Applying flow theory to booking experiences: An integrated model in an online service context

Anil Bilgihan
Khaldoon Nusair
Fevzi Okumus, University of Central Florida
Cihan Cobanoglu


User–website interactions in service contexts create opportunities for positive online experiences that can foster brand equity, nurture trust, and eventually lead to long-term relationship building. The purpose of this study is to examine the concepts of “online customer experiences” and “flow” and their mediating roles in influencing customers’ loyalty to a hotel booking website. To achieve this goal, a theoretical model was developed, which suggests that online flow in services includes both hedonic and utilitarian features. According to the study results, hedonic and utilitarian features affect the flow experience positively. The study results indicate that hedonic features have a stronger effect on the flow experience compared with utilitarian features. The findings imply that when customers experience flow in online hotel booking services, they develop a sense of trust toward the website. Positive experiences with the website enhance the brand equity. These findings can help researchers and service providers understand the flow concept in online hotel booking services.