Service failure research in the hospitality and tourism industry: a synopsis of past, present and future dynamics from 2001 to 2020

Tugra Nazli Akarsu , Reza Marvi, Pantea Foroudi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When service failure occurs, it leads to dissatisfaction, lack of trust and avoidance behaviour among customers, and it can also be seen as a threat to the survival of the business. This paper aims to investigate the current and potential dynamics of service failure research within the tourism and hospitality area.

By adopting qualitative, quantitative (citation and text mining) and science-mapping tools (descriptive, conceptual and intellectual), this study analyses 99 key papers on service failure in 18 major hospitality and tourism journals over a 20-year span.

The research on service recovery strategies, recovery efforts, pre- and post-failure and post-recovery in the service encounter and the impacts of justice on post-recovery and post-complaint behaviour are identified as the major streams of service failure research. While emotional labour, rumination and satisfaction recovery were identified as emerging themes, service failure perceptions and social media were found as the developed and substantial trends.

Practical implications
This study presents a comprehensive understanding of service failure research development in the hospitality and tourism industry. This study propose three areas – circumstantial cues, interactional cues and crisis management – that practitioners need to understand to minimise service failure during the service interaction.

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no prior bibliometric study has investigated the current and future dynamics of service failure in the hospitality and tourism industry and offered a research agenda based on this gap in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-217
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number1
Early online date19 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2022 Emerald Publishing Limited. This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact


  • Service failure
  • Bibliometrics
  • Text mining
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Service recovery
  • Recovery management


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