What’s Hotel Service Quality?

Service quality, something the hotels put so much effort into. But what is behind the service quality? Do we understand what “quality” means, even though we hear it every day? What creates the service quality and is there a way to measure it, to improve it?

It is first important to realize that we live in Experience Economy era, and as such hotel’s services are continuously improved accordingly. The trends, guests’ behavior, external factors, all of them influencing the way how we perceive the service quality.

Let us begin with quality’s definition itself.

“Quality is synonymous with innate excellence, absolute and universally recognizable: ‘You will know it when you see it’” [1]

 

1-service-quality.jpg

So, are we able to recognize quality within a hotel? From my point of view, the quality in our case is an intangible way of expressing the guest satisfaction. As was once said, understanding the guest is crucial to success in the hospitality industry. (Goeldner et al., 2000) [2] Once the satisfaction is understood [3], the opportunity to reach repeated sales, positive word-of-mouth or guest loyalty, is increased a lot.

To sum it up, the service quality and further success (or failure) is mainly determined by the guest satisfaction. Factors that can influence the satisfaction may be guest’s expectations or perceptions [4], which are individual to every single guest, but we are still able to make an impact on expectations, for example with a proper way of presenting the hotel on social media or to the public so we can prevent misunderstanding in what a guest may expect from our services.

In order to figure out the level of service quality, guest satisfaction surveys are taking place. In the USA, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) was established to keep track of the world’s most known brands and the level of their guests’ satisfaction. The result of their latest, 2016 research [5], shows that in the USA, the guest satisfaction in hotels s up by 2.7%, although resulting in higher expectations from the guests, at least from the hotel chains. With the boom of shared economy, which has given birth also to AirBnB, the travelers now have even more freedom than before, thus hotel brands need more than ever to keep their image high up. And how do they perform in the USA?

ACSI.PNG
Overall Hotel’s Guest Satisfaction

From the results it is obvious that the image of the most known brands like Hilton, Hyatt or Mariott is pretty high and they live up to the expectations.

ACSI 2.PNG
Brand’s Guest Satisfaction

Also, if we focus on this report, we may find out that the overall guest experience is also being upgraded, and seen within the following table:

ACSI 3.PNG

As we may see, the trends within the hotel industry are clearly visible and almost all of it goes to the advances in modern technology. But how to increase the satisfaction even further?

Everything starts with employees. As the Deloitte Hospitality report, the average employee turnover is 31% in the USA and 34% in the UK. Not only it may lead to the loss of productivity and motivation, but also to the poor customer service and of course, additional costs. If that were not the case, the companies could have invested to technologies and further experience enhancements instead, thus increase the overall satisfaction with guest’s stay.

Among other, both employees and managers, should be working towards providing the best possible service to the guest, but at the same time they should ensure that the perception of “service quality” corresponds with the expectations and perceptions of guests themselves. Otherwise, the Gap would be created, therefore indicating that even the smallest gap within the model result in dissatisfied guests.

 

Gap Model.PNG
The Gap Model [8]
Furthermore, there is a possibility to work on guest loyalty, providing personalized experience, invite their suggestions, etc. Once we understand our guest and make an effort to satisfy him / her, we have basics for the success.

References: 

[1] Peter Mudie and Angela Pirrie, “Services Marketing Management”, 3rd Edition, ButterworthHeinemann 
[2] Goeldner, C.R. , Ritchie, J.R.B. and McIntosh, R.W.(2000), Tourism: Principals, Practices, Philosophies , John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. [Google Scholar]
[3] Sudin, S. (2011), “How service quality, value and corporate image affect client satisfaction and loyalty”, The 2nd International Research Symposium in Service Management Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 26-30 July. [Google Scholar]
[4] http://www.idosi.org/wasj/wasj12(T&H)11/3.pdf
[5] https://www.theacsi.org/news-and-resources/customer-satisfaction-reports/reports-2017/acsi-travel-report-2017/acsi-travel-report-2017-download
[6] http://marketing.theacsi.org/acton/attachment/5132/f-0054/1/-/-/-/-/ACSI%20Travel%20Report%202017.pdf
[7] http://www.hotelmarketingstrategies.com/employee-turnover-is-a-hospitality-industry-problem-heres-5-ways-to-fix-it-17175/
[8] Parasuraman et al, 1985; Curry, 1999; Luk and Layton, 2002

List of other sources:

https://www.politesi.polimi.it/bitstream/10589/13105/1/2010_10_Le.pdf
https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article77603.html
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