The study aims to examine how features that foster a sense of control, create positive distractions and provide access to social support influence patients well-being and, subsequently, their likelihood to choose hotel-like hospital rooms and their willingness to pay higher out-of-pocket expenses for such rooms. While there is increasing evidence to suggest the importance of the provision of hospitality in healthcare settings, research on these developments remains under-represented, particularly in the hospitality literature. In response, the present study builds on Ulrichs (1991) theory of supportive design to examine patient responses to hotel-like features in a hospital room.
Using data from a survey of 406 patients, the authors used structural equation modeling to test the model.
Consistent with supportive design principles, the infusion of hotel-like features that foster a sense of control for patients, create positive distractions and provide access to social support was found to positively impact patients physical and mental well-being, which, in turn, increased their likelihood to choose a hospital room with hotel-like features and their willingness to pay for such rooms.
Findings attest to the need for healthcare providers to make the necessary investment in hotel-like features and to leverage the communicative power of these environmental cues. Social support in the form of hospitality-trained and certified healthcare staff was found to be the most important hotel-like feature, which also presents significant commercial opportunities for hospitality companies and professionals.
The study represents one of the first attempts to empirically develop a structured model to examine the infusion of hospitality into healthcare. It provides researchers with a theoretically supported framework for future inquiry into the domain. It also makes a significant contribution to advancing the research on patient well-being in healthcare settings and demonstrates the importance of hospitality to such endeavors.