Qualitative analysis——the impact of the physical surroundings on customers. Essay Example

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Physical Surroundings and Customers 6

The Impact of Physical Surroundings upon Customers


The physical environment exercises a major influence on customer behaviour.

The following discussion proves this contention. This report deals with the effects of physical surroundings on customer behaviour with a special focus on the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk.

The physical environment exerts a tremendous influence upon hotels, restaurants, banks, hospitals and other service businesses. In general, service is created and consumed concurrently. As a result, the consumer is usually at the place of manufacture, and experiences the entire service provided by the physical facility of the firm. The firm where the service is made available cannot be concealed, and this could produce a strong impression upon the opinion of customers, regarding the service experienced at that place[CITATION Bit92 p 57 l 1033 ].

It is the practice with customers to view information regarding a firm’s quality and capabilities, prior to making a purchase. Such information tends to be available, in abundance, in the physical environment. Therefore, it could prove to be significant in conveying the image and purpose of a firm to its customers. Moreover, several studies have shown that the physical surroundings of a firm could influence the satisfaction of a customer with its service[CITATION Bit92 p 57 l 1033 ].

It has been claimed by environmental psychologists that individuals make a holistic response to their environment. In other words, although individuals sense distinct stimuli, their response to the environment is determined by these stimuli in their totality. Thus, customers have a holistic perception of their environment that includes ambient conditions; spatial layout and functionality; and artefacts, symbols and signs[CITATION Bit92 p 65 l 1033 ].

According to Environmental psychologists, individuals respond to places with two forms of behavior. One is the approach form, while the other is that of avoidance. Approach behaviors denote positive behaviors, such as the intention to stay, explore, and work and associate. On the other hand, avoidance behaviors are the desire not to stay, explore, work or associate. In a consumer and retail environment study, Donovan and Rossiter argued that approach behavior includes enjoyment of shopping, intention to return and friendship with others, spending money and time. As such, exploring a shop will be affected by the views regarding the environment[CITATION Bit92 p 60 l 1033 ].

Bennett and Bennett (1970) suggest that every social interaction can be affected by the environment in which it takes place. They have also argued that the physical environment determines the duration of the interaction and the real progression of events[CITATION Bit92 p 61 l 1033 ]. In addition, several authors have recognised that ambience affects the views and responses of the people towards the environment[CITATION Bit92 p 65 l 1033 ]. According to these authors, ambient conditions implies, background features of the environment such as temperature, lighting, noise, music, and odor[CITATION Bit92 p 66 l 1033 ].

Research design

This research work entails primary data collection. Data was collected through customer reviews on Trip Advisor. As such, this research work adopts qualitative methodology. Around 18 customer reviews were consulted from Trip Advisor. The reviews considered various features, including value, rooms, location, sleep quality, cleanliness, and services. In addition, the overall values given by the customers in their ratings have also been included. Targeted group of the reviews were mostly couples and young people. In other words, this hotel attracted the young people, chiefly. The youth prefer a restaurant that has a warm and serene ambience. In addition, this class of customer expects better service from the staff. The collected data has been analyzed and conclusions have been arrived at.

Customer reviews of Hotel Valencia Riverwalkon various issueswere examined, as depicted under Annexure B.

The reviews on service quality showed that just 30% were favourably disposed towards the service at this hotel. This indicates that the service quality has to be improved significantly, in order to ensure returning customers and to enhance customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, a mere 10% appreciated the room quality. As such, ambience has a major influence upon customer views, and this has been discussed in this work, under environmental psychology. With regard to location, once again, just 10% were in favour of it. Thus, room quality and location were regarded as dismal by the customers. With respect to sleep quality, just 20% had expressed satisfaction. Furthermore, with regard to cleanliness, a mere 30% found it to be agreeable. This indicates the presence of considerable noise and the absence of a culture of cleanliness in this hotel. From this it can be deduced that the ambience of this hotel is of a very low quality. This has to be improved drastically.

Annexure C provides a pie-chart regarding customer reviews on the overall quality of the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk.

Excellence is denoted by five stars, and just 5% accorded this value towards the quality of the hotel. On the other hand, 39% of the customers gave a four star or very good quality rating to this hotel. Moreover, 28% of the customers perceived this hotel to be of good quality or of a three star rating. Furthermore, a two-star or fair quality rating was awarded by none of the customers to this hotel. Finally, 28% of the customers awarded a single star or poor quality rating to this hotel.


According to the above data, with respect to overall quality of the hotel, the majority of customers, namely, 39% accorded a very good quality rating to it. On the other hand, 28% of reviewers deemed it to be of good quality, and 28% rated the quality of the hotel as poor. Environmental psychologists, such as Donovan and Rossiter, have claimed that exploring a shop or returning to the same place will be affected by the customer views of its environment or location.

Conclusions and Recommendations

This research work establishes that the physical environment influences customer behaviour. As such, the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, has to improve its ambience or quality of its surroundings, so that the returning customers will be suitably induced to extend their patronage towards it, even in the future.


Bitner, M. J., 1992. Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees. The Journal of Marketing, 56(2), pp. 57-71.


Annexure — A


Sleep Quality




















Customer Reviews of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk on TripAdvisor

Annexure — B

Qualitative analysis-----the impact of the physical surroundings on customers.

Review of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk – Category wise

Qualitative analysis-----the impact of the physical surroundings on customers. 1

Review of Customers — Category wise

Annexure — C

Qualitative analysis-----the impact of the physical surroundings on customers. 2

Overall Rating of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

Qualitative analysis-----the impact of the physical surroundings on customers. 3

Overall Customer Ratings