The study, titled "The Frontline Provider's Appearance: A Driver of Guest Perceptions" and published in the November 2013 issue of Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, said the authors, which included researchers from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University, asked a panel of 102 people to judge hotel workers based on their photographs.
The participants were asked to judge the photographed workers on their knowledge, courtesy and ability to convey trust and confidence. Pictures of smiling employees received higher ratings than those with other facial expressions and the participants said the clean-shaven Caucasian men projected more trust and confidence than bearded Caucasian men. Facial hair did not appear to be a factor with men of other races, the authors said.
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