Predicting Customer Satisfaction Using a Two-level Service Expectation Framework: Empirical Evidence from Star Rated Hotels in Malawi

  • M. B. Sepula Department of Hospitality Management, Faculty of Tourism, Hospitality, and Management, Mzuzu University, Private Bag 201, Luwinga, Mzuzu 2, Malawi
Keywords: Service expectations, desired service expectations, adequate service expectations and Customer satisfaction

Abstract

Hospitality is the fastest-growing, experience-intensive service industry and becoming the biggest export service sector worldwide. Several countries including Malawi, have several star-rated hotels which possess some anticipated degree of comfort and service quality in those hotels. It is anticipated that customers evaluate the service performance of a hotel against their expectations and experiences, eventually deriving satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to establish whether service expectations can measure or predict customer satisfaction. Using an explanatory and descriptive design, this study focused on eleven hotels of star ratings situated in Lilongwe and Blantyre cities in Malawi. Two hundred and three hotel guests took part in the study. Data collection was done with the aid of survey questionnaire; the SPSS version 23.0 software and AMOS software version 22.0 were used for data analysis. Initially, paired samples t-test was used to compare mean scores for desired service expectations across fourteen pairs of hotel services with mean scores for adequate service expectations. The paired samples t-test results indicated that the Zone of Tolerance (ZoT), measured as the difference between the desired and adequate service mean scores, were positive and significantly different in all the 14 pairs. The study engaged the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) to ascertain the relationships between service expectations and customer contentment as latent variables of the hypothesised model. Both the unidimensionality test and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were used to establish the factor structure of the measurement variables in the model. The hypothesis that service expectations do not significantly predict customer satisfaction was rejected (β= 0.793; t=7.969; p<0.05). The study concluded that there were high customer perceptions of services consistent with their expectations; which in turn, significantly predict customer satisfaction in star-rated hotels. The study recommends that managers of star-rated hotel ought to closely monitor and constantly improve hotel service attributes that raise customers’ expectations to enhance customer satisfaction among current hotel guests and possibly aid more customer recruitment.

References

Ab Hamid, M. R., Sami, W., & Sidek, M. H. (2017). Discrimant Validity Assessment: Use of Fornell & Larcker criterion versus HTMT Criterion. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 890, 012163

Akama, J. S., & Kieti, D. M. (2003). Measuring tourist satisfaction with Kenya's wildlife safari: a case study of Tsavo West National Park. Tourism Management, 24, 73-81.

Amin, M., Yahya, Z., Ismayatim, W. F., 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.

Back, K. J., & Lee, C.K. (2015). Determining the Attributes of Casino Customer Satisfaction: Applying Impact-Range Performance and Asymmetry Analyses. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 32(6), 747-760.

Butler, T. U. (2014). Development of Scales to Measure Perceived Experience with Classism and Class Origin Identity Salience in Counselor Education, Counseling, and Psychology Professoriates. Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama.

Cetin, G., & Walls, A. (2016). Understanding the Customer Experiences from the Perspective of Guests and Hotel Managers: Empirical Findings from Luxury Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 25(4), 395-424.

Cronin, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. (1994). SERVPERF versus SERVQUAL: Reconciling Performance-Based and Perceptions-Minus-Expectations Measurement of Service Quality. Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 125-131.

Cronin, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. (1992). Measuring Service Quality: A Reexamination and Extension. Journal of Marketing, 56(3), 55-68.

Department of Tourism. (2016). Grading Criteria for Serviced Accommodation. Lilongwe: Tourism and Hotels Board.

Ekinci, Y. (2004). Which Comparison Standard Should Be Used for Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction? Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 4(3-4), 61-75.

Ekinci, Y., & Dawes, P. L. (2009). Consumer perceptions of frontline service employee personality traits, interaction quality, and consumer satisfaction. The Service Industries Journal, 125, 503–521.

Emir, O. (2016). A study of the relationship between service atmosphere and customer loyalty with specific reference to structural equation modelling. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 29(1), 706-720.

Fallon, P., & Schofield, P. (2004). “Just Trying to Keep the Customer Satisfied”. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 4(3-4), 77-96.

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 39-50.

Grönroos, C. (2016). Service Management and Marketing: Managing the Service Profit Logic (4th ed.). Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Gwynne, A. L., Devlin, J. F., & Ennew, C. T. (2000). The Zone of Tolerance : Insights and Influences. Journal of Marketing Management, 16, 545-564.

Hair, J. F., Hult, G. T., Ringle, C., & Sarstedt, M. (2014). A primer on partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Hudson, S., & Hudson, L. (2013). Customer Service for Tourism and Hospitality. Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

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.

Ivan, K. L., Hitchcock, M., Yang, T., & Tun-Wei, L. (2018). Literature review on service quality in hospitality and tourism (1984-2014): Future directions and trends. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 114-159.

Kettinger, W. J., & Lee, C. C. (2005). Zones of Tolerance: Alternative Scales for Measuring Information Systems Service Quality. MIS Quarterly, 29(4), 607-623.

Kim, N., Choi, S., & Schwartz, Z. (2012). On the Validity of the “Importance Minus Performance” Construct—A Genuine Contribution of the Tourism Literature or a Mishap? Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 29(6), 599-610.

Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling. 3rd edn. New York: The Guilford Press.

Li, H., Ye, Q., & Law, R. (2013). Determinants of Customer Satisfaction in the Hotel Industry: An Application of Online Review Analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 18(7), 84-802.

Luo, Z., & Qu, H. (2016). Guest-Defined Hotel Service Quality and Its Impacts on Guest Loyalty. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 17(3), 311-332.

Markovic, S., & Raspor, S. (2010). Measuring Perceived Service Quality Using servqual: A Case Study of the Croatian Hotel Industry. Management, 5(3), 195-209.

Martilla, J. A., & James, J. C. (1977). Importance-Performance Analysis. Journal of Marketing, 41(1), 77-79.

Nadiri, H., Kandampully, J., & Hussain, K. (2009). Zone of tolerance for banks: a diagnostic model of service quality. The Service Industries Journal, 29(11), 1547-1564. doi:10.1080/02642060902793425

Oliver, R. (1980). Cognitive model of the antecedents and consequences of satisfaction decisions. Journal of Marketing Research, 17(4), 460–469.

Oliver, R. L. (2010). Satisfaction: A Behavioural Perspective on the Consumer. 2nd edn. New York: M. E. Sharpe.

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1994). Reassessment of Expectations as a Comparison Standard in Measuring Service Quality: Implications for Further Research. Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 111-124.

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. (1988). SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Customer Perceptions of Service Quality. Journal of Retailing, 12-40.

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.

Ramsaran-Fowdar, R. R. (2007). Developing a service quality questionnaire for the hotel industry in Mauritius. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 13(19), 19–27.

Reid, R. D., & Bojanic, D. C. (2010). Hospitality Marketing Management. 5th edn. New Jersey: Wiley.

Sepula, M. B., Kieti, D. M., Korir, J. C., Cheloti-Mapelu, I., & Bello, F. G. (2018). Does Grading Standard Dimension of Hotel Rating System Predict Customer Satisfaction? Empirical Evidence from Malawi. Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Management, 6(2), 149-163. doi:10.15640/jns.v6n2a13

Sepula, M. B., & Bello, F. G. (2019). Guests’ Perceptions of Official Hotel Rating System Dimensions in Star-Rated Hotels in Malawi. Global Review of Research in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Management (GRRTHLM), 5(1), 715-743.

Tavakol, M., & Dennick, R. (2011). Making sense of Cronbach’s alpha. International Journal of Medical Education, 2, 53-55.

Teas, R. K. (1994). Expectations as a Comparison Standard in Measuring Service Quality: An Assessment of a Reassessment. Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 132-139.

Torres, E. N. (2014). Deconstructing Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction: Challenges and Directions for Future Research. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 23(6), 652-677. doi:10.1080/19368623.2014.846839

Wilkins, H. (2010). Using Importance-Performance Analysis to Appreciate Satisfaction in Hotels. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 19(8), 866-888.

Yilmaz, I. (2010). Do hotel customers use a multi-expectation framework in the evaluation of services? A study in Cappadocia, Turkey. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 10(1), 59-69.

Yuksel, A., & Yuksel, F. (2001a). Measurement and Management Issues in Customer Satisfaction Research: Review, Critique and Research Agenda: Part One. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 10(4), 47-80.

Yuksel, A., & Yuksel, F. (2001b). Measurement and Management Issues in Customer Satisfaction Research: Review, Critique and Research Agenda: Part Two. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 10(4), 81-111.

Zaibaf, M., Taherikia, F., & Fakharian, M. (2013). Effect of Perceived Service Quality on Customer Satisfaction in Hospitality Industry: Gronroos’ Service Quality Model Development. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 22(5), 490-504.

Zeithmal, V. A., Bitner, M. J., & Gremer, D. D. (2013). Service Marketing: Integrating Customer Focus across the Firm. New York: Mc Graw-Hill Companies.

Zainol, N. A., Lockwood, A., & Kutsch, E. (2010). Relating the Zone of Tolerance to Service Failure in the Hospitality Industry. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 27(3), 324-333. doi:10.1080/10548401003744792

Zeithaml, V. A., Berry, L. L., & Parasuraman, A. (1993). The Nature of and Determinants of Customer Expectations of Service. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, 21(1), 1-12.

Zemke, D. M., Chena, Y.-S., Raaba, C., & Zhong, Y. (2017). Hotel design, guest satisfaction, and behavioural intentions. Anatolia, 28(3), 338-350.
Published
2019-12-23
How to Cite
Sepula, M. (2019, December 23). Predicting Customer Satisfaction Using a Two-level Service Expectation Framework: Empirical Evidence from Star Rated Hotels in Malawi. African Journal of Education,Science and Technology, 5(3), Pg 100-115. Retrieved from http://ajest.info/index.php/ajest/article/view/399
Section
Articles