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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782

2nd Global Conference on Business and Social Science-2015, GCBSS-2015, 17-18 September
2015, Bali, Indonesia

Servicescape: Understanding how physical dimensions influence


Exhibitors Satisfaction in Convention Centre
Norhidayah Mohd Rashida*, Hairunnisa Ma’amorb, Norafifa Ariffinc, Nur`ain Achimd
a,b,c,d
Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Bandar Puncak Alam, 42300, Selangor, Malaysia

Abstract

Malaysia Meetings, Incentive, Convention and Exhibitions (MICE) industry are growing rapidly and turn to become a high
potential industry to attract local and international exhibitors. The evolution of this industry it is significantly affecting tourism
sectors such as hotel, air transport, wholesale and retail trade thus contributing to Gross National Income. As a venue operator, the
big challenge for Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is to maintain a high quality of services that provided in order fulfil the demand
from industry. Therefore, the researchers decide to investigate how physical dimension influence exhibitors’ satisfaction by using
ambient conditions, spatial layout/functionality, and signs, symbols, artifacts.
©©2015
2015TheTheAuthors.
Authors. Published
Published by by Elsevier
Elsevier Ltd.Ltd.
This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of the 2nd GCBSS-2015.
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of the 2nd GCBSS-2015
Keywords: Servicescape; Physical Dimensions; Exhibitors Satisfaction; Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

1. Main text

Nowadays, Meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibition (MICE) events are often planned and coordinated by
professional meeting and convention planner; either hosting employees or by outside specialists. MICE event are
widely conducted in Asia and generally regulated under tourism sectors that focus on business activities than leisure
event. This has turned to become the seven largest contributors to the Malaysian National Economic in 2013. The fact
that business tourism visitors spend over three times more than average visitors (MyCEB, 2011) will boost the
economy of Malaysia and strengthen Malaysia objective to become Asia’s Business Events Hub. In conjunction with

* Corresponding author. Tel.+60143362608


E-mail address: norhidayah_rashid@salam.uitm.edu.my, hidayah.ermana@gmail.com

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of the 2nd GCBSS-2015
doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.11.167
Norhidayah Mohd Rashid et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782 777

the objective, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) play a role as a one-stop centre to ensure the
quality of services provided by the convention centre in Malaysia meet the requirement standard by the International
Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) (MyCEB, 2011). It is believed that the maximization of operational
and marketing effort will boost the Malaysia Exhibition industry. Due to that, the long term plan has been made to
secure Malaysia as Asia’s Business Events Hub where convention centre as a venue operator were predicted to increase
40% of revenue by end of 2013 (MyCEB; 2012). Even though MICE industry is projected to contribute a large sum
of return to national income, it can be seen that the numbers of meeting held in Malaysia especially Kuala Lumpur
had shown a reduction pattern.

Table 1. International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Rankings Country World and Asia Pacific Ranking (Major city in Malaysia).

Rank No. of Meeting

2010 2011 2012 2013 2010 2011 2012 2013

Worldwide Ranking Kuala 23 21 31 33 79 78 69 68


Lumpur

Asia Pacific & Middle Kuala 8 5 8 10 79 78 69 68


East Lumpur

Table 1 illustrates the Worldwide and Asia Pacific & Middle East ranking of Kuala Lumpur based on ICCA report
2013. The decrease numbers of meetings that have been organized by Malaysia on 2012 from 69 to 68 meetings drag
the position of Kuala Lumpur in ICCA ranking from 31 to 33 for worldwide ranking and 8 to 10 for Asia Pacific and
Middle East ranking. Apart from that, there are several cities such as Penang and Melaka that are out of rank due to
less numbers of meetings that have been held. Based on the preliminary observation, the dropping of Malaysia ranking
by ICCA is opposed with the projections plan that have been stated earlier by MyCEB. Previous research stated that
facilities, equipment, and environment have significantly impact customers perception on quality of the convention
centre (Breiter and Milman, 2006; Robinson and Callan, 2005; Kuo et al., 2010; Wu and Weber, 2005; Siu et al., 2012)
where the length of stay among exhibitors is based on physical condition of event venue itself. In addition, the scenario
where the guests in hospitality industry tend to communicate more with physical environment rather than venue
operator representatives (Lin, 2004) strengthen the objectives of the study. Therefore, this study is conducted to
understand how physical dimensions influence the satisfaction of exhibitors in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
(KLCC).

2. Servicescape

Servicescape dimensions refer to the “build environment” or “man-made” physical surrounding that opposed to the
natural (social environment)(Bitner, 1992). According to Zeithaml et al. (2009), physical dimensions are also known
as a tangible cues that associated with service quality where it is include all aspects of the service provider physical
facilities exterior (e.g; parking), facility interior (e.g; décor) and other tangible (eg; website). Previous research fall
into i) exterior attributes such as building exterior, signage, parking, waiting areas, lobby, admission office and
landscape, and ii) interior attributes such as design, layout, equipment and décor (Zeithamal et al, 2009; Bitner, 1992).
The three dimensions of servicescape used in this study as a yardstick to measure an exhibitors’ satisfaction consist
of ambient condition, spatial layout/functionality and sign, symbol, artifacts.

2.1. Ambient conditions

Ambient conditions can be classified as an intangible background characteristic that generally stimulates five
common human sensations that drive exhibitors perception and response to the environment via visual aesthetic
(lighting, colors, shapes), cleanliness (scent, air quality, fragrance), ambient (temperature), and audio (music, noise)
(Grayson and McNeill, 2009; Bitner, 1999). Moreover, music, lights, colors, displays, fragrances, a soft and cozy
778 Norhidayah Mohd Rashid et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782

ambience can create mood and behavior of exhibitors (Jain and Bagdare, 2011), help in forming a physical and
emotional states of exhibitors (Awasthi and Shrivastava, 2014) and encourage customers to spend more time in
servicescape (Morrin and Ratneshwar (2007).

2.2. Spatial layout/functionality

Spatial layout refers to an arrangement (and relationship) of objects like furniture, machinery, equipment, and
service areas that need by exhibitors in order to deliver the services (Nguyen and Leblanc, 2002; Bitner, 1992). Sui et
al. (2012) state that a well design layout like convenience access to customers facilities, will enhance the perception
and increase the percentage of repetitive customers (Liu and Jang, 2009) where the accommodation layout for
comfortable movement positively associated with emotions of customers (Ariffin et al., 2012). Meanwhile,
functionality is defined as an ability of each items to be facilitated the accomplishment of exhibitors and employees
objectives. On another occasions, a study conducted by Kim and Moon (2009) portray that the good interior design
(eg. furniture, pictures, plants, and flower) may enhance the perceptions of functional quality in a convention centre.

2.3. Sign, symbols, artifacts

Generally, signs, symbols, and artifacts fall into i) explicit cues (e.g. exterior and interior signage) and ii) implicit
cues (e.g. artwork, furnishings, floor coverings) that directly affect exhibitor, communicate rules of behavior, convey
the firm image and rules of an organization (Bitner, 1992). In another perspective Sui, et al. (2012) highlighted that
the cues made by sign, symbol and artifacts were able to form a first impression of the overall servicescape (Harris
and Ezeh, 2008), create a positive images of venue (Awasthi and Shrivastava, 2014), influence exhibitors intention
and (Rosenbaum, 2005) increase the quality of services provided. Hence, organization used symbols to create aesthetic
impressions in order to help consumers understand the place’s meaning or to convey instruction to tangible cues that
can be understood by everyone (Zeithaml et. al., 2009) and significantly affected the loyalty of exhibitors (Simpeh et
al., 2011).

3. Exhibitors satisfaction

Physical environment, customers’ satisfaction, and perceived quality affected by the length of time that customers
spend inside the service setting (Baker, 1987; Awasthi and Shrivastava, 2014). In addition, Foxall and Greenley (1999)
state servicescape became an indicator for venue operator in term of delivering high quality services. This statement
is in line with previous study conducted by Awasthi and Shrivastava (2014), who state that servicescape play a vital
role to attract and satisfy customers during service encounter where the continuity of the services will based on
perception of quality that derived by servicescape. Moreover, customers are more focused on physical dimensions in
terms of evaluating services in order to assess their satisfaction (Bitner, 1992; Chang, 2000) during and after
consuming of services (Zeithaml et al., 2009; Jang and Namkung, 2009).

4. Theoretical framework

Figure 1 illustrates the theoretical framework in examining the relationship between physical dimensions towards
event exhibitors’ satisfaction. Physical dimension is served as independent variables (IV) which comprise Ambient
Conditions, Space Layout/Functionality and Signs, Symbols, Artifacts. Meanwhile, exhibitors’ satisfaction is the
dependent variable (DV) that predict the remaining and loyalty of event exhibitors in future event.
Norhidayah Mohd Rashid et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782 779

Physical Dimensions

x Ambient Conditions
x Space Layout/Functionality Exhibitors’ Satisfaction
x Signs, Symbols, Artifacts

Fig. 1. Theoretical framework

Based on the framework above, several hypotheses are tested as follow:


H1: There is a significant relationship between ambient conditions and exhibitors’ satisfaction in Kuala Lumpur
Convention Centre.
H2: There is a significant relationship between space layout/functionality and exhibitors’ satisfaction in Kuala
Lumpur Convention Centre.
H3: There is a significant relationship between signs, symbols, artifacts and exhibitors’ satisfaction in Kuala
Lumpur Convention Centre.

5. Methodology

This study was focused on how physical dimensions lead to the satisfaction of exhibitors in Kuala Lumpur
Convention Centre. The correlational study is undertaken in order to test relationship between physical dimensions
and exhibitors’ satisfaction. Meanwhile, the descriptive analysis was used to measure the dominant factors and level
of satisfaction among event exhibitors. Convenience sampling was chosen based on the easy-access issues for
researchers in gaining information from respondents. Structured questionnaire was used as an instrument where 101
exhibitors who involved in exhibition that being held in KLCC became the unit of analysis of this study. The data
collection was analyzed by using Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20.0 and Alpha Coefficient were
calculated in order to test four main variables of this study. All statements were measured on a 5-point Likert scale
anchored at 1(strongly disagree) and 5 (strongly agree).

Table 2. Reliability analysis


Items No. of Items Alpha
Ambient Conditions 5 0.789
Spatial Layout/Functionality 6 0.781
Signs, Symbols, Artifacts 5 0.873
Exhibitors Satisfaction 4 0.877

Table 2 shows Cronbach’s Alpha for each physical dimensions consist of ambient conditions, spatial
layout/functionality, signs, symbols, artifacts and exhibitors’ satisfaction. According to Hair et al. (2007), Cronbach’s
Alpha value is more than 0.7 to 0.8 indicate good and very good level of consistency. The scores are acceptable for
further analysis.

6. Findings and discussion

6.1. Profile of respondents

Table 3. Profile of Respondents


Characteristic Percentage % Characteristic Percentage %
Gender No. of Exhibition Participated
Male 41.6 1–3 32.7
Female 58.4 4–6 33.7
7–9 13.9
Age More than 9 18.8
780 Norhidayah Mohd Rashid et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782

Below 17 3
18 – 25 45.5 Convention Centre in Future
26 – 35 42.6 PICC 26.7
36 – 45 5.9 Matrade 4
46 – 55 2 PWTC 10.9
56 and above 1 Snway Pyramid 5
Berjaya Times Square 5.9
KLCC 36.6
Mid Valley 4
Others 3

A total of 120 questionnaires were distributed and 101 were completed ad met the screening requirement. The
analysis of respondents’ background covered gender, age, number of exhibition that has been participated by exhibitors
and the convention centre that they choose to collaborate in future. The results as shown in Table 3 indicate the majority
of respondents were female (58.4%) and male (41.6%) with the range of ages 18-25 (45.5%) and 26-35 (42.6%). Most
of the respondents have an experience to participate in an exhibition 4-6 times (33.7%) and agree to choose KLCC as
a venue for future events.

6.2. Descriptive statistic

The most dominant factors of physical dimensions were determined by the mean value. Table 4 shows signs,
symbol, artifacts were the dominant factors within physical dimension among exhibitors in KLCC with the highest
mean of 4.05 (SD = 0.570) followed by ambient conditions rank as second importance dimension (m = 4.04) (SD =
0.520). Spatial layout/functionality rank as a less importance dimension among exhibitors in (m = 3.91) (SD = 0.530).
According to Lam (2011), sign, symbol, artifacts affect customers’ first impression (Simpeh et al. 2011) and derived
the loyalty. Majority of respondents agreed that signage provided in KLCC is understandable, sufficient and helpful.
The result is in line with previous research conducted by Lin (2004) who found that the customers tend to interact
more with servicescape than person-in-charge.

The level of satisfaction among exhibitors in KLCC also being analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results
indicate the high level of satisfaction among event exhibitors (m = 4.00) where majority of exhibitors agree they felt
comfortable spending their time in the venue (m = 4.02) and KLCC put themselves in a good mood (m = 4.00). With
the facilities provided by the venue operator, most of respondents agreed that they enjoy (m = 3.96) and willing to
spend their precious times attending events held in this venue in future (m = 3.94).

Table 4. Descriptive Statistic


Variables Mean Std. Deviation

Ambient Conditions 4.04 0.526


Spatial Layout/Functionality 3.91 0.533
Signs, Symbols, Artifacts 4.05 0.574
Exhibitor Satisfaction 4.00 0.588

6.3. Correlational analysis

Table 5 indicates the relationship between the three elements of physical dimensions towards exhibitors’ satisfaction.
The results show spatial layout/function have a moderate and positive relationship (r = 0.460, p<0.01) with event
exhibitors satisfaction, followed by sign, symbol, artifacts (r = 0.440, p<0.01) and ambient conditions (r = 0.410,
p<0.01). Therefore, the researchers accept all alternate hypotheses.
Norhidayah Mohd Rashid et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782 781

Table 5. Summary of Hypothesis Testing


Hypothesis r value Sig. Value p-value Result

H1: Ambient Conditions Exhibitor Satisfaction 0.415** 0.000 <0.01 Supported


H2: Spatial Layout/Functionality Exhibitor Satisfaction 0.460** 0.000 <0.01 Supported
H3: Sign, Symbols, Artifacts Exhibitor Satisfaction 0.440** 0.000 <0.01 Supported

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

The main objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between three main variables of physical dimensions
towards exhibitors’ satisfaction in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The findings show all three dimensions are
moderate and positively significant with exhibitors’ satisfaction. The researchers believed that the adequate space and
layout of the room that were provided by venue operator may enhance the pleasure and lead to the satisfaction with
the facilities offered in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The positive relationship between spatial
layout/functionality and exhibitors’ satisfaction is consistent with study conducted by (Lam, 2005; Ryu and Jang,
2008; Sui et al. 2012). An appropriate decoration of the hall and artifacts that fall under sign, symbols, artifacts also
lead to the satisfaction among exhibitors and this result is consistent with previous research by Simpeh, et al., (2011).
The researchers found that the decorations of the hall give a positive impact and lead to the customers’ satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the clear location (direction) sign, symbols and routes are essential to ensure that the customers will not
get lost because of unfamiliar environment. Due to that, the dimension also turns to become an indicator in choosing
the venue for future events. This positive relationship that exists between sign, symbol, artifacts and exhibitors
satisfaction is also consistent with study conducted by Siu et al. (2012). Ambient conditions also indicates the
significant relationship with exhibitors’ satisfaction where the pleasant lighting, music, colors, displays, fragrances, a
soft and cozy ambience can satisfy and make exhibitors feeling worth in investing to the convention centre (Lam et
al., 2011; Jain and Bagdare, 2011). This study concluded that aesthetic elements that provided by KLCC associated
with the mood of exhibitors and lead to the satisfactions.

7. Conclusion and recommendation

The results gained from this study can be used by KLCC authorities in terms of improving and maintaining the
facilities provided. In general, this study has shown that the satisfaction of exhibitors was influenced by physical
dimensions consist of spatial layout/functionality, ambient conditions and signs, symbols, artifacts. Thus,
concentration on fulfilling the demand of exhibitors will significantly increase exhibitors’ satisfaction hence lead to
the possibility of return and participation among exhibitors in future exhibition events. This will help materialize the
aims of Malaysia to become Asia’s Business Events Hub. In addition, venue operator should put more efforts on
improving their layout design since it is shown that a well design layout in exhibition hall positively associated with
emotion and lead to the satisfaction among exhibitors. Due to that, convenience access to the customers’ facilities
needs to be focused in order to increase the numbers of repeated exhibitors. Therefore, it is essential for venue operators
to maintain the facilities provided in a good condition that associated with the satisfaction and lead to the customers’
retention.

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge contribution by the Dean of Faculty Business Management, Universiti
Teknologi MARA, Malaysia and their colleagues for the support and guidance which have significantly contribute to
the quality of this study.
782 Norhidayah Mohd Rashid et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 211 (2015) 776 – 782

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