Cardiff Metropolitan University
14673584211049297.pdf (597.79 kB)
Download file

Harmless flirtations or co-creation? Exploring flirtatious encounters in hospitable experiences

Download (597.79 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-12, 15:59 authored by Darryl GibbsDarryl Gibbs, Claire Haven-TangClaire Haven-Tang, Caroline Ritchie
Exploring the relationship between sexual harassment and service work in hospitality has long been considered a complex issue, due to the blurred and sometimes invisible line between flirting, harassment and the very nature of close contact hospitality service work. Little research has examined how mutual flirtations (when they are conducted in an appropriate manner and within safe boundaries) between customer and staff can play a positive role in the co-creation of hospitable experiences. This paper presents the findings of one theme from a wider PhD study which sought to explore the role of staff, customers and managers in the co-creation and performance of natural hospitable experiences. The focus of this paper is an exploration of the relationship between flirtatious encounters and the co-creation of hospitable experiences. In the wider study, three research phases were conducted. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with service staff and managers from a range of hospitality servicescapes and data was gathered from customers through a number of focus groups, and the findings suggest that harmless and appropriate flirtatious encounters between customers and staff which are initiated in a natural and safe manner can have a positive influence on the co-creation of hospitable experiences.


Published in

Tourism and Hospitality Research



Acceptance Date


Publication Date



  • VoR (Version of Record)


Gibbs, D., Haven-Tang, C. & Ritchie, C. (2021) 'Harmless flirtations or co-creation? Exploring flirtatious encounters in hospitable experiences', Tourism and Hospitality Research. 2021;21(4):473-486. doi:10.1177/14673584211049297

Print ISSN


Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • WCTR (Welsh Centre for Tourism Research)

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


  • en