Check-in at the Robo-desk: Effects of automated social presence on social cognition and service implications

Published on Aug 1, 2021in Tourism Management
· DOI :10.1016/J.TOURMAN.2021.104309
Vignesh Yoganathan7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Sheffield),
Victoria-Sophie Osburg (University of Montpellier)+ 1 AuthorsWaldemar Toporowski13
Estimated H-index: 13
(GAU: University of Göttingen)
Abstract The rise of humanoid robots in hospitality services accelerates the need to understand related consumer reactions. Four scenario-based experiments, building on social presence and social cognition theories, examine how humanoid robots (vs. self-service machines) shape consumer service perceptions vis-a-vis concurrent presence/absence of human staff. The influence of consumers' need for human interaction and technology readiness is also examined. We find that anthropomorphizing service robots positively affects expected service quality, first-visit intention, willingness to pay, as well as increasing warmth/competence inferences. However, these effects are contingent on the absence of human frontline staff, explained by viewing anthropomorphism as a relative concept. Humanoid robots increase psychological risk, but this poses no threat to expected service quality when consumers' need for human interaction is controlled for. Additionally, we show that a humanoid robot's effect on expected service quality is positive for all but low technology readiness levels. Further implications for theory/practice are discussed.
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