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Eat, Meet, Fly, Repeat: the contextuality of business travellers’ meals
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8179-4628
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Meals are an important part of everyday life, both for the persons who engage in them and for the industry that makes them. For business travellers, meals are engaged in differently when they are travelling compared when they are home. Tens of millions of meals are engaged in each year by persons who are conducting business trips. Even though this group of people make up the largest group of customers for the Swedish hotels, research into their meals are virtually non-existent.

The aim of this thesis is to extend and deepen the knowledge about business travellers’ meals. This aim is approached by using both quantitative and qualitative methods, through a survey study and an interview study.

The results were then interpreted thought a practice theoretical framework. The results indicate that the meals of business travellers are contextual in nature and that their organisation is influenced by the practice bundle currently carried on by the business traveller. The meal is, furthermore, understood as part of practice-arrangement mesh, where the material arrangement conditions the facilitation of good meals. The meals of business travellers’ contain different ends than meals engaged in with friends and family, as such, a meal in which food of inadequate quality is served in an loud environment making the business traveller change behaviour could still be perceived as good due to the experiences of the business traveller’s clients.

The thesis proposes that the industry should engage more with their customers in order to accumulate knowledge of the different ends existing in their meal practice as a way of facilitating good meals. It does, furthermore, contribute to the theory on meals and eating out as it brings about a new way to conceive of good meals. It has also, as it is basic research, opened up for future inquiry into the meals of business travellers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2020. , p. 65
Keywords [en]
Meal science, meal practice, business travel, social practice theory
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-173867ISBN: 978-91-7855-322-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7855-323-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-173867DiVA, id: diva2:1456553
Public defence
2020-09-04, Triple Helix, Universitetsledningshuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-08-17 Created: 2020-08-05 Last updated: 2020-08-11Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Deriving Value from Customer Based Meal Experiences: Introducing a Postmodern Perspective on the Value Emergence from the Experience of the Commercial Meal
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deriving Value from Customer Based Meal Experiences: Introducing a Postmodern Perspective on the Value Emergence from the Experience of the Commercial Meal
2017 (English)In: Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, ISSN 1542-8052, E-ISSN 1542-8044, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 171-185Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This exploratory article examines the role of the meal experience in the context of the postmodern conditions of marketing as well as customer value emergence and suggests a novel perspective on the commercial meal experience as being customer based. It focuses on how value is idiosyncratically formed, for the customer, based on what the customer experiences. The article draws attention to the need of changing perspectives from the producer to the customer to gain understanding on how value emerges for the customer within the commercial meal experience. It also presents the need for a dynamic understanding of the meal experience and argues that the current paradigm of understanding the meal is lacking due to it being an a priori construct.

National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-126000 (URN)10.1080/15428052.2016.1225537 (DOI)000406026300006 ()2-s2.0-84988566306 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2016-09-26 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
2. Eat, sleep, fly, repeat: meal patterns among Swedish business travellers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Eat, sleep, fly, repeat: meal patterns among Swedish business travellers
2020 (English)In: Journal of Gastronomy and Tourism, ISSN 2169-2971, E-ISSN 2169-298X, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 55-66Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over half of the annual guests at Swedish hotels are supplied by the corporate sector. These guests are made up of individuals who travel for meetings, conferences, or presentations as a part of their job. Access to meals while travelling is essential and introduces added complexity to the business travellers’ everyday lives. These meals, and the pattern in which they are consumed, are part of the individual traveller’s personal and group identities. Therefore, the aim of this article is to study if business travellers deviate from their habitual meal patterns and if so - what changes they make. To further the understanding of this group’s meal patterns, a questionnaire was created and distributed. It was answered by 538 self-identified business travellers. These business travellers were made up of three groups – solo travellers, group travellers, and individuals who travelled both in groups as well as alone. Pearson’s chi-squared test was used to analyse differences in actions related to the meal pattern between groups. The analysis showed that changes in the meal pattern did occur in some instances. However, the majority of the business travellers adhered to their habitual meal pattern while adjusting their behaviour depending on the time of day. Managers of catering suppliers gaining insight into the meal habits of business travellers could help to ease an otherwise stressful situation by supplying meals, as a context, that fit with the business travellers’ habitual patterns and meal contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cognizant Communication Corporation, 2020
Keywords
meal behaviour, meal practice, business tourism, hospitality management
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-165528 (URN)10.3727/216929719X15736343324841 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-11-26 Created: 2019-11-26 Last updated: 2020-08-19Bibliographically approved
3. Meal identity as practice: Towards an understanding of business travellers' meal practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meal identity as practice: Towards an understanding of business travellers' meal practices
2020 (English)In: International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, ISSN 1878-450X, E-ISSN 1878-4518, Vol. 22, article id 100237Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Business travellers make up a large part of the customer base for the Swedish hospitality industry, accounting for 54% of the occupancy rate of Swedish hotels in 2018. Yet, very little is known about their meal habits while being at the destination of a business trip. This, even though the handling of meals in an environment that is less known to the traveller could add to the complexity of everyday life. Therefore, this study is aimed to explore actions performed by business travellers at the destination of travel as part of their meal practice with the purpose of elucidating the meal habits of this group. The research is theoretically framed within the context of social identity theory and social practice theory. A questionnaire was filled out by 538 Swedish business travellers recruited by means of self-sampling; 77% of the respondents were men, and 77% were above 45 years of age. The majority of the respondents, 67%, travelled over 50 days per annum, and 59% were located in the highest income quartile. The analysis of the data generated a general overview of the actions performed in relation to the meal, while also showing differences in actions taken based on income and gender. Women were significantly more price conscious than men and to a larger extent used technical assistance to find somewhere to eat. When travelling alone they also reported eating faster than at home and bringing back food and eat at the hotel room more often than men did. Men, in contrast, exhibited an inclination towards seeking social contexts to insert themselves in during dinners when travelling alone, as to be able to eat together with other people. The, relatively, lower income group showed more price consciousness as well as used the help of technical assistance to find somewhere to eat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020
Keywords
Business Travel, Meal Science, Sociology of food, Meal habits
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-173865 (URN)10.1016/j.ijgfs.2020.100237 (DOI)000601297900009 ()32834884 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85089465426 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF)
Available from: 2020-08-05 Created: 2020-08-05 Last updated: 2021-09-09Bibliographically approved
4. The contextual understandings of eating: A practice theoretical approach to Swedish business travellers’ meals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The contextual understandings of eating: A practice theoretical approach to Swedish business travellers’ meals
2021 (English)In: International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, ISSN 1878-450X, E-ISSN 1878-4518, Vol. 24, article id 100327Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Business travellers are a significant component of the hospitality industry and range from the managerial to the operational level of the firms they work for. These different positions come with different contextualised reasons for engaging in eating situations or meals when travelling. Research has begun to map out the activities related to those meals, although the sense-making and organisational aspects are still largely unexplored. Thus, this article aims to elucidate the organisation of business travellers’ meal practices. The study is theoretically framed within Schatzki’s social practice theory and semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine business travellers of different ages, working in different sectors, and at different levels within their firms. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. It was found that the meals were organised around, and understood through, two themes; significant social interactions and meaningful material properties, that was related to the teleoaffective, organising, structure of the practice. The interactions described in the first theme were mainly driven by how the interactions were perceived within the group the business traveller represented, as well as interactions between the group and the restaurant staff. Moreover, business travellers could find themselves in the role of acting both as a host and a guest within the same context. In the second theme, the material properties that influenced the understanding, and thus the sensemaking of the meal were focused on the physical environment, such as the interior of the restaurant, the food and drinks, as well as the economic circumstances of eating out. As illustrated through business travellers’ meals, the study mainly contributes to our understanding of the contextuality of meals as contexts and how those are experienced as good meals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021
Keywords
Meal practice, Meal science, Business travel, Sociology of food, Social practice theory
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-173866 (URN)10.1016/j.ijgfs.2021.100327 (DOI)000657302200014 ()2-s2.0-85106349804 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF)
Note

Previously included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2020-08-05 Created: 2020-08-05 Last updated: 2021-09-16Bibliographically approved

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