The price facade: Symbolic and behavioral price cues in service environments

Joost W.M. Verhoeven*, Thomas J.L. van Rompay, Ad T.H. Pruyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Although the role of price expectations in predicting consumer behavior has been widely acknowledged, little is known about the way in which price expectations depend on environmental elements in hospitality settings. We propose that restaurant guests base price expectations on (1) perceptions of customer input derived from behavioral cues (a self-service buffet) and (2) luxury perceptions derived from symbolic cues indicative of restaurant positioning (table decorations and menu descriptions). Results of two scenario experiments were in line with these predictions and indicate that environmental cues not only serve as a means to embellish the servicescape, but can also be used to reinforce a desired price image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-611
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Price expectations
  • Restaurants
  • Self-service
  • Servicescape
  • Symbolism


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