Role of virtual avatars in digitalized hotel service

Youngjoon Choi, Fuad Mehraliyev, Seongseop (Sam) Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aim to attempt to conceptualize agency in a hospitality setting and examine the psychological effects of agency-related visual cues on user perception and intention to use to understand the role of agency in the digitalization of hotel services. Design/methodology/approach: After developing demo videos of an express check-out application, two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of using an avatar and explain the psychological mechanism of how attributes of an avatar increase intention to use. Findings: Study 1 found that the presence of an avatar had a positive influence on intention to use. Study 2 retested the findings of Study 1 and illustrated the psychological mechanism of how two attributes of an avatar (social position and gender) influenced perceived expertise and intention to use. A significant interaction effect between social position and gender was found on perceived expertise. Perceived expertise also mediated the effect of an avatar on intention to use in the male avatar conditions. Originality/value: As the first attempt to investigate the role of avatars in human–computer interaction in a hotel setting, this study will serve as an example in testing the effects of agency-related technical features on user experience and behavioral intention, possibly broadening the current research scope of hospitality and tourism. This study also provides a useful guideline to develop and design a successful interface of digitalized hotel services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-997
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Digitalization
  • Gender
  • Human–computer interaction
  • Smart service
  • Social position
  • Virtual avatar


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