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Impact of Tourism Satisfaction and Service Quality on Destination Loyalty: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach concerning China Resort Hotels

School of Management, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013, China
The College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sejong University, 98 Gunja-Dong, Gwanjin-Gu, Seoul 143747, Republic of Korea
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2023, 15(9), 7713;
Submission received: 16 February 2023 / Revised: 25 April 2023 / Accepted: 6 May 2023 / Published: 8 May 2023
(This article belongs to the Section Tourism, Culture, and Heritage)


Since China holds a critical geographical status, it harbors an immense tourist attraction. This research aims to investigate service quality, which determines electronic word of mouth, tourist satisfaction, and loyalty to visiting China’s tourist places. This study collected 443 questionnaires comprising tentative sampling from sightseers in China. This research examined how electronic word of mouth affects how far tourists are satisfied with their trip and how much loyalty they demonstrate toward the destination places. The SPSS, AMOS, and structural equation modeling techniques were used for analysis. Our findings illustrate the connection between electronic word of mouth, service quality, tourist satisfaction, and destination loyalty. This study also demonstrated that both tourist satisfaction and electronic word of mouth exercise an intermediary impact on service quality and the destination loyalty relationship. In this way, service quality may be attributed to tourist satisfaction (TS) and electronic word of mouth (eWOM), which explicitly influences destination loyalty (DL) when visiting China. These findings have practical implications for the tourism sector of China.

1. Introduction

This new digital form of tourism is expected to become popular among tourists as they become more aware of the environmental impact of tourism. It is undeniable that tourism has become a globally powerful industry since it can influence a state’s economic conditions. Tourism is also linked to various sectors including endorsement, sponsorship, advertisement, commercial organizations, and product placements [1]. There is no doubt that the tourism sector has played an important role in the development of the people as well as the country [2]. The change is achieved by generating substantial revenue, promoting development and growth, creating multitudinous job opportunities, and alleviating impoverishment at the local and global levels [3]. The tourism sector has grown at a rapid pace worldwide and there has been an amazing change in all of the related sectors, which is beneficial for the country’s economy [4]. Returning visitors to a place they previously visited is one of the key factors that indicates that visitors are connected to particular services and places [5]. The core success of the tourism industry is the gratification of the tourist, which affects the fidelity of the travelers. This also includes word of mouth (WOM) advice from tourists and the intent of the tourists to revisit the places they liked the most. Previous research has demonstrated that the visitors’ trustworthiness to revisit a place of attraction in the future mainly depends on their satisfaction of the tourism facilities and products provided during their first experience [6]. In a way, it can safely be said that WOM becomes an effective instrument to attract or deter new tourists. Today, a more advanced persuasive tool for assessing tourism amenities is eWOM, which is used on various social media and other platforms [7].
The main predictors and indicators of tourist visits are determined by tourist gratification, eWOM, and trustworthiness. Yoon and Uysal [8] contended that gratification was directly proportional to the attraction of the tourists. One of the most rapidly growing categories of tourist destination attractions is resort hotels. Since the economic boom during the 1950s and 1970s, many tourists flocked to resort hotels. Gee [9] pointed out two salient characteristics of resort hotels: first, adequate indoor facilities including a pleasant environment, quality service, refreshing entertainment, and natural sights, and second, a climate-wise favorable location and excursion attractions.
Leisure tourism can be termed as sightseeing for recreation, education, beautiful sights, relaxation, and others [10]. It has been commonly observed that resort hotels have emerged as the most rapidly progressing element in the tourism industry to ensure leisure. Many tourists have acknowledged this factor as highly popular, fast-growing, and diverse since the economic crisis of the 1960s. These days, many visitors are inclined to travel to beautiful tourist destinations to unwind, seek pleasure, and escape from the humdrum routine of life [11]. In this perspective, [9] said that the principle of the resort is to create a setting that will endorse and improve a sensation of well-being and pleasure. It is as clear as day that resort hotels are privileged to have gained a superior position in the tourism industry [12], and their primary focus centers around their clients and their satisfaction, service quality, and their intention to revisit them in the future. Moreover, the UNWTO pinpointed that more and more tourists are continuously interested in resort hotels [13] (UNWTO, 2014).
From the tourist perspective, the services delivered by resort hotels are essential elements. As such, the service quality influences the intention of the tourists to go sightseeing. Additionally, while several scholars have thoroughly investigated the idea of satisfaction and the service quality of visitors from the numerous aspects of the tourism and hospitality sector [14], the scant focus has been seen in terms of evaluating the effects produced on traveler satisfaction, positive eWOM, and loyalty toward the destination in a resort hotel context. This research will open a new avenue for the resort sector, a poorly understood sector of tourism. Scholars believe that China’s beautiful resorts can be combined with existing digital and best-of-breed services to attract global attention in terms of the economy and natural beauty. Based on the above points, the current research is focusing more on exploring local communities and their cultures, which are considered one of the most critical aspects of the tourism and hotel market in China. The main purpose of this paper is to offer insights into efficiency-based performance assessments of the service quality resort hotel industry by incorporating both hotel and regional factors. Therefore, testing the associations of variables through multiple mediators is a relatively novel idea.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Terminologies

2.1.1. Service Quality (SQ)

As examined in previous studies, service quality is chiefly aimed at evaluating the perceived quality, referred to as a client’s judgment regarding a specific company’s holistic performance [15]. However, in the course of the last three years, many scholars, practitioners, and academics have given ongoing consideration to the idea of service quality due to its importance in business, client satisfaction, profitability, and retention [16]. Service quality can be interpreted as how well the tourist has spent money and received what was offered to them [5]. Moreover, it can also be demarcated to the level where the amenities meet the needs and expectations of the clients [17]. At the same time, Qiao, et al. [18] theorized service quality as the general imprint of a customer regarding the service strengths and weaknesses, which is why service quality is often seen as the apparent amenities, anticipated enactment, and actual performance [19].
Tsiotsou and Goldsmith [20] contended that a holiday-making facility is a conglomerate of three fundamental components: attractions, accessibility of the visiting place, and the facilities provided at the visiting site. In a way, the tourist product is not an airline chair, a hotel bed, or calming on a sunny beach individually, but a mixture of several components or packages. Ali and Howaidee [21] pointed out that at least five major components are present in the overall product, which include the attractions and environment of the visiting place, the accessibility of the visiting place, images of the visiting place, and the cost to the consumer, facilities, or amenities at the visiting place.

2.1.2. Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM)

It has been observed that eWOM encourages the upgrade of amenities and goods [22]. Chevalier and Mayzlin [23] demonstrated that electronic word of mouth is vital for garnering data concerning their demand such as brand products, service quality, food, and travel experiences. Nowadays, there are diverse travel organizations that utilize eWOM to provide facilities to people and offer sufficient information regarding the complete packages, the journey’s end, and locations [24]. Li, et al. [25] showed that people read information through different media. In the literature regarding sightseeing amenities, the role of eWOM is said to have a powerful impact on tourist gratification and in visiting the visiting places. Furthermore, eWOM provides a promotion rate to entice individuals by ensuring amenities more satisfactorily [24].

2.1.3. Tourist Satisfaction (TS)

In tourism, the main aim of the customer amenities sector is the tourists’ gratification [26]. It plays a substantial role in drawing in customers, devising tactics for indigenous growth, and tourism facilities promised in the marketplace. Moreover, satisfaction is vital to successful destination marketing as well as a tourist service organizations [27]. Agyeiwaah, et al. [28] and Chen and Chen [29] defined the feelings of displeasure regarding travelers as a sign of dissatisfaction, while travelers who enjoyed visiting were satisfied; therefore, tourist contentment is a considerable factor for tourists in deciding to visit the tourist spots again and again. Several scholars have indicated that services are linked to satisfaction because services directly impact people.

2.1.4. Destination Loyalty (DL)

The fact that client satisfaction leads to their loyalty and repeated sales has been demonstrated in past studies [30]. When customers are satisfied with the service quality and the goods distributed, they have a positive word of mouth (WOM) and are willing to continuously repurchase [31]. In the same way, in the context of destination marketing, repeated tours or recommending the destination sights to others are of great significance. Customer satisfaction leads to future revisits and also persuades others to visit them [29]. Hence, good service quality and a high level of satisfaction guarantee the customers’ willingness to consider future visits and their loyalty [32].
Chi and Qu [31], endorsing the perspectives of McKay and Crompton, illustrated that the clients’ pleasant service experience, quality products, and other amenities proffered by trip destinations might pave the way for further visits in the future and prove to be an excellent tool for spreading positive feedback to others. In [8], the authors contended that the perception of destination loyalty ought to be developed by concurrently considering both the service quality and customer satisfaction. Undoubtedly, satisfied tourists will revisit the same tourist places and be delighted to share their enjoyable travel knowledge with their friends and family [31].

2.2. Hypothesis Development

Service quality is the backbone of the tourist industry; several scholars have defined it as directly connected to satisfaction. Additionally, researchers have indicated that satisfaction and loyalty are vigorously associated [21]. Finally, Kanwel, et al. [33] identified the positive interlink between electronic word of mouth, loyalty, and tourist satisfaction and stated that service quality is essential to attracting visitors from around the world.
The service quality positively relates to eWOM.
The tourism literature has revealed the positive connection between customer satisfaction and service quality. Doubtlessly, those who are happy with the service quality will be more loyal and willing to trust the company again. Better financial outputs can be expected in the wake of the increased satisfaction of clients, and hence, great attention is paid to the service quality and performance [34]. Apart from this, the quality of products and services can be associated with external signs showing the clients’ satisfaction such as the market share, warranty, litigation, and complaints [35]. Client loyalty is based on their satisfaction, resulting in them re-purchasing the product and trusting the service quality. Milbourn Jr and Haight [36] asserted that service quality was the main feature that fluctuated the economic condition of a company. It was noticed that dissatisfied clients hardly complained. Some researchers have argued that service quality and customer satisfaction go hand in hand, and that their satisfaction urges them to repurchase the products and rely on the service quality.
The service quality is positively linked to tourist satisfaction.
Modern marketing research on tourism concentrates primarily on the perceived value, service quality, willingness to visit again, trust, and destination loyalty. The current research deals with the features of loyalty to the destination and service quality. For example, Nadarajah and Ramalu [37], during their research on tourism conducted at the Dead Sea in Jordan, concluded that the destination image entirely mediates the connection between loyalty to the destination and service quality. Wantara [38], on Madura Island, exposed in one of his studies that service quality drastically affected the visitors’ loyalty to the tourist destination. Additionally, in Mauritius, research on international visitors established that destination loyalty was constructively affected by service quality [39], while another study was conducted in North Sumatra, East Nusa Tenggara, and Kepulauan Riau in Indonesia.
The service quality is positively related to destination loyalty.
Chevalier and Mayzlin [23] discovered that electronic word of mouth is an unavoidable source where individuals can obtain and disseminate information concerning their interests. All of this includes the brand products, service quality, foods, and travel experience. Eventually, the tourists’ positive feedback and satisfaction with services and tourist destinations inculcate loyalty among the sightseers. Needless to say, many travel agencies depend on eWOM to accommodate people and give them information regarding the complete packages, destination places, etc. Earlier studies have shown that destination loyalty and eWOM are interdependent [40].
The eWOM is positively related to destination loyalty.
In the tourist destination marketing literature, the latest pragmatic research has espoused that tourist satisfaction is supposed to be the primary touchstone to elaborate destination loyalty, recommend a particular place to other people, and motivate visitors to visit again. For instance, Žabkar, et al. [41] established that customer satisfaction with the services provided was connected to their loyalty toward the destination and stands as a compelling element to increase client retention. Kim, et al. [42] testified to the vital connection between the sightseers’ satisfaction and destination loyalty. Li, et al. [43] substantiated that satisfied visitors would revisit Singapore as the research findings showed that tourist satisfaction significantly affected the behavioral intentions concerning destination loyalty. As explored by [44], a vital difference in satisfaction can be perceived between the visitors who were there for the first time and those who had repeated their visit. It was clear that those who visited repeatedly enjoyed a higher level of satisfaction. Moreover, [45] contended that the visitors’ entire satisfaction with their holiday experience inclined their desire to visit the same place again.
Tourist satisfaction is positively related to destination loyalty.
Many researchers have utilized electronic word of mouth and intended to check the gratification with tourist and service products. Furthermore, marketers who promote the tourism sector have found gains with a long-term connection to tourists visiting the place [46]. Recently, it has been observed that amenities provision organizations endeavor to establish a viable connection to visitors by providing the best quality amenities. Additionally, Internet users write reviews on hotels, amenities, and places of attraction, which have become a significant source of visitor information [28]. As revealed in a study, hundreds of visitors check online reviews [47], and based on the number of stars for quality, many of them make up their minds to visit the places that have received the most positive comments. In the modern global village, where everything is interrelated, most travelers determine their travel itineraries or select the visiting places from Internet facts [33]. Additionally, a literature review of tourism research supports the gratification of tourists. This promotes tourism, and can be taken as the key to attracting new tourists. Furthermore, it improves the desire for the tour by eWOM [48].
Electronic word of mouth mediates the relationships between SQ and DL.
Tourist gratification is a constructive sentiment or an insight that the tourists gain by participating in vacation activities [29]. Tourist satisfaction is necessary for the tourism se tor as it impacts the image of visiting place and the aims to go on a holiday tour. The research conducted by [7] pointed out that satisfied clients were more likely to provide encouraging feedback to others regarding visiting a place they had visited before. Apart from this, it also increases their likelihood of revisiting. Scholars have interpreted that the image of a visiting place considerably affects the travelers’ purpose to visit when the level of gratification is too high. Many researchers have formed a unanimous consensus that the image of the visiting place is undeniably an invaluable means for tourist satisfaction, whereas a large number of tourists alleviates the level of uncertainty [49]. Han and Hyun [14] stated in their research that tourist gratification concerning a specific visiting place impacts the intention to visit. As a result, the image of the visiting place and developed trust can lead to emotional affection in a tourist. Furthermore, this acquired affiliation with the tourist visiting place creates the willingness of tourists to make financial sacrifices to repeat the trip. Hence, the researchers believe that tourist gratification is indispensable for improving the amenities of the visiting place and enhancing the intent to return to the place [50].
TS mediates the relationships between SQ and DL.

3. Research Design

3.1. Research Method and Setting

This research aimed to verify the effects of e-WOM on the tourists’ loyalty to stay at a resort hotel through tourist satisfaction and service quality. A survey was used as a tool to amass information for all the paradigms in the projected model. The socio-demographical information of the study participants was acquired by questions comprising gender, age, marital status, education, and regular earnings.
This research scale was adapted from previously published studies. The service quality consisted of seven items [51] with a sample question “Peaceful and restful atmosphere”. Liang, et al. [52] developed seven items for electronic word of mouth with the sample question “I often consult other tourists’ online reviews of attractive destinations”. Tourist satisfaction contained the six items developed by [53], which included the sample question “This experience is exactly what I need”. The tourist destination loyalty scale contained four items developed by [7] that included the sample question “I will recommend the tour to other people”. We selected 443 responses for data analysis; the remaining responses were not filled in correctly. A five-point Likert scale was utilized ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). All the items of the study can be seen in Table A1.
The alpha (α) reliability values for service quality, electronic word of mouth, tourist satisfaction, and tourist destination loyalty scales were 0.929, 0.903, 0.926, and 0.879, respectively. All off these values were greater than 0.70 [54].

3.2. Data Analysis

We used SPSS and AMOS to empirically assess and analyze the proposed study model [55]. Before testing the hypotheses, we measured descriptive statistics including the means, SD, and correlations, different type of reliabilities and validities, and performed confirmatory factor analysis for discriminant validity. Then, we employed structural equation modeling (SEM) [55] to test the hypotheses (shown in Figure 1) using several fit indices including TLI, CFI, SRMR, IFI, RMSEA, and a chi-square test (χ2) [56] to validate the model fit. According to Bennett, et al. [57], the values of χ2/df must be lower than 3 for a model fit [33], and the values of “CFI, IFI, and TLI should be greater than 0.90” [58]. The SRMR and RMSEA values should not exceed 0.08 [59].
For additional “reliability and validity”, the average variance extracted (AVE), convergent validity (i.e., indicator loadings and critical ratios), and discriminant validity (i.e., inter-factor correlations) were tested. AVE results higher than 0.50 are satisfactory [60]. An item loading higher than 0.50 is supposed to be adequate. Discriminant validity is proven when the expected correlations are lower than 0.85 [61]. A structural equation modeling (SEM) test with maximum likelihood estimation was used to analyze the associations between the study constructs.

4. Results

4.1. Descriptive Statistics

The correlation and descriptive analysis of the constructs are shown in Table 1. The results of the standard deviation ranged from 0.597 to 0.771, and the mean results extended from 3.59 to 4.04. Table 2 shows that the values of correlation between electronic word of mouth (eWOM), tourist satisfaction (TS), service quality (SQ), and tourist loyalty (TL) were significant. Table 1 explains the discriminant validity among all statements where the “average variance extracted” results mention the inter-correlation values [62]. The alpha (α) reliability values can be seen in Table 2.

4.2. CFA, Reliability, and Validity

The measurement model was assessed through confirmatory factor analysis. The measurement model estimates discriminant, content, and convergent validity [63]. Construct validity is the most challenging method [64] but was essential for this study, as the value of the variable can alter through data gathering, and the participants’ strength observes different meanings [65]. Finally, convergent validity examines the degree to which statements are connected with the theoretical framework and its other variables. Convergent validity was examined by measuring the average variance extracted, CR and reliability results, and the consistent factor loadings [66]. Cronbach’s alpha is a normally functioning statistical method for measuring the dependability of a concept [54].
The reliability of the variable stipulates whether the findings are consistent. Furthermore, the internal consistency was also examined by assessing CR, discriminant validity, and convergent validity for all statements to deliver more cogent data and the study framework (see Table 2). As Table 3 shows, the composite reliability of all constructs ranged from 0.932 to 0.863, which was higher than the suggested threshold (CR > 0.7) [67]. The statistical results of AVE for all loaded variables ranged between 0.678 and 0.753, showing convergent validity, which should be higher than 0.50 [68]. In addition, this study assessed the discriminant validity; all statistical results of the square root of AVE were higher than all the inter-factor relationship values, as recommended by Lindem et al. [60].

4.3. Structured Equation Modeling

The overall model fit was good; the chi-square (χ2) values, the value of χ2/df, the degrees of freedom (df), RMSEA, CFI, TLI, IFI, and SRMR are exhibited in Table 4. Thus, the results of this research are higher than the recommended threshold [59].
All tests were directional t-tests of the critical ratios of the regression weight estimates over the estimates of their standard errors provided in the AMOS output. As shown in Table 1, all five paths specified in the hypothesized model were found to be statistically significant. The association between service quality and e-WOM was found to be significant (β = 0.37, t = 8.035, p < 0.01), confirming H1. This shows that service quality is a substantial forecaster of e-WOM. The path coefficients from service quality to tourist satisfaction were positive and substantial (β = 0.55, t = 10.021, p < 0.01). The more positive the service quality, the better the tourist satisfaction of the hotel. Thus, H2 was validated by the results. As proposed by H3, the effect of service quality on the destination tourist loyalty was positive (β = 0.17, t = 3.658, p < 0.01). The e-WOM also positively significantly affected tourist destination loyalty, supporting H4 (β = 0.27, t = 6.548, p < 0.01). H5, that tourist satisfaction is positively related to tourist destination loyalty, was supported by the findings of this study (standardized (β = 0.14, t = 4.101, p < 0.01), as shown in Table 5.
In addition, Figure 2 validates the SEM findings, where the path from SQ to eWOM was significantly positive (β = 0.38; p < 0.01). The relationship between eWOM and DL was significant (β = 0.29 and p < 0.01). The relationship from SQ to TS was positively significant (β = 0.43 and p < 0.01), and the relationship between TS and DL was positive (β = 0.29 and p < 0.01). Figure 2 shows that the direct relationship of SQ and DL (β = 0.18; p < 0.01) was significant through the mediator and offers provision for partial mediation. These values provide support for Hypotheses 6 and 7.

5. Discussion

The global tourism sector is rapidly growing, and several other industries are connected to this industry regarding sustainable economies and developing economies. Tourism is believed to be the most significant factor of an expanding economy, promoting culture, and is an essential sector for wealth-originator employment opportunities [69]. Balaguer and Cantavella-Jorda [70] and Onder and Durgun [71] highlighted in their empirical findings that tourism significantly impacted the development of a pleasant atmosphere. Archer and Fletcher [72], and Mathieson and Wall [73] indicated that tourism indirectly and directly influenced the economy, infrastructure, etc. Therefore, we measured the gap and found an essential effect that the tourism industry has had on country improvement, attracting new people, and the cause of promoting culture globally.
Tourism in China has been gaining momentum for the last few years and is expected to increase further. In this regard, the Chinese government is embarking on even more initiatives so that China may emerge as a top-notch tourist destination worldwide. As a result, the trend of resort hotels is increasing in China, making the tourism industry a significant segment. Thus, this research examined the association between electronic word of mouth, service quality, destination loyalty, and visitor satisfaction in China. Therefore, this research examined the mediating role of electronic word of mouth between service quality and destination loyalty, while measuring the mediating role of tourist satisfaction between service quality and destination loyalty. Results of this study validate the significant relationships among all variables (i.e., service quality, electronic word of mouth, tourist satisfaction, and destination loyalty). Furthermore, research indicates that service quality and eWOM have a direct influence on tourist satisfaction in China.
As suggested by Ko, et al. [74], to develop a valuation of the quality of services in the hospitality industry, the current research tried to authenticate the standpoint of Amin, et al. [75] regarding the excellence of service and the investigation of the influence of service quality on TS, DL, and eWOM. This research provides us with information that resort hotels are trying to deliver better service delivery to customers to gain tourist satisfaction in China. It also shows that the quality of services, as suggested by [75], has the potential to predict and develop a better perception of the clients regarding all the paraphernalia of resort hotels such as the beverage and food products, overall ambiance, reservation services, staff courtesy, and their performance and knowledge, financial value, etc. Additionally, the facilities that these resort hotels provide are an excellent tool for helping eWOM become more effective, thus ensuring tourist satisfaction and resulting in positive feedback from DL and the visitors’ willingness to revisit the same destinations.
Therefore, although the tourists were content with the services offered by resort hotels, they needed to keep improving their services consistently to keep these tourists and maintain the quality of their operations. The current study found that a connection between the service quality on eWOM and visitor satisfaction has been examined, and the direct impact of the quality of services, the concomitant influence of service quality with eWOM, and the satisfaction of visitors were perused and examined with regard to the destination loyalty [76].
Thus, the current study analyzed the intermediary part of eWOM and visitor satisfaction with DL association and SQ. The designed scale of such variables was measured via SEM and CFA to assess the content, convergence validities, and discrimination [65]. The final results of the research authenticate the positive link between all of the variables such as eWOM, SQ, DL, and visitor satisfaction. Ultimately, we concluded that service quality directly links eWOM and visitor satisfaction from the perspective of resort hotels in China [77]. Clearly, the tourists who had a favorable opinion about the service qualities delivered by resort hotels and who had a self-control feeling (DL) enjoyed a higher level of satisfaction [78].
Moreover, the current research also revealed that TS and eWOM exercise a partial intermediary impact on DL and SQ [79]. Hence, assessing the link above-mentioned through various factors is a comparatively new idea. However, there is no doubt that the visitor satisfaction and pleasant experience concerning the service qualities of resort hotels promote their destination loyalty (DL) and their desire to revisit the destination [49]. Thus, the accumulated data in this research showed a positive link between SQ, eWOM, DL, and visitor satisfaction.
In addition, this study also revealed that visitors who were fully satisfied with the service quality were far happier and more loyal with regard to their willingness to visit the same destination. Previous research has demonstrated that eWOM has allowed tourists to be sure of their visit plan and acclaim their consideration concerning the achievements of a particular destination [77]. To Hyun and Han [14], eWOM can be viewed as a motivational factor to lend information regarding tourist satisfaction. Furthermore, these visitors are motivated by the tourists’ impression of hospitality in resort hotels, quality service, and soothing, delightful ambiance [21]. The research was executed by scholars such as Abubakar and Mavondo [46] and Nadarajah and Ramalu [37], who showed that service quality is good for tourism development and has a powerful influence on the target destination in times to come. However, despite the tourists’ good manners, which are linked to different satisfaction levels, it was expressed well [42].

6. Conclusions and Implications

These offerings must be considered to meet the client’s service quality and satisfaction expectations. Earlier research has pinpointed that customers with a higher level of satisfaction tend to spread their word of mouth or eWOM and help repeat the purchase [46]. Therefore, when it comes to improving the service quality being provided, the Chinese resort hotel industry must adopt proper marketing strategies, which will help them understand the requirements and expectations of potential customers and improve their service quality [76].
Our research aligns with a previous study [75] revealing that satisfaction directly impacts tourist loyalty, contributing that satisfaction is a key element for destination loyalty. Another study by Hwang, Asif and Lee [2] showed that service quality increases the level of satisfaction and loyalty, which also agreed with our research that elaborated the same points. Electronic word of mouth is considered a main element for promoting tourism. Therefore, eWOM is a modern tool for attracting consumers toward the brand, product, services, and tourist destinations [76].
All of the above factors are essential for the development of sustainable tourism since sustainable development refers to the practice of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the context of tourism, sustainable development involves minimizing the negative impacts on the environment, preserving cultural heritage, and ensuring social and economic benefits to local communities. Similarly, offering high-quality services that meet the needs and preferences of customers including personalized experiences and authentic cultural encounters can also enhance destination loyalty and generate positive economic impacts by attracting repeat visitors and increasing their spending. Moreover, sustainable development practices can have social and cultural benefits such as preserving local traditions, supporting local businesses, and creating employment opportunities for local people. These benefits can increase destination loyalty by creating a sense of community and promoting positive relationships between the tourists and local residents.
The tourism sector of China is developing very rapidly as its ancient civilization and the beauty of the Yellow River and its related places are what the world wants to see. This will be possible when more packages are introduced to attract international travelers, making it easier for them. From this study, it can be said that in the coming days, tourist destinations in China will be able to attract visitors and destinations that are being promoted in modern ways play a role in tourism for the destinations’ development and attractions.
Therefore, to achieve sustainable development in the tourism industry, it is essential to focus on enhancing the service quality to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn can lead to positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes. Sustainable tourism practices can also contribute to enhancing the service quality and destination loyalty by promoting authentic experiences, preserving natural and cultural resources, and providing opportunities for local communities to benefit from tourism.

7. Limitations

Because we used a simple sampling technique in this research, the outcomes should not be generalized. For example, the results are supposed to be meticulously interpreted when attached to various industries or hotels. Therefore, research undertaken in the future should analyze the suggested connection among other countries, industries, and hotels in the last 20 years. Hence, it is desirable to use more effective analyzing tools with better service quality in times to come. Future research may consider how different people possess various characteristics to perceive the quality of service and its impact on their loyalty and satisfaction. Furthermore, extra variables such as eWOM and destination loyalty can also be used in future research. These factors could potentially draw out the new variations in client satisfaction. Moreover, in future studies, the emotions of the target clients can also be included in the general framework.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: A.H.; Methodology: M.A., A.J. and M.L.; Validation: J.H.; Formal Analysis: S.K.; Investigation: M.A., A.J. and A.H.; Resources: J.H.; Data Curation: J.H. and S.K.; Writing—Original Draft Preparation: A.H.; Writing—Review and Editing: M.A., A.J., S.K., M.L. and J.H.; Supervision: J.H. and M.L. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This study acknowledges the support of Jiangsu Province Outstanding Postdoctoral Program (2022ZB643), (2022ZB644) and (2022ZB646).

Institutional Review Board Statement

Ethical approval was obtained from the School of Management Sciences Research Ethics Committee (Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China).

Informed Consent Statement

Before data collection, all eligible respondents were informed about the aims of the study, voluntary participation, the right to withdraw at any time without giving a reason, and were assured of the confidentiality of the information to be collected.

Data Availability Statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Appendix A

Table A1. Questionnaires.
Table A1. Questionnaires.
Service Quality
1Quality of merchandise.
2Variety of special events/festivals.
3Quality and cleanliness of lodging facilities.
4Peaceful and restful atmosphere.
5Quality of food.
6Service in restaurants.
7Availability of travel information.
Electronic word of mouth
1I often read other tourists’ online travel reviews to know what destination make good impression on others.
2To make sure I choose the right destination, I often read other tourists’ online reviews.
3I often consult other tourists’ online reviews of attractive destinations.
4I frequently gather information from tourists’ online travel reviews before I travel to a certain destination.
5If I don’t read tourists’ online travel reviews when I travel to a destination, I worry about my decision.
6When I travel to a destination, tourists’ online travel reviews make me confident in travelling to the destination
7I will recommend others to communicate their travel and tourism related opinions via eWOM.
Destination loyalty
1I will recommend the tour to other people.
2I will probably visit resort in the next 12 months.
3I want to visit more destinations of cities.
4China offers exciting and interesting places to visit.
Tourist satisfaction
1I really enjoyed the visit to China.
2I prefer this destination.
3I have positive feelings regarding China.
4This experience is exactly what I need.
5My choice to purchase this trip was a wise one.
6This was a pleasant visit.


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Figure 1. Research framework.
Figure 1. Research framework.
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Figure 2. SEM results for mediating effects. ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05.
Figure 2. SEM results for mediating effects. ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05.
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Table 1. Descriptive statistics.
Table 1. Descriptive statistics.
1Service Quality3.960.600-
2Electronic Word of Mouth4.040.6340.357 **-
3Tourist Satisfaction3.590.7710.430 **0.251 **-
4Destination Loyalty3.820.5970.362 **0.400 **0.337 **-
Significance level: ** p < 0.01.
Table 2. CFA analysis.
Table 2. CFA analysis.
Latent Factor Construct/FactorsItemsEFACFAA
Service QualitySQ10.7470.6730.929
Electronic Word of MoutheWOM10.7610.7680.903
Tourist SatisfactionTS10.7600.7770.926
Destination LoyaltyDL10.8130.9000.879
Table 3. Reliability and validity findings.
Table 3. Reliability and validity findings.
eWOM0.8850.5310.387 ***0.729
TS0.9250.6730.442 ***0.305 ***0.820
DL0.8650.6220.356 ***0.434 ***0.360 ***0.789
Significance level: *** p < 0.001, CR: composite reliability; AVE: average variance extracted; bold values are the squared root of AVE, showing discriminant validity.
Table 4. Model fit results.
Table 4. Model fit results.
Fit IndicesModel ValueReference Value
Table 5. Hypothesis testing.
Table 5. Hypothesis testing.
Pathβ EstimateSET
H1Service QualitySustainability 15 07713 i001Electronic Word of Mouth0.370.0477.87 **
H2Service QualitySustainability 15 07713 i001Tourist Satisfaction0.550.05510.00 **
H3Service QualitySustainability 15 07713 i001Destination Loyalty0.170.0483.54 **
H4Electronic Word of MouthSustainability 15 07713 i001Destination Loyalty0.270.0426.43 **
H5Tourist SatisfactionSustainability 15 07713 i001Destination Loyalty0.140.0363.89 **
Note: ** p < 0.01. SE: Standard error.
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Hussain, A.; Li, M.; Kanwel, S.; Asif, M.; Jameel, A.; Hwang, J. Impact of Tourism Satisfaction and Service Quality on Destination Loyalty: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach concerning China Resort Hotels. Sustainability 2023, 15, 7713.

AMA Style

Hussain A, Li M, Kanwel S, Asif M, Jameel A, Hwang J. Impact of Tourism Satisfaction and Service Quality on Destination Loyalty: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach concerning China Resort Hotels. Sustainability. 2023; 15(9):7713.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hussain, Abid, Mingxing Li, Shahida Kanwel, Muhammad Asif, Arif Jameel, and Jinsoo Hwang. 2023. "Impact of Tourism Satisfaction and Service Quality on Destination Loyalty: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach concerning China Resort Hotels" Sustainability 15, no. 9: 7713.

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