Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to develop an original framework to explore the indirect effect of experiential encounter on the association between loyalty programs benefits and customer satisfaction.
Design/methodology/approach - This study applies two original concepts - loyalty programs benefits and experiential encounter to develop an integral model that enhances customer satisfaction. In addition, this research employs an empirical study by means of the questionnaire survey method to verify the hypotheses and to explore their managerial and theoretical implications. Hayes' (2013) PROCESS macro and hierarchical regression analysis are applied to verify the moderation framework.
Findings - The empirical results show that loyalty programs benefits and experiential encounter directly and significantly affect customer satisfaction. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that there is a conditional effect of experiential encounter between loyalty programs benefits and customer satisfaction. Hence, hotels should focus on upgrading the human contact aspect in the service delivery process.
Originality/value - This study summarizes the literature on loyalty program benefits and experiential encounter into a new managerial framework of customer satisfaction. It utilizes new arrangement of two constructs; loyalty programs benefits and experiential encounter, to develop an original framework that enhances customer satisfaction. Although past research has highlighted the relevant issues about customer satisfaction, none has explored it with experiential encounter and more so in Sub-Saharan context to the best of our knowledge.
Therefore, this paper develops the research framework of customer satisfaction to fill the research gap specifically in Kenya hospitality industry context.