Sample Paper on Customer Requirement and Expectation

Customer Expectations and Requirements at Hilton London Metropole Hotel

Introduction

 

The Hilton Chain of Hotels occupies a large market share in the global hospitality industry. Any business in the hospitality industry is service driven, and customer satisfaction is an aim of all managers in the service industry. In restaurant management, like in all other hospitality tied businesses, the main business objectives are to ensure customer satisfaction and to make profits (Suzana, Sanja, and Klaudio 2010, p. 181). The latter objective cannot be attained without the former one. Consequently, all restaurants aim at achieving customer satisfaction through various strategies. An important model that has been used repeatedly by various businesses in the hospitality industry is the gap model of evaluating customer satisfaction, whereby the customer expectations are pitted against the actual hotel performance and the discrepancies between the two determined (Christopher & Hans 2002, p. 52). This report is based on the Hilton London Metropole Hotel where the managerial position vacancy exists. With respect to the hotel, it is important to determine the expectations of potential customers as they visit the hotel and the level of service quality that they receive from the hotel.

The Hilton London Metropole is located within one of the most serene environments in London, with ease of access to various tourist attraction sites. Some of the attractive features of the hotel include its location at a very short distance from the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which is a major tourist attraction, panoramic views of London from most of the rooms, ease of access, and quality service (Hilton London Metropole). While these features may make the hotel appear appealing and potentially satisfying to customers, customer satisfaction is a difficult fete to achieve and it is necessary to determine what the customers expect from the hotel.

Customer Expectations

 

For the hotel to be successful, customer acquisition and retention is one important concept that has to be considered deeply. Maintaining customer loyalty and being assured of repeated visits are essential rewards that the hotel seeks to achieve in its operation (Namkung, & Jang 2008, p. 142). However, to achieve this, the hotel has to focus on customer satisfaction by addressing certain customer expectation attributes. First, customers expect to receive high quality services from the hotel staff. The quality of service delivery is associated with the responsiveness of the hotel staff. This involves the willingness to direct customers, and to answer their questions as well as the ability to do so.

Another concept related to quality customer service is the ability of the staff to deliver customers’ orders accurately as well as in a timely manner. Customers feel frustrated and hold a low opinion of the hotel when they are not served according to their desires (Suzana, & Sanja 2010, p. 181. Besides this, the staff should always display a positive or motivated countenance during service delivery to instill confidence in the customers. This makes the customers believe that they would receive exactly what they ask for. Moreover, it also makes the staffs to appear professional before the customers hence boosting the customers’ attitude towards the hotel. The customers naturally expect the service delivery quality to adhere to their expectations.

Although a high quality of service occupies the highest percentage in terms of customer expectations, other attributes are also required by customers to ensure fulfillment. Another attribute of the hotel that is essential to the customers is the visual appeal of the location as well as the hotel itself. Customers expect that based on the expenditures they have to make at the hotel, they would be spending their time within a pleasant environment, devoid of haphazard pollution and inappropriate decor (Namkung, & Jang 2008, p. 142). Since the hotel hosts numerous guests, customers expect the staff to clean up after guests ensuring that the hotel is visually attractive and neat. The external hotel environment also plays an important role in determining the level of visual appeal associated with the hotel. For hotels surrounded by irresponsible communities who do not take care of their environment, the customers tend to avoid repeat visits (Christopher, & Hans 2002, p.57). Besides being visually appealing, customers also expect the hotel to provide services using neat equipments and within neat environments. This also goes for the staffs that are expected to be neat in appearance to ensure hygienic conditions.

While the customers do not expect the Hilton London Metropole Hotel services to be cheap, they also do not expect the services to be overpriced. Overpricing results in failure with respect to customer retention (Suzana, Sanja & Klaudio 2010, p. 195. The pricing strategy is expected to match the quality of service that the hotel provides and the quality of food in the hotel.

With respect to the food, customers expect the food to be of high quality, creative, and fulfilling. The quality of food to be served to the customer should be in accordance with the customer’s demands. The food preparation procedures must also be carried out within hygienic conditions. One of the main reasons why individuals visit hotels is to access high quality food prepared with finesse and professionalism (Namkung & Jang 2008, p. 155). Without good food, the customers’ visits are in vain and they cannot visit the hotel again. The customer expectations from the hotel are described as being divided into various categories, which include physical attributes, responsiveness, and reliability. These categories of attributes contribute immensely to customer satisfaction. With regards to Physical attributes, visual appeal and equipment quality are considered essential. On the other hand, reliability has to do with timeliness and accuracy in service delivery.

Satisfaction Levels at Hilton London Metropole

 

According to the results of a questionnaire that was administered to randomly selected customers of the hotel, various aspects were discovered. The questionnaire was prepared based on the discovered customer expectations. The questionnaire was based on a 5 point linkert scale with 5 meaning strongly agree and 1 meaning strongly disagree. The customers were expected to award points to the hotel on various points based on given statements. The entire questionnaire comprised only 10 statements, and it was given to customers based on a clear inclusion criteria. A total of 20 first time customers were randomly selected for the questionnaire completion task. The rationale for selecting first time customers was that they had an uninfluenced expectation from hotel. Repeat visitors tend to have already formed an opinion of the hotel, and therefore come expecting exactly what they had previously experienced in the hotel.

On the other hand, first time visitors have clear expectations hence they tend to give a clearer image of the level of customer satisfaction that can be attained by the hotel. Another criterion that was used in including customers for the questionnaire was the age groups of the customer. Potential respondents had to be aged between 25-35 years of age. It is believed that individuals within this age group had the potential of making well advised choices. The results included in the table were average points received from the questionnaires filled by the selected customers. The results obtained from the questionnaire were as follows:

No Statement Customer Expectations Actual Service
1 The overall expenditure at the hotel was within the customer’s budget 4.6 4.3
2 The Hotel is located within a serene environment 4.4 4.4
3 I feel safe within the hotel premises 4.9 4.6
4 The equipment in use at the hotel is modern and neat 4.9 4.8
5 The staff at the hotel are neat and presentable 4.6 4.8
6 The quality of food prepared at the hotel is satisfactory 3.8 4.1
7 The staff at the hotel are willing to assist the customers with information 4.6 4.6
8 The customer service is individualized at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel 4.9 4.2
9 Staff at the hotel carry out customer requests with accuracy and timeliness 4.9 4.4
10 The overall experience at the Hilton London Metropole was satisfactory 4.8 4.5

 

From the results obtained via the questionnaire, it can clearly be seen that the hotel services are at par with customer expectations on several fronts. As a matter of fact, some of the service attributes far supersede customer expectations. This was expected since the hotel is a five star hotel, and has a strong brand recognition and awareness particularly among tourists. The hotels management therefore places a lot of effort on ensuring that their customers are satisfied and that customer retention and market share are achieved.

Although the hotel’s performance was satisfactory in most cases, there was still a chance for improvement. For instance, the hotel could hire more employees to make the customer service more individualized instead of the generalized service that the customers currently receive. In addition to this, the hotel should also invest on more intense marketing strategies aimed at building a stronger name for itself. Promotional methods, such as providing customer incentives and using the media for advertisement can be used by the hotel in order to achieve customer satisfaction. Moreover, the hotel’s pricing strategy should take into consideration the potential customers’ budgets in order to make the overall expenditures more customers centric. From the results, it can clearly be seen that the customers do not consider the pricing to be matched to the services obtained from the hotel. The hotel may also engage in staff training to enhance the quality of customer service.

Conclusion

 

The most essential concepts in a service industry, such as the hotel industry are customer satisfaction and profitability. To achieve customer satisfaction, the Hilton London Metropole hotel has to meet customer expectations at various levels. Customer satisfaction results in customer loyalty and subsequent repeat visits. Some of the expectations of the potential customers to the hotel include high quality service, good quality food, serenity, and visual appeal in the hotel premises and its environment. While questionnaire results indicate that the hotel performs well in various aspects of customer satisfaction, it may still need to carry out improvements in various areas of its operation. For instance, the hotel may seek to address the problem of individualized customer attention through the inclusion of more employees. In addition to this, employees may also be trained on concepts of better customer service. The hotel’s pricing strategy should also be customers centric so that customers can be retained.

 

References

 

Christopher, E., & Hans, V., 2002. ”Assessing Indicators Relating to Overall Tourist Satisfaction of Ecotourism Developments in Eastern North Carolina,” Proceedings of the 2002 North Eastern Recreation Research Symposium, 52-57.

Namkung, Y., & Jang, S., 2008. “Are highly satisfied restaurant customers really different? A quality perception perspective”. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 20 (2), 142-155.

Suzana, M., Sanja, R., & Klaudio, S., 2010. ”Does Restaurant Performance Meet Customer Expectations? An Assessment of Restaurant Service Quality using a Modified Dineserve Approach,” Tourism and Hospitality Management. 16 (2), 181-195.

Hilton London Metropole, ”At a Glance,” hiltonlondonmetropole, 5th March 2015.  http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hilton-london-metropole-LONMETW/index.html?WT.mc_id=zELWAPN0UK1WW2PSH3Search4DGGeneric&WT.srch=1&utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=paidsearch

Appendix: Questionnaire

No Statement Customer Expectations Actual Service
1 The overall expenditure at the hotel was within the customer’s budget    
2 The Hotel is located within a serene environment    
3 I feel safe within the hotel premises    
4 The equipment in use at the hotel is modern and neat    
5 The staff at the hotel are neat and presentable    
6 The quality of food prepared at the hotel is satisfactory    
7 The staff at the hotel are willing to assist the customers with information    
8 The customer service is individualized at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel    
9 Staff at the hotel carry out customer requests with accuracy and timeliness    
10 The overall experience at the Hilton London Metropole was satisfactory