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Despite wide acknowledgment in research of the benefits of customer engagement to firms, the customer engagement process and how it leads to positive marketing outcomes remains underexplored. Extending existing research, this paper aims to develop and test a conceptual model that outlines the effect of passive and active customer behavioral engagement on customer loyalty and the role of customer involvement in the process, as both an antecedent and a moderator.Design/methodology/approachData collected from 362 millennials in Johannesburg, South Africa through a scenario-based experiment was submitted to a partial least square structural equation modeling and moderated-mediation analyses after examining the manipulation effectiveness of the experimental scenarios. The unit of analyses is hotel patrons.FindingsThe findings include customer involvement is a significant predictor of passive and active customer behavioral engagement both of which consequently influence customer loyalty; customer involvement moderates the effect of passive engagement on active engagement; and not only is passive engagement indirectly related to customer loyalty through active engagement, the indirect relationship is the strongest at the highest level of customer involvement.Research limitations/implicationsThe current study provides notable insights into the relationship between customer involvement, customer behavioral engagement and customer loyalty. However, there is need for further studies to validate our model across different brand categories and different social media platforms as well as in offline settings with a more diverse sample because the scope of this study is limited to millennials that use Facebook brand communities.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the customer engagement literature by rationalizing and demonstrating the importance of customer involvement as a precursor of the behavioral engagement process (comprising the passive and the active components) and loyalty among hotel patrons.
International Journal of Tourism Cities – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 10, 2022
Keywords: Customer loyalty; Customer involvement; Moderated mediation; Hospitality; Millennials; Customer behavioral engagement
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