Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Richard Plank, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Anand Kumar, Ph.D.


Sensory Market, Ambient Lighting


Increasingly competitive markets lead brand managers to search for new methods to improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue, and promote customer loyalty. Sensory marketing has the potential to meet those objectives. Sensory marketing programs are designed to engage consumers’ senses and affect perceptions, judgments, and behaviors. Ambient light color is an environmental variable with the potential to influence the customer experience in lodging industry sensory marketing programs. Contrast theory and disconfirmation of expectations served as the theoretical framework for this study. The purpose of this quantitative comparative study was to examine the relationships between ambient light color, consumer spending, and perceptions in a hotel lobby bar. Four ambient light colors were examined: blue, green, red, and yellow. The sample included 374 individuals who made at least one purchase from a single hotel lobby bar over a one month data collection period. Data were collected for customer spending and customer perceptions using a server log and customer survey. There were three key findings. First, ambient color did not significantly affect customer spending. Second, ambient color did not significantly affect overall satisfaction. Third, customer spending was significantly correlated with stress level and negatively correlated with overall customer satisfaction, for all color groups combined. The use of alcohol to reduce stress complicates the analysis for ambient light color selection in a bar environment. Overall, the study findings are promising and form a foundation for practitioners to experiment with a multiplicity of sensory marketing programs.