Customer Satisfaction – A Study

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Executive summary

Using the importance of the GCC tool this particular report has illustrated the importance of the key factors that are responsible for hotel selection process. Across the different demographic group the interview was organized to see the change in their perception while selecting a hotel.. The six hotel selection factors identified were: Service Quality, Business Facilities, Value, Room and Front Desk, Food and Recreation, and Security. For understanding the satisfaction level of the customer GCC model matrix were utilized in both the hotel A and B (belongs to the same company). Eventually result indicates that Service Quality, Room and Front Desk operational, safety and security are getting an upper edge compare to business facilities, food and beverage along with other recreational facilities.

1.0 Introduction

Past few decades, academic researcher and market analyst are delivering adequate importance to the customer satisfaction and service quality dimensions in hospitality industry. Both these issue are directly related with the financial performance of the firm and control customer behaviour. Lot many studies have demonstrated that the location, staff behaviour, tangible components etc have a positive correlation with customer satisfaction and loyalty level. As service is a heterogeneous and not standardized in nature therefore even under the same brand two branch of the same organization may differ in their service delivery process. Therefore in the present study key component for the customer focused firm (Anderson et.al, 2005; Akan, 2005; Atkinson, 2008) to measure  and monitor the service quality dimension which perceived to be the key element during the selection process of a hotel hospitality industry. In the line of this discussion present study attempt to explain a comparative analysis between the performance of the two branch of hotel Ramada Encore Luton Airport in UK and outside.

The guest comment card (GCC) is a unique tool that can be used for measuring the customer satisfaction. The card is quite simple to understand, easy to use and small in size. While analysis these data manager can get appropriate information about the tourist / guest satisfaction report (Antony and  Antony, 2004).

The paper is divided in the following sections, first the review of the main issue associated with the customer satisfaction and criteria of choosing a hotel are discussed. Literature review is executed to examine different theory based on service quality dimensions. The next portion described the methodology portion – which has narrated the procedure - how the research is conducted. Last portion includes mainly analysis, result and discussion, which elaborates the strategic implementation, conclusion as well as the actionable plan that are recommended to the management.

2.0 Aims and Objectives

  •  The examine the critical variables that are responsible  to differentiate the service delivery process and quality in hospitality industry
  • To compare the customer satisfaction , for the tourist coming to the hotel situated in two  different location
  • To examine the factors that plays an important role during the decision making process while choosing a hotel.

3.0 Literature Review

In the Hospitality industry customer satisfaction is quite a popular and exciting topic for discussion for the academic researcher (Atilgan et.al. 2003). Despite (Barsky, 2009) various attempt still the true definition of customer satisfaction and service quality dimension yet to come to a consensus. The definition is restricted mainly on the basis of the post consumption behaviour of a particular product or services. The entire evaluation is judged on the basis of pre purchase consumption expectation with the perception of the performance during and after consumption of the service. The expectancy disconfirmation theory is based on the widely used conceptualization of the customer satisfaction (Barsky, 2010). The theory illustrates there is positive sense of disconfirmation while the customer is satisfied with the services and vice versa.  Different research paper has illustrated the fact that customer satisfaction has direct or indirect impact on the business performances (Anderson et al. (2005), Yeung et al. (2002), and Luo and Homburg (2007). In the Hospitality industry customer satisfaction impacts the business profitability so there is direct relationship between customer behaviour patterns with the service profit chain (Söderlund, 1998; Kandampully and Suhartanto, 2000; Dimitriades, 2006; Olorunniwo et al., 2006; Chi and Qu, 2008; Faullant et al., 2008). The findings of different result explain that customer satisfaction develops loyalty and repurchase intension among the consumers which ultimately leads to advocacy in the long run.

According to Barsky and Labagh (2003, p 32), “Customer satisfaction is quite subjective in nature and vary widely across the different demographic group.” There are various determinant factors that control the customer satisfaction which has discussed in various studies (Bolton & Drew, 2010) Subjective parameter constitutes customer emotion, needs, preference, choice etc. whereas the objective elements includes different product and service features. In reference to the hospitality industry it has been noticed that consumer or tourist give importance to both tangible and intangible components. Various attributes like cleanliness, safety, security, value for money, and courtesy for the staff etc determine the customer satisfaction. Cardozo (2006) highlighted that convenient location cleanliness, comfort level, transport and prompt service facilities at a reasonable price, friendly environment, safety and security are the main driving force that influences the tourist satisfaction. Carman (2010) suggested that room quality and staff behaviour and timeliness are the three major important determinant factors. Therefore it is quite important to know from the customer that what service facility they are looking for. According to Choi and Chu (2001, p 277) “guest comment card is an unique tool that is universally accepted and used to measure guest satisfaction. Normally this card is distributed either in the guest room or in the reception at the time of departure or entry. However the many occasion different players belong to the hospitality industry used tourist satisfaction evaluation method for taking important and complex business decision (Barsky, 1992; Barsky and Huxley, 1992; Jones and Ioannou, 1993, Gilbert and Horsnell, 1998; Su, 2004). Chi and Qu (2008) criticized that the most common mistake that remain the aforesaid system are quality of the sample, design of the GCC and the data collection process. Barsky and Huxley (2004) have proposed a new process of taking the response from the guest .In this process data will be collected only from the quality sample. A separate incentive will be provide to the customer if the questionnaire is filled up properly. The basic component of the questionnaire is prepared in the basis of expectancy value theory and disconfirmation paradigm. This allow management to realize about the tourist perception whether that is below or above the expectation level. Instead of traditional SERVQUAL method (Churchill and Surprenant, 2008) used IPA (importance of performance analysis) instrument for measuring the customer satisfaction. Danaher and Mattsson (2004) also explored the IPA to formulate and evaluate the tourism policy. Dimitriades (2006) explore it to measure the competitive advantage in the travel and tourism industry. This confirms the utility of this tool in identifying tourist perception. Douglas and Connor, 2009) supported the advantage of this tool in measuring the perception of the service provider about guest expectation on service quality.

Many occasions it is found that few hotel attributes enhances the preference level and purchase intention of the customer (Ekinci, 2007). The services or facilities offered by any particular hotel if differentiable within a certain price level then automatically it will entice one compare to the other. Faullant et al. (2008) supported that physical evidence, relaxation opportunities, service standards, image and value for money are the key attributes evaluated by a customer while selecting a hotel (Frochot and  Hughes, 2009).

4.0 Methodology

Giese and Cote, (2009) described that the basic purpose of the study is to assess the GCC (Guest comment card) for measuring the customer satisfaction in Ramada Encore Luton AIRPORT. Further intervention is allowed to make for understanding the critical component that stimulates the selection process of a particular hotel. A personal interview was conducted by the managers of both the hotels. The basic motto was to process the data and make the relevant change if desired or required for analysis.  The time frame considered for data collection was (Jan to march 2013) for two months. The justification behind choosing the time frame is to collect the feedback across different segment of customer. Most of the cases it is observed that the guest or traveler avail hotels either   for business or leisure purpose. So this time frame supports that logic. Based on the earlier research the management has created a GCC checklist which consists of 32 parameters. To analyze the content of the hotel (GCC) all these categories are further subdivided into five important general area of analysis. The categorization are mentioned below

  • Focus on the customer defined attributes and management perception about the value system based on GCC attributes.
  • The attributes measurement scale or techniques used for the study.
  • Utility of GCC to measure the customer satisfaction and loyalty level among the guest
  • Identify the option left in the GCC for understanding the key market segment
  • Effective lay out of the systems that are designed for the study.

 

Gilbert and Horsnell (2008) argued that requirement of further seven addition categories in the GCC system for expansion. Gonzalez et al. (2009) referred that the inclusion of more sentences’, instruction about where to leave the GCC, identity of the hotel employee, assessment of the service value and tourist expectation

Schall (2003) argued the above categories are not sufficient enough to collect the explicit response about the different attributes of hotel services. Researcher has personally collected the response from these two hotels.

Grönroos (2004) opined that the basic frame work of the content analysis was to find out how many times those pre defined categories of the parameter appear in the given content. An effective content analysis is mandatory in the present case.  Therefore an effective content analysis should follow certain criteria. Initially a representative should be selected from the randomly drawn sample. Secondly the criteria of the analysis i.e. on what basis the analysis will be progress should be clearly defined. These units could be anything -like a specific word or set or words, phrase, theme, paragraph, symbols picture, tables etc. Even certain existence and non existence element of the event can also be considered during data collection process. Thirdly the categorization of the data need to specific and systematic in nature. Lastly the statistical analysis should be undergone to reach a logical conclusion. AS the researcher is conducting the research on the basis of interview and observational facts therefore reliability and validity of the instrument and collected data should be examine properly.  Gundersen et al. (2006) proposed normally in case of GCC measurement three kind of content verification is important – stability of the variable and scales, reproducibility of the data and their accuracy level. Reliability of the data are assessed through chronbach alpha test (where α >0.7) signifies the data set are reliable for analysis. Reliability of the coding instrument has also considered with utmost importance which practically reduce the requirement of the multiple factors. Normally validity signifies the extent at which an instrument measures or intent to measure the likelihood of the inferences.

5.0 Results and Analysis

During analysis descriptive statistics were applied including the sample frequency and the mean of different samples. Mean rating was computed on the basis of travellers demographic and travelling profile on the selected 32 attributes. Total 124 out of 178 travellers were responded properly to the GCC form which was delivered at their individual room in two hotels. Though the survey was continued for nearly two months but due to intermittent problem effectively 34 days data were considered during analysis. On each hotel average 62 responded were participated in this particular project. In the following tables Hotel A signifies the Ramada Encore Luton Airport hotel in UK; whereas the hotel B signifies the same hotel but different branch present outside UK.

1 Demographic profile of the respondent

Table no-1 – Gender wise segmentation

Sex

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

Male

76.5

23.5

124

Female

54

46

124

 

Table no-2 Age wise segmentation

Age of the Respondent

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

20 or below 20 years of age

0.6

6.2

124

21-30

17

28.5

124

31-40

36

24

124

41-50

36

24

124

51-60

9

15.3

124

60 or above

1.4

2

124

 

Table no-3 Educational qualification wise segmentation

Educational Level

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

Till primary level

0

3

124

Middle

6

2.9

124

High school education

20

27.3

124

University or college level

61

56.2

124

Post graduate / doctoral /post doctoral

13

10.6

124

 

Table no-4 Income wise segmentation

Annual household income of the Respondent( £)

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

less than 10,000

19.2

23.7

124

10001-20,000

1.7

11.5

124

20,001-30000

6.6

17.4

124

30000-40001

8.7

13.2

124

     40,001-50,000

5.5

6.5

124

50,001-60,000

8.1

5.5

124

60,001-70,000

10.1

5.8

124

70,001-80,000

12.3

5.4

124

80,001-90,000

7.4

5.1

124

90,001 or above

20.4

5.9

124

 

Table no-5 Country wise segmentation

Country of abode

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

China

24

9

124

South east Asian country

11

15

124

West European country

14.6

17

124

New Zealand /Australia

12

16.2

124

Others

7

8.8

124

Japan

18.6

24

124

Taiwan

5.2

5.3

124

North American country

7.6

4.7

124

 

Findings:  Ref to the Tables no (1 – 5) result illustrates the demographic profile of the respondents. 28.5 percent of the respondent lying between the age group (21-30) years of age. The percentage is more in hotel B compare to A. As par the gender is concerned majority of the respondent (23.5) % and their percentage is more in Hotel A compare to B. were male. Travellers are mostly (55-61) % university or college students. Tariff is a critical issue as far s the selection of the hotel is concerned in UK or outside. Present result indicates that majority of the respondents (19-23) % from both the hotels having an annual household income less than 10,000 pound. Asian counter parts (country like china, twain, Japan, and East Asian countries etc) constitute around 60 % of the guest where as rest 40% comes from Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

5.2 Travelling characteristics of the Respondent

Table no-6 No of times the respondent visit the RAMADA Encore Luton Airport hotel in UK and outside

 

No of times visit to Ramada Hotel

Hotel A (percentage )in UK

Hotel B ( Percentage )-in Other country

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

First time

54

87

124

More than once

46

13

124

 

Table no-7 Occupation of the Respondent

Occupation of Respondent

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

Management and administrative staff

32

12

124

Professional ( engineer, doctor , lawyer etc)

22

23

124

Self employed individual

21

7

124

Worker with white collar

5

16.2

124

Worker with blue colour

1

5.9

124

 Sales professional

9.3

3.4

124

Civil servant

4.8

15.2

124

 student

0.7

8

124

 Retired individual

1.1

4.3

124

others

3.1

5

124

 

Table no-8 Preference of the hotel in terms of tariff

Type of hotel they prefer

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

High tariff

14

12.1

124

Medium tariff

42

42.4

124

Low Tariff

44

45.5

124

 

Table no-9 Source of information

Source of information

Hotel A (percentage )

Hotel B ( Percentage )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

From different travel agencies

34

56

124

 Airlines agent

3.6

6.5

124

Different travel brochure/ hoarding / magazines

1

11

124

 Friends / relatives / others

13

5.4

124

 Different business association / local  or network community

43

12.9

124

Different national tourist organisation

1.2

6.7

124

Others

4.2

1.5

124

 

Table no-10 No of night spent in the hotel

No of nights they spent in hotel

Hotel A (percentage wise )

Hotel B ( Percentage wise )

Total no of Respondent both in Hotel A and B

 1 night

21

12

124

(2-3) nights

43

46

124

(3-4) nights

27

28

124

(4-5) nights

2

11

124

(6-7) nights

5.2

2

124

> 7 nights

1.8

1

124

 

Findings Ref to the table no (6-10) result demonstrates the travelling characteristics of the respondent around 87 % of the respondent come to the hotel first time. The percentage is low (54) % in case of hotel A. Between these two hotel A and B (45-46) % of the respondents is from different professional like doctor, engineer and lawyer etc. Bothe percentage is same in Hotel A and B. The percentage of the administrative and management occupy the second place. Low tariff hotel is the first option for majority (44-45) % of the customer. As far as tariff issue is concerned there is no significant difference in the result between the two hotels. Majority of the respondent get the information about the hotel from travel agency. Though the percentage is significantly differ from hotel A and B.

5.3 Qualitative analysis and Discussion

5.3.1 Factors considered during gathering information from two hotels

74% of the managers have mentioned that they have collected the information by using the GCC. 35 %of the cases manager revealed that they have received the information from hotel service through guest letter, websites and comments etc. The response rate is concerned during the time of operation was as high as almost (50-60) % in the two hotels. Sampling method used for this qualitative process was quite simple.95% of the guest present in both the hotels were distributed the GCC randomly, only few exceptional cases the GCC is distributed through housekeeping staff. Question on how as a guest you feel about the hotel to the guest deliver an effective information .This mainly deliver the hotel advertising effectiveness and efficacy of the marketing channels. Question related to completion are effective layout of the question are examined by noticing the level of satisfaction in the guest face. Guest expectation about the service quality is measured on various parameters. Qualitative analysis revealed that that all the GCC has included certain issues associated with the hotel room like cleanliness, comfort level, amenities, quality and variety of food present in the hotel etc).Further assessment of some of the important area like guest leisure  facilities ( wellness, swimming pool , animation or other sorts of entertainment ). Staff friendliness and efficiency at reception are also kept in mind (Guthrie and Abeysekera, 2006).

6.0 Discussion and Interpretation

6.1 Guest feelings about the service quality parameters

The response of the guest on the fowling parameters are summarized below

Table no-11

Service Quality-F1

Hotel A

Hotel B

Staff provide the efficient service

More  (++)

Less(+)

Staff understanding about my problem is good

More (++)

Less(+)

 Most of the staff is helpful

Less(+)

More(++)

Most of the staff are polite  and friendly in behaviour

Less (+)

More(++)

 Neat appearance

Slightly less(+/-,-)

More(++)

Staff possesses multilingual skills

Slightly more (++/-)

Less (+)

 

Interpretation: Comparative analysis of the two hotels on service quality parameters in both the hotels indicates few positive and negative aspects. From table no -11 this can be inferred that hotel B is slightly ahead of hotel A in terms of service quality parameters.

6.2 Facilities in terms of business

Facilities in terms of business-F2

Hotel A

Hotel B

Meeting room required for the business are available

Slightly more ( ++/-)

Less (+)

business related facilities are available

More (++)

Less (+)

 Different secretarial service are available

More (++)

Less(+)

International direct dial service are available

More (++)

Less(+)

 

Interpretation Comparative analysis of the two hotels in terms of business facilities indicates both hotels have certain loopholes. But hotel A is performing better compare to hotel A.

6.3 Comparison between two hotels in terms Value Component

Value component -F3

Hotel A

Hotel B

Room of the hotel deliver value for money

Slightly ( ++/-)more

Less (+)

Food and beverage are good

Less(+)

More(++)

Location of the hotel is convenient

More (++)

Less(+)

Hotel provides comfortable ambience

More(++)

Less(+)

Hotel becomes a part of the reputable chain

More(++)

Less(+)

 

Interpretation Comparative analysis of the two hotels in terms of business facilities value component indicates in majority of the cases, reputable chain, Comfortable ambience, convenient location in almost many other aspects hotel A is better poised compare to hotel B.

6.4 Efficiency in the room and front desk operation

Room and front desk operation -F4

Hotel A

Hotel B

Bed/ matters / chair and pillow and other tangibles are  comfortable

More( ++)

Less(+)

Room of the hotel is clean

Less(+)

Slightly More(+/-)

Room temperature is maintained all the time

More(++)

Less(+)

Check in / checkout  service of the hotel is excellent

Slightly less(-/+)

More(+)

The reservation system of the hotel is quite trustworthy

More(++)

Less(+)

 

Interpretation Comparative analysis of the two hotels in terms of business efficiency in the room and front desk operation indicates that in terms of comfort ability issues like both inside and outside the hotel A is ahead of hotel B. simultaneously, similarly check in and checkout facilities cleanliness of the room the hotel A is behind hotel B.

6.5 Comparison in delivering food and re creational or entertainment facilities

Food and recreation or entertainment-F5

Hotel A

Hotel B

Food and beverage provided by the hotel are of great variety

Less(+)

Slightly More(+/-)

 quality of the food and beverage are good

More(++)

Less(+)

 Different leisure facilities are available

Slightly less(-/+)

More(+)

 Mini bar  facilities are  available

More(++)

Less(+)

 

Interpretation: Comparison in delivering food and re creational or entertainment facilities quality of the food, mini bar and beverage facilities are concerned majority of the customer feels that Hotel A is performing better compare to hotel B in terms of delivering satisfaction to the guest.

6.6 Comparison about safety and security

Security and safety -F6

Hotel A

Hotel B

Fire alarm present in system are reliable

More (++)

Less(+)

Security staffs are reliable

More (++)

Less(+)

 

Interpretation Safety and security are considered to one of the critical factor that attract and boost up confidence in guest’s mind. Comparative analysis between two hotels reveals that Hotel A is much superior in terms of delivering different kind of safety measures. Security staffs are reliable and prompt in action. So definitely that drives motivation and brings a feeling of safety and security in the mind of customer.

7.0 Conclusion 

This study particularly categorizes almost 26 different hotel attributes that were given in the GCC, service quality, food and recreational facility, value, Room and front desk operation and safety and security are critical determinant factor that a guest normally used to consider before selecting a hotel. Using the important card like GCC (Guest comment card) and IPA (important performance attributes) this particular study compares customer satisfaction level in the two hotels of the same organization (Ramada Encore Lutin Hotel) in UK and abroad, During  analysis it is has observed that customer are deliver adequate importance to the following factors for hotel selection process (Jamali, 2007). During choosing a particular hotel this has noticed that business travelers are giving more importance to the room and front desk operational efficiency than their leisure counterpart. Whereas the leisure counter is deliver maximum importance to the safety and security aspects (Juwaheer, 2004).

8.0 Recommendation

Intensified market competition forced a particular firm in the travel and tourism industry to define their service quality component in a unique manner so that they can position themselves in an innovative manner to their customer. Identifying the true need of the customer allow a firm to develop a agenda and work plan. They can prioritize their   task and allocate resources in the appropriate areas in right time. Customer need first to be identified and understood and simultaneously organizational strategy need to form to cater that need. Hotel performance need to be improved and manager in the hospitality industry concentrate on developing a brand   for repeat purchase. There is a dire need to identify the fact -how customer is differentiating the service quality component. Management in the hospitality industry should identify and give adequate importance to the macro factors like – location, weather condition during vacation, staff behaviour, site scene etc. These ultimately allow developing a competitive edge over others by enhancing the image, brand equity and value among customer.

GCC (guest comments card) is a unique tool to identify the guest feedback during these process. Firstly this tool is unique, easily understood and quite inexpensive to execute. In fact this tool also should be represented graphically in two dimensional grid models0, where the different strength and weakness of the attributes can be studied in a better manner for further improvement.

The management should identify what is the problem and where it exists. Therefore based on the perception of performance tailor made marketing or corporate strategy can be formed.

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Posted by: Partha Sarathi Sarkar. in English , General | Date: 04/02/2016

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