Some of the characteristics and activities of a successful hotel business are proper presentation and constant improvement of qualitative services, which exceeds the expectations of customers in every way including from pre-booking to post-stay. The choice of hotels becomes one of the main issues of discussion: the variety of the hotel services, quality, reliability, and price are important. Since there are many hotels in the market providing the same or similar services, it is very important not only to attract but also to keep the customer in your hotel for the long run (known as guest retention). In order to maintain the position held and to compete in future, it is necessary to provide quality services by which old customers (patrons) may be retained, and new customers (including millennial travelers) may be attracted.
Customer Satisfaction: Someone say that service quality and customer satisfaction is critical for the service survival. So what are they? Both of them are intangible but the exact definition is still a controversial issue. Customer satisfaction is a psychological concept that involves the feeling of well-being and pleasure that results from obtaining what one hopes for and expects from an appealing product and/or service. Customer satisfaction definition is based on the expectation disconfirmation point of view!
Before purchasing or using a product or service, customers always have their personal expectation about its performance. After buying or using a product or service, if the result is equal to or better than expectation, it means the expectation has positive confirmation! In the opposite case, if the result is lower than expected, we have negative confirmation. Customers are said to be satisfied only if there are positive confirmations of expectation. However, in any case, the level of customer satisfaction is different between different customers because each of them owns their personal needs, demands as well as experiences.
Service Quality: Service quality in the hospitality industry becomes one of the most important factors for gaining a sustainable competitive advantage and customers’ confidence in the highly competitive marketplace, and therefore service quality can give the hospitality industry a great chance to create competitive differentiation for organizations. It is thus considered as a significant core concept and a critical success factor in the hospitality industry. A successful hotel delivers excellent quality service to customers, and service quality is considered the life of the hotel.
Service quality consists of three dimensions: physical facilities, staff, and materials. It also divided into two aspects: functional quality and technical quality. A similar approach argued that service quality includes three dimensions: functional quality, environment, and technical quality. Another approach confirmed that service quality has five dimensions namely: assurance, reliability, empathy, tangibility and responsiveness.
Customer satisfaction is the internal feelings of every individual which may be satisfaction or dissatisfaction resulting from the assessment of services provided to an individual in context to customer’s anticipation by an organization Hotels are continuously trying to improve the service just to satisfy their customer because higher customer satisfaction will leads towards customer loyalty.
The most important concept of customer satisfaction is accepted all around the world is the expectancy disconfirmation theory. This theory was presented by Oliver, he said that satisfaction stage is the resultant of the distinction between anticipated and supposed performance. Satisfaction will be encouraging when the actual level of services or products is better than the anticipated (positive disconfirmation), whereas (negative disconfirmation) when the product or services level is lower than expected.
Why measure service quality and customer satisfaction?
According to latest statistics, the hotel service sector accounts for 38 percent of the value added in the World Economic Community. In this sector, quality and customer satisfaction play irreplaceable roles! Various researchers such as Knutson and Naumann succeeded to prove that satisfaction of customers is the cheapest mean of promotion. Each year, billions of dollars are spent on improving the level of service quality. It is said that ‘doing things wrong’ accounts for 30 or 40% of operating costs in service organizations! “It's six to seven times more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%”
Measurement also helps the organization compare the difference before and after changes, identify the standard of service delivery and it is also a good chance to recognize problems related to the quality of service. Therefore, the measurement of service quality and customer satisfaction benefits company in both qualitative and quantitative way. Gaining a high level of service quality and customer satisfaction equal to enhancement in customer loyalty, market share increase, higher returns on investment, cost reduction and guarantee a competitive advantage. It also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction!
For the three star hotels or above, measurement of the service quality is a way to prove its quality and it is one of the hotel marketing methods. Those hotels management systems look at the hotel rating system. The top ten positions in hotel rating websites are the common target of thousands of hotel because those positions are considered as the certificate for their hotels’ quality service. When travelers search for the hotels, they also browse those websites. It is usual that travelers who care about high quality only look at some beginning pages which show the highest positions. Having the name here becomes a competitive advantage and helps hotels attract more guests. It is clear that hotel rating systems encourage hotel operators to improve their service quality, which may lead to changes in hotel performance.
One of the main strategies used by hotels to enhance customer satisfaction is benchmarking! Benchmarking enables hotels to learn from other players in the industry and learn what makes their competitors competitive. In some cases, some hotels may not reveal their secrets to their competitors. However, the hotel industry does not involve sensitive information. For this reason, most hotels are willing to share the secrets of their success. Nonetheless, the only thing that makes some hotels prosper as compared to others is hotel inventiveness. Hotel innovation enables prosperous hotels to create new strategies that enhance a competitive advantage over their rivals.
Importance of service quality & customer satisfaction
Customer Loyalty: Happy customers are loyal customers. Not only is it important for you to provide stellar service, but awesome products as well. Make it a point to be on the fast track for keeping up with trends that your customers may follow such as building personal assistance services for traveling customers or making special concessions for avid repeat consumers. Be sure you have items on hand so when your customer needs you and your products, everything’s available. A customer who has to continuously wait for you to do your part may grow tired, no matter how loyal, and venture off to your competition. Keep customers loyal by focusing on them at all times.
Happier Environment: The physical perception imparted by your hospitality business is important in achieving customer satisfaction. Your restaurant or hotel need not spend lots of money to create an amicable environment. Over-the-top interior design can be perceived as either cold and off-putting, genial and inviting or somewhere in between. The difference lies in the emotive quality of your employees -- the main ingredient in creating a special experience for your guests. Your environment must be clean, well-lit and comfortable, however, for your customers to feel at home.
Increased Security: When customers are paying to be served, they expect to be able to relax and enjoy themselves without worrying about security. A secure environment means having plenty of friendly employees visible to guests from the moment of arrival to departure. Helpful, too, are frequent interactions with guests to instill a sense of inclusion in the goings-on at your establishment. Security need not be overt, however. Armed and uniformed security guards will frighten guests rather than impart a sense of safety.
Better Value: Your guests need to believe they are receiving an excellent value for their money. Value can be inexpensively included in their visit in the form of discounts, free candy or snacks, bottled water at no charge, gift cards and the like. Guests generally don't expect these perks so they can build repeat business -- a sure sign of customer satisfaction!