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The thematic evolution of customer engagement research: a comparative systematic review and bibliometric analysis
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management  (IF6.514),  Pub Date : 2021-09-06, DOI: 10.1108/ijchm-04-2021-0470
Kevin Kam Fung So, Hyunsu Kim, Ceridwyn King


This study aims to serve as an important resource for customer engagement (CE) researchers by presenting a comprehensive, up-to-date and objective assessment of the status and evolution of the CE literature. This purpose is achieved through simultaneous consideration and separate analyses of both the marketing/service and hospitality/tourism literature where CE research dominates.


This study integrated three review techniques, including a systematic review technique, evaluative technique and relational technique, to present a state-of-the-art analysis of 236 articles. It provides an updated picture of scientific research on CE, as well as the thematic evolution and structure of the CE literature across the two disciplines.


Through a comprehensive review of the CE literature in marketing/service and hospitality/tourism domains, the present study findings build a robust foundation to evaluate how this strand of literature has developed and evolved over time. More importantly, a comparative and quantitative analysis of marketing/service and hospitality/tourism journals delivers actionable insight for hospitality and tourism scholars.

Research limitations/implications

This study reframes the scientific knowledge regarding the evolution of CE literature, along with interrelation patterns, to advance relevant studies in hospitality and tourism. Findings offer a broadened perspective on the concept’s scholarly development and current research trends, thereby charting a new path for future research.


By adopting three review techniques, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this state-of-the-art analysis is the first to compare and synthesize a large volume of marketing/service and hospitality/tourism research, assembling a springboard from which to evaluate how CE studies have developed.