Sample Research Paper on Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

  1. CUSTOMER SERVICE REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS
    • Introduction

The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive industries, marked with transient consumer preferences and practices that are always in a state of flux (Sloan, Legrand & Chen 2013). The high-end market of the industry is fickle, and operators in the niche market must always review their service practices to ensure that they offer consumers the best services possible. The service expectations of consumers in the hospitality market are extremely high because consumers want to get value for their money (Manhas & Ramjit 2010). There is a drive in the hospitality industry to provide quality tourism experiences to the clients as a means of attracting and retaining high value clients. Although the concept of ‘quality tourism experiences’ is common in the hospitality industry, the term is not explicitly defined and its meaning is implicit or assumed (Jennings 2006). However, despite the ambiguity in the definition of the term, it is imperative for players in the hospitality industry to provide quality experiences for their clients for sustainable growth and profitability (Barrows & Powers 2008). The need for exquisite customer service is pressing for high-end establishments where the clients have high expectations on the standards of service on offer.

  • Sources of Information

This report shall consider some of the sources of information for the Langham Hotels & Resorts, one of the market leaders in the hospitality industry catering to the high-end market niche, and providing some of the best services and variety in cuisine and accommodation in the hospitality industry. The London hotel is strategically situated within the city, making it easy for clients to access the shopping district as well as the public transport system. The hotel has a gorgeous and grand appearance, and is well maintained making it appealing to clients. However, to ensure that standards are maintained and intervention measures instituted when necessary, it is important for the management to continuously get feedback from stakeholders on its standards as a means of improving. Customer satisfaction, defined as a subjective measure of a client’s feeling of pleasure or dissatisfaction (Kotler 2003), is an important measure in gauging the efficacy of customer service. The level of satisfaction that a customer experiences depends on how the customer’s perception of the service offered compares to his/her expectations (Minazzi 2008). When the gap between expectations and the perception on the services offered is small, the customer will be satisfied as the level of disappointment is low.

The raison d’être for any hotel is to provide excellent services of the highest standards that will not only attract new customers but also retain and increase the loyalty of the existing ones (Dubé & Renaghan 1999). The primary source of information on the effectiveness of the services that a hotel offers is the customer because all the activities of a hospitality industry organization are geared towards satisfying the customer (Juwaheer & Ross 2003). When an organization intimately understands the needs, expectations and requirements of its customers, it can tailor its services to meet and exceed the customers’ expectations. Information from clients can be obtained through questionnaires for those who consent direct feedback as they interact with the employees or through technology-based feedback mechanisms. Information sourced from customers tends to be subjective but has to be analyzed to determine the common themes in the data that can be used to improve the quality of service provision.

Another important source of information is the front office because it acts as a central point from which customers engage with all aspects of the hotel (Watt 2007). The front office is the interface through which the customer first comes into contact with the hotel, and can provide crucial information on customer preferences and needs. Information collected from the front office can help the hotel to predict the changing consumer trends as well as determine the opinions of customers on the service currently offered. Communication and information technologies can also be a source of information on the levels of customer satisfaction through the analysis of internet message boards where customers post their experiences (Bakhat & Aziz 2012). The hotel staff can provide valuable information on customer satisfaction levels, which they can gauge from their interactions with customers.

  • Research on customer requirements and satisfaction levels for the Langham Hotels & Resorts

In this research, the population of the study was limited to hotel guests because they are the most important source of information on customer satisfaction. Simple random sampling was used to select the sample because it ensured that all clients had an equal probability of being included in the sample in addition to eliminating researcher bias (Black 1999). Owing to time constraints, the sample size was limited to 250 guests who were requested to participate in the study. Information from the guests was collected mainly at the hotel lobby although customers were requested to indicate if they had an alternative place where the interview could be conducted. The data collection instrument used for collecting data was the questionnaire because they can collect data quickly from a large sample size as well as enabling the researcher to code them, hence making it easy to apply statistical methods for data interpretation (Rattray & Jones 2007). The data collected was analyzed statistically and thematically, and the following observations were inferred.

In general, customers expressed an above average satisfaction with the services offered by the Langham Hotels and Resorts although there are some aspects that need to be improved. Customers were highly satisfied with the location of the hotel and the competence of the staff although a concern arose that the staff were not very helpful when customers made mistakes. Although the accommodation arrangements were generally amenable, customers felt that some of the conditions were rigid and flexibility would be more helpful. The rooms are generally clean despite being slightly small but there are some problems with the air conditioning system, with some clients complaining that the system is too loud and deprives them of quality sleep. Finally, the biggest shortcoming was the absence of complimentary Wi-Fi or local area network internet connectivity in most of the hotel’s rooms. In those rooms where the complimentary service is available, the speed is too slow to enable comfortable access to the internet. Customers have to pay an expensive daily fee if they are to access the internet at reasonably fast speeds.

  • Conclusion

The hotel is renown as a provider of excellent services and has tried and generally succeeded in maintaining consistently high standards in its operations. However, the hospitality industry is highly dynamic and players must strive to consistently improve standards because of intense competition. There is a need to have periodic in-service training for all the hotel’s staff to acquaint them with the latest international best practices. The hotel should modernize its air conditioning system, installing a quieter system as well as have a more flexible accommodation plan that is responsive to customers’ needs. Finally, the hotel should consider investing in an infrastructure that will enable it to provide complimentary internet connectivity to its customers considering that internet costs have significantly reduced and connectivity to the internet is becoming a basic need for most customers.

References

Bakhat, M., & Aziz, S., 2012. The impact of information technology & hospitality services on customer satisfaction-a case study of fast food industry in Pakistan. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 4(6), pp. 360-390.

Barrows, C. & Powers, T., 2008. Introduction to management in the hospitality industry. 9th Ed. London: Wiley, John & Sons, Inc.

Black, T. R., 1999. Doing quantitative research in the social sciences: An integrated approach         to research design, measurement, and statistics. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Dubé, L., & Renaghan, L. M., 1999. Building customer loyalty—guests’ perspective on the lodging industry’s functional best practices (part I). Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 40, pp. 78–88.

Jennings, G. R., 2006. Quality tourism experiences – An introduction. In G. R. Jennings & N. Nickerson (Eds.), Quality tourism experiences (pp. 1–21). Burlington, MA:Elsevier

Juwaheer, T. D., & Ross, D. L. (2003). A study of guest perceptions in Mauritius. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 15(2), pp. 105-115.

Kotler, P., 2003. Marketing management. 11th Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc

Manhas, P.S. & Ramjit, J., 2010. Customer perceptions of service quality in hospitality industry: importance performance. Journal of Tourism Research, 1, pp. 23-31.

Minazzi, R., 2008. Customer satisfaction survey in the hospitality industry: comparison of international hotel chains questionnaires. Milano: Universita IULM

Rattray, J & Jones, C., 2007. Essential elements of questionnaire design and development.  Journal of Clinical Nursing 16, pp. 234-243.

Sloan, P., Legrand, W. & Chen, J., 2013. Sustainability in the hospitality industry: principles of sustainable operations. New York: Routledge.

Watt. P., 2007. Customer service work and emotional labour in the hospitality industry. London: University of London Press.