Current Service Quality Expectations in the Hotel Industry

Most writers who have written articles, journals and books on improvement of service quality in the hotel industry have mainly concentrated on methods and the techniques that are important in the error reduction process in various areas and the improvement of quality. In recent times researchers have realized the need of the customers is the most important. It is very essential that all needs that will lead to customer satisfaction are identified and implemented. This are the attributes of a hotel setting that the guests find very essential and they can be determined by the distribution of questionnaires to the guests or having a suggestion box where the clients can put there suggestions. (Barsky, 1992).

Customer satisfaction is the general or specific customer opinion of a product or service after its consumption. In determining that a service is quality the following elements are looked at: availability, guarantee, communication, expertise, standard, behavior, flaw, duration, engagement, humanity, effects, reliability, responsibility and safety. Other than these general requirements the hotel industry must ensure that the technology being used is up to date and the other qualities that are specific for the hotel line of business are met. Customer satisfaction is based on the management of the service providing industry. (Morrison, 1980).

The manager listens to the customer demands and then they translate the same to their staff. The customers also require that the hotel is clean enough, the personnel are well educated and skilled for the position and are very polite and courteous and that the hotel has ample space capacity and are well secured. These features are very essential especially with the current trend in technology and globalization. (Swartz, 1989).

Service Quality Models and Approaches.

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Servqual Model

The term Servqual is short form for Services Quality Model that was brought about to replace the general and ambiguous models of quality. This model has proved very effective and is used in a wide range of businesses in the service sector. This model has overtime been tested and evaluated by different research firms and has come out as an effective quality model. According to the Servqual model quality is determined by evaluating the relationship between the expected and the actual and a reflection of the deviations. In this model the guest is usually the center of the evaluation. (Buttle, 1996).

The service quality model is multifaceted meaning that one individual’s evaluations could be totally different from another’s. While using this kind of model it is important that the management of the hotel should come up with a list of characteristics that they think need quality evaluation, however the Servqual model has come up with its own sets of characteristics that are general for any kind of service industry which is known as the Servqual scale. This scale involves the following: Reliability; Assurance; tangibles; empathy; and responsiveness (RATER). (Buttle, 1996).

The model is simple and very effective as a qualitative model in many organizations and can be used for several industries. Critics of the Servqual model say that the theory cannot be attached to the theories of the economics, psychology and statistics; there is no verification that the guests will do the research based purely on their observations without bias; it is based on service delivery and not the effect of the delivered service to the guests; the criteria for the scale is not exhaustive; the model cannot compute the total prospect of the service quality and that customer’s ratings vary from individual to the next. (Buttle, 1996).

Total Quality Management (TQM)

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Total quality management is a strategy used by a vast group of industries to evaluate the quality of there procedures. It is based on a total evaluation of all aspects of the management that is: control; directing; organization; planning and staffing. TQM ensures that the organization is inclined toward meeting customer needs. Total quality management is used in order to promote consistency of the quality of the products and services that are been issued. (Swartz, 1989).

Total quality management comprises of four processes these are; Continuous Process Improvement; that the service provides the required; examination of the client while using the appliance and that the quality is of high quality. Total Quality Management ensures that levels or chances that wastage will occur are reduced and the level of quality is maintained throughout. The following are the important aspects of the TQM approach: ensuring that the quality is improved constantly; that new policies are adopted; reduce dependence of inspection; ensure that the overall costs of production are reduced; constantly improve the overall production processes; ensuring that the employees are constantly trained; introduce an effective system of leadership; reduce fear of change; create unity between different departments; create team work among the employees; institute learning and development procedures; break down duties and responsibilities into manageable portions. (Jenkins, 1987).

Total quality management rests on the concepts of quality control, improvement and assurance. In comparison with the Servqual model that only indicates the product or service quality without indicating the means of improvement, Total Quality Management also measures means of which quality will be achieved. It is of advantage since it includes all the sectors of a business including the management, clients, and employees and therefore there are fewer chances that bias will occur. (Turgeon, 1988).

Hilton Hotels

In evaluation of the service quality in the hotel industry I have chosen the Hilton Hotels. The Hilton Hotels are a chain of Hotels that operate internationally. The Hilton Hotels were founded by Conrad Hilton. Today the Hilton Hotel has moved into many foreign countries adding up to a total of 533 by the year 2008, either through franchising or the wholly owned subsidiaries and is listed among the biggest 5star hotels in the world. They are involved mainly with hosting

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individuals on business but they also host holiday oriented hotels and are in partnership with various cab companies and airlines. The bed capacity at the Hilton hotels depends highly on the situation but they all have a bed capacity of 300 and above. They offer bed and breakfast facilities, romantic packages, hotel plus flight plus car hire. (Swartz, 1989).

Implementation of the Servqual Model on the Hilton Hotels

As illustrated above, the Servqual model quality is determined by evaluating the relationship between the expected service level and the actual service provided and a reflection of the deviations. By using this model the guest should be made the center of the evaluation. Even though the procedures of the Servqual model are multi-faceted with the correct procedures and evaluations they can be very effective. The management of the Hilton Hotel should come up with a list of characteristics that in their opinion feel that require evaluation or they can use the default criterion that is used with the Servqual model. If the hotel decides to use the designated scale it involves the following: Reliability; Assurance; tangibles; empathy; and responsiveness (RATER). (Jenkins, 1987).

The model is very simple and if implemented effectively will result into the expected qualities. The hotel should then employ a group of researchers to do the compiling and analysis of the results and come up with the deviations. To reduce the chances of biasness the hotel may decide to use the structured kind of questions that require straight forward answers. This will make evaluation and recording of the results easier and more convenient. (Turgeon, 1988).

After the analysis process the deviations should be written down in the form of a report and handed in to the management for discussion and revision process. The company could request the clients in the questionnaires to include ways that in their opinion could change the current deviations and identify the means that they will be implemented for customer satisfaction. To deal with the a problem in room division, the hotel can issue questionnaires asking structured questions relating to the room space and the general arrangement of the hotel facility, the questions could be on the effectiveness of the lift facility, the ventilation in the room, serenity and quietness of the hotel environment. Answers by the clients could be predetermined and evaluated and the relevant changes made. (Morrison, 1980).

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If the hotel wants to gather information on the effectiveness of the reservation either online or at the reception they could also question hat relate to the same and do the relevant gap analysis and changes. In the questions the company could ask on the effectiveness of its website and whether the website answers the client questions and if it is easy to access and follow up. The employees can be asked about the effectiveness of the database soft wares and its capacity effectiveness to adopt the numerous numbers of customers. (Jenkins, 1987).

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Barsky, (1992), Customer satisfaction in the hotel industry, Hospitality Research Journal, Vol.

16 No.1, pp.51-73.

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Brown, S. Swartz, (1989), A gap analysis of professional service quality, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 pp.92-8.

Bryant & Morrison, (1980), Travel market segmentation and the implementation of market strategies, Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 28 No.3, pp.2-8.

Cadotte & Turgeon,(1988), Key factors in guest satisfaction, The Cornell Hotel Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 28 No.4, pp.44-51.

Cadotte, Woodruff, & Jenkins, (1987), Expectations and norms in models of consumer satisfaction, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 24 pp.305-14.

Francis Buttle, 1996, SERVQUAL: Review, Critique, Research Agenda, European Journal of Marketing, Vol.30, Issue 1, pp.8-31.