Drawing on data collected during 14 months of ethnographic research in an Australian Coastal Hotel, the paper describes the management of service encounters. Hotel staff used meetings and training sessions to simulate service scenarios, hypothesizing 'customer wants and needs'. In order to do this they constructed the image of an ideal 'Guest', an image that was collectively evoked in order to shape the conduct of service encounters. We claim that these imaginary service encounters mean that the 'creators' of this imaginary object become increasingly subjected to its demands. The object, 'The Guest', attempts to dominate its creators. The traditional demarcation between subject and object is blurred, and perhaps reversed. Drawing on the neglected work of G 1/4nther Anders, the paper inquires into the status of this object and addresses the process of its production and consumption. It demonstrates how subjects and an (imaginary) object become entangled.
- Service marketing