Customers’ Behavioural Immune System Responses to Pathogen Cues at Tourism and Hospitality Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic


aversive behaviours; behavioural immune system; Customer behaviour


The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed various obstacles and restrictions for the tourism and hospitality industry. This paper adopts the concept of the behavioural immune system to discuss tourism and hospitality customers' potential behaviours during the pandemic and provide business strategies that can address these behaviours. The behavioural immune system is a motivational system that determines individuals' behaviours to pathogen infection. First, this study introduces the mechanism of the behavioural immune system including environmental evaluation and aversive perception, aversive emotional and cognitive responses, and avoidance behaviours. It also provides examples in the guest service context to better portray the mechanism. Second, the study suggests specific measures for tourism and hospitality businesses that may help them to prevent the aversive and avoidance responses of customers triggered by their behavioural immune system during the pandemic. Then, the study integrates customers' responses and businesses' measures in a framework, which extends the literature on customers' behaviour in the hospitality and tourism context. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first time the concept of behavioural immune system is adopted to discuss customers' behaviours towards tourism and hospitality services during a pandemic.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Huang, A., Jahromi, M. F., & Marquez, J. (2022). Customers’ behavioural immune system responses to pathogen cues at tourism and hospitality facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. European Journal of Tourism Research, 30, 1–14.

Document Type




Source Title

European Journal of Travel Research




Rosen College of Hospitality Management


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

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