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Development of Commercialization and Professionalism

Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to demonstrate, in the appropriate context, the ability to:

a) Understand the concept and development of professionalism within the broader tourism, hospitality and events industry;
b) Critically evaluate how changing consumer behavioural trends are impacting customer service;
c) Explore the correlation between culture, customer experience and business experience;
d) Analyse the impact of poor customer experiences;
e) Assess a range of strategies that hotels can take to improve their customers’ experience;
f) Assess which type of engagement meets the needs of the digital, social and mobile customer

Your task for this assessment is to write an evaluative report of information found in the literature relating to “employee involvement in service and the guest experience in a hotel context”. Specifically, you will synthesise research from the scientific literature and industry publications and draw conclusions based on your research. In writing this assessment, you are required to follow the Assessment Structure Style Guide of a Business Report. Your textbook Hudson & Hudson (2017) is the best place to start and for this assessment you first should review chapters 1- 4. Together with the readings prescribed for topics 1-4.

It is our expectation that this scholarly piece of writing will at a minimum, include:

? A definition of service, as it relates to hospitality and tourism;
? A historical overview of guest experience and how it has evolved;
? The importance of employees, as it relates to service culture, empowerment, and the service profit chain;
? What might be the consequences for a hotel when they do not focus on service and employees who deliver this service?
? Concluding with your thoughts (based on research findings) on the importance of delivering positive guest experiences in a hotel context.

With the rise of Airbnb, the rise of millennial travellers and changing consumer behaviour around the globe, the hotel-scape is changing to accommodate guests’ thirst for new experiences. Major hotel companies are creating lifestyle brands to complement their portfolio. Your task is to investigate three international hotel companies who have embarked on the creation of lifestyle hotels. In this report you should cover the following:
? Discuss the various elements of these new lifestyle hotels, giving specific examples;
? Critically appraise how lifestyle hotels differ from the traditional hotel;
? Detail how lifestyle hotels meet the needs of the digital, social and mobile customer;
? Appraise how these lifestyle hotels can deliver distinctive customer experience with the ever evolving traveller.

In writing this assessment, you are required to follow the Assessment Structure Style Guide of a Business Report.

Development of Commercialization and Professionalism

The hospitality industry in the present times offers a plethora of services to the customers starting from lodging to transportation and also food as well as entertainment related services (Cetin & Dincer, 2014). Kim, Vogt and Knutson (2015) are of the viewpoint that the increasing prominence that the hospitality industry has gained within the spectrum of the modern business world can be attributed to the increasing initiatives of the national governments of the different nations for the development of this industry. As opined by Kao, Tsaur and Wu (2016), this can be attributed to the fact that the hospitality industry is one of the highest revenue generating industries of the world currently in addition to supporting to a host of other industries like tourism, entertainment and others. As a matter of fact, the hospitality industry for the year 2015 generated more than $500 billion worldwide with more than $150-$170 billion in the United Nations of America itself (Jauhari & Bharwani, 2017). Furthermore, the industry, at the same time, offers different kinds of job opportunities to the individuals and this becomes especially important when the high unemployment rate of the world currently is taken into consideration (Kandampully, Zhang & Bilgihan, 2015). However, in the recent times, it is seen that the hospitality industry has undergone a substantial amount of change.

As opined by Ali, Amin and Cobanoglu (2016), the change that the hospitality industry has undergone in the recent times can not only be attributed to the change in the needs or the demands of the customers but also because of a host of other factors. For example, the commercialization of the services offered by the industry has also affected the industry in a substantial manner. Radojevic, Stanisic and Stanic (2015) are of the viewpoint that that the recent terrorist activities and also the natural disasters have also affected the nature of the services offered by the concerned industry in a significant manner. This report will analyze the change that the hospitality industry has undergone in the recent times in the light of the changing customer behaviors and also their expectations. The report will also recommend the strategies that can help the concerned industry to improve not only the services offered by it but also to enhance the experience of the customers.

O'Connor, Cowhey and O'Leary (2016) are of the viewpoint that the hospitality industry is one of the most ancient ones of the world and in the initial days religious connotations were associated with it. For example, in the earlier days, hospitality or entertaining the guests was considered to a noble act and thus it was seen that the process of charging money for the hospitality was not prevalent (Ali, Hussain & Ragavan, 2014). According to Lu and Kandampully (2016), “acts of hospitableness involve being hospitable for genuine motives……if hospitality industry looks after the guests out of a genuine concern for their happiness and charges them a reasonable price, then that is a ‘hospitable’ setting”. In addition to this, it also seen that in the earlier times the focus was on the enhancement of the hospitable elements within the cannon of the services which were offered to the guests. More importantly, it was seen that the hosts tried to entertain the guests out of genuine motives rather than the commercial or financial motives (Jones, Hillier & Comfort, 2016). However, in the latter of the 20th century, it was seen that the notions of professionalism as well as commercialism gained prominence within the spectrum of the services offered by the concerned industry (Chiang & Saw, 2018).

Impact of Changing Consumer Behaviors on Hospitality Industry

As opined by Veríssimo and Menezes (2015), one of the major reasons for the widespread usage of the concept of professionalism as well as commercialism within the spectrum of the services offered by the hospitality can be attributed to the insistence on the part of the organization related to the industry to earn higher revenue. In addition to this, earlier it was seen that the hospitality was related to just to the close family friends of the individuals and to a select few individuals. However, in the recent times, it is seen that because of the expansion of business and the rise of tourism industry and others, the number of people opting for the hospitality services has increased in a substantial manner (Šeri?, Gil-Saura & Ruiz-Molina, 2014). More importantly, it is seen that the individuals opting for the services offered by the industry are specific about the quality as well as the nature of the services and this puts a pressure on the organizations related to the industry to match up to the expectations of the customers. Moreover, the increasing amount of individual capital held by the people has at the same changed the nature of the hospitality industry from a free one to a commercial one.

Bowie et al. (2016) are of the viewpoint that the organizations in order to incorporate these changes within the mindset of the customers and also the volume of customers that they are  getting currently had to resort to the use of professionalism within the framework of the services offered by them. Furthermore, the increasing number of choices that are available to the customers has at the same time necessitated it the industry to offer the kind of services to the customers which will not only satisfy them but also make them opt for it frequently (Chiang & Saw, 2018). Cai, Lu and Gursoy (2018) have stated that the prospects of an organization related to the hospitality industry depends to a great extent on the quality and also the nature of the services offered by them to the customers and it is precisely here that the notion of professionalism gains prominence. Thus, it can be said that the use of the notions of commercialization and professionalism are no longer just mere options for the organizations related to the hospitality, tourism and events industries but has become a necessity as well. 

Hwang and Seo (2016) are of the viewpoint that the changing behavior of the customers within the hospitality industry is one of the major trends that the concerned industry needs to accommodate within the cannon of services offered by the industry. As opined by Pizam, Shapoval and Ellis (2016), the customers or the service users are no longer content with the traditional lodging services offered by the organizations related to the hospitality industry rather they look for new avenues of entertainment as well. For example, in the contemporary services offered by the concerned industry it is seen that the customers demand not only lodging services but at the same time food, entertainment, events and other kind of services from the organizations as well (Manhas & Tukamushaba, 2015). This can be seen as the end result of the close association that the hospitality industry shares with the tourism, events, entertainment and others industries of the world.

Strategies for Improving Customer Experience

It is seen that the customers of the present times also demand transportation services from the organizations related to the hospitality industry. This can be seen as a result of the desire of the customers to explore the local destinations of the place where the concerned hotel or resort is located but also to ensure their comfort during their stay as well. More importantly, there are several individuals who travel for the purpose of their business activities and does the transportation service offered by the concerned industry can be seen as a necessity for them (Veríssimo & Menezes, 2015). These in short are of the major changes that the hospitality industry has made within the domain of the services offered by them on the basis of the behavior of the customers.

Jones, Hillier and Comfort (2016) hold the viewpoint that one of the major reasons for the changes in not only in the hospitality industry but also the nature or the diversity of the services offered by them can be ascribed to the increasing competition within the industry. For example, earlier it was seen that there were limited number of service providers within the hospitality industry however in the recent times it is seen that the number of organizations has increased in a significant manner. This has not only increased the options that are at the disposal of the customers but at the same time their bargaining power as well. As opined by Cetin and Dincer (2014), the net result of this aspect is the fact that the competition within the hospitality industry has increased in a substantial manner and this has changed the behavior of the customers in a significant manner. Furthermore, it is seen that the customers of the contemporary have become more fickle than ever and they generally conduct their personal researches so as to get the best kind of services and that too at the most affordable prices (Kao, Tsaur & Wu, 2016). More importantly, to accommodate this changing customer behavior the organizations related to the hospitality industry had not only to modify the services offered by them but also to offer new kinds of services as well to satisfy the customers and earn their loyalty. 

Kim, Vogt and Knutson (2015) are of the viewpoint that the factor of culture affects the hospitality industry more than any other industry of the world because of the customers that they need to deal with different cultural and social backgrounds. In the light of this fact it becomes important for the organizations and also the employees related to the concerned industry need to take into effective consideration this difference between their own culture and the one of the customers. As opined by Jauhari and Bharwani (2017), the customer experience in the hospitality industry unlike the other industries depends to a great extent on the kind of services as well as treatment of hospitality that they have received from a particular hospitality organization and its employees. For example, it is seen that the majority of the customer after the actual services have been provided to them, just remember the kind of experience that they had and also the kind of treatment that they have received (Ali, Amin & Cobanoglu, 2016). This also wields a substantial influence on the business experience of the organization since it is often seen that the customers often treat the organizations and its employees in the same manner that they have been dealt with.

Assessment 1 – Report on Service Experience (Individual)

Chiang and Saw (2018) uphold the viewpoint that the organizations related to the hospitality industry need to take into effective consideration the factor of cultural intelligence or cultural competency for the services that they offer. This is important not only from the factor of the customer experience but at the same time from the aspect of the future business prospects of the concerned organization as well. For example, in the increasingly competitive world of hospitality industry it is seen that the experience of the customer determine to a great extent whether the customer will return back to the same hotel or not in future (Cai, Lu & Gursoy, 2018). This obviously has a direct correlation with the business experience as well as the profitability of the organizations related to the concerned organization. Thus, it can be said that it has become important for the organizations related to the hospitality industry to take into effective consideration the entities of culture as well as the customer experience within the domain of the services offered by them to the customers. It is precisely here that the concepts of professionalism come into play since it enables the organizations to treat the customers not only in an ethical manner but also with respect as well. Recent researches have shown that this goes a long way in determining not only the customer experience but also the business experience of the organizations related to the concerned industry (Hwang & Seo, 2016).

Bowie et al. (2016) are of the viewpoints that the notion of customer experience has gained substantial amount of prominence within the cannon of the hospitality industry since they are directly related to the reviews given by the customers. It is pertinent to note that the emergence of the digital technology has made a lasting impact on the hospitality industry. On the one hand, it is seen that the customers actively take the help of the different kinds of digital technologies for researching about the hotels or the resorts whose services that they are taking (Veríssimo & Menezes, 2015). On the other hand, it is seen that the customers also write about the experiences, the quality of the services that they received at the hotels or the resorts and also give ratings to the same. As opined by Manhas and Tukamushaba (2015), these ratings go a long way in determining the prospects of an organization since it is seen that the customers often get influenced by these reviews of ratings of the other customers. In this regard, it needs to be said that if an organization related to the hospitality industry has poor customer experiences then this can adversely affect the future prospects as well as the profitability of the concerned organization.

Assessment 2 – Report Evolution of the Customer Experience (Group)

Jones, Hillier and Comfort (2016) have stated that these poor customer experiences not only reduce the number of customers that the organizations related to the hospitality industry are likely to get but at the same time they affect the culture of the organization as well. In the majority of the cases it is seen that these poor customer experiences and also the low ratings or reviews given by them adversely affects the morale or the enthusiasm of the employees of the concerned organization (Kao, Tsaur & Wu, 2016). This in affects the quality of the services offered by the concerned organization to the customers and thereby aggravates the problem even more. Thus, it can be said that the problem of poor customer experiences affects the prospects of an organization related to the hospitality industry in an adverse manner. 

There are various kinds of strategies that the organizations related to the hospitality can take the help of to enhance the customer experience and thereby improve their prospects. Some of the common strategies are mentioned below-

  • Enhancement of the quality of the services offered by the organization is one strategy that the organizations related to the hospitality industry can resort to which is likely to help them to improve the customer experience (Lu & Kandampully, 2016). For example, it is seen that if the customers are offered quality services and that too at very affordable prices then it is not only likely to enhance the experience that they have had at the concerned hotel or resort but also likely to come back again.
  • Use of notion of cultural intelligence or cultural competency will help the employees of the hotels or the resorts to understand the cultural background of the customers and thereby modify their behavior and also services accordingly (Radojevic, Stanisic & Stanic, 2015). This is likely to help the hotels or resorts to not only avoid misunderstandings related to differences in culture but also to offer quality services as well.
  • Offering a plethora of services like exotic foods, entertainment shows, transport facilities, events and others is likely to help the hotels and also the resorts to improve the customer experience (Ali, Hussain & Ragavan, 2014). This would not only enable the hotels or the resorts to earn the loyalty or the satisfaction of the customers but at the same time would ensure the fact that they opt for the services again.
  • Use of digital media, social media and others would also help the organizations to improve the customer experience (Lu & Kandampully, 2016). For example, in the present times, it is seen that the customers are influenced by the online of the hotels or the resorts. Thus, if the concerned hotels or the resorts have an effective online presence then this is likely to help the customers to have a good experience.
  • Offering free wifi, basic amenities, complementary drinks and other kind of services to the customers would also help the organizations to improve the experience of the customers in a substantial manner.

The organizations related to the hospitality industry can take the help of the social media and other similar kind of tools to engage the social, digital and mobile customers. It is pertinent to note that the use of these social media tools would require the organizations to not only create various kinds of fan pages but also to maintain them in an effective manner (O'Connor, Cowhey & O'Leary, 2016). These fan pages will not only provide an overview to the customers about the organization but also the kind of services that they offer to the customers. In addition to these, the customers would be able to interact with the representatives of the organization and resolve their queries in a meaningful manner. Furthermore, the customers would at the same time be able to read the reviews given by the other customers and interact with them to know the kind of services that they received and also their experiences (Jauhari & Bharwani, 2017). The effective use of this method will not only help the organization to engage in an effective manner with the different customers but also promote the services offered by them. Kim, Vogt and Knutson (2015) are of the viewpoint that this would help the organizations to save a substantial amount of capital that they normally spend for various kinds of marketing as well as promotional measures.

Conclusion 

To conclude, the services offered by the hospitality industry had undergone a significant amount of change in the recent times because of the various kinds of factors. For example, the incorporation of the entities of commercialization, professionalism, customer behavior, customer experience and others have changed the services offered by the concerned industry in a significant manner. The net result of this is the fact that the organizations related to the contemporary hospitality industry are offering a plethora of services to the customers to meet their expectations or demands. In addition to this, it is also seen that the various organizations are also embracing the digital technologies and other kind of measures so to not only enhance the customer experience but also to increase their profitability as well. 

References 

Ali, F., Amin, M., & Cobanoglu, C. (2016). An integrated model of service experience, emotions, satisfaction, and price acceptance: an empirical analysis in the Chinese hospitality industry. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 25(4), 449-475. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19368623.2015.1019172

Ali, F., Hussain, K., & Ragavan, N. A. (2014). Memorable customer experience: Examining the effects of customers experience on memories and loyalty in Malaysian resort hotels. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 144, 273-279. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814042244

Bowie, D., Buttle, F., Brookes, M., & Mariussen, A. (2016). Hospitality marketing. Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317403494

Cai, R. R., Lu, L., & Gursoy, D. (2018). Effect of disruptive customer behaviors on others' overall service experience: An appraisal theory perspective. Tourism Management, 69, 330-344. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517718301249

Cetin, G., & Dincer, F. I. (2014). Influence of customer experience on loyalty and word-of-mouth in hospitality operations. Anatolia, 25(2), 181-194. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13032917.2013.841094

Chiang, C. I., & Saw, Y. L. (2018). Do good looks matter when applying for jobs in the hospitality industry?. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 71, 33-40. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431916301475

Hwang, J., & Seo, S. (2016). A critical review of research on customer experience management: Theoretical, methodological and cultural perspectives. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(10), 2218-2246. Retrieved from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2015-0192

Jauhari, V., & Bharwani, S. (2017). An exploratory study of competencies required to cocreate memorable customer experiences in the hospitality industry. In Hospitality Marketing and Consumer Behavior (pp. 159-185). Apple Academic Press. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781771883795/chapters/10.1201%2F9781315366227-7

Jones, P., Hillier, D., & Comfort, D. (2016). Sustainability in the hospitality industry: Some personal reflections on corporate challenges and research agendas. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(1), 36-67. Retrieved from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJCHM-11-2014-0572

Kandampully, J., Zhang, T., & Bilgihan, A. (2015). Customer loyalty: a review and future directions with a special focus on the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(3), 379-414. Retrieved from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJCHM-03-2014-0151

Kao, C. Y., Tsaur, S. H., & Wu, T. C. E. (2016). Organizational culture on customer delight in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 56, 98-108. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027843191630055X

Kim, M., Vogt, C. A., & Knutson, B. J. (2015). Relationships among customer satisfaction, delight, and loyalty in the hospitality industry. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 39(2), 170-197. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1096348012471376

Lu, C., & Kandampully, J. (2016). What drives customers to use access-based sharing options in the hospitality industry?. Research in Hospitality Management, 6(2), 119-126. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/22243534.2016.1253276

Manhas, P. S., & Tukamushaba, E. K. (2015). Understanding service experience and its impact on brand image in hospitality sector. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 45, 77-87. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431914001868

O'Connor, N., Cowhey, A., & O'Leary, S. (2016). Social media and the Irish tourism and hospitality industry: the customer experience. E-review of Tourism Research, 13. Retrieved from https://agrilife.org/ertr/files/2016/05/2.-eRTR_ARN_Vol.13-No3.4_OConnor-Cowhey-and-OLeary.pdf

Pizam, A., Shapoval, V., & Ellis, T. (2016). Customer satisfaction and its measurement in hospitality enterprises: a revisit and update. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(1), 2-35. Retrieved from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2015-0167

Radojevic, T., Stanisic, N., & Stanic, N. (2015). Ensuring positive feedback: Factors that influence customer satisfaction in the contemporary hospitality industry. Tourism Management, 51, 13-21. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517715000783

Šeri?, M., Gil-Saura, I., & Ruiz-Molina, M. E. (2014). How can integrated marketing communications and advanced technology influence the creation of customer-based brand equity? Evidence from the hospitality industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 39, 144-156. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431914000371

Veríssimo, M., & Menezes, N. (2015). Social media as a tool to enhance customer experience in hospitality industry. Portuguese Journal of Marketing/Revista Portuguesa de Marketing, (34). Retrieved from https://web.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=08732949&AN=114258387&h=ocgq2iYcoS2PEvDw%2b9rRdjyD1iu9r9u7nKDAH3Dr0GGMpi%2fm5T30vwOEsR%2f5GksUdBpe7Ykxf5hQIkmJAfNm3w%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d08732949%26AN%3d114258387

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