Consumers are Skeptical When Large Chains Promote InitiativesIthaca, NY, August 4, 2011 – When large restaurant companies implement sustainability policies, customers seem to react in a contrary way—and their evaluation of those companies may actually diminish. In a new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), researchers Michael Giebelhausen and Helen Chun examine this contrary behavior to see how large companies could gain the sustainability credibility they deserve. The study, "Reversing the Green Backlash: Why Large Hospitality Companies Should Welcome 'Credibly Green' Competitors," is available at no charge from the CHR, http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/2011.html. Assistance for the research study was provided by McDonald's USA, a CHR senior partner.
in the Absence of These Small Competitors
Noting consumers' skepticism regarding large chains' sustainability initiatives, Giebelhausen and Chun, both of whom are assistant professors at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, conducted two experiments that found that customers seem to give more credibility to the green activities of small companies. A key finding is that the presence of that smaller competitor seems to create a halo, and customers' evaluations of the large company's green initiatives are improved.
"It turns out that the small company and the large company don't even have to be doing the same thing," said Chun. "When a small, credible competitor is initiating sustainable policies, a large company can likewise promote their own activities, even when they're different. Apparently, consumers have trouble believing that large companies are truly being green, even though we know that many chains are working hard on sustainability initiatives."
Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at www.chr.cornell.edu.
About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 76 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit www.chr.cornell.edu.
Center Senior Partners: ASAE Foundation, Carlson Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global
Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice, priceline.com, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Sathguru Management Consultants (P) Ltd., Schneider Electric, Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG
Center Friends: 4Hoteliers.com • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • ehotelier.com • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • hospitalityInside.com • hospitalitynet.org • Hospitality Technology Magazine • HotelExecutive.com • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • Resort and Recreation Magazine • RestaurantEdge.com • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • The TravelCom Network • Travel + Hospitality Group • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM • Wyndham Green
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