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Importance of Service Quality in the Hotel Industry

Evaluate the quality of service that Obsidian Hill Hotel.

The quality of a service is the perception of a service expected performance to the customer’s desired expectations. Quality service will usually exceed the expectations of a customer. The quality of a service will determine the profitability and the ability of business compete. Service providers usually assess the customer requirements before providing a service. This is to ensure that the customers are satisfied which improves their chances of customer retention. In relation to the hotel industry, all the departments work together to ensure that a customer is satisfied. For example; room service, food and beverage service, leisure service and front desk service. How a customer is treated in any of these areas highly determines the customer review of the hotel (Saleem, & Raja, 2014). The intention of this case analysis is to evaluate the quality of service delivered by the staff of Obsidian Hill Hotel to its customers. It will include the service management industry analysis, issues concerning the measurement of customer satisfaction and strategies to address service organization processes. The case analysis will also include the recommendation strategies to improve service management in that hotel.

The SERVQUAL is a research instrument which applies the dimensions of service quality to assess customer anticipations and insights of a service. Depending on the customer’s actual observation of the service experience, the service quality is confirmed or disconfirmed. It therefore means that if service providers have these dimensions in place, they have a high chance of gaining customer loyalty. The five dimensions on which the SERVQUAL is based include tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy (Goldstein,  Johnston, Duffy & Rao, 2002).

The first one is the tangible dimension. This dimension focuses on the outlook of facilities. It also includes the appearance of personnel and even the communication tools. According to the customer feedback, they were not impressed with the room. It was oddly shaped, cramped and the bathroom was not very welcoming (Bailly, & Léné, 2012). “The bathroom and toilet looked to be near the end of their porcelain lives.” The customer also complained that the boardroom was worn out. The customer was therefore not satisfied with the physical facilities of the Obsidian hotel. There is a likelihood that the customer was never going to return to their hotel. They therefore lost one major customer.


Customers expect the service deliverer to accomplish the guaranteed service reliably and correctly. This will ensure that a customer can rely on the service being delivered. The customer will also be able to request the service again or recommend it to other people (Dillard, Browning, Sitkin  & Sutcliffe, 2000). According to the customer feedback, they did not have the hotel room ready at the promised time. The hotel servants kept on giving excuses for not having their room on time. The customer says that they had a horrible experience during their stay. The hotel cancelled the customer’s reservation with no explanation at all. After much argument they were given a room not of their choice. The worst thing is that the staff didn’t apologize to the customer even after realizing that it was the hotel’s mistake.

SERVQUAL Dimension: Tangibles

Customers expect the service deliverers to be responsive. The customer expects the deliverer to respond quickly and instantly. They do not want to wait for a whole day to have their calls returned. The staff has to be willing to help customers. It increases the customer rating on them. Obsidian hotel had quite some reviews when it came to responsiveness (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García, & Marchante-Lara, 2014). The customer says that the concierge was very helpful. He always greeted them like they were valued guests. The hotel was instantly responsive when the customer called back to have their room cleaned again. The first cleaner had done a shoddy work but the second one did an amazing job.

Customers have a need to feel assured of the service they are getting from the service provider (Kandampully, Zhang & Bilgihan, 2015). According to SERVQUAL research, it is significant for service suppliers to communicate their expertise to clients. This way, the customer’s confidence is boosted. According to the customer feedback reviews of Obsidian Hotel, the first impression of the staff to the customer was not assuring. The customer was not greeted by anyone or welcomed to the hotel.  A staff grabbed the bell cart from the customer with no excuse, they mispronounced the name of the customer and they didn’t have a tag to prove they worked for that hotel. The staff should have had a badge to prove who they were. He or she should have greeted the customer and explained nicely that he would get the customer’s bags instead of grabbing the cart.

Empathy means that the service deliverer cares about the customer and not just the service. As much as the service is delivered according to specifications, the deliverer is required to show care to the customers in the process of delivering the service (Aghamolaei, et al 2014). Despite providing service that did not match the customer specifications, the staff at Obsidian Hotel didn’t show empathy to the customers. The customer complains that the doormen mostly seemed to be chatting away and not welcoming the clients. The front desk and lobby bar was also very uninviting. This is because it was always cramped. The customer did not feel like the staff really cared about customers as they were very unwelcoming.

According to Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985), there are service quality gaps which should be adhered to in any organization. Obsidian Hill Hotel has some of the service quality gaps. The first gap that exists is the perceived service gap. Customers always expect quality products and services. One customer complains about how workers did not know what they were doing. She complains that they chose the hotel because they expected more but most of the staff members did not know what they were doing (Knutson, Stevens, Wullaert, Patton & Yokoyama, 1990).

SERVQUAL Dimension: Reliability

Communication to customers is another gap that exists in this hotel (Berry, Parasuraman & Zeithaml, 1988). One customer complains that they were not even greeted when they arrived at the hotel. The doormen are supposed to be welcoming customers. They however seem to be chatting away instead of communicating with the guests. The staff members did not apologize to the customer after they accidentally cancelled their reservation.

Service delivery gap exists in this hotel. The customers have a high expectation of the hotel’s service. They expected polite staff that would also be friendly. However, the client says that they had a horrible experience. They complain that most of the staff had a bad attitude (Xie, Zhang, & Zhang, 2014). The guest also complains that the staff did not respect their privacy. They kept on disturbing them even when they had the “no disturb” sign on.

The quality of service given to customers determines the level of their satisfaction. Satisfied customers have loyalty to the company and have a likelihood of recommending the business to other people. Service management strategies in the hotel industry play a major role. The hotel is divided into three main functional areas (Bitner, Booms, & Tetreault, 1990). All of these areas require strategic management to ensure better rating from customers.

The first functional area is the Front Desk, Reservations, security and housekeeping. This is categorized as the room division. The Front desk is accountable for checking customers in, checking them out and receiving payments (Bailly, & Léné, 2012). It is also responsible for receiving customer complaints, determining the availability of rooms and even giving out any additional rooms. Obsidian Hill Hotel front desk was quite responsible. According to the customer feedback, they allocated them a nice room. They were able to check in early and check out late. The reservation department failed the customer. Due to traffic, the customer was delayed. The customer’s reservation was cancelled for no apparent reason. The staff didn’t even apologize to the client after realizing their mistake. The hotel needs to improve on this area. According to customer feedback, the housekeeping was done poorly by one of the staff. When the customer complained, the other staff did a thorough cleaning job. The hotel can improve on this by training the staff on housekeeping (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García, & Marchante-Lara, 2014). A customer also complained that they were occasionally disturbed even though they had the “do not disturb” sign on.

SERVQUAL Dimension: Responsiveness


The second division is the Foods and Beverage. This division include the bar area, Banquets and the room service (Stefano, Casarotto Filho, Barichello, & Sohn, 2015). A customer complained that he or she was denied an opportunity to order off the menu. The customer was not impressed that they forced him or her into a breakfast of not their choice. The hotel needs to improve on this area. They need to show empathy to customers, customers need to have a freedom to choice of the food they consume while in that hotel. Consequently, another customer complained that the bar was always cramped. The hotel needs to find some form of order in the bar area.

The third division is the staff and support unit. This includes the major departments of the hotel such as management, accounting, human resources and even the contracted units. This category needs to ensure teamwork in order to achieve customer satisfaction (Dedeo?lu, & Demirer, 2015). Obsidian Hotel needs to improve on teamwork. A staff complains that it is tiresome to check customers in when there is a delay in room cleaning. Sometimes the Front Office is unwilling to perform duties outside their specifications at busy times. This just proves how the departments of this hotel are not working together. The hotel should however keep up on its management strategies. The manger has been trained on how to better manage the workers. He also puts the interests of the hotel above his.

The management first strategy that the management needs to check on is the working conditions of the staff. The staff are pressured, overworked and receive low wages. They manager should adopt strategies to motivate the staff. The management system of this hotel is bureaucratic. The staffs have not been given power to independently serve customers. They have to be answerable to each one of their decisions (Mitreva & Saneva, 2017). The trust and empowerment policy is supposed to encourage workers to create experiences with the hotel guests. However in Obsidian Hotel, there is no clear guidance on how the workers can implement this policy.

The human resource department should focus on proper recruitment and developing the staff. It needs to focus on hiring qualified staff. Training skills should also be extended to workers. A staff complains that some of the workers do not act in a professional way. Duties of the staff need to be well specified to ensure they are aware of what is expected of them (Saleem & Raja, 2014). The workers should be placed to job categories which match their qualifications. The staff also complains that some of his workmates in the customer service do not qualify to be in that category. He says that they friendly but they are not efficient for that position.

SERVQUAL Dimension: Assurance

The management needs to enhance the communication strategies of workers. The staff seems to encounter challenges in communicating through departments. According to the employee feedback, the front desk has not established a clear communication with the room service department. Sometimes they want to assign a guest to a room but the room is not ready. This is a clear sign of lack of proper communication.

In conclusion, there are different ways in which the Obsidian Hotel can improve on the quality of service they deliver to their customers. They need to have defined work roles. Each staff has to be aware of which part he or she is expected to play in the hotel. It will reduce delays in cleaning rooms which holds up the Front Desk role of checking in customers. This will limit customer service delays in general. The workers need to be trained in their specific areas. This will help avoid a case where a staff is under qualified. Training is also important to ensure employee satisfaction. The satisfaction of employees motivates them to do quality work.

The one dimension that the management of this hotel should focus on is reliability. This is the most important dimension while delivering service quality. The customers have to feel like they can really rely on your service. For example, the staff should have hotel rooms ready as per the agreement. From the customer feedback, one customer complains that the staff kept giving excuses as to why they didn’t have her room ready. This already proves to the customer that they cannot be relied on.

Teamwork is of essence in this hotel. All the departments need to work together for efficient customer service. For instance, the management needs to trust the staff and delegate responsibilities to them. This will ensure that they are motivated to make the right decisions concerning the customers. Teamwork will reduce overworking of employees. It will reduce the problem of delays in some departments which end up affecting the other departments. For instance, the Front office staff does not chirp in to help in other departments during busy days. Through teamwork, this behavior will be conquered. All the stuff will be united to work together to enhance provision of service to the hotel guests.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Obsidian Hill Hotel should needs to service quality. The quality of a service highly determines the success of any organization. Service quality and customer satisfaction are considered to be two different things. However, these two are closely related and they are interdependent

References

Aghamolaei, T., Eftekhaari, T. E., Rafati, S., Kahnouji, K., Ahangari, S., Shahrzad, M. E., ... & Hoseini, S. H. (2014). Service quality assessment of a referral hospital in Southern Iran with SERVQUAL technique: patients’ perspective. BMC health services research, 14(1), 322.

Bailly, F., & Léné, A. (2012). The personification of the service labour process and the rise of soft skills: a French case study. Employee Relations, 35(1), 79-97

Benavides-Velasco, C. A., Quintana-García, C., & Marchante-Lara, M. (2014). Total quality management, corporate social responsibility and performance in the hotel industry.International Journal of Hospitality Management, 41, 77-87.

Berry, L. L., Parasuraman, A., & Zeithaml, V. A. (1988). The service-quality puzzle. Business horizons, 31(5), 35-43.

Bitner, M., Booms, B., & Tetreault, M. (1990). The service encounter: Diagnosing favorable and unfavorable incidents. The Journal of Marketing, 54(1), 71-84

Dedeo?lu, B. B., & Demirer, H. (2015). Differences in service quality perceptions of stakeholders in the hotel industry.International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(1), 130-146.

Dillard, C., Browning, L. D., Sitkin, S. B., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2000). Impression management and the use of procedures at the Ritz? Carlton: Moral standards and dramaturgical discipline. Communication Studies, 51(4), 404-414.

Goldstein, S. M., Johnston, R., Duffy, J., & Rao, J. (2002). The service concept: the missing link in service design research? Journal of Operations Management, 20(2), 121-134.

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.

Knutson, B., Stevens, P., Wullaert, C., Patton, M., & Yokoyama, F. (1990). LODGSERV: A service quality index for the lodging industry. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 14(2), 277-284

Mitreva, E., Miteva, N., & Saneva, D. (2017). Service quality in hotel industry. In First Internattional Scientific Conference, ISCTBL, Faculty of Tourism and Bisiness Logistics-Gevgelija, Macedonija. Faculty of tourism and bisiness logistics-Gevgelija, Macedonija.

Saleem, H., & Raja, N. S. (2014). The impact of service quality on customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and brand image: Evidence from hotel industry of Pakistan. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 19(5), 706-711.

Stefano, N. M., Casarotto Filho, N., Barichello, R., & Sohn, A. P. (2015). A fuzzy SERVQUAL based method for evaluated of service quality in the hotel industry. Procedia CIRP, 30, 433-438.

Xie, K. L., Zhang, Z., & Zhang, Z. (2014). The business value of online consumer reviews and management response to hotel performance. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 43, 1-12.

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