Formulating an appropriate research design
An appropriate research design that can be used to determine the feasibility and commercial opportunity of the non-business-travelers segment in Australia for Marriott is descriptive research design. Descriptive research in marketing seeks to provide answers to research questions such as why, where, what, and who. For instance, the specific research questions related to the research problem seek to determine factors such as market size for non business travelers segment, opportunities to service the non business travelers, obstacles that Marriot has to overcome in order to penetrate the market, the level of competition within the Australian non business travelers segment, the reasons why business travelers use temporary accommodation, the buying behaviors for non business travelers, ways in which non business travelers evaluate temporary accommodation, and the service qualities important for non business travelers. In order to provide answers to these research questions, descriptive research design is most suitable for use. The information that is needed for this particular research is clearly defined and the process of research will take an already established structure.
Several methods that can be used in descriptive research design, but for investigating this research problem, the descriptive research method to be used is longitudinal research. Longitudinal method is preferred over cross sectional method because the sample population surveyed may also be surveyed for a second time. Cross sectional study only provides for a one time opportunity to survey the sample population where as longitudinal provides for more than one opportunity to survey the sample population. Descriptive research design also has three major types of studies: market characteristics studies, consumer perception and behavior studies, and sales studies. The sales studies can be used to determine the market potential and market share. Such a study can be used to answer the second and third research questions that seek to identify whether there are opportunities to service the non business travelers in Australia and the obstacles that Marriot has to overcome in order to penetrate the Australian non business travelers segment respectively. The second study, consumer perception and behavior, can be used to provide answers to the last three research questions since it describes factors relating to consumer behavior such as product usage, image, and pricing. And lastly, the market characteristics studies can be used to provide answers to the first and fourth research questions which seek to describe the market size for the non business travelers in Australia and the level of competition respectively.
Descriptive research is appropriate for this case because it will provide a description of the research problem in addition to answering the research questions. The design will give the researcher the opportunity to utilize both qualitative and quantitative data relevant for finding answers to the research questions. Descriptive research will provide the opportunity for use of multifaceted methods of data collection. For instance, survey tools, observation, and studies can be used to collect data for the research. Administration of the survey can be done by contacting the customers or the clients directly. The non business traveler segment of the market can be contacted directly and the questionnaire survey tools used to retrieve relevant information from them. The surveys can also be done online where the questionnaire is administered through an online platform. Most clients in the hotel industry conduct transactions online and therefore it would be appropriate to track them online and administer the survey. In addition to primary data, secondary data is also used in descriptive design and longitudinal research method. The secondary data has to be relevant and reliable for the research.
Using primary scale for measuring consumer preference
Four primary scales are used in the measurement of consumer preferences in the hotel industry: nominal scale, ordinal scale, interval scale, and ration scale. The numbers used in primary scaling serve the purpose of identifying and classifying the objects to be measured. With regards to classification, the objects have to strictly correspond one to one with the numbers. For instance, the questionnaire IDs have to be unique for each questionnaire used in order to distinguish one from another. With regards to nominal scale, the researcher uses the numbers as labels to identify various categories of consumer responses. For example, the first item in the questionnaire asks for the gender of the respondents. Numerical labels are then assigned on each gender to distinguish one from another.
At the same time, the gender variable is associated with other variables in the study such as the number of non-business travel clients who check in the hotels. This relationship is used to distinguish the number of female non business-travelers clients from that of their male counterpart. Ordinal scale is effective for measuring customer preferences in market research because the numbers used contain ranks. Respondents can be asked to rank certain attributes about the hotels and services according to how they see them important. The most important aspects will be ranked first by the respondents while the least important will be ranked last.
Questionnaire for assessing consumer preference for hotels when on vacation
Section A: Basic details
Indicate your name --------------------------------
Country of origin -----------------------------------
1. What is your gender?
[ ] male
[ ] female
2. Does your work schedule affect your hotel preference decision?
[ ] yes
[ ] no
3. Does the association of non business travelers with a particular class of hotel service make you prefer the service compared to other services?
[ ] yes
[ ] no
4. Do you associate certain hotel services with a particular group of companies?
[ ] yes
[ ] no
5. Do evaluate hotels before deciding on your preferred choice for accommodation service
[ ] yes
[ ] no
6. How would you classify these attributes as the biggest impediments for your choice for certain hotels?
a. Lack of high internet access
b. Lack of enough space within the rooms
c. Lack of attractive amenities such as mini bar, and television
d. Convenience of location
7. Please describe the extent in which you agree or disagree with the following in relation to service delivery and your preferences
Not at all
Very Large Extent
Hotels should offers services that attract both high end market and the low end market
Pricing levels for accommodation and other services should vary with the market segment
Pricing for non business travelers should be made affordable to attract many clients
All of the services offered to business travelers should be made available for non business travelers
Some of the services offered to business travelers should be made available for non business travelers.
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