“Service organizations exist as a function of their customers; service quality then, is the primary survival strategy” (Schneider and Chung, 1993, p. 124). Carey (2003) note that the service quality is a subject that permeates every component of the tourism industry. Especially in hotel and resort, the service quality is integral for long term survival.
Therefore each company should take the service quality as serious management philosophy and have to adopt theories and models to identify gap between expectation and perception.
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Principles of Service Quality
Service quality is defined as the degree of excellence intended that meets customer requirements (Wyckoff, 1992). However, Carey (2003) points out the service quality, the result of a comparison between the expectations of a customer and the actual service they received. Therefore, understanding gap between the expectation and the received service can be a key source of the service quality.
According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons (2001), these expectations are based on several sources, including word of mouth, personal needs, and past experience. Thus, people may have more expectation on the high-rated hotel. Usually, the five-star hotels are more expensive than the lower level so customers may expect to get serviced as much as they pay. In other word, the service quality can be a primary goal for hotels to gain more profits. To put simply, better quality means better profitability and market share and when higher quality and large market share are both present, profitability is nearly guaranteed (Ross, 1993).
According to Scheuing and Christopher (1993) the service quality is a powerful force that reshapes attitudes and actions toward creating customer satisfaction and loyalty, and thus, sustainable competitive advantage in an unstable environment of dynamic global competition. Accordingly, the managers who work in hospitality industry need to know not only how to manage the organisation but also how to manage the service quality to provide customer satisfaction continuously.
Service Quality Models
Levitt (1972) argues that the theories and concepts of quality and its management have adopted slowly into the service industry from manufacturing. Rather than a paradigm shift taking place, the existing quality theories and models were held in their entirety by parts of the service sector and the paradigm shift occurred when difficulties were occurred in the sector, for example, the use of only qualitative data analysis methods (Williams & Buswell, 2003).
There are many service quality theories and concepts have been used such as the Statistical Process Control (SPC), Ten Benchmarks of Total Quality Control, and the 14-step Quality Improvement Programme, However, in following paragraphs will discuss two service quality models which are SERVQUAL and Total Quality Management that is known as TQM.
SERVQUAL is a survey instrument that measures service quality. According to Saleh and Ryan (1991), it was initially devised for the assessment of services within the financial sector, and consists of a 22-item, seven-point Likert Scale but not all of the issues were directly applicable to a hotel. However Martin (1986) offers a 40-item scale in the assessment of service within restaurants, and from this a number of questions were picked and adapted for hotel and finally therefore, a 33-item and five-point Likert Scale instrument was developed.
There are five dimensions of service quality: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles. In the guest survey, the customer will answer the questions which are based on the five dimensions. Fitzsimmons et al (2001) point out the multiple dimensions of service quality are captured in the SERVQUAL instrument, which is an effective tool for surveying customer satisfaction that is based on the service quality gap model.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
Bardi (2007) states that preparation for adopting TQM is necessary to achieve success goal in hotel. Biech (1994) defined Total Quality Management (TQM) as a customer-focused, quality-centered, fact-based, team-driven, senior-management-led process to achieve an organization’s strategic imperative through continuous process improvement. In its simplest form, the TQM is a management philosophy which states that the whole organisation is working for meeting the customer’s need and expectation (Williams et al, 2003). The TQM has two major proceedings: customer requirements and expectations determination and these requirements and expectations’ deliver organising (Ross, 1993).
Ross (1993) points out that the measurement of success is customer satisfaction and the only way to achieve the successive customer satisfaction is through continuous improvement by TQM.
Background of the Club Med
Club Mediterranean (Club Med) is an international hotel chain company operating worldwide resort villages. Club Med was founded in 1950 by Gerard Blitz who is the two time Olympic medalist champion while Blitz stayed at the Olympic Club’s tent village where he had the idea to combine his passion for humanitarian causes with athleticism.
The initial concept of the Club Med was to offer people to enjoy sports holidays with reasonable price. The company expanded through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and during 1980s it continued to diversify and decentralize, becoming ever more international (International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 1994). Today, the Club Med is with over 80 villages across 5 continents at beaches to mountain, ski resort, and even history-rich area and with its G. Os that are members of staff representing around a hundred nationalities speaking over 30 languages and it continues to emphsise its multicultural aspect.
Currently the company offers five styles of holiday, so that people can choose the village that best meets their holiday expectations. The Club Med’s aim is to provide its customers with a holiday as close to perfection as possible by creating a unique atmosphere which engenders a sense of wellbeing, as well as by providing top-quality amenities, the company aims for total customer satisfaction (International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 1994).
Steps of Implementation
As the report discussed above, the Club Med can use whether SERVQUAL model or TQM method to improve the company’s service quality. However if both two model used together, it will make synergy effect on the business. First, to adopt SERVQUAL model on the Club Med, quantitative research will be used and the data are from existing the company’s record. Not only the quantitative data but also qualitative research will be used to identify the service quality gaps which brought to inconsistency between the guest expectations and the guest perceptions. The staffs of the Club Med can have in-depth and face-to-face interviews.
The interviewees will be included the reception GOs, the sport activity GOs, the bar and restaurant GOs and whoever village GOs to identify the gap. This provided the researcher to recognize which department has the most contact with the GMs (gentle member that known as guest of the Club Med). Next step is for sampling procedures and in the process the reception desk or the front desk will allow information relate guest complaints. It is because of in many hotels, the front desk has high level of contact with guests and also the reception desk will receive the majority of guest complaints (Carey, 2003).
The two survey populations will be the GMs and the GOs. In addition for the guests, the guest survey can be asked. For instance, the Likert Scale survey which is asking guests to rate each activity or department in a scale of 1 to 5 can be used. Currently, the Club Med is using customer satisfaction ratings virtually. According to Fitzsimmons et al (2001), the Club Med uses the questionnaire and it is mailed to all guests directly after their departure from a Club Med vacation to assess the quality of their experience in the village.
The information from the survey completed by guest is used in several ways. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance (1994) points out that if there is a complaint about one of Club Med’s villages, head office immediately reports back to the village manager. After all the interviewing and surveying, data collection and analysis by coding will be necessary to identify the service gaps. Through the coding analysis, finally the Club Med can find gaps in the service process. Therefore the Club Med an get a broad response and a better understanding of guest expectations and perceptions to improve their service quality. Next, to adopt the Total Quality Management (TQM) on the Club Med, as shown in the appendix 1, there are several steps for implementing TQM. The first step is defining the mission. According to the International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance (1994), the Club Med’s aim is to provide its customers with a holiday as close to perfection as possible. Thus the company’s mission is total customer satisfaction.
The second step is for identifying system output and the third is for identifying customers. To use of demographic questionnaire can be useful not only to know the guests but to set a target markets so improve systems as their requirement. Then the next step is for negotiating customers’ requirements. From the bargain, developing a “supplier specification” that details customer requirements and expectations is the next. Finally, determining the necessary activities required to fulfill those requirements and expectation will be finished the implementing TQM.
On the contrary, Dale (1994) notes that number of barriers to achieving TQM that shows in appendix 2. Accordingly, the company should avoid several components as lack of commitment from senior management to service quality so the Club Med’s head office must focus on the service quality improvements continuously. The second component to avoid is fear of the changes to work patterns and processes. Thus the senior management should empower employees. Then lack of resources and no customer focus is following. To improve service quality and to adopt TQM, company has to keep focus on the customers’ requirements. For the last, without correct data collection and analysis, the Club Med can not meet improved service quality.
The service quality will be a major component of the future hospitality industry continuously. Therefore hotels need to manage the service quality with various theories and methods. As discussed above, this report has applied SERVQUAL and TQM on the Club Med to identify the service gaps. Accordingly, if the Club Med uses the service quality, they can reduce gap and provide customer satisfaction. The any efforts from hotel’s marketing an not be stand on long term period solely. However, the quality of the interactive service between hotelier and the guest can be possibly long term and this can be why the improving service quality is important to hotel. Both service quality theories and models’ measurement is a customer satisfaction. Thus to improve a hotel or resort’s service quality with customer satisfaction, the whole of departments should link and think about the service quality together so the all of employees and the senior mangers generate continuous improvements.
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Improving Service Quality in Hotel and Resort. (2018, Jan 31). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/improving-service-quality-in-hotel-and-resort/
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