Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Mary Conway Dato-on, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Tracy Kizer, Ph.D


United States demographics have been shifting since the 1950s in more ways than one. Single consumers are a fast-growing market segment, yet their treatment by service providers is not adequately studied in academic research, let alone the travel industry. This dissertation examines whether single solo travelers who stay in hotels or on cruises perceive discrimination during both the shopping experience and service delivery experience, and if these service providers can achieve customer loyalty by providing a quality service experience. The research model measures perceived discrimination, service satisfaction perceptions, overall service satisfaction, customer loyalty and service quality perceptions using the SERVQUAL model and tests the relationship between service satisfaction and customer loyalty. The role of service quality as a mediator is also tested. While varying levels of perceived discrimination was not found due to the small number who perceived discrimination, evidence of some potential negative effects that perceived discrimination can have on the service experience was supported. Additionally, results also support the influence of a negative service experience, due to perceptions of discrimination, affecting overall satisfaction. Findings suggest that hotel and cruise service providers should focus on providing high levels of service quality and service satisfaction as a way to mitigate any effects perceived discrimination could have on service quality perceptions, overall service satisfaction, and customer loyalty intentions. This study adds to the academic literature on single travelers, while testing the validity of a key service quality measure (LODGSERV) in the U.S with hotel and cruise service providers. Managerial implications and future search opportunities are also discussed.