Consumer’s Attitude towards Five Star Hotels in the UK
Sagar Bharat Chandra
03rd January 2017
Table of Contents
Part A.. 1
Part B.. 3
Research Background. 3
Research Problem/ Rationale. 3
Research Aims. 4
Research Objectives. 4
Research Questions. 4
Research Significance. 5
Literature Review.. 6
Research Design and Methodology. 9
Type of Investigation.. 9
Data Collection Method. 9
Sampling Method. 9
Accessibility Issues. 10
Ethical Issues. 10
Data Analysis Plan.. 10
Research Limitations. 11
Introduction to Research Methods for Business and Management Proposal
This research proposal is presented for the completion of the course of Research Methods for Business and Management. The topic selected for the research work is “Consumer’s Attitude towards Five Star Hotels in the UK”. The topic selected is of great importance in recent times, because with the passage of time, consumer’s attitude and behavior are going through significant changes. Therefore, in an effort to complete the research project, two five star hotels, Hilton hotels and Ritz Carlton have been selected for carrying out research work. However, the primary method for data collection has been selected. Data has been collected through a questionnaire survey. The proposal for the current research work is based on three parts. The first part provides an overall introduction of the whole research work. It presents the background of the research, identifies rationale behind carrying out research in this regard, highlights aims and objectives of the research and also presents the significance of the research. The second part of the proposal is based on the literature reviews. In the literature part, the main focus is given to the relevant concepts in order to have a deeper understanding of the topic. In any of the research work, the literature section is of considerable importance, because it presents several views of different authors/researchers relevant to the topic, moreover, it also helps in clarifying the main concepts to a reader. In addition to it, the literature part provides the clear understanding of the theories and frameworks considered by previous researchers. That eventually leads to cross-check the ideas related to the area of research. The third part of the research proposal presents research design and methodology on the basis of which the research is conducted. This is one of the important parts for any kind of research. Because it identifies the methods through which the research works are carried out. In the same section, the researcher decides as to how he/she has to collect the data and indicates the sampling technique. In the current research work, the research method used for the collection of data is based on primary sources, though the study is based on quantitative research, under which questionnaire survey is conducted but secondary data is also included in the study. However, the data collected would be analysed through SPSS software. The sample size collected for the study is based on 100 customers, selected randomly from both the hotels. The questionnaire is designed as a research instrument having fifteen closed-ended questions. The questions are based on two main categories related to consumer’s attitudes, i.e. product attribute categories and service quality attributes. The responses obtained from the survey would help in analysing the overall consumer’s attitude and behavior towards five start hotels. In the third section of the proposal, ethical issues are also discussed along with the accessibility issues. Moreover, limitations in relation to research work are also presented in the same part. Every research work has to follow a timeframe, within which the research work has to be completed. Therefore, the timetable for the current study is also presented at the end of third part.
The emergence of the biggest recession in the past few decades has influenced every industry and sector around the world and UK economy is not saved from this as well. From the downturn of the recession, the hospitality sector within the UK has faced severe challenges and from this slow down the bigger victims were the five star and luxury hotels. According to the Smith Travel Research forecasts, the five star and luxury hotels provided aggressive discounts on their room rates during the recession period (Chen, 2009). However, discounts are still available on these hotels. The question arises whether the five star and luxury hotels would recover from the turmoil and pick up the pricing power they used to have prior to the downturn and increase the customers. The competition among the hotels is getting intense as the number of customers has been reduced (Antony & Ghosh, 2004). On the other hand, the rate of travellers increased by 0.9% in the year 2012 in comparison to the previous year, because of London Olympics. This little raise in the flow of travellers boomed the demand on a temporary basis. It has also been observed from the surveys that the increase in demand put pressure on the quality and delivery of services that lead to the overall decrease in service quality (Bansal & Taylor, 2015).
Research Problem/ Rationale
In relation to the background of the study, the condition of quality and service has gained vital and perhaps the single source of competitive advantage that cannot be imitated by the competitors. Both the hotels, i.e. Hilton and Ritz Carlton are quite famous for the service. Therefore, the current study makes an effort to evaluate and understands the barriers, challenges and the delivery of service quality in both the hotels in the UK in relation to the attitudes of their consumers. In addition to this rationale, the significance of service quality in the hospitality industry has been identified and there has not been a huge amount of research in this regard, that has considered the antecedents and structure of the concept (Jones, Herbert & Walton, 2009). The more emphasis is given on specific segments, for instance, travel purpose of the type of people who travel often. For that reason, the current research makes an effort to evaluate and study the factors that have their influence on service quality at both the hotels in the UK.
Every research work is based on some specific aims and objectives that are taken into consideration for overall research. Therefore, the aim of the current study is “To explore the attitude of customers towards services of five-star hotels in the UK.”
Research objectives are founded on the aim of the study. Hence, the aim of the study will be better served by the identification of following research objectives:
· To investigate the consumer’s attitude towards hotels.
· To find out the dimensions of service quality.
· To explore factors of consumer behavior and their influence on consumers perception and attitude.
· To find out the link between attitude and perception.
· To assess the service quality of hospitality industry of UK.
Research questions are formulated on the aims and objectives of the research. The identification of the research questions serves as a direction to be followed during the whole study. Following are the research questions of the study:
· How is the consumer’s attitude towards hotels?
· What are the dimensions of service quality?
· How the factors of consumer behavior influence on consumers perception and attitude?
· What is the link between attitude and perception?
· How can the service quality of hospitality industry of UK be assessed?
The economic downturn that has enthralled Britain since 2008 and still influencing the economy has basically altered consumer’s attitudes and perceptions towards spending. This, in turn, has led to affect the hospitality industry in a negative manner (Jones, Herbert & Walton, 2009). Spending pattern of the consumers has been shifted, now they are more oriented towards saving more and spending less, that is the reason five star and luxury hotels are going through setback as majority of the people and mostly the business people are now opting for budget hotels rather than four and five star hotels (Chen, 2009). Therefore, this research is significant as it will be appropriate to study the way in which five-star hotels become accustomed to the services to attract more customers and business towards them. In an effort to do this, the hotels are required to understand the attitude and perception of customers and formulate their strategies accordingly that will facilitate them in closing the gap between expectations and perceptions (Udo, Bagchi & Kirs, 2010). Hence, the research work will be focusing on identifying the attitudes and perceptions of consumers towards five-star hotels.
The hospitality industry is considered as a pure service-oriented sector, because of which the service quality is the most significant aspect of the organisations playing in this industry. The value and significance of service quality have now gained the importance of business objectives by several international hotels, such as Hilton and Ritz Carlton because the exceptional quality of service can lead to obtaining a competitive advantage that cannot be copied by others. Therefore, the understanding of attitude and perception of consumers is very important (Solomon & Polegato, 2014). From the review of several research articles, it has been demonstrated that an attitude is a predisposition resulting learning, which allows a person to react to an object or a group of objects in a given way, generally favourably or unfavourably. Attitudes are based on beliefs, experience or the knowledge accumulated over time. For example, attitudes towards a brand result of a previous mental state (Richardson, 2009).
Attitudes directly affect the reaction of a consumer before the image of a product. We can see that shift from attitude to the preference depends on how the individual classifies the different brand attributes and value that gives them (Lee, Morris & Jones, 2009). For example, it is easier to sell a watch made in Switzerland than done in Portugal and Hong Kong. This results from earlier perceptions, behaviors and acquired personal experience. It would be very difficult, time-consuming and costly to try to present a significant advantage of a clock manufactured in Portugal. This could even happen, but the change would require a long-term process. In short, the attitudes are based on a set of beliefs or experiences that affect the structuring of the individual for the environment. As a standard reference, this structure eases or reduces the perception of diverse stimuli and messages (Hartmann & Apaolaza, 2012).
The perceived messages can confirm or transform an attitude and eventually lead to a preference for a certain brand or product. In consumer, psychology attitude is the internal inclination of an individual to assess certain object or aspect, favourably or unfavourably, one of the variables to decide on consumption (Hanna & Hanna, 2013). Attitudes that consumers can adopt have cognitive component or knowledge, effective, linked to the feeling, and behavior, which implies a willingness to share. Following are the roles that consumer’s attitude can play:
Instrumental or utilitarian – it is when the attitude serves as a utilitarian way for the individual adjustment to specific needs. It is premised on the reinforcement and punishment. The individual shape his attitude about the reward that he/she can get and the way in which he/she can reduce dissatisfaction (Hanna & Hanna, 2013). These are the attitudes that seek to maximise gains and minimise costs. The function relies on a behavioral theory of reinforcement and the consumer develops positive attitudes toward products associated with the satisfaction of their desires and negative attitudes toward that shows inadequate or unsatisfactory. Thus, the utilitarian function of attitude refers to the knowledge and previous stance that the consumer has the respect of certain goods or services (Jones, Herbert & Walton, 2009).
Self-defense – The underlying base is the Freudian analytic theory. This kind of attitude is presented in defense mechanisms to design own inferiority feelings of the other in order to feel superior. For example, products that have the appeal of promoting the consumer a certain differentiation or superiority, like, “With this product, you will be the king of the party”, etc., tend to generate a positive attitude regarding this product.
Expression of values – is the one that makes the individual express attitudes appropriate to his/her personal values.
Knowledge – is the function that allows the individual to organise and structure the world, trying to give meaning and organisation to perceptions.
Another view of attitudes is the evaluation of the object, which allows the individual posture, compared to objects of the world, social adjustment and expression of opinions. Family and group influences are important in this attempt to change, as will the personality characteristics (Lee, Morris & Jones, 2009). The modification of an attitude can be tried consistently, which is when the valence of the desired attitude is the same as pre-existing or inconsistent manner. Also, it is important to mention the multiplicity of the interrelation of attitudes, responsible for the difficulty in achieving a change, for the simpler, less likely to dissonance will have the attitude and values can be central (Solomon & Polegato, 2014). On the other hand, if the attitude is composed of various interrelated components, it may be in some incongruity and can be worked. A change in attitude will suffer influence of individual factors such as personality, persuasiveness, which is correlated with self-esteem, authoritarianism, social isolation, fantasy level, sex and life orientation (Udo, Bagchi & Kirs, 2010). The group influences, social acceptance, identification and internalisation processes are other attitude change factors.
Research Design and Methodology
Type of Investigation
The categorisation of research in descriptive, exploratory and explanatory form is very constructive for the establishment of theoretical framework, in order to facilitate conceptual approach. The type of investigation for the current research work is based on exploratory in nature. The nature of this research establishes techniques, methods and criteria for the research development and focuses to deliver information regarding the object. The aim of the exploratory research is to find, elucidate and discover the explanation and phenomenon of those who were not acknowledged in spite of evident.
Data Collection Method
The main aim of this research work is to form the theoretical understanding of the consumer’s attitude and behavior towards the five-star hotels in the UK. Therefore, in the third part of the proposal, the method of data collection is specified along with the investigation type and sampling method. However, the research methodology considers the information obtained from the literature review, the aims/objectives and the research subject. Therefore, the current study focuses on quantitative research method in which primary data will be the main source of information and data collection for further analysis. I believe that this research method will actually help me in enhancing concepts involved in research methods. Moreover, the data obtained from primary sources, i.e. survey will enable me to gather facts and will aid me to elicit the desired outcome. In addition to it, a primary source of information is the collection of data for the first time and getting first-hand information. Even though this method is time taking but with the help of primary sources the data gathered is most reliable and authentic.
Generally, two types of sampling methods are used in majority of the researches, i.e. probability and non-probability sampling methods. However, both the techniques have their extended types. Stratified random sampling or non- probability sampling technique is considered to be the most widely and useful technique for studies that have the comparatively small sample size and revolves around quantitative data. Therefore, in relation to the aims and objectives of this study, random sampling technique will be selected, and the sample of 100 respondents is selected for carrying out research work.
During collection of data for the current research work, there would be some of the accessibility concerns in relation to reaching the desired sample. Therefore, prior conducting survey an email for approval will be sent to the management of both the hotels, so that they may not get it the wrong way. After getting an approval from the management, their customer would be called for fifteen minutes session, in which they will be given questionnaires for the survey. However, the confidentiality of their information would be ensured and the purpose of conducting survey will also be clarified to them.
All the research works involve several kinds of ethical concerns that need to be taken into consideration. Though reviewing a literature do not actually require any formal approval but the researcher has to ensure proper referencing of the data that is included in the literature section. Moreover, it is anticipated that the research articles and published material from prior research works have considered ethical concerns, for instance; beneficence, respect for autonomy, justice and non-maleficence. In addition to it, specifically while conducting primary research works, a researcher has to abide by all the rules of privacy, therefore he/she should be aware enough to keep the data of the respondent confidential and anonymous. There should be a proper acknowledgment of the sources used and authors has to be done along with proper referencing.
Data Analysis Plan
The quantitative data obtained from the questionnaire survey will be analysed using SPSS software. The data analysed will be presented in the forms of charts and frequencies. However, the qualitative data that is obtained from secondary sources would be analysed critically and would be presented in the form of discussion.
The area of consumer behaviour and attitude is so wide, therefore it needs to be properly identified as to what are the aims and objectives of the research. Moreover, the field of consumer behavior is gaining so much importance because of rapid changes. There is plenty of data available related to this field, considering consumer’s behavior, decision making, attitude and perceptions. However, while conducting current research work, there were some of the limitations as of time constraints and finance. The researcher has to handle the expenses in relation to the collection of data and presenting quality research. Moreover, though the review of literature is advantageous in getting a deeper understanding of the concepts, there are also some limitations, for instance:
· As a beginner in the field of research, a researcher may face difficulty in analysing and finding the most relevant literature.
· Time constraints in searching and writing literature.
· Since only published and English written articles are required to be included, therefore, there are chances that imperative information could be ignored.
In order to perform any research work, a timeframe is required that outlines the schedule for all the activities and steps involved in research. The identification of timeframe helps in managing the workload and ensures that all the steps are followed on time. Therefore, the projected timeframe for the completion of the current research work is 7 weeks. Below is the Gantt chart that is drafted to meet the deadline of the study.
Construct Research Proposal
Developing Search Themes
Begin Finding Data Sources And Gather Relevant Information
Analysis and Redefine problem(s)
Prepare Draft Report
Begin Full Data Analysis
Write Complete Dissertation
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Bansal, H. S., & Taylor, S. (2015). Investigating the relationship between service quality, satisfaction and switching intentions. In Proceedings of the 1997 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 304-313). Springer International Publishing.
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