The purpose of this paper is to figure out the impacts of soft innovation in the city hotels in general, whereas the focus is on figuring out if there exists a difference in vitality on the components of soft innovation among the hotel categories, as 4 stars, 5 stars and boutique hotels in Izmir, Turkey.
The first part is related to a detailed literature review on the soft innovation components as color, sound, light, scent and decoration. Literature review is followed by a qualitative research where expert information on the research topic is collected. Judgmental sampling is used to identify experts’ views where in-depth semi-structured interviews are conducted with 12 hotel managers in Izmir city. The soft innovation hotel application areas taken into consideration are: lobby and reception, rooms, restaurant, bar and ballroom areas, meeting and congress halls, SPA and pools, gardens and landscape and other exterior hotel architecture.
The findings of the research reveal the sample hotel managers’ views as all the soft innovation applications are important for all city hotels regardless of their category, meaning that soft innovation may lead to better marketing results. Thus, according to hotel managers, soft innovation offerings have a potential for better customer satisfaction as positive feedback. However, the vitality degree among components changes according to the hotel’s category. For boutique hotels the most important component is found to be the decoration of the hotel, whereas for 4 stars hotels it is light and for 5 stars hotels it is scent.
The results of this study give relatively limited information because only managers’ point of view are shown. In the research, customers’ perceptions on soft innovation based interviews with the top management of the hotels studied takes place, indicating which may not be the case to reflect the real perception of customers. Therefore, for further researches, it is recommended for the other researches to take into consideration of customers’ point of views as well. Also, time limitation, sample size and application of only qualitative research may be stated as the limitations for this study. Quantitative research applies to customers on the same topic and problem statement is recommended for further studies related to city hotels’ soft innovation applications.
Motivation of this study is to understand how soft innovation can change hotels’ atmosphere and make it more attractive from the managers’ perceptions. According to hotel managers’ views, soft innovation applications may lead to higher customer satisfaction, but the level of investment among the components may change according to the city hotel’s category. Research implications indicate that hotel managers may optimize the effectiveness of their soft innovation efforts by taking into consideration their hotel type, application areas and innovation category as decoration, color, scent, sound and light. According to hotel managers, decoration-related soft innovation is more important to boutique hotels, lighting-related soft innovation is an effective investment for 4 stars hotels and scent-related soft innovation is a suitable investment for 5 stars hotels.
The originality of the study lies in the analysis of the components of soft innovation as a means for effective city hotel marketing and innovative management applications. Though it is a very suitable industry for implementation, improvement and development, there are limited studies on soft innovation applications in the hotel industry.
Pirnar, I., Kamali, Y.C. and Eris, E.D. (2019), "Soft innovation in hotel services: case of Izmir City", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 1025-1043. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJTC-05-2019-0072Download as .RIS
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