“I live with terror inside me”: Exploring customers’ instinctive reactions to terror

Tali Seger Guttmann, Shaked Gilboa, Judith Partouche-Sebban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Terrorist attacks occur mostly at public service-oriented sites. Consequently, their victims are likely to be customers. The present study explores how customers instinctively react toward the reality of terror in a matrix of 2 × 2 aspects concerning terror circumstances: temporal proximity (brief or long) and physical proximity (close or remote) from the terror event. In qualitative in-depth interviews, customers from France and Israel were requested to share their instinctive reactions and coping strategies when approaching hospitality (hedonistic) and transportation (utilitarian) services. Participants (N = 47) comprised customers having a protracted acquaintance with persistent terror threats. The analysis identified differences in reactions, subject to temporal and physical proximities. When terror attacks are physically close, customers’ emotions, cognitions, and behaviors undergo modification with time. However, when terror attacks occur at a location remote from the customer, customers’ emotions and cognitions, but not their behavior, change with time. These reactions were comparable for the two service contexts. Practical implications were elaborated to enable service establishments (i.e., hospitality and transportation) to design and manage their operations for the short and long term to assist customers in the difficult era of terror.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102734
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Control
  • Customer reaction
  • Physical proximity
  • Service
  • Temporal proximity
  • Terror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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