THE ROLE OF BRAND EXPERIENCE IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY AND PASSENGER SATISFACTION AT AIRPORTS IN KENYA
The paucity of research examining the antecedents of satisfaction inspires the need to extend the frontiers of knowledge in the under-researched and emerging market environment of the airport user experience. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of brand experience on the relationship between perceived service quality and passenger satisfaction. A descriptive cross-sectional research design was adopted. Primary data was obtained through semi-structured questionnaires from 700 randomly selected respondents. Structural equation modelling partial least squares (SEM-PLS) techniques were applied to analyze the data. Results revealed that a positive relationship was present amongst the studied variables. The five components of
perceived service quality namely; reliability, responsiveness, assurance, tangibility, empathy had a significant influence on overall satisfaction. The four dimensions of the brand experience scale; sensorial, affective, behavioral and intellectual were revealed to be valid and applicable while examining passenger satisfaction in the airport service context. Lastly, the study revealed a complementary partial mediation effect of brand
experience on the relationship between perceived service quality and passenger satisfaction. The moderating effect of passenger socio-demographic characteristics on the examined relationships could be further investigated. This study was conducted among passengers who were using the airport for international departure flights in Kenya. Consequently, the findings are largely generalizable to this type and segment of
air travel service consumers. This study contributes to ongoing research into the influence of perceived service quality on passenger satisfaction while incorporating the nascent construct of brand experience. Managers could apply the results of the study as an anchor for service quality, satisfaction and brand experience improvement initiatives.
Key words: Perceived service quality, passenger satisfaction, brand experience, mediation