Purpose – This paper seeks to empirically examine the relationship between corporate image and customer satisfaction in the leisure services sector. It also aims to examine the mediating impact of employees and servicescape on this relationship. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from a sample of 195 individuals who had visited an Australian zoological garden over a specified time period. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the validity of the measures, whilst structural equation modelling and multiple regression were used in hypothesis testing. Findings – Findings reveal that corporate image has a significant positive relationship with customer satisfaction. Although the results indicate that the relationship between corporate image and customer satisfaction is not mediated by either servicescape or employees, they imply that corporate image and employees directly influence customer satisfaction. Research limitations/implications – A single‐case study design was implemented, limiting the generalisability of the findings. This provides an opportunity for replication of the model in other leisure services environments and services contexts outside the leisure services industry. Practical implications – The findings reinforce the need for leisure services operators to prioritise the development of a strong, clear corporate image. The extended analysis illustrates that the disaggregated dimensions of corporate image are valuable to consider in terms of directing managerial strategy. Employees and servicescape are key aspects of the service offer on which management needs to focus to ensure that their desired corporate image is communicated and reinforced. Originality/value – This study addresses an identified need to further examine the relationship between corporate image and customer satisfaction. It also contributes to corporate branding research by broadening the conceptualisation of the corporate image construct. Moreover, this study contributes to the corporate image literature by examining the mediating factors of employees and servicescape.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 24, 2011
Keywords: Corporate image; Customer satisfaction; Customer loyalty; Leisure facilities; Employees
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