Importance of Hotel Attributes Contributing to International Travelers’ Satisfaction in Singapore Luxury Hotel Industry- Literature Review
Importance of Hotel Attributes Contributing to International Travelers’ Satisfaction in Singapore Luxury Hotel Industry- Literature Review
International travelers visit different countries on business, leisure or personal purposes. These travelers are diverse in their demographic characteristics, spending patterns and preference for accommodation while travelling abroad. As travelers “what people really desire are not products, but satisfying experiences” (Abbott, 1955 cited in Palmer, 2010). Luxury hotels have embraced the idea of creating unique, valuable and unforgettable experiences so that they get repeat and loyal customers on a continuous basis. Morrison & Crane (2007) rightly emphasize that contemporary consumers no longer simply buy products and services, but rather the experience around what is being sold. Customer satisfaction (CS) has direct impact on customer loyalty (Taylor, Celuch & Goodwin, 2006). Satisfaction and service quality have to be studied together as these are related to customer loyalty and likelihood of repeat visits (Mittal & Lassar, 1998, 177). This Paper reviews the literature published about ‘customer satisfaction’ among international travelers with respect to three variables- ‘staff service quality’, ‘room quality’ and ‘value for money’.
Huge number of definitions and explanations about ‘customer satisfaction’ abound in the published literature. Relevant to the current topic, customer satisfaction is seen as overall experience of customer while buying or consuming products or services (Anderson, Fornell & Lehmann, 1994). According to Baker & Crompton (2000) customer satisfaction is a personal experience derived from differences between personal expectations and actual delivered service. Pardis (2012) [Author 1, in Summary Table] modeled customer satisfaction in hotels of 3-star, 4-star and 5-star categories located in Kish Island in Iran through questionnaire survey of 22 hotel managers and 285 customers. This study was aimed at (i) identifying drivers of customer satisfaction and their relationship with customer satisfaction; and (ii) developing a customer satisfaction model for hotel industry in Kish Island. Analysis revealed that ‘perceived value’ (PV), ‘perceived quality’ (PQ), ‘image ’and ‘customer expectation’ (CE) had positive effects on customer satisfaction. Further customer satisfaction had a positive impact on customer loyalty (CL). In this study, image, CE, PV and PQ emerged as predictors of customer satisfaction. These findings are limited to tourist visitors in Kish Island. Same author (Pardis, 2013) analyzed the study data using Structural Equation Modeling and found the relationship between pairs of variables: ‘PQ-Image’; ‘PQ-PV’; ‘PQ-Image’. By improving one in the pair, magnitude of the other variable will increase. Increased customer satisfaction results in CL and consequently customer repurchase intention.
Choi & Chu (2000) [Author 2, Summary Table] conducted a 33-item survey of international travelers- grouped into Asian and Western travelers departing from the Hong Kong International Airport in August 1996. Overall satisfaction level for two groups of travelers was modeled using regression analysis. For the Asian traveler group, ‘value’ was found to carry high loading (0.46), followed by ‘staff service quality’ (SSQ), International direct dialing facility (IDD), general amenities (GA), room quality (RQ), security and business services (BS), while western travelers gave higher prominence to RQ, followed by SQ, GA, Value and BS. Results of this study will enable hotel managers “to be able to anticipate and cater for their customer’s desires and needs, rather than merely reacting to their dissatisfaction” (Oberoi & Hales, 1990).
Karunaratne & Jayawardena (2010, p 260) [Author 3, Summary Table] in a study conducted at a 5-star hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka, collected data related to 22 variables based on five dimensions of SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, 1994). Sample involved 60 local and foreign customers. Gap between desired and actual performance as well as ranking of importance of service criteria were determined in this study. Majority of customers had expressed their satisfaction with the overall service, especially, tangibility, responsiveness and assurance dimensions. Customers were dissatisfied with the service dimensions of ‘reliability’ and ‘empathy’ of hotel services. SQ gaps identified in the study can be used to set proper standards, prioritize relevant actions and support the service department with resources and facilities, such as training and development, advanced technology system support.
Staff Service Quality (SSQ) [Independent variable 1]
Hotels all over the world give due importance to SQ in order to produce positive products and services as well as to establish standards (Mohsin & Lockyer, 2010, 168). Customer’s satisfaction is influenced by the availability of customer services, provision of quality customer service has become a major concern of all businesses (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991). People component in the service delivery process has been the focus of several researchers, as people have a huge impact on overall service quality perception. Interaction quality of staff working in hospitality industry and its sub-dimensions were studied by several others, notable among which are: Service performance (Kim & Cha, 2002); Staff’s interpersonal skill (Brady & Cronin, 2001); Staff’s helpfulness (Choi & Chu, 2001); Staff’s friendliness (Lockyer, 2002); Staff’s knowledge (Caro & Garcia, 2008); Prompt problem solving (Knutson, 1988).
Turgay (2014) [Author 4, Summary Table] conducted study of tourists staying in 13 hotels with 5-star and 4-star ratings in Çanakkale Centrum and Kepez town in Turkey. SERVPERF scale developed by Cronin & Taylor (1992), containing 22 questions was used in the study. Factor analysis of data yielded five factors – (i) Empathy ( underlying variables: hotel staff meeting individual requirements; paying special attention; adding value to service offered); (ii) Trustfulness (service offered within promised time; keeping accurate records; interested in solving problems of customers); (iii) Physical appearance; (iv) Willingness/Eagerness to help, to provide information and (v) Assurance/guarantee. The most significant factor of PSQ was found to be Empathy. Since this study is conducted across 3-, 4- and 5- star hotels, generalization of findings in any category is not possible.
Kamenidou & Balkoulis (2009) [Author 5, Summary Table] conducted a field study in two 5-star hotels situated in the city of Larissa, Greece. Apart from demographic characteristics, research tool assessed: visitation to the hotels and satisfaction (25 items reflecting services offered by the hotels0. Factor analysis of data revealed seven factors: (i) Food and service related; (ii) Access to hotel; (iii) Room, price and staff; (iv) Hotel areas & Satellite TV; (v) Appearance of employees, safety and room layout; (vi) Reception services; (vii) Room internet facilities. These hotels, as per the study, need to take steps to provide behavioral training to the employees and training to minimize errors in record-keeping.
Marković & Janković (2009) [Author 6, Summary Table] investigated the relationship between SQ and customer satisfaction in 15 hotels of different categories in the Opatija Riviera, Croatia. SERVQUAL items (original five dimensions and two added dimensions- accessibility and output quality) were the basis of questionnaire design. Analysis revealed four factors: (i) Reliability- nine items related to solving guests problems and performing error-free service at promised time; (ii) Empathy and competence of staff – loaded with seven items indicating staff knowledge and ability to provide individual attention; (iii) Accessibility- eight items reflecting appropriate location of hotel, ease of communication and finding way around the hotel; and (iv) Tangibles – three items referring to appearance of the facilities, equipment and communication materials. Multiple regression analysis yielded an equation for overall satisfaction:
Overall satisfaction = 0.328 + (0.338x Reliability) +( 0.051x Empathy & competence of staff) + (0.430x Accessibility) + (0.155x Tangibles).
Combination of four PSQ dimensions tested in this study demonstrated significant impact on overall customer satisfaction. Being aware of the relative importance of each PSQ dimension can help hotel managers to deploy resources more effectively. Further, they can prioritize and focus on those dimensions that have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction.
Room Quality (RQ) [Independent variable 2]
Dolnicar (2002) [Author 7, Summary Table] in her study, capturing business travelers’ hotel expectations and disappointments, conducted 15-minute interview in different categories of hotels in Austria during winter and summer season of 2001. Among 5-star hotel category, travelers imparted high importance for ‘large room’, ‘internet’, ‘comfort’, ‘good service’, ‘comfortable bed’ among the RQ attributes. They were disappointed with ‘cleanliness’, ‘service’, ‘bed’ and ‘personnel’. Business travelers checking into luxury hotels expressed their disappointment with intangibles, such as, service, quality in general and personnel more often. This study is different in the sense that it captures open expectation and dissatisfaction with attributes. Again, findings from this study cannot be generalized.
Campos & Marodin (2012) [Author 8, Summary Table] investigated level of guest satisfaction by looking for gaps existing between expectations and perception of service received at superior and luxury hotels in the city of Natal, Brazil. Guests were interviewed before checking into the hotel and at the time of check out. Among the RQ attributes, their questionnaire included ‘pleasant rooms’, ‘air-conditioning (temperature, noise and control)’, ‘cleanliness of the rooms’, ‘sheets, towels, pillow cases’, ‘pleasant bathrooms’, ‘cleanliness and hygiene of bathrooms’, ‘pleasant common areas’, ‘cleanliness of common areas’ and ‘maintenance of green areas’. Guests ranked hygiene dimension as the most important attribute: ‘cleanliness of the bathroom, bedrooms and common areas’, followed by other attributes such as ‘ease in problem solving’, ‘access infrastructure for physically challenged’, ‘safety within the hotel and around’. This study revealed factors most important to customers, gaps in services offered by the hotels in each attribute and a baseline of best practices in the market.
Kitapci (2007) [Author 9, Summary Table] in a study measured the perceptions of service quality in Turkey’s hotel industry from the perspective of international tourists staying in 4-star and 5-star hotels. This study also adopts the Gap Analysis for analyzing the data collected through questionnaires. Among the RQ attributes, ‘cleanliness of the room’, ‘cleanliness of bathroom’, ‘comfortable bed and pillow’, ‘security of the room’, ‘quietness of room’, ‘air-conditioning’, ‘availability of safe case’, ‘attractive décor and furnishings of room/lobby’ and ‘availability of room service’ figured in the questionnaire. Analysis revealed that international tourists’ perceptions of 5-star hotels in Turkey were higher than their expectations. The biggest negative gaps related to ‘taste of food’ and ‘quality of food in restaurants’. Perceptions of travelers staying in 4-star hotels differed from those staying in 5-star hotels.
Value for Money (Independent variable 3)
Trevor & Spencer (2011) [Author 10, Summary Table] studies customer satisfaction from the perspective of value for money in the context of All-Inclusive Hotels in Jamaica (3-, 4- and 5-star). For attaining satisfaction, customer seeks value and not necessarily the confirmation of expectations (as pointed out in the above paragraphs), and in several studies it is posited that “perceptions of products, institutions or marketplace actions are simply tested against the extent to which they meet the consumer’s values” (Westbrook & Reilly, 1983, p.258). Authors used satisfactions items extracted from Smith (2007), who identified the main satisfiers of the all-inclusive hotel package among visiting tourists, ‘food quality’, ‘variation in restaurants’, ‘entertainment package’, ‘exposure to culture’, ‘service at hotel bars’, ‘access to shop’ and ‘value for money’. Results suggest that the attributes of ‘quality of food’, ‘variation in restaurants’, ‘entertainment package’ and ‘exposure to culture’ are the most important determinants. The authors conclude that more astute management underpinned by market research would ensure that value is exacted where it is most counted. Further studies should be undertake to address the ‘satisfaction-value thesis’ using country specific information and comparisons.
Chu & Choi (2000) [Author 11. Summary Table] using Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) studied business and leisure travelers’ perceived importance and performance of six hotel selection factors (with 33 attributes) in Hong Kong hotel industry. Value related attributes were ‘hotel room is value for money’, ‘hotel food and beverage is value for money’, ‘hotel location is convenient’, ‘hotel provides comfortable ambience’ and ‘hotel is part of a reputable chain’. Importance-Performance ratings were built into grids with four quadrants. ‘The Concentrate Here’ quadrant captured single factor for both business and leisure travelers- ‘value’ with the underlying variables given above. The study clearly shows that special attention should be directed to value factor.
Liang (2008) [Author 12, Summary Table] studies determinants, such as PQ, trust, satisfaction, PV and membership programs, on customer loyalty for luxury hotels in the US. Perceived value was captured through ‘hotel value vs price paid was good’, ‘hotel provided good deal’, and ‘hotel was a bargain for benefits received’. Perceived value has a positive impact on loyalty of customers, thus paving the way for re-visits.
Literature about customer satisfaction of international travelers staying luxury hotels have dealt with different dimensions of satisfaction- based on type of travelers, duration of stay in the hotels, preferences for luxury or budget hotels and expectations of not just a bed-and-bath, but internet facilities, satellite TV, entertainment packages, cultural tours (as add-ons). Some of the studies adopted Importance-Performance Analysis to capture customer satisfaction and identify gaps in this continuum, so that actions by the hotel managers can be prioritized. Some studies used advanced data analysis techniques, such as Factor Analysis, multiple regression and structural equation modeling. Most of the studies were conducted during short time frames and surveys were limited to few hotels or few travelers. Longitudinal studies across all luxury hotels in a particular city, would yield richer results.
Anderson, E.W., Fornell, C. & Lehmann, D.R. (1994). Customer Satisfaction, Market Share
and Profitability: Findings from Sweden. Journal of Marketing, 58, 53-66.
Baker, D.A. & Crompton, J.L. (2000). Quality Satisfaction and Behavioral Intentions. Annals
of Tourism Research, 27(3), 785-804.
Brady, M.K., & Cronin, J.J. (2001). Some new thoughts on conceptualizing perceived
service quality: A hierarchical approach, Journal of Marketing, 65, 34-49.
Berry, L.L., & Parasuraman, A. (1991). Marketing Services: Competing through Quality. The
Free Press: New York, NY, p 31.
Campos, D.F., & Marodin, T.G. (2012). Perceptions of Quality and Expectations of Hotel
Services, Journal of Operations and Supply Chain Management, 5 (1), 82-99.
Caro, L.M., & Garcia, J.A.M. (2008). Developing a multi-dimensional and hierarchical
service quality model for the travel agency industry. Tourism Management, 29, 706-720.
Choi, T.Y., & Chu, R. (2000). Levels of satisfaction among Asian and Western
travelers. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 17 (2), 116-131.
Choi, T.Y., & Chu, R. (2001). Determinants of hotel guests’ satisfaction and repeat patronage
in the Hong Kong hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 20,
Cronin, J.J., & Taylor, S.A.(1992). SERVPERF versus SERVQUAL: Reconciling
Performance-based and Perceptions-minus-expectations measurement of service quality.
Dolnicar, S. (2002). Business Travelers’ Hotel Expectations and Disappointments: A
Different Perspective to Hotel Attribute Importance Investigation. Asia Pacific Journal of
Tourism Research, 7 (1), 29-35.
Kamenidou, I., & Balkoules, N. (2009). Hotel business travelers’ satisfaction based on
service quality: a segmentation approach in inner-city five-star hotels. International
Karunaratne, W.M.K.K., & Jayawardena, L.N.A.C. (2010). Assessment of Customer
Satisfaction in a Five Star Hotel – A Case Study. Tropical Agricultural Research, 21 (3),
Kim, W.G., & Cha, Y. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of relationship quality in hotel
industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 21, 321-328.
Kitapci, O. (2007). Perceptions of Service Quality in Turkey’s Hotel Industry: A Perspective
Knutson, B.J. (1988). Frequent travelers: Making them happy and bringing them back.
Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 29, 83-87.
Liang, D. (2008, August). The Determining Factors of Customer Loyalty for Luxury Hotels
in US. The Journal of International Management Studies, 3 (2), 167-175.
Lockyer, T. (2002). Business guest’s accommodation selection: The view from both sides.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 14, 294-300.
Marković, S., & Janković, S.R. (2013). Exploring the relationship between service quality
Customer satisfaction in Croatian hotel industry. Tourism and Hospitality Management, 19
Mittal, B., & Lasser, W. (1998). Why do customers switch? The dynamics of satisfaction
versus loyalty. The Journal of Services Marketing, 12 (3), 177.
Mohsin, A., & Lockyer, T. (2010). Customer Perceptions of Service Quality in Luxury hotels
in New Delhi, India: An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Contemporary
Hospitality Management, 22 (2), 160-173.
Oberoi, U., & Hales, C. (1990). Assessing the quality of the conference hotel service
product: towards an empirically based model. The Service Industries Journal, 10 (4), 700-
Palmer, A. (2010). Customer Experience Management: A Critical Review of an Emerging
Idea. Journal of Services Marketing, 24 (3), 196-208.
Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V.A., & Berry, L.L. (1994). Reassessment of expectations as a
comparison standard in measuring service quality implications for future research. Journal
of Marketing, 58, 111-124.
Pardis, M. (2012, June). Customer Satisfaction Modeling in Hotel Industry: A Case
Study of Kish Island in Iran. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 4 (3), 134-152.
Pardis, M. (2013, June). Customer Satisfaction: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis.
Smith, T. (2007). Destination choice and levels of satisfaction with Jamaican All-Inclusive
Hotels, Ideaz, 6, 42-62.
Taylor, S., Celuch, K., & Goodwin, S. (2014). The importance of brand equity to customer loyalty. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 13 (4). 217-227.
Trevor, S. (2011, April). Predictors of Value for Money in Jamaican All-Inclusive Hotels,
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1 (4), 93-102.
Turgay, B. (2014, January). The Effect of Service Quality on Customer Satisfaction: A
Research on Hotel Businesses. International Journal of Education and Research, 2(1), 1-
Westbrook, R.A., & Reilly, M.D. (1983). Value-percept disparity: An alternative to the
disconfirmation of expectations theory of consumer satisfaction. Advances in Consumer
Research, 10 (1), 256-261.