer's native language to facilitate communications. This study aims to examine how such intercultural communication accommodations influence customers' service encounter experiences. A 4 (communication accommodation: language congruence, ethnic congruence, language and ethnic congruence, and no accommodation). ×. 2 (focus of communication accommodation: intercultural vs. interpersonal) factorial between-subject experimental design was employed using videotaped hotel check-in scenarios as experimental stimuli. The findings suggest that consumers respond to communication accommodation strategies with increased felt pleasure, arousal, and dominance. Furthermore, accommodation strategies contributed to the perceived symbolic value of the service encounter, especially when employees expressed the intercultural focus of communication accommodation practices. The study results provide insights for hospitality practitioners in managing service encounters in today's highly global world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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