Customer satisfaction is the marketing element which indicates how the products or the services offered to a consumer meet or exceed their customer expectation (A. Maroco & J. Maroco, 2013). This is a very crucial element in business as it provides marketers and business owners the metric of determining what method they can use to improve their activities. In the hotel industry, customer satisfaction is often ignored despite this element being used in to indicate significant differences in the meaning and ranking of the hotel efficiency scores (Assaf & Magnini 2012; A. Maroco & J. Maroco, 2013). Customer satisfaction in the hotel industry starts from the first point of contact, for instance, between the hotel guest and the attendants of the hotel. It is vital for a hotel establishment to use the first impression to create a lasting impression on the customer about the quality of products and services offered by the business. If the hotel establishment continuously meet or surpass the expectations of its customers, then clients would be said to be satisfied with the quality of products and services offered by the business.
Customer satisfaction has become one of the most challenging element to accomplish for most of the businesses. As such, it has become essential for companies to carry out mass customization which aims to deliver customized products for the companies to survive in the fragmented, diversified, and the competitive marketplace (Tseng, Hu, & Wang 2014). However, customer satisfaction is vital in service blueprinting. Kandampully (2007) defines service blueprint as the detailed plan and diagnostic document which shows the service events and processes as a flowchart; a map of intersecting paths. Kostopoulos, Gounaris, and Boukis (2012) found that service blueprinting as one of the effective ways of indicating the market orientation, service climate, and the service design formality. According to Han and Ryu (2009), the structural equation modeling suggests that the quality of food, physical environment, and services were key determinants in the restaurant image. In essence, the blueprint can be used to guide a business in the hospitality industry to make amends to its business processes to satisfy the consumer needs.
Raza et al. (2012) conducted a study about customer satisfaction. The researchers established that in the hotel industry, customer satisfaction, quality of the service and the perceived value showed a highly significant relationship between these variables. As such, customer satisfaction can be obtained by excelling in those three factors. Besides, according to a study conducted by Walter, Edvardsson, and Ostrom (2010), the critical drivers to customer satisfaction in a restaurant industry include the experiences that a customer has with people or employees, core services, more exactly the food which is offered to the consumer, and the physical environment of the restaurant.
In a study conducted by Nasution and Mavondo (2008), customer experience is the result of the interaction between an organization and a customer over a period. This interaction can be split into three parts including customer journey, the touchpoints of the brand, and the interaction with the environment including the digital environment which the customer experiences during the stay at the hotel. Nasution and Mavondo (2008) assert that there is usually a misconception of what the managers believe that their businesses offer to what the customer really experience. As such, it is imperative for the hotel experience to improve the customer experience as a way of benefiting the customers.
In their study, Wiedmann, Hennigs, and Siebels (2009) mention that the consumers desire to impress oneself and others drive the need to buy luxurious commodities. There is the social orientation to consumer products or services which are extravagant as that elevates the prestigious state of an individual. The same motivation drives the need to feel the prestigious aspect of the services or products offered by a hotel. Customers derive a prestigious feeling as it elevates their ego as well as improve their social standing among friends and family. As such, a hotel establishment should position its services to provide the luxurious feeling to its consumers.
Amin ,Yahya, Ismayatim, Nasharuddin, and Kassim (2013) conducted an empirical study and indicated that the value for money refers to the well worth of spending money on a product or a service. Amin et al. (2013) indicated that consumers are increasingly becoming conscious of the quality of the services they receive from the hotel industry. Basing on these findings, it is imperative for a hotel establishment to improve the quality of services and products offered as this could contribute to customer loyalty to the business.
Business-customer relationship plays a vital part in the business partnership and loyalty between a customer and a business entity. Customers perceive the establishment of a bond between the business entity and them as a way of deriving fulfillment. Dagger and David (2012) found that the existence of a relationship between customer satisfaction and the relationship between the firm and its customers. As such, as the relationship grows, the customers perceived benefits would also improve.
According to Kowaltowski, Pina, and Barros (2006), the concept of territoriality, security, personal space, and privacy among other factors play an imperative role in environmental psychology. As such, the managers should have been aware of the influence which interior design of a restaurant has in influencing customer satisfaction (A. Maroco & J. Maroco, 2013; Pecotic, Bazdan & Samardzija 2014). Graci and Dodds (2008) in their study articulated that implementing environmental practices improves the overall performance of a hotel industry. Some of the benefits attributed to proper environmental practices include cost reduction, competitive advantage, employee loyalty, customer retention, regulatory compliance, risk prevention, and social responsibility (Graci & Dodds, 2008). Considering this wide range of benefits, one of the possible solutions to this problem is going green in the restaurant. This entails pursuing measures which lead to environmentally friendly and making ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles which can protect the environment as well as sustain its nature. On the part of the part of staff neglecting duty, the possible solution would be to educate the staff of the economic benefits which the business stand to benefit by maintaining a green and serene environment in the restaurant environment. This personnel, as well as all the other staff, should be afforded environmental knowledge which will enhance their capacity to handle environmental issues.
Glanz, Sallis, Sallens, and Frank (2005) found that there is a widespread prevalence of obesity and poor nutrition options. One of the areas attributed to this trend is restaurants and hotels. As such, the failure to provide healthier options can negatively affect the prospects of the business at this age where consumers are looking for healthy options. In this regard, the management should introduce healthy options on their menus and create a positive marketing strategy for the food delicacies. In effect, this will result in increased sales and higher satisfaction levels for the consumers.
Kandampully (2007) asserts that every business must first examine what comprises is core services are before they start offering services which benefit its customers. In Welcome to the Experience Economy, Pine and Gilmore (1998) mention the five essential experience design elements which will provide a guide for a business to optimize the customer experience as well as providing the vital benefits which the consumer seeks. According to Pine and Gilmore (1998), these five essential elements include theme experience, harmonize impressions, elimination of negative cues, mix in memorabilia, and engaging all the five senses. Through these key features, the benefits and experience of a consumer can be manipulated through several techniques that will assist in assigning a high value to the experience and as a result help in meeting the core benefits of the customer.
A business may offer products and services as the core benefits that its customers benefit from the company. However, there are other benefits which the business can create for its customers. Nasution and Mavondo (2008) intone that the delivery of value for customers has become the core theme of firms in the current market. Value is in form of the benefits which the customer get from interacting with the business. There are several benefits which a customer seek to derive when staying in a luxury hotel. These benefits include, satisfaction, customer experience, achievement of desired outcomes, relationship benefits, and feeling confident following the use of service or product.
Therefore, it is widely agreed that providing and maintaining customer satisfaction is one of the very common challenges facing businesses today (Assaf & Magnini 2012; A. Maroco & J. Maroco, 2013; Tseng, Hu, & Wang 2014; Kostopoulos, Gounaris, & Boukis, 2012; Han & Ryu, 2009; Walter, Edvardsson, & Ostrom, 2010; Amin et al., 2013; Dagger & David, 2012; Kowaltowski, Pina, & Barros, 2006). To achieve customer satisfaction, a business has to establish means through which they are going to evaluate the quality of their services on specified occasions and capitalize on service blueprinting is an effective way of indicating the market orientation, service climate, and the service design formality and the structural equation modeling suggests that the quality of food, physical environment, and services were key determinants in the restaurant image (Assaf & Magnini 2012; A. Maroco & J. Maroco, 2013; Tseng, Hu, & Wang 2014; Kostopoulos, Gounaris, & Boukis, 2012; Han & Ryu, 2009; Walter, Edvardsson, & Ostrom, 2010; Amin et al., 2013; Dagger & David, 2012; Kowaltowski, Pina, & Barros, 2006). As such, the service blueprint, therefore, present organizations with this important tool through which they can evaluate their services, as well as the need to meet the expectations of the clients.
Amin, M., Yahya, Z., Ismayatim, W. F. A., Nasharuddin, S. Z., & Kassim, E. (2013). Service quality dimension and customer satisfaction: An empirical study in the Malaysian hotel industry. Services Marketing Quarterly, 34(2), 115-125. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/15332969.2013.770665
Assaf, A. G., & Magnini, V. (2012). Accounting for customer satisfaction in measuring hotel efficiency: Evidence from the US hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31(3), 642-647. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2011.08.008
Dagger, T. S., & David, M. E. (2012). Uncovering the real effect of switching costs on the satisfaction-loyalty association: The critical role of involvement and relationship benefits. European Journal of Marketing, 46(3/4), 447-468.Doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211202558
Emir, O., & Kozak, M. (2011). Perceived importance of attributes on hotel guests' repeat visit intentions. Turizam: znanstveno-strucni casopis, 59(2), 131-143.
Graci, S., & Dodds, R. (2008). Why go green? The business case for environmental commitment in the Canadian hotel industry. Anatolia, 19(2), 251-270. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13032917.2008.9687072
Han, H., & Ryu, K. (2009). The roles of the physical environment, price perception, and customer satisfaction in determining customer loyalty in the restaurant industry. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 33(4), 487-510. Doi: 10.1177/1096348009344212
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