Attributes Of Customer Satisfaction In Hotels

3290 words (13 pages) Essay

3rd May 2017 Tourism Reference this

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Relationship between customer satisfaction and hotel attributes, such as; service or facilities, will impact the preference of someone in choosing a hotel. Research in hotel selection criteria has focused on the relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality or services and facilities. Whether or not they have experienced or it is their first time staying in a certain hotel, the hotel products characteristics which are intangible, inseparable, variable and perishable can create a perception to the potential customers as well as expectation which may results in future patronage (Parusaraman et al., 1985; Bitner, 1990). The attributes, features or benefits of the hotel consumer products can directly influence potential consumers to choose a certain hotel to stay which acts as determinant attributes. The chance to acquire potential customers increased when there is a attribute that is different with the competitors (Alpert, 1971; Kivela, 1996).

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Wuest et al, (1996) mentioned that travellers’ satisfaction can be increased by service qualities and facilities given that match their perceptions of hotel attributes. Moreover, there have been researches on needs and characteristics of travellers. Many researchers have found that travellers consider the cleanliness, location, room rate, service quality, security and reputation of the hotel (Lewis, 1984 & 1985; Atkinson, 1988; Cardotte and Turgeonm, 1988; Wilkinsky and Buttle, 1988; Burton, 1990; Rivers et al., 1991; Ananth et al., 1992; Marshall, 1993; McCleary et al., 1993; Clow et al., 1994; Clow et al., 1994). Atkinson (1998) findings showed that first of all the customer will consider cleanliness of the hotel as the most important thing, security comes into second, followed by the value for money and last but not least is the service quality provided buy the staff such as helpfulness, sincerity and courtesy. This is strengthened by a research that mentioned travellers really take personal service, physical attributes of the hotel, standard of service, image and worth for money into their consideration (Wilensky and Buttle, 1998).

The results of Rivers’ et al (1991) study in examining factors affecting hotel selection for members and non-members in a hotel showed that convenience of location is the most important thing after service. Moreover, Ananth et al (1992) research asked 510 travelers to list down 57 hotel attributes in choosing a hotel. The result was price and quality was the priority in selecting a hotel regardless the age of the guests, security and convenience of location come in their mind after price and quality. Furthermore, there are five hotel factors that attract and signaling hotel’s image to the guests which are: physical environment, identity of hotel, staff, service quality and accessibility (LeBlanc and Nguyen, 1996). They also suggested highlighting the environmental factors in hotel marketing efforts in order to attract potential customers.

Attributes of Customer Satisfaction in Hotels

According to Wilkins et al (2007), customers have perceived value of the attributes to judge the hotel service quality during their stay in a hotel and Ekinci et al (2008) found that physical and service qualities of a hotel play important role on customer satisfaction. The criteria or factors sometimes are related to intangibility of service, tangibility of physical fundamentals and factor of “value for money” for instance, are more complicated to be determined (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010).

Normally, service or customer service are related to intangible elements of a hotel as well as understanding the division of hotel management, guarantee and the ease of dealing transactions during a hotel stay. These kind of intangible elements in a hotel are as well received by restaurant customers. While the tangible elements are normally associated with the physical facilities or attributes of the hotel, the accessibility and quality of facilities provided in a hotel, for instance; facilities in the room itself (for example: air conditioner, coffee machine and towels or bathrobe) as well as facilities in the entire hotel (for example: swimming pool and fitness facilities).

The employees’ physical appearance (for example: uniform), the cleanliness of the public area of the hotel (for example: lobby and corridor) as well as the cleanliness of the room itself are also included in physical factors of the hotel. If the hotel owns a restaurant in the hotel itself, the cleanliness of the area and the food quality of the restaurant are also part of physical attribute that affect guests’ judgement of the hotel (Han et al., 2009; Wu and Liang, 2009).

Customers use a variety of attributes to judge the quality of service that they receive

during their stay in a hotel (Wilkins et al., 2007). Both physical and service qualities of

a hotel have positive impact on customer satisfaction (Ekinci et al., 2008). Some of these criteria or factors are related to the intangible service elements, some are related to the tangible physical elements, while some other factors for instance “value for money” are more complex to define (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010). The intangible elements are essentially service related – customer service, understanding and caring on the part of hotel management, assurance, and the relative convenience of dealing with transactions while staying in a hotel. This will also include the service that the customer receives at the restaurant, if any, in the hotel.

The tangible elements are essentially related to the physical facilities – the availability and quality of various facilities in the room (e.g. coffee facilities and bathrobe) and in the entire hotel (e.g. swimming pool and gym). The physical appearance of hotel personnel, the cleanliness of the room as well as the entire hotel will also be included in the physical elements. If the hotel has its own restaurant for use by the guests, the cleanliness of the restaurant and quality of food are also some of the physical elements customers use to judge the quality of a hotel (Han et al., 2009; Wu and Liang, 2009).

Claver et al (2006) and Holverson and Revaz (2006) found that The intangible and tangible factors have been recognized to be able to win good feedback or may result in complaint from the hotel guest, however, the ability of the intangible and tangible factors to affect guests experience are different from one to another. The study of which factors or attributes that will increase the possibility of getting good feedback or factors that might result in complaints are important for the management of the hotel in order to enhance the customer satisfaction and to ensure customer loyalty to their hotel.

Moreover, Cadotte and Turgeon (1988) classified service attributes into four main factors or categories which are: criticals; satisfiers; dissatisfies and neutrals. Critical attributes are the attributes that normally contribute high possibilities for good feedback of the performance and at the same time provide high possibilities for complaints of poor performance. Cadotte and Turgeon (1988) found that rooms quietness in a hotel and the food quality in a restaurant are normally categorized in critical attributes. The critical attributes provide both an opportunity as well as a threat to the management. If the managers are able to identify the critical attributes of their establishment, they could overcome the threat and make it into an opportunity to perform better in the future.

Furthermore, according to them, satisfiers are in a category whereby unusual god performance by the staff results in compliments from the guests while if the staff perform below the par performance, there will be no complain from the guests. For example: hotel lobbies or the portions of food in a restaurant.

Silverman and Grover (1995) have categorized hotel service attributes using the Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) theory. The categorization is according to necessary, desirable and passive in order to describe the attributes’ ability in influencing the guests’ perceptions of quality that results in customers’ loyalty. They mentioned that in order for the guest to judge the hotel has a high quality service, necessary attributes must be performed or functioned properly. Whereby, desirable attributes put a base of quality perceptions that the quality is good but, desirable attributes might tend to reduce the quality perception of a guest, however, the judgement is not to the point whereby the service quality is poor.

Moreover, by using the same theory which is Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) theory, a framework has been found to identify the level of importance of perceived value of six hotels’ attributes that affect business and leisure guests to choose their hotel selection in Hong Kong. Recently, there was a research using the same IPA framework that identifies the behaviour of luxury hotel customer. The researcher (Mohsing and Lockyer, 2010) found that luxury hotel customers are associated with value for money of the hotel which is considered as ‘high importance’ for the luxury hotel customers. In addition, room furnishings or physical quality of the hotel and rapid response of the hotel’s reservation system play an important role as well.

By combining the ideas from Cadotte and Turgeon (1988) and Silverman and Grover (1995), Hartline et al (2003) classified the performance of hotel service in hotels as necessary, desirable or neutral. The survey found that, in order to guarantee the good perceptions of quality in a hotel, the front desk staff performance is the necessary factor that affects guest experience. The research has also found that the availability of parking lot in the hotel and the housekeeping staff performance are considered as desirable factor, whereas the room service performance and concierge or known as bell man were considered as neutral factor that affect customer satisfaction.

Last but not least, works of Ingram (1996) which were cited in Briggs et al (2007) mentioned that there are 2 types of hotel management: independent vs chain hotel) and assumed that high service quality are mostly provided and emphasized by hotels which are part of a chain hotel than an independent hotel. However, that assumption was not correlated to the findings which were obtained using questionnaire survey data. The findings showed that there is no significant difference in customer service ratings of operational attributes in a hotel (for example: friendliness of staff, standards practiced, personalized service and tangibles factors of hotel).

In conclusion, hotel attributes of customer satisfaction in hotels are related to intangibility of service and tangibility of physical factors (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010). According to Han et al (2009) and Wu and Liang (2009), the tangible elements are related with physical factors of the hotel, for example, design of hotel, staff appearance, cleanliness, etc while the intangible factors are related to customer service. Both tangible and intangible aspects of hotel are important to win compliments from the guests or may result in complain from the guests (Claver et al., 2006; Holverson and Revaz, 2006). While there are many methods in determining the hotel attributes, it has been found that rooms’ quietness and food quality in restaurant as well as hotel are categorized as critical factors that affect customer satisfaction (Cadotte and Turgeon, 1988) and also front desk staff performance (Hartline et al, 2003).

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Hotel’s Attributes Preferred by Leisure and Business Hotel Guests

As most of hotel guest are mainly consists of leisure and business guests, there have been researches on the attributes affecting leisure and business guests. Hotels generally meet the needs of both business and leisure guests.

There were an attempts to understand the preferences of both leisure and business guests. Past study by Clow et al (1994); McCleary et al (1993); Yavas and Babakus (2005) have shown that the most important attributes considered by business guests are cleanliness and location of the hotel while determining in which hotel they should stay. While in the same research, It has been found that security, personal interaction or service and pricing (room rates) are considered as major attributes in leisure guests hotel selection.

There was a research by Yavas and Babakus (2005) that examined whether the preferences of hotel attributes are equivalent between business and leisure guests. Their research discovered that availability of general amenities is the highest priority for both business and leisure guests. However, after general amenities, the next attributes are different between them. Business guests’ next ranked attributes were convenience, core service, room amenities and ambience accordingly, whereby, the order of preferred attributes of leisure guests were core service, convenience, ambience and room amenities which mean that there were no significant in preferred attributes by both type of guests.

Another research has found that guest’ perceived prices and guest’ perceived quality of hotel’s public areas were important in determining the ratings and return intention for both leisure and business guests. However, the findings showed that the impact or the effect of perceived quality and price of both type of guests were different. The quality of hotel’s room was the most factor affecting return intention and ratings for business guests but it was not significant in determining the behaviour or return intention of leisure guests.

Customer Satisfaction in Service Industry

Determining customer satisfaction is essential in order to delivery efficient and effective service. The idea involves reasonable and emotional processes (Churchill and Suprenant, 1996 ; Gundersen, Heigh and Olson, 1996). According to numerous studies, customer satisfaction can be described as evaluative post-consumption judgement by customers before purchasing a product or service. Oliver (1980) defined customer satisfaction as a result of a process that evaluate the pre-purchase service expectation of customers with the perceptions of service performance while experiencing as well as after experiencing the service or consumption.

There has been varieties of researches that were dedicated to investigate the satisfaction determinants. Barsky (1995) categorized the customer satisfaction as followed : expectations, consumer preferences and consumer satisfaction. Moreover, there was a finding that found atmosphere, availability, location, flexibility and communications between customers and service providers are the factors that may affect customer satisfaction (Choi and Chu, 2001). Zeithaml and Blittner (2003) explained that the customer satisfaction determinants are products and service characteristics, emotions of customers, success or failure of service attributes, fairness or equity perceptions, family members and friends or other consumers.

In hospitality industry, there have been several researches regarding attributes that customers seek in a hotel that are important to their satisfaction in a hotel stay. Based on Atkinson (1988); Barsky and Labagh (1992); Choi and Chu (2001) studies, it has been found that the most important attributes a customer seeks are staff service quality and friendliness, the location of the hotel, the cleanliness and comfort of room and security. He also mentioned that those factors are the factors that affect customer satisfaction in a hotel stay.

Even though researches have never clarified the connection between customer satisfaction and service quality, but Churchill and Surprenant (1982) ; Oliver (1997) ; Oh (1999) ; Zeithaml and Bitner (2003) researches acknowledged that one of the key triggers to enhance customer satisfaction is service quality.

Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1988) argued that the gap between customer satisfaction and customer perceptions of a certain service is the most common comparison that customers make to determine whether they are satisfied or not. Therefore, according to Fornell (1992), in order to achieve customer satisfaction in service industry or hotel, service providers should meet the point of expectation or surpass beyond the guests’ expectation and perform an exceptional high quality service continuously as studies of customer satisfaction could affect the business results of a company. Whether the customer satisfaction is affecting the business directly or indirectly, it is understood that, customer satisfaction has an effect to a business’ future profits and customer satisfaction is touted as one of the most important indicators to improve and gain more profits in the future. Those statements from Fornell (1992) are strengthened by a research that found there is a significant correlation between customer satisfaction and business profitability in a hotel (Anderson et al., 1994; Yeung et al., 2002; Luo and Homburg, 2007). Moreover,

Söderlund (1998); Dimitriades (2006); Faullant et al (2008) also mentioned that customer satisfaction may lead to the spread of a good word of mouth, behaviour as well as the customer repurchase intentions of the hotel’s service or facilities.

Last but not least, the reasons why firms’ attempt to obtain and maintain customer satisfaction is the fact that “attracting new customers is much more expensive than keeping the old ones” (Marković et al, 2010)

Factors Contributing Customer Satisfaction Towards Guest Experience in Hotel Stay

According to Clowe et al (1994), McCleary et al (1993) and Yavas and Babakus (2005), there are 6 factors affecting guests’ experience in a hotel stay. The factors are customer service, cleanliness, facilities, price, food, and location which will be described one by one below.

(1) Customer service

Due to the direct communication or interaction between tourists and hotel staff, to maintain the quality service of a hotel is very important in order to create customer satisfaction. The statement is strengthened by numerous studies that argued service attitude provided by the staff has a critical effect in affecting customer satisfaction (Tas, 1983; Larsen and Bastiansen, 1991; Jaworski and Kohli, 1993; Heskett and Schlesinger, 1994 Bach and Milman, 1996; Mayo and Collegain, 1997;

McColl-Kennedy and White, 1997; Kriegl, 2000). Moreover, there is a research that found employee service attitude is vital in successfulness of hotel operation (Guller, 1985). It has also been confirmed that there is a relationship that exists between customer satisfaction and service quality and attitude that are provided by the employee (Tornow and Wiley, 1991).

From the investigation of hotel attributes affecting customer satisfaction in hospitality industry, researches have suggested the hotel to consider or to maintain the cleanliness of hotel, rooms, service quality and staff behaviour, location, security as well as the goodwill of the hotel brand name or hotel chain, as those factors are considered important for hotel guests (Cadotte and Turgeon,1988; Atkinson, 1988; Barsky and Labagh, 1992; Ananth et al., 1992; Verespej, 1994; Worcester, 1999; Dube and Renaghan, 2000; Choi and Chu, 2001)

Relationship between customer satisfaction and hotel attributes, such as; service or facilities, will impact the preference of someone in choosing a hotel. Research in hotel selection criteria has focused on the relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality or services and facilities. Whether or not they have experienced or it is their first time staying in a certain hotel, the hotel products characteristics which are intangible, inseparable, variable and perishable can create a perception to the potential customers as well as expectation which may results in future patronage (Parusaraman et al., 1985; Bitner, 1990). The attributes, features or benefits of the hotel consumer products can directly influence potential consumers to choose a certain hotel to stay which acts as determinant attributes. The chance to acquire potential customers increased when there is a attribute that is different with the competitors (Alpert, 1971; Kivela, 1996).

Wuest et al, (1996) mentioned that travellers’ satisfaction can be increased by service qualities and facilities given that match their perceptions of hotel attributes. Moreover, there have been researches on needs and characteristics of travellers. Many researchers have found that travellers consider the cleanliness, location, room rate, service quality, security and reputation of the hotel (Lewis, 1984 & 1985; Atkinson, 1988; Cardotte and Turgeonm, 1988; Wilkinsky and Buttle, 1988; Burton, 1990; Rivers et al., 1991; Ananth et al., 1992; Marshall, 1993; McCleary et al., 1993; Clow et al., 1994; Clow et al., 1994). Atkinson (1998) findings showed that first of all the customer will consider cleanliness of the hotel as the most important thing, security comes into second, followed by the value for money and last but not least is the service quality provided buy the staff such as helpfulness, sincerity and courtesy. This is strengthened by a research that mentioned travellers really take personal service, physical attributes of the hotel, standard of service, image and worth for money into their consideration (Wilensky and Buttle, 1998).

The results of Rivers’ et al (1991) study in examining factors affecting hotel selection for members and non-members in a hotel showed that convenience of location is the most important thing after service. Moreover, Ananth et al (1992) research asked 510 travelers to list down 57 hotel attributes in choosing a hotel. The result was price and quality was the priority in selecting a hotel regardless the age of the guests, security and convenience of location come in their mind after price and quality. Furthermore, there are five hotel factors that attract and signaling hotel’s image to the guests which are: physical environment, identity of hotel, staff, service quality and accessibility (LeBlanc and Nguyen, 1996). They also suggested highlighting the environmental factors in hotel marketing efforts in order to attract potential customers.

Attributes of Customer Satisfaction in Hotels

According to Wilkins et al (2007), customers have perceived value of the attributes to judge the hotel service quality during their stay in a hotel and Ekinci et al (2008) found that physical and service qualities of a hotel play important role on customer satisfaction. The criteria or factors sometimes are related to intangibility of service, tangibility of physical fundamentals and factor of “value for money” for instance, are more complicated to be determined (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010).

Normally, service or customer service are related to intangible elements of a hotel as well as understanding the division of hotel management, guarantee and the ease of dealing transactions during a hotel stay. These kind of intangible elements in a hotel are as well received by restaurant customers. While the tangible elements are normally associated with the physical facilities or attributes of the hotel, the accessibility and quality of facilities provided in a hotel, for instance; facilities in the room itself (for example: air conditioner, coffee machine and towels or bathrobe) as well as facilities in the entire hotel (for example: swimming pool and fitness facilities).

The employees’ physical appearance (for example: uniform), the cleanliness of the public area of the hotel (for example: lobby and corridor) as well as the cleanliness of the room itself are also included in physical factors of the hotel. If the hotel owns a restaurant in the hotel itself, the cleanliness of the area and the food quality of the restaurant are also part of physical attribute that affect guests’ judgement of the hotel (Han et al., 2009; Wu and Liang, 2009).

Customers use a variety of attributes to judge the quality of service that they receive

during their stay in a hotel (Wilkins et al., 2007). Both physical and service qualities of

a hotel have positive impact on customer satisfaction (Ekinci et al., 2008). Some of these criteria or factors are related to the intangible service elements, some are related to the tangible physical elements, while some other factors for instance “value for money” are more complex to define (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010). The intangible elements are essentially service related – customer service, understanding and caring on the part of hotel management, assurance, and the relative convenience of dealing with transactions while staying in a hotel. This will also include the service that the customer receives at the restaurant, if any, in the hotel.

The tangible elements are essentially related to the physical facilities – the availability and quality of various facilities in the room (e.g. coffee facilities and bathrobe) and in the entire hotel (e.g. swimming pool and gym). The physical appearance of hotel personnel, the cleanliness of the room as well as the entire hotel will also be included in the physical elements. If the hotel has its own restaurant for use by the guests, the cleanliness of the restaurant and quality of food are also some of the physical elements customers use to judge the quality of a hotel (Han et al., 2009; Wu and Liang, 2009).

Claver et al (2006) and Holverson and Revaz (2006) found that The intangible and tangible factors have been recognized to be able to win good feedback or may result in complaint from the hotel guest, however, the ability of the intangible and tangible factors to affect guests experience are different from one to another. The study of which factors or attributes that will increase the possibility of getting good feedback or factors that might result in complaints are important for the management of the hotel in order to enhance the customer satisfaction and to ensure customer loyalty to their hotel.

Moreover, Cadotte and Turgeon (1988) classified service attributes into four main factors or categories which are: criticals; satisfiers; dissatisfies and neutrals. Critical attributes are the attributes that normally contribute high possibilities for good feedback of the performance and at the same time provide high possibilities for complaints of poor performance. Cadotte and Turgeon (1988) found that rooms quietness in a hotel and the food quality in a restaurant are normally categorized in critical attributes. The critical attributes provide both an opportunity as well as a threat to the management. If the managers are able to identify the critical attributes of their establishment, they could overcome the threat and make it into an opportunity to perform better in the future.

Furthermore, according to them, satisfiers are in a category whereby unusual god performance by the staff results in compliments from the guests while if the staff perform below the par performance, there will be no complain from the guests. For example: hotel lobbies or the portions of food in a restaurant.

Silverman and Grover (1995) have categorized hotel service attributes using the Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) theory. The categorization is according to necessary, desirable and passive in order to describe the attributes’ ability in influencing the guests’ perceptions of quality that results in customers’ loyalty. They mentioned that in order for the guest to judge the hotel has a high quality service, necessary attributes must be performed or functioned properly. Whereby, desirable attributes put a base of quality perceptions that the quality is good but, desirable attributes might tend to reduce the quality perception of a guest, however, the judgement is not to the point whereby the service quality is poor.

Moreover, by using the same theory which is Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) theory, a framework has been found to identify the level of importance of perceived value of six hotels’ attributes that affect business and leisure guests to choose their hotel selection in Hong Kong. Recently, there was a research using the same IPA framework that identifies the behaviour of luxury hotel customer. The researcher (Mohsing and Lockyer, 2010) found that luxury hotel customers are associated with value for money of the hotel which is considered as ‘high importance’ for the luxury hotel customers. In addition, room furnishings or physical quality of the hotel and rapid response of the hotel’s reservation system play an important role as well.

By combining the ideas from Cadotte and Turgeon (1988) and Silverman and Grover (1995), Hartline et al (2003) classified the performance of hotel service in hotels as necessary, desirable or neutral. The survey found that, in order to guarantee the good perceptions of quality in a hotel, the front desk staff performance is the necessary factor that affects guest experience. The research has also found that the availability of parking lot in the hotel and the housekeeping staff performance are considered as desirable factor, whereas the room service performance and concierge or known as bell man were considered as neutral factor that affect customer satisfaction.

Last but not least, works of Ingram (1996) which were cited in Briggs et al (2007) mentioned that there are 2 types of hotel management: independent vs chain hotel) and assumed that high service quality are mostly provided and emphasized by hotels which are part of a chain hotel than an independent hotel. However, that assumption was not correlated to the findings which were obtained using questionnaire survey data. The findings showed that there is no significant difference in customer service ratings of operational attributes in a hotel (for example: friendliness of staff, standards practiced, personalized service and tangibles factors of hotel).

In conclusion, hotel attributes of customer satisfaction in hotels are related to intangibility of service and tangibility of physical factors (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010). According to Han et al (2009) and Wu and Liang (2009), the tangible elements are related with physical factors of the hotel, for example, design of hotel, staff appearance, cleanliness, etc while the intangible factors are related to customer service. Both tangible and intangible aspects of hotel are important to win compliments from the guests or may result in complain from the guests (Claver et al., 2006; Holverson and Revaz, 2006). While there are many methods in determining the hotel attributes, it has been found that rooms’ quietness and food quality in restaurant as well as hotel are categorized as critical factors that affect customer satisfaction (Cadotte and Turgeon, 1988) and also front desk staff performance (Hartline et al, 2003).

Hotel’s Attributes Preferred by Leisure and Business Hotel Guests

As most of hotel guest are mainly consists of leisure and business guests, there have been researches on the attributes affecting leisure and business guests. Hotels generally meet the needs of both business and leisure guests.

There were an attempts to understand the preferences of both leisure and business guests. Past study by Clow et al (1994); McCleary et al (1993); Yavas and Babakus (2005) have shown that the most important attributes considered by business guests are cleanliness and location of the hotel while determining in which hotel they should stay. While in the same research, It has been found that security, personal interaction or service and pricing (room rates) are considered as major attributes in leisure guests hotel selection.

There was a research by Yavas and Babakus (2005) that examined whether the preferences of hotel attributes are equivalent between business and leisure guests. Their research discovered that availability of general amenities is the highest priority for both business and leisure guests. However, after general amenities, the next attributes are different between them. Business guests’ next ranked attributes were convenience, core service, room amenities and ambience accordingly, whereby, the order of preferred attributes of leisure guests were core service, convenience, ambience and room amenities which mean that there were no significant in preferred attributes by both type of guests.

Another research has found that guest’ perceived prices and guest’ perceived quality of hotel’s public areas were important in determining the ratings and return intention for both leisure and business guests. However, the findings showed that the impact or the effect of perceived quality and price of both type of guests were different. The quality of hotel’s room was the most factor affecting return intention and ratings for business guests but it was not significant in determining the behaviour or return intention of leisure guests.

Customer Satisfaction in Service Industry

Determining customer satisfaction is essential in order to delivery efficient and effective service. The idea involves reasonable and emotional processes (Churchill and Suprenant, 1996 ; Gundersen, Heigh and Olson, 1996). According to numerous studies, customer satisfaction can be described as evaluative post-consumption judgement by customers before purchasing a product or service. Oliver (1980) defined customer satisfaction as a result of a process that evaluate the pre-purchase service expectation of customers with the perceptions of service performance while experiencing as well as after experiencing the service or consumption.

There has been varieties of researches that were dedicated to investigate the satisfaction determinants. Barsky (1995) categorized the customer satisfaction as followed : expectations, consumer preferences and consumer satisfaction. Moreover, there was a finding that found atmosphere, availability, location, flexibility and communications between customers and service providers are the factors that may affect customer satisfaction (Choi and Chu, 2001). Zeithaml and Blittner (2003) explained that the customer satisfaction determinants are products and service characteristics, emotions of customers, success or failure of service attributes, fairness or equity perceptions, family members and friends or other consumers.

In hospitality industry, there have been several researches regarding attributes that customers seek in a hotel that are important to their satisfaction in a hotel stay. Based on Atkinson (1988); Barsky and Labagh (1992); Choi and Chu (2001) studies, it has been found that the most important attributes a customer seeks are staff service quality and friendliness, the location of the hotel, the cleanliness and comfort of room and security. He also mentioned that those factors are the factors that affect customer satisfaction in a hotel stay.

Even though researches have never clarified the connection between customer satisfaction and service quality, but Churchill and Surprenant (1982) ; Oliver (1997) ; Oh (1999) ; Zeithaml and Bitner (2003) researches acknowledged that one of the key triggers to enhance customer satisfaction is service quality.

Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1988) argued that the gap between customer satisfaction and customer perceptions of a certain service is the most common comparison that customers make to determine whether they are satisfied or not. Therefore, according to Fornell (1992), in order to achieve customer satisfaction in service industry or hotel, service providers should meet the point of expectation or surpass beyond the guests’ expectation and perform an exceptional high quality service continuously as studies of customer satisfaction could affect the business results of a company. Whether the customer satisfaction is affecting the business directly or indirectly, it is understood that, customer satisfaction has an effect to a business’ future profits and customer satisfaction is touted as one of the most important indicators to improve and gain more profits in the future. Those statements from Fornell (1992) are strengthened by a research that found there is a significant correlation between customer satisfaction and business profitability in a hotel (Anderson et al., 1994; Yeung et al., 2002; Luo and Homburg, 2007). Moreover,

Söderlund (1998); Dimitriades (2006); Faullant et al (2008) also mentioned that customer satisfaction may lead to the spread of a good word of mouth, behaviour as well as the customer repurchase intentions of the hotel’s service or facilities.

Last but not least, the reasons why firms’ attempt to obtain and maintain customer satisfaction is the fact that “attracting new customers is much more expensive than keeping the old ones” (Marković et al, 2010)

Factors Contributing Customer Satisfaction Towards Guest Experience in Hotel Stay

According to Clowe et al (1994), McCleary et al (1993) and Yavas and Babakus (2005), there are 6 factors affecting guests’ experience in a hotel stay. The factors are customer service, cleanliness, facilities, price, food, and location which will be described one by one below.

(1) Customer service

Due to the direct communication or interaction between tourists and hotel staff, to maintain the quality service of a hotel is very important in order to create customer satisfaction. The statement is strengthened by numerous studies that argued service attitude provided by the staff has a critical effect in affecting customer satisfaction (Tas, 1983; Larsen and Bastiansen, 1991; Jaworski and Kohli, 1993; Heskett and Schlesinger, 1994 Bach and Milman, 1996; Mayo and Collegain, 1997;

McColl-Kennedy and White, 1997; Kriegl, 2000). Moreover, there is a research that found employee service attitude is vital in successfulness of hotel operation (Guller, 1985). It has also been confirmed that there is a relationship that exists between customer satisfaction and service quality and attitude that are provided by the employee (Tornow and Wiley, 1991).

From the investigation of hotel attributes affecting customer satisfaction in hospitality industry, researches have suggested the hotel to consider or to maintain the cleanliness of hotel, rooms, service quality and staff behaviour, location, security as well as the goodwill of the hotel brand name or hotel chain, as those factors are considered important for hotel guests (Cadotte and Turgeon,1988; Atkinson, 1988; Barsky and Labagh, 1992; Ananth et al., 1992; Verespej, 1994; Worcester, 1999; Dube and Renaghan, 2000; Choi and Chu, 2001)

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