Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality and Tourism Management

Committee Chair

SooCheong (Shawn) Jang

Committee Member 1

Chun-Hung (Hugo) Tang

Committee Member 2

JungYun (Christine) Hur


Boutique hotels refer to small hotels and independent. Boutique hotels have been growing over the world because nowadays travelers expect unique experiences during their stay. Moreover, the aesthetics of boutique hotels, including unique designs or décor, appealing themes, and interesting entertainment have captured travelers’ eyes. Travelers prefer to stay at boutique hotels rather than at homogeneous chain hotels due to special experience through the architectural designs, unique theme, and entertainment during a stay. Since boutique hotels have been popular not only for travelers but also scholars in academia, scholars also have conducted studies regarding boutique hotels. Researchers found that “unique character,” “personalized touch/attention,” “homely,” “quality,” “value added,” and “historic buildings” are the main reasons that travelers find boutique hotels in the U.K. market.

However, past research tended to overlook the idea that boutique hotels cannot be explained without the concept of environmental psychology. According to eminent environmental psychologist, physical environments are significantly related to individuals’ behavior. In other words, the physical environments are key stimuli to enhance individuals’ intentions and subsequent behaviors through emotional status (e.g., pleasure and arousal). As a result, growing attention has been paid to the physical environment effects on various fields in academia, including marketing, psychology, and consumer behavior. Researchers have investigated the effects of physical environments and found the crucial dimensions of the physical environments in various service settings. Moreover, the importance of the physical environments has been also emphasized in hospitality service settings. For example, physical environment studies, such as DINESERV, DINESCAPE, TANSERV, and HOLSERV, were widely used in the hospitality service settings. However, only a few studies developed the instruments based on a valid approach, and therefore many of the dimensions of the physical environments were not verified. Moreover, even though there are some proven measures, it cannot be applied to evaluate boutique hotels’ environments because characteristics of boutique hotels are dissimilar to other types of service settings. For example, HOLSERV designed to evaluate hotel service settings, including employees, tangibles, and reliability. However, the existing measurements cannot assess characteristics of boutique hotels’ physical environments. In general, hotels do not have themes and entertainment. Moreover, some upscale hotels are designed beautiful architecture, but the designs are resembled. However, each boutique hotel has different designs, and therefore these hotels are unique. Therefore, this study adopted a reliable and valid method and modified the procedure to develop an environment scale of boutique hotels, using quantitative and qualitative analysis.

To develop the environment scale of boutique hotels, the following five steps were explored: qualitative inquiry, generate initial pool items, content adequacy assessment, questionnaire administration, and scale purification. At the qualitative inquiry stage, literature, online reviews, and depth interviews with boutique hotel managers and guests were conducted. At the second stage, an initial pool item generation, the following three subset procedures were examined: define domain, generate items, and conduct a focus group session with experts. In the content adequacy assessment, the study assessed content validity of the instrument, conducted pretests, modified items, and determined the scale for items. Based on a quantitative analysis, an eight-factor scale was defined the following: location, facility aesthetics, theme, entertainment programs/facilities/events, amenities, ambience, spatial layout, and employee service. According to the determined items, a questionnaire was designed and distributed to experienced business travelers at boutique hotels. Furthermore, at the last stage, the study explored the unidimensionality, reliability, and validity tests based on Mehrabian-Russell model.

The detailed procedure used to assess physical environments of boutique hotels are specified in this study. The findings of the current study suggest that the eight factors are indicated appropriate instruments to assess boutique hotels. Moreover, the boutique hotel environment scale can be applied to evaluate boutique hotels to have a better understanding of consumers’ perspective. Furthermore, the findings also provide theoretical and practical implications for designing boutique hotels and marketing aspects in the study. Lastly, limitations and future research are discussed.