Authenticity Within Hospitality Industry

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Authenticity in the Hospitality Industry

2012

Due to globalization and a world increasingly filled with deliberately stage experiences within the hospitality industry, consumers crave for authenticity. Instead of making the employees as cast members or puppets, the organization must identify what makes it authentic by finding the deeper meaning of the organization’s DNA and involving their staff members through-out the process, frontline staff in particular.

Zaina Ibrahim BA of International Hospitality Management University College of Northern Denmark

Table of contents

1

Introduction 1.1 Problem statement and formulation 1.2 Authenticity within hospitality industry 2 2-3

2 Theory of science and methodology 3.1 Social constructionism 3.2 Qualitative Research 3.3 Semi-structured interview 4-5 5 6

4 Data Analysis 2.1 Narrative analysis 7

5 Considerations 5.1 Critical reflections 5.2 Limitations of the study 7 7

References Appendix

Zaina Ibrahim /International Hospitality Management (2012)

Page 1

Introduction

Tom McCrary, CEO from Chief Outsider writes about his authentic experiences as a consumer.. On one occasion, however, we left disappointed and couldn’t pinpoint why: all of the service tangibles were present. What had been missing, however, was authenticity on the part of the staff; they said and did all the “right” things, but failed to be fully engaged and invested in their actions and words — they were not authentic.” (McCrary 2008)

Authenticity in Tourism and Hospitality is of a high demand both personally and professionally. Due to globalization, virtualisation and rapid development, there is nothing left un-touched, it is a challenge to define what´s fake and what´s real. Living in an artificial world filled with deliberately stage experiences, people crave for authenticity. Gilmore and Pine II indicate that goods and services are no longer enough; what consumers want today are experiences – memorable events that engage them in an inherently personal way and they choose to buy based on how real they perceive an offering to be. Business today, therefore, is all about being real, original, genuine, sincere and authentic. (Gilmore and Pine II, 2007) In the hospitality industry, consumers play an important role on how to develop or improve the product and services offered within the industry. According to Ian Yeoman who is a professional futurologist specializing in travel and tourism, authenticity evolves because consumers search for exceptional experience, special moments that are original and real. (Yeoman, 2008) Consumers have the power to voice out their satisfaction or dissatisfaction to the whole world via online rating sites like Tripadvisor. The majority of those comments are about experiences they had during their travelling period. The factors that have the biggest impact on guests are when hotel guests have had a bad experience due to poor services from the front line staff. In Tom McCrarys case, how can a frontline staff portray a service that is totally different from what the organization is promoting? This question is interesting because it sheds light on the importance of a mutual understanding on authenticity within all staff members of the hotel. Not just to act authentic but to be authentic as a professional. How hoteliers define authenticity will have an effect on how they practice authenticity in reality. There for it is interesting to direct attention to the understandings of authenticity within a hotels organisation.

Zaina Ibrahim /International Hospitality Management (2012)

Page 2

This research will focus on the hotel industry. Instead of focusing externally on what the consumers define as authentic experiences, the study is going to highlight authenticity seen from an organizational development platform. The attention will particularly be oriented towards the frontline staffs that constantly are in direct interaction with hotel guests. In...
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