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Overview of Hong Kong Tourism Industry

Question:

Write a research proposal about the relationship of the high expenditure customer satisfaction and retention in a Hong Kong travel agent. 
 

The tourisms industry in Hongkong contributes hugely for the growth and development of the economy of the country. It has been calculated that the tourism industry has contributed 5 percent in the GDP of Hong Kong. Two Lac Seventy-one Thousand and Eight hundred people have been employed in the tourism sector and the industry has 7.2% share of the entire employment of the country (Hongkong Tourism: The Facts 2016). Though the industry has experienced certain amount of loss in the in the year 2015 and in the year 2016, yet it continues to be one of the highest revenue gaining sector of the country. With the increase in the tourism sector, the business of the travel agencies and the travel agents also rise accordingly.

The Hongkong tourism commission takes necessary and important steps to develop the tourism industry in the country. The commission aims at the development of the new strategies and the policies that will help in the growth of the tourism sector in Hongkong (Wen and Hou 2015). The travel agents have to refer to the commissions for the issue of license when they are growing a new business in the country.  The travel agents provide full-proof plan for the customers who plan for tour from Hongkong. The travel agencies at times prepare tour plan as per the demands of the customers (Firth 2012). However, some of the customers who aim for luxury tours approach the agencies that provide them full value for the money. Whereas, it can be seen that sometimes the customers make their own plan. The research will throw light on the rate of customer satisfaction (Spilsbury 2012). The researcher will also evaluate whether the travel agencies are able to satisfy the demands of the customers regarding the tour plans.

  • To study the trust factor among the high expenditure customers for the travel agencies
  • To study whether the customers came back to the same travel agency that had earlier provided them with good products
  • To study the relationship between the travel products and the product price with customer satisfaction
  • Are the customers who aim at high expenditure in travelling trust the travel agencies?
  • Do the customers came back to the same travel agents after being satisfied with a tour or they try other travel agencies?
  • What is the relation between the travel products and the travel price with customer satisfaction?

The main aim of the research is to study the growth of travel agencies in Hongkong and investigate the factors, which drive the customers to take help of the travel agents. In addition to this, the factors that will help in customer satisfaction will be studied that could help retaining more customers by the travel agents.

The tourism industry is growing at a positive rate in Hongkong and simultaneously the competition among the travel agents is rising. In a situation when the competition is string, it is important to measure the customer satisfaction so that the company can take steps to retain the customers. The research will be helpful for the companies to get an idea about the taste and preference of the customers. The feedback will help the company to enhance their products qualities and improve the packages and hence will be helpful in retaining the customers.

As the tourism industry in Hongkong is growing, hence the footfall of the international customers is also rising in the country. As the footfall of the customers who are opting for luxury packages is rising, hence it is important to get the feedback of the customers who have interest on the high-priced packages (Peis 2012).  The research will evaluate the mentality of the high-end customers and will design the packages in such a manner so that they are able to attract the international as well as the national customers. The primary data will reveal the exact areas that need to be looked into by the company so that they are able to design better products in the future. 

Role of Hong Kong Tourism Commission in Industry Development

The researcher mainly takes into consideration the customer satisfaction and customer retention after availing the travel packages. The study does not consider the growth of the customer due to the packages. It is true that the retaining the customers are an important part of the business but the companies should also think about the ways of growing the customers. The research does not throw any light on the ways that should be applied by the travel agencies to increase the number of customers for the company (Maxwell 2012).

The primary data collection is being based on the customers who have availed the tour packages from one particular company. It might happen that other customers have different perspectives for other travel agencies from where they have availed packages from other companies (Tesch 2013). The researcher does not take the feedback of the customers who have availed the travel packages from other travel agencies. It is a huge setback for the research work. It would have been better if the researcher has taken into consideration other travel agencies to complete the research work (Silverman 2013).

The researcher mainly based its research on the customers who opted for high-value products. The customers who have budget tours might have a tough time to decide whether to go for any travel agencies or to plan the tour themselves. When one hand, the high-end customers are important, on the other hand, customers with a tight budget are also important for the companies (Kitchin and Tate 2013). It is important to satisfy the customers with a low budget to make the travel agency famous in the competitive market (Cohen, Manion and Morrison 2013). However, the researcher does not taken to consideration the low budget customers and this can be considered as a limitation for the study. The researcher should have given equal importance to the customers who have a high budget as well as a low budget.

The thematic travelling is growing at a steep rate in China. Some of the themes for travel are, driving tour, study tour, eco-tourism, overseas wedding, wellness and medical, sport, cruise and travel photography.

Figure: Trade and Public: Interest on themes

(Source: Itehk.com 2016)

The graph suggests that the public visitors mainly consult the tour agent for travel photography. The demand for travel photography is the highest among all other types of tourisms. The second position is held by eco-tourism and driving tour is just 1% less than the eco-tourism. As the trade visitors are concerned, it does not vary much for the different types of tours. The least demand is for overseas wedding as far as the public visitors are concerned. Thus, the theme of mating for the tour agents will be based in the popularity of the tours. They will do the marketing is such a manner that will be based on travel photography. The theme of the research mainly deals with customer satisfaction and the ways of retaining the customers for the travel agency. The above graph will help the travel agents to decide the type of customers that they should concentrate on to enhance the business of the travel agency.

Research Objectives: Growth, Competition, and Customer Satisfaction

The future researcher could carry out different research works based on the similar topics. The future researchers have the chance of taking into consideration customers who opt for budget tour plans. It is important to think about the customer satisfaction among the customers who have a limited budget while they opt for any tour plans. In addition to this, a research should be carried out to evaluate the ways of increasing the number of customers for a business. The researcher has only taken into consideration one travel agency and then carried out the research work to investigate the theme of customer satisfaction. However, it is important to get the perspectives of the customers who have availed the packages from other travel agencies so that the readers get a better idea of the theme of customer satisfaction and the travel agencies in Hongkong. 

In order to analyze the different ways of satisfying the customers and the way they can be retained in business there is a need to see the trend of the outbound tourism in the Hong Kong City and apply the theories of customer satisfaction so that more number of customers come to avail the services.

Outbound Tourism in Hong Kong City:

The Hong Kong city is unique for the outbound tourism market. The country not only has a unique type outbound market but it also avails a convenient platform to tap the growth of the outbound travel of Asian countries and China. The country Hong Kong has the fourth largest market for outbound tourism and is 14th in the world in terms of the tourism expenditure (Li, Song, Cao and Wu 2013). The main reason for a commendable performance in the outbound tourism is due to Hong Kong being a densely populated area and the lack of areas of recreation has made the citizens to invest more on the holidays outside the city Hong Kong (Liu and McKercher 2014). There is a huge spending capacity of the people of Hong Kong, which is reflected from the high GDP per capita. The GDP per capita is the third highest in Asia. The travelling is more convenient for the people of Hong Kong due to the excellent transportation infrastructure and convenient geographical position, which help them to travel abroad.  Almost all the people speak English and hold the SAR passport that helps them to visit 40 countries, which would not require any type of visa (Itehk.com 2016). There is no control on the foreign exchange and people by the government of Hong Kong from the leaving the territory (Tsui et al. 2014). This has led to the rise in the pleasure and business travel by the residents of Hong Kong.  The outbound departures of Hong Kong were mainly to the Macau, China and other Asian destinations. The international tour and business are dependent upon the city Hong Kong due to the travelling intensity by the people.  The location of Hong Kong is unique in the sense that it takes almost five hours of flight journey from almost all the cities of Asia and takes less than two hours to drive from Southern China (Jin and Wang 2015).  The affluent market of the consumer is easily accessed by Hong Kong, due to the closest proximity. The closer economic partnership agreement with that of China has provided the travel companies in Hong Kong to avail a preferential treatment in the country China (Luo et al.2015). The outbound travel is better facilitated through the excellent infrastructure.  There are almost 1000 flights operating on a daily basis around the world inclusive of the mainland of China. There Asian travelers from the mainland they prefer to transit through Hong Kong City.

Challenges and Opportunities in Hong Kong Tourism Industry

Opportunities:

 The citizens of the Hong Kong city they tend to travel on the public holidays like the Christmas, Easter and Chinese New Year. There are approximately 10 to 14 days of leave in a year. The travelling mainly occurs during the summers and national holidays. United States is the favorite destination for travel during the summers. The time when there is maximum holidays avail is during Spring Festival and during National Day Golden Week (Chen et al. 2015).

The statistics on travelling on outbound travel from mainland China and Hong Kong would be accounted by Free Independent Travel.  The people from China and Hong Kong when they travel to a new location they generally look for a packaged tour as this will help them to see multiple locations at a single point of time (Dai et al .2016). The tours availed are wine country tours, specialty tours like golfing , diving , skiing and horseback riding and shopping tours. 

Statistical Data on Hong Kong Outbound Tourism:

The table helps in showing the expenditure of tourism and departures of the residents in Hong Kong (2012-2014):

Table: Departures by the Hong Kong residents and Expenditures of tourism 2012-2014

(Source Export.gov 2016)

Table: Outbound Statistics of Hong Kong

(Source Export.gov 2016) 

The travel agents to retain the customers would be using the expectancy value theory.  As per this theory, this helps in making own judgment about the products, benefits  and the outcomes from using the product. The people they would be able to learn to perform the behavior, which would help in to get positive outcomes (Liu, Hong and Li 2013). The overall service quality will be dependent upon the sum of the service attributes. The theory helps in developing a direct link of the purchases made by the customer and satisfaction derived

 The most popular theory of customer satisfaction is the SERVQUAL model.  The SERVQUAL model is developed by  Zeithaml  for measuring the quality of the services in term of five dimensions. The model helps in describing the difference in the customer perception and customer expectation. The five quality dimensions are reliability, assurance, responsiveness , empathy and tangibles (Hsu and Song 2013). This model helps the customers to look into the business and perspective of the customers. Through the closing of the gaps, the information generated for the formulation of the strategies so that there is ensuring of customers expectation on consisted basis.   The use of the model is limited to continuous improvement in the developing world when the performance of the business is not related to the innovation and service. The gap in the quality of the service involves when the perception of service is lesser than that of what is expected. The customer satisfaction can be best figured from the SERVQUAL model. The gap that is perceived is many like the expectation of the customer does not match with the travel agents decision, the travel agents they are lacking in finances to enhance the service at the desired level. The gap in the promise and the delivery is also identified through this model (Rong, Vu, Law and Li 2012).

Primary Data Collection and Research Limitations

The data in this research will be done based on the primary and the secondary research. The primary data will be collected through the distribution of the questionnaire to 150 customers of the travel agency in Hong Kong.  The data will be collected with the random sampling technique.  The random sampling technique will be used for conducting the research as this would be less time consuming and there would be less biasness in the results. The primary data will help the travel agent to understand the preferences of the customers whether they are able afford high expenditure on travelling or not. The secondary resources has also considered for the research.  The secondary resources has been collected from the website journal, travel blogs, travel magazine and there are certain theories on customer satisfaction and retention strategies that have been analyzed which will be helpful in increasing the amount of customers who would be interested in travelling (Chan, Hsu, and Baum 2015). The secondary research is a convenient way of getting a detailed study on the travel and tourism aspects in the country Hong Kong. The researcher had to collect the secondary data by making payment for getting relevant data. The data collection is time consuming there are many data available and among which the relevant is figured out. 

The researcher will take into consideration the qualitative and the quantitative data. The secondary data will, act as the qualitative data while the feedback of the customers of will act as the quantitative data (Neuman and Robson 2012). The qualitative data will be in the form of descriptive data that will be available in the online sites (Miller, Birch, Mauthner and Jessop 2012). The researcher will evaluate the descriptive data. The quantitative data will be collected in the form of objective questions obtained from the customers

The secondary data will be collected from the online sites where the information regarding the customer satisfactions and the growth of the travel agencies in Hongkong will be mentioned. The researcher will also study the papers that have been presented by the previous researchers (Sarantakos 2012). The previous papers will help the researcher to get an idea about the areas of the topic that have been done and the areas that are left unexplored by the previous researchers. In addition to this, the blog and the online interview of any of the eminent personalities will also act the secondary data.

The questionnaires will be sent to the customers through the mail-ids. The customers who are already traveling with the company will be interviewed to get an idea about the customer satisfactions (Green, Camilli and Elmore 2012). The customers will be sorted by evaluating the travel histories. The customers who have either travelled in business class in the flights or have not opted for budget airfares will be taken into consideration. Moreover, the customers who have opted of the high-priced packages or have opted for five-star hotels in the past will be taken to consideration to study the customer satisfaction. Thus, the customers who are opting for high-priced products will be the main participants for the research work and the data will b collected from these population. 

Thematic Traveling and Customer Preferences

The data analysis is done on the information collected through the primary research. The information that is gathered from the primary data is represented in terms of the mathematical models, statistical calculations and pie charts.  There will be use of the descriptive statistics for the analysis of the data.  The descriptive data will involve using the statistical measures like the standard deviation, median, mean. The hypothesis of the research will be tested through the type I and Type II errors. SPSS software will help in performing the regression and correlation. Regression analysis helps is estimating the relationship among the variables and correlation will help in analyzing whether there is a positive or negative relationship among the variables (Ho, and McKercher 2014). The dependent variables are product, price, and knowledge and brand while the independent variable is customer satisfaction. A multivariate regression analysis will be done using the software. The correlation analysis which variable have a positive and which variable would be negative relationship (Arlt, 2013). The qualitative data that is collected from the different sources will be analyzed through the method of content analysis. There are three type methods under the qualitative methods under content analysis of which summative approach will be done. This would be involving comparison and counting of the content and the keywords.

The research paper can be used as a secondary form of data sources for the future research. There can be a research further on the ways through which the travel agencies they incorporate strategies for further development and increasing the sales of the products. There could be exploring of new areas of research changing in the style of the product or the way of promotion so that more detailed analysis can be made.   

References:

Arlt, W.G., 2013. The second wave of Chinese outbound tourism. Tourism Planning & Development, 10(2), pp.126-133.

Chan, A., Hsu, C.H. and Baum, T., 2015. The Impact of Tour Service Performance on Tourist Satisfaction and Behavioral Intentions: A Study of Chinese Tourists in Hong Kong. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 32(1-2), pp.18-33.

Chen, Y., Schuckert, M., Song, H. and Chon, K., 2015. Why Can Package Tours Hurt Tourists? Evidence from China’s Tourism Demand in Hong Kong.Journal of Travel Research, p.0047287515612597.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K., 2013. Research methods in education. Routledge.

Dai, B., Jiang, Y., Yang, L. and Ma, Y., 2016. China's outbound tourism–Stages, policies and choices. Tourism Management.

Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Jackson, P.R., 2012. Management research. Sage.

Export.gov. (2016). Export.gov - Travel and Tourism.

Green, J.L., Camilli, G. and Elmore, P.B., 2012. Handbook of complementary methods in education research. Routledge.

Ho, G. and McKercher, B., 2014. A comparison of long-haul and short-haul business tourists of Hong Kong. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research,19(3), pp.342-355.

Hongkong Tourism: The Facts. (2016). 1st ed.

Hsu, C.H. and Song, H., 2013. Destination image in travel magazines A textual and pictorial analysis of Hong Kong and Macau.

Jin, X. and Wang, Y., 2015. Chinese Outbound Tourism Research A Review.Journal of Travel Research, p.0047287515608504.

Kitchin, R. and Tate, N., 2013. Conducting research in human geography: theory, methodology and practice. Routledge.

Li, G., Song, H., Cao, Z. and Wu, D.C., 2013. How competitive is Hong Kong against its competitors? An econometric study. Tourism Management, 36, pp.247-256.

Liu, A. and McKercher, B., 2014. The impact of visa liberalization on tourist behaviors—The case of China outbound market visiting Hong Kong. Journal of Travel Research, p.0047287514564599.

Liu, C.H., Hong, C.Y. and Li, J.F., 2013. An Industry-related Spillover Analysis of the impact of Chinese tourists on the Taiwanese economy.Tourism Management, 36, pp.423-425.

Luo, J.M., Lam, C.F., Qiu, H. and Fan, D.X., 2015. The Impact of Climate on Outbound Tourism in Hong Kong: Resident's Mode of Transport. Journal of Management and Sustainability, 5(2), p.31.

Maxwell, J.A., 2012. Qualitative research design: An interactive approach: An interactive approach. Sage.

Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner, M. and Jessop, J. eds., 2012. Ethics in qualitative research. Sage.

Neuman, W.L. and Robson, K., 2012. Basics of social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Peis, J. (2012). Future trends in conference tourism. Saarbrücken: VDM, Müller.

Rong, J., Vu, H.Q., Law, R. and Li, G., 2012. A behavioral analysis of web sharers and browsers in Hong Kong using targeted association rule mining.Tourism Management, 33(4), pp.731-740.

Sarantakos, S. 2012. Social research. Palgrave Macmillan.

Silverman, D., 2013. Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook. SAGE Publications Limited.

Spilsbury, L. (2012). Travel and tourism. New York: Rosen Central.

Tesch, R., 2013. Qualitative research: Analysis types and software. Routledge.

Tsui, W.H.K., Balli, H.O., Gilbey, A. and Gow, H., 2014. Forecasting of Hong Kong airport's passenger throughput. Tourism Management, 42, pp.62-76.

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