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Measuring service quality in mid-scale hotels

Dennis A Rauch (E.Craig Wall, Sr. College of Business Administration, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA)
Michael Dwain Collins (School of Management, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)
Robert D Nale (E.Craig Wall, Sr. College of Business Administration, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA)
Peter B. Barr (Glenville State College, Glenville, West Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 9 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify an appropriate factor structure that may be utilized to effectively measure a hotel’s performance relative to service quality in a mid-scale setting. Customer perceptions of service quality in mid-scale hotels have largely been ignored; the focus of researchers has been the upscale (4-star) and luxury (5-star) segments.

Design/methodology/approach

A 27-item questionnaire is utilized to measure service quality with an initial sample size of over 2,500 respondents. Principle component analysis is utilized to determine the factor structure and regression analysis to determine which factors may serve as predictors of a hotel’s ability to meet customers’ expectations and to provide value.

Findings

A three-dimensional model emerged from the data, consistent with the theorizing of Rust and Oliver (1994), which includes the service product, service delivery and service environment. The service environment is the strongest predictor of a hotel’s ability to meet guests’ expectations and to provide guests with value within this context, which is inconsistent with findings in upscale and luxury hotels.

Research limitations/implications

The generalizability of this research may be challenged, as the study was conducted within the context of an oceanfront resort destination dominated by leisure travelers; however, the study may be replicated in additional settings to determine if a similar bundling of service quality attributes occurs in other mid-scale settings including business hotels, as well as economy hotels.

Practical implications

A three-factor model may be more appropriate for assessing service quality in a mid-scale (3-star) environment. In this setting, the service environment and service product may be more important measures of service quality than service delivery. This is an important finding, as many mid-scale and select-service, as well as new mid-scale, lifestyle hotel concepts, attempt to drive profitability by deemphasizing service delivery or by utilizing technology to facilitate service delivery. These findings may also assist operators of mid-scale hotels in improving guests’ perceptions of quality, which has been found to increase perceived value and may positively influence purchase or revisit intentions (Kashyap and Bojanic, 2000).

Originality/value

Service quality research has been conducted, almost exclusively, in first-class (4-star) and luxury (5-star) hotels, while the majority of hotels do not fall into these categories. Although guest expectations relative to service quality may be lower in more moderately priced, mid-scale hotels, service quality remains a critical variable that influences a guest’s decision to return or recommend a hotel to others. Many travelers now utilize online reviews to minimize purchase risk by seeking information relative to service quality when selecting a hotel. Consequently, it is more important than ever that service quality is understood in hotels at all service levels. The present research contributes to filling this gap in the literature.

Keywords

Citation

Rauch, D.A., Collins, M.D., Nale, R.D. and Barr, P.B. (2015), "Measuring service quality in mid-scale hotels", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 87-106. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2013-0254

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited