“I am so ashamed of my body”: Obese guests’ experiences in hotels

Yaniv Poria, Jeremy Beal, Amir Shani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The hotel experience of obese people is examined in this exploratory study, addressing a segment of the population thus far ignored by hospitality scholars. The findings are based on 32 semi-structured interviews with American obese men and women living in the Virginia area. The results revealed that almost all participants’ hotel experience was affected by constraints arising from the physical environment, but more so, from other guests gazing at them. The thematic analysis of the experiences of obese hotel guests suggest that two relevant spaces in the hotel can be distinguished: the guest room and the public space accessible to all guests. These spaces differ in the difficulties experienced as well as the emotions that evoked among those guests. Overall, the findings indicate that people's body and its image is crucial for the understanding of the hotel experience, as lookism is a critical barrier obese people face.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102728
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Body
  • Constraints
  • Hotel experience
  • Lookism
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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