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Willingness-to-pay for robot-delivered tourism and hospitality services – an exploratory study
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management  (IF6.514),  Pub Date : 2021-08-30, DOI: 10.1108/ijchm-09-2020-1078
Stanislav Ivanov, Craig Webster

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate potential consumers’ willingness to pay for robot-delivered services in travel, tourism and hospitality, and the factors that shape their willingness to pay.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey yielded a sample of 1,573 respondents from 99 countries. Independent samples t-test, Analysis of variance (ANOVA), cluster, factor and regression analyses were used.

Findings

Respondents expected to pay less for robot-delivered services than human-delivered services. Two clusters were identified: one cluster willing to pay nearly the same price for robotic services as for human-delivered services, whilst the other expected deep discounts for robotic services. The willingness-to-pay was positively associated with the attitudes towards robots in tourism, robotic service experience expectations, men and household size. It was negatively associated to travel frequency, age and education.

Research limitations/implications

The paper’s main limitation is its exploratory nature and the use of a hypothetical scenario in measuring respondents’ willingness to pay. The data were gathered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and do not reflect the potential changes in perceptions of robots due to the pandemic.

Practical implications

Practitioners need to focus on improving the attitudes towards robots in tourism because they are strongly and positively related to the willingness to pay. The marketing messages need to form positive expectations about robotic services.

Originality/value

This is one of the first papers to investigate consumers’ willingness to pay for robot-delivered services in travel, tourism and hospitality and factors that shape their willingness to pay.