Research Proposal: Leisure Traveler Satisfaction Essay

Only Some of (14%) international tourists reported traveling for business and professional purposes. TO attract this market Of read proportion, many research into leisure travelers’ satisfaction has been developed. Providing high quality service and enhancing customer satisfaction are widely recognized as important factors leading to the success of companies in the hotel, catering and tourism industries (Barky and Labial, 1992; Lebanon, 1992; Stevens et al. 1995; Elsewhere, 1998). In a highly competitive market full of similar products and services, individual hoteliers must seek ways to make their products and services to stand out among the others, therefore, hotel marketer needs to understand their customers’ needs, and to meet or exceed these needs. Accordingly, the main purpose of this study is to examine leisure travelers’ satisfaction with perceived services in different hotel attributes in Hong Kong.

Consideration will be given to how different perceived services in various hotel attributes affect the overall satisfaction and the likelihood to repurchase in subsequent trips of leisure travelers. Review of Literature The review of literature is concerned with identifying previous work that determined attributes used to evaluate a hotel stay and decide future repurchase. Sand pointed out the customer satisfaction level towards these tribute affecting the repurchase intention. It is organized into three sections: (1 )perceptions of hotel services in various attributes; (2)customer satisfaction;(3)repurchase intention.

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Perceptions of hotel services in various attributes Because of the intangibility, inseparability, variability and permissibility of services, consumers use CLC_sees to assist in developing expectations Of services and evaluating a service firm (Burton 1 990; Crane and Clarke 1 988; Crane and Lynch 1 988: Kurt and Cool 1991, 1992-93: Sweeney, Johnson, and Armstrong 1992). Cues represent tangible and intangible elements of the environment hat customers will use to assess assorted variables.

Consumers’ perceptions of satisfaction criteria may include contextual cues that they use to evaluate the service quality and to decide future patronage. (Paranormal et al. , 1985). Albert (1971) and Skived (1996) viewed consumer products and services as a bundle of attributes, and stated that those attributes that directly influence consumer choice are termed “determinant” attributes. These attributes different from those of competitors’ offerings, may be vital factors in determining consumers’ future repurchase. West et al. 1996) define the receptions of hotel attributes as the degree to which the travelers may find various services and facilities important in promoting customer satisfaction for staying in a hotel. An extensive review of the literature for the hospitality industry suggested that attributes such as cleanliness, location, room rate, security, service quality, and the reputation of the hotel have been considered important by travelers for evaluating hotel performance. (Nathan et al. , 1992; Atkinson, 1988; Barky and Labial, 1992; Caudate and Turn-on, 1988; Knutson, 1 988; Lebanon and Unguent, 1 996; Lewis, 1984, 1 985; Lewis and

Chambers, 1989; McCauley et al. , 1993; Rivers et al. , 1991; Wiliness and Battle, 1988). Marshall (1993) mentioned that security, personal interactions, and prices were the important factors consider by the leisure travelers. Lebanon and Unguent (1996) stated the five hotel factors that may signal a hotel’s image to travelers: physical environ- meet, corporate identity, service personnel, quality of services and accessibility. They suggested that marketing e! Rots should be directed to highlight the environmental cues in order to attract new customers.

Knutson (1988) pointed out that leisure travelers ere mainly concerned with safety and security because leisure trips often involve families which lead to their high sensitivity to what may occur around them. According to Cool et al. (1994), Lewis (1985) and Knutson (1988) comprehensive study, cleanliness, comfortable, well-maintained rooms, convenient location, prompt and courteous service, safe and secure environment, and friendly and courteous employees are the important considerations for both leisure and business travelers when determining repeat visits.

To evaluate a hotel’s performance from the customers’ point of view is likely to improve management’s under- standing of customer distraction, and could ultimately lead to repeat business (Atkinson, 1988), therefore, the relevant attributes will be taken into account in designing the measurement of questionnaire in this study. Customer satisfaction The discrimination paradigm is widely accepted as a view Of the process by which consumers develop feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. (Caudate, et al, 1987) The paradigm is composed of four constructs: expectations, perceived performance, discrimination and satisfaction.

A traditional definition of customer satisfaction follows a discrimination paradigm of nonuser satisfaction/dissatisfaction (CSS/D), which suggests that CSS/D may result in interaction between a consumers pre-purchase expectation and post- purchase evaluation (Engel et al. , 1990). Therefore, consumers are likely to make evaluation by comparison of expectations with perceived performance (Grosses, 1983). If perceived performance matches or exceed expectation, satisfaction occurs. If expectation exceed perceived performance, then the customer is considered dissatisfied.

Customer satisfaction is a state of mind in which the customer’s needs, wants, and expectations throughout the product or service life have been met or exceeded, resulting in repurchase and loyalty (Anton, 1996). Foretell(1992) stated the underlying conceptualization is that satisfaction is a post-purchase evaluative judgment, leading to an overall feeling about a particular transaction. Measuring customer satisfaction is an integral part of the effort that improves a product’s quality, resulting in a company’s competitive advantage (Cravens et al. , 1988; Carving, 1991). According to the theory of consumer behaviors, Engel et al. 1990) pointed out that customers’ buying behaviors and levels of satisfaction are influenced by the customers’ aground, characteristics, and external stimuli. Since customer satisfaction is affected by the availability of customer services, provision of quality services has become a major concern of businesses (Berry and Paranormal, 1991). Recent studies advocated that customer satisfaction can be measured from the perspective of performance evaluations, making the inclusion of the discrimination process unnecessary (Lollygags and Miller, 1 972; Churchill and Suppressant, 1 982; Crooning and Taylor, 1992).

Their studies of consumer behavior emphasized that customer satisfaction remains a concern in the cost-purchase period (Westbrook and Oliver, 1991). In this study, measurement will focus on customer satisfaction in relation to hotel performance evaluated by travelers’ actual experiences. Repurchase Intention Customer satisfaction and repurchase intention are regarded as qualitatively different constructs. Satisfaction may be a cognitive or affective, whereas repurchase intention consist of a behavioral component (Imitate et al. , 1998).

Siring and Taiga (1986) mentioned that a customer’s repurchase intention and brand loyalty are closely associated with customers satisfaction with an initial arches. Therefore, it is essential to gain a better understanding of the desires and needs of corresponding to different kind of satisfaction (Pizza, 1994). The concept of customer satisfaction is of great importance due to its impact on repeat purchases and word- Of-mouth (Bergman and Gilson, 1986). This research study is crucial to the success of the hospitality business.

Failure to pay attention to those hotel attributes considered most influential in satisfaction evaluation, eventually reducing the chance of repeat purchase. Therefore, exploring the relative importance of hotel attributes in hotel election is considered essential. Methodology Research Instrument In this study, a questionnaire instrument comprising the measured hotel attributes will be designed to measure the leisure travelers’ perceptions and satisfaction levels towards the services and facilities provided by hotels in Hong Kong.

The measured hotel attributes are identified based on a review of relevant literature and three focus group interviews. The drafted list of attributes will then be sent to three identified groups, including academic staff, hotel and travel agents, and potential leisure travelers who will have to apart from the Hong Kong International Airport in the next three months. The interviewees will be asked to rate hotel attributes in terms of importance when evaluating a hotel stay on a 5-point Liker scale ranging from I(least important) to (5) very important.

After a careful screening analysis and advice from academic professionals, the rest attributes will be used and regarded as the influential and valid factors in hotel stays evaluation. The questionnaire will be divided into three sections. To obtain a broader range of respondents, the questionnaire will be translated into three language versions: English, Chinese and Japanese. The first section of the questionnaire will screen respondents to ensure that only those targeted leisure travelers are included in this study.

The second section is the principal part of the questionnaire, which measures leisure travelers’ perceptions of hotel attributes for a hotel stay. The hotel stay will be segmented into six attributes, namely: 1) staff service quality; (2) room quality; (3) business services; (4) value; (5) general amenities; (6) security. For each hotel attribute, it is further divided into several items. Respondents will be asked to rate their overall satisfaction with he measured 28 attributes for the hotel they stayed, on a 5-point Liker scale ranging from I(very dissatisfied) to 5(very satisfied).

Repurchase intention will also be measured on a 5-point scale ranging from I(very unlikely) to 5(very likely). The Liker scales are used because they are simple to construct and easy for respondents to complete. The third section will be designed to extract respondents’ demographic and traveling information. Prior to the real survey, a pilot study of this questionnaire will be conducted by a group of hospitality faculty members. Necessary adjustment based on the feedback ill be made to improve the presentation, comprehensibility and clarity of the questionnaire instrument.

The Sample The study population is those leisure travelers departing from the Hong Kong International Airport who have stayed at a Hong Kong hotel in the past week. A non-random sampling method will be adopted; therefore, the limitation of this study is that the findings may not be generalize. To minimize possible simple bias, a systematic sampling approach will be used. After a random start, every fifteenth traveler passing through the airport’s security checkpoint will be approached and asked to self-complete the 3-minute survey.

The sample is composed of a total of 300 respondents of different nationalities. The study will take 5 days to conduct, with a daily sampling size of 60 respondents. The unit of observation is people traveling for leisure purposes who have stayed at a Hong Kong hotel in the past week, thus those failed to meet this pre-requisition will be removed in the study. Data Analysis Data will be analyzed using SIPS Statistical Package. Descriptive statistics including simple frequencies and mean ratings will be used to analyze respondents’ demographic and traveling profiles, and on the measured hotel attributes.

After that, a series of sample t-tests and one-way Novas will be performed to compare data and find out any significant difference existed between leisure travelers’ perceived importance of hotel attributes. Moreover, using exploratory factor analysis with BAVARIA rotation, a set of simplified composite hotel attributes will be generated that can explain most variances among the hotel attributes. The factor analysis is used because it not only provide a better understanding of data, but also could lead to a simplified regression procedures for further analysis (Pit and Oceanfront, 1994).

Multiple regression analysis will be adopted to examine the relationship between importance of hotel attributes and the leisure travelers’ overall satisfaction and the likelihood to repurchase in subsequent trips. The dependent variables are leisure travelers’ overall satisfaction levels with hotel stay and repurchase intention ,which will be regressed separately against the hotel attributes derived from the factor analysis. These two dependent variables measured on a 5-point Liker scale will be used as indicators of the leisure travelers’ overall evaluation of the hotel stay experience.

The independent variables are the standardized factor scores generated for the hotel attributes in explaining leisure travelers’ overall satisfaction towards hotel stay and their likelihood of repurchase. Beta coefficients will be used to rank the attributes with different degree Of significance in the regression analysis in order of importance.