5.1. Generational Text Statistics from Corpus Tool Coding
shows the general text statistics of the 551 English introductory texts, including the length, text complexity, lexical density, subjectivity and reference density. Text length briefly presents information on the coded segments that lack specific meanings requiring interpretation. For text complexity, the average length of words in terms of characters is 5.97, which is longer than the average length of English words (i.e., 4.79 characters) but is within the normal range because 80% of English words comprise 2 to 7 characters [39
]. The average syllable per word is 2.53, which is more than the English average of 1.66 syllables [40
]. Both values can be attributed to the fact that although hotels mainly cater to customers’ daily needs for accommodation, its introduction remains more complex than daily English usage.
This feature is also reflected in the lexical density, which is commonly defined as the proportion of lexical words to the entire text [41
] and regarded as an important indicator of communicative competence and text readability [42
]. Overall, the lexical density of the corpus is 71.18%, which is higher than the texts in physics and life sciences with 69.54% and 68.96%, respectively. Such density is likely to cause certain difficulties for customers in understanding the hotel introduction, thereby reducing the overall ease of use of the website. Undoubtedly, promotional texts are relatively positive as indicated by the value of subjectivity positivity (0.842). Meanwhile, the strength of subjectivity (0.455) also reaches a moderately strong level owing to the wide adoption of appraisal resources to engage with hotel customers. Text producers tend to use second-person reference in their texts, followed by the first person. The third person is rarely used and comprises a mere 0.041%. Additionally, as a part of the attitude resources, personal reference is discussed in detail when the coding result for appraisal resources is presented.
5.2. Generational Text Statistics from Featured Coding
This section presents the general statistics on the use of appraisal resources. Figure 1
shows that attitude is the dominant dimension and represents 85.41% in the hotel websites’ use of appraisal resources. This result confirms that attitude plays a leading role in communication and persuasion [44
] and is the most widely examined dimension in the appraisal system [45
]. In the attitude system, appreciation ranks first with 63.21%, followed by affect (20.74%) and judgment (1.47%). The prevalence of appreciation in the system is logical because of its main concern on object evaluation, performance, and natural phenomena, all of which are closely related with hotel products. However, staff members as service providers are seldom exposed to the introduction because the subsystem judgment that is used to appraise people occupies a low percentage at 1.47%. Meanwhile, the three subcategories take up below 1%. Affect resources deal with the expression of people’s emotion and rank second in the entire attitude subsystem.
shows the percentage of each appreciation subcategory to further explore this most important appraisal area. Quality is the least subjective and most prevalent attribute with over 50%. The percentage of second-class quality is larger than that of first class, thereby indicating that the hotel introductions focus considerably on presenting the relatively objective hotel information. Five-star hotels favor “location”, “space”, “facility” and “surroundings”, which all occupy over 5% of the resources. For first-class quality, hotels emphasize their prestige and ambience more than their other features. This percentage is considerably higher than the other features in the entire quality attribute, except for location. A detailed discussion of the two subcategories with high percentages is provided in the succeeding section.
shows the top expressions that hotels adopt to describe their ambience. “Elegant” (147 times), “elegance” (37 times), and “elegantly” (20 times) dominate the list, thereby indicating the indispensability of an elegant ambience as one quality of top-tier hotels in China. Elegance is followed by “modern” (84 times), “international” (38 times), and “contemporary” (29 times). “Traditional” (18 times) and “classical” (11 times) with a low percentage reflects how many five-star hotels aim to create a modern image amongst their customers, although other hotels may adopt a traditional style to establish a different market orientation. Other qualities, such as being “comfortable”, “quiet”, and “classic”, are likewise emphasized.
also presents how hotels describe their prestige. Evidently, presenting a hotel’s luxury is dominant in this feature, thereby appearing to indicate that being luxurious has become synonymous to prestige. Other important characteristics of the prestige features include “serving private products” (Figure 3
), “offering an unparalleled view” (Figure 4
) and “owning something which is the largest in the region” (Figure 5
). Generally, five-star hotels employ “luxury”, “scenery”, and “privacy” as the main features to create a prestigious image among their customers.
Moving back to the highly emotive and subjective subcategory, emotive impact also takes up a large proportion (5.44%) because hotels enjoy using such expressions as “a landmark hotel”, “the first choice” and even “Lost Horizon” to state their position in the local industry. Other highly emotive words (see Table 3
), such as “ideal”, “perfect”, and “best”, are also highly utilized to describe the hotels. No concrete standard can measure hotels’ idealness or perfection, and these terms are merely self-evaluations of hotel quality. From another perspective, five-star hotels should be “perfect” and serve as a role model of other hotels.
Pleasantness, which is a minimally emotive subcategory, occupies a relatively small proportion in appreciation but not when compared with other attributes in the entire system. Table 3
also shows the top expressions in this subcategory. Evidently, several terms under pleasantness likewise appear in other attributes or features. For example, “comfortable” appears in the ambience feature accompanied by such words as “environment”, “atmosphere”, and “living space”. However, “ambience” under pleasantness is used to describe the overall living experience, such as a comfortable holiday experience, stay, and accommodation. The difference between “convenience” and “convenient” is considerably apparent, in which the former is a modifier for the overall experience of hotel living, whereas the latter is used to describe the location.
Personal pronouns are the most popular subcategory in the affect subsystem. Such a high percentage proves the correctness of inserting personal pronouns to the language evaluation study. Figure 6
demonstrates the use of personal pronouns in the corpus. The lead type is the second reference (i.e., you-oriented reference), thereby indicating that hotels highly value customers’ feelings whilst they are reading the introduction and attempt to bridge the gap to and win over these potential customers [47
]. The first-person reference in the current study mainly refers to “we” rather than “I” because hotels cannot be represented by single entities, thereby prompting them to avoid using “I” in the introduction. The “we-oriented” reference comprises over 5%, thereby ranking second in this subcategory and enabling a certain confidence and authenticity to be presented [48
]. However, the first-person perspective may also distance readers from a hotel because it suggests a strong subjectivity with its related statements or may isolate readers’ emotional engagement from the hotel’s products and services compared with the second-person reference.
Introduction writers seldom use the third-person reference, which is the customer-oriented pronoun in this study. The words used in this reference are relatively divergent, including frequent use of “guests”, “customers”, and “clients” but minimal use of “travelers”, “vacationers” and “businessmen”. This feature offers both merits, the most evident of which is presenting information in a relatively objective manner [49
], and demerits, in which the customer-oriented expression tends to target the potential customer as an observer but not a participant. Thus, the distance between hotels and customers increases as in the first-person reference. The use of the happiness subcategory (at 2.79%) also deserves special attention. In the current study, happiness is divided into two parts, namely, cheer and affection. Hotels tend to utilize affection substantially more than cheer. Affection is mainly conveyed by such words as “fond”, “loving”, and “adoring”. By contrast, cheer can be expressed by “cheerful”, “laugh”, and “jubilant”. The degree of happiness completely differs between these two types, whilst five-star hotels in China favor the relatively weak form of happiness.