Servicescapes seen by visually impaired travellers : Time-geography approach to servicescape research

Sammanfattning: Knowledge gaps remain in the study of servicescapes, since existing research on servicescapes tends to ignore major advances in the understanding of space and time as social phenomena. One aspect that particularly requires further study is how emerging constraints influence customers’ interactions with organized service places. The time-geography approach was therefore applied to the current servicescape research to help to identify various constraints that blind and visually disabled persons (VIPs) experienced in a certain service place and time. A complementary usage of the concept of tactics illustrated how constrained customers responded to the constraints. The overall research question - How do blind and visually impaired persons act and move in hospitality servicescapes? – was explored empirically through individual and focus group interviews and go-along observations of 56 blind and VIPs during 3.5 years. The study population was composed of residents of Sweden, Kazakhstan, and Germany. The analysis was organized into two themes – Competition of space-time projects and Tactical behavior: evaluating, mapping, and networking. This was followed by a discussion of the analysis under the two headings A scarcity of resources and A struggle for resources. This book concluded that emerging constraints are not only “created by” the organization of servicescapes, but are also due to the customers’ insufficient capabilities. The outcome of an individual’s action in service place depends on customer’s capability to overcome unexpected constraints and available resources, such as time and an access to service offerings. Some of the key findings that emerged were that blind and VIPs were not passive recipients of services but rather developed tactical strategies to navigate within poorly organized servicescapes. In so concluding the book suggests that servicescape is a place of dynamic interplay between emerging constraints and the tactical behaviors of the constrained customers.