Dimension and Service Quality

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Research and concepts Analysing service quality in the
hospitality industry

Amy Wong Ooi Mei Alison M. Dean and Christopher J. White

The authors
Amy Wong Ooi Mei is an Honours Student, Alison M. Dean is a Lecturer in Management and Christopher J. White is a Lecturer in Tourism, all based at Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia.

Australia, Hospitality industry, Measurement, Service quality

Examines the dimensions of service quality in the hospital- ity industry by extending the SERVQUAL scale to include eight new items that specifically pertain to the hospitality industry, subsequently referred to as HOLSERV. A total of 1,000 questionnaires were distributed at five mid-luxury hotels in Australia during July to October 1998 and a response rate of 15.5 per cent achieved. Key findings of the study are that service quality is represented by three dimensions in the hospitality industry, relating to employ- ees (behaviour and appearance), tangibles and reliability, and the best predictor of overall service quality is the dimensions referred to as “employees”. The findings also show that the one-column format questionnaire provides a valid and reliable, but much shorter, survey. The major implication for managers is that improvements in the behaviour and appearance of their employees is most likely to enhance consumer perceptions of service quality.

Managing Service Quality
Volume 9 · Number 2 · 1999 · pp. 136–143
© MCB University Press · 0960-4529

Services are taking on increasing importance both domestically and internationally. In today’s changing global environment, many businesses are facing intensifying competition and rapid deregulation, and in order to achieve competitive advantage and efficiency, businesses have to seek profitable ways to differentiate themselves. One strategy that has been related to success is the delivery of high service quality, especially during times of intensive competition both domestically and internationally (Rao and Kelkar, 1997). This concept has been the subject of many concep- tual and empirical studies, and it is generally accepted that quality has positive implications for an organisation’s performance and com- petitive position. However, despite the vast amount of research done in the area of service quality, quality related issues have received little research attention within the hospitality context (Harrington and Akehurst, 1996). Further, authors of studies conducted on quality in the service industries have also expressed concern regarding the quality dimensions in hotels and, in particular, with methods used to measure customer percep- tions of hotel service quality (Johnston et al., 1990).

As service quality is becoming a major part of business practice, it is important to be able to measure and research its effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to examine the differ- ent dimensions of service quality and deter- mine which dimensions best predict overall service quality in the hospitality industry by applying a modified version of SERVQUAL (Parasuraman et al., 1988). This kind of information has practical implications for managers of hotels as they can direct their resources to improving weak service dimen- sions and to refining their marketing efforts so that customer expectations are met by the service delivered.

Early research on quality
From the review of literature on quality, it has been found that early research efforts concen- trated on defining and measuring the quality of tangible goods and products, while the seemingly more difficult services sector was ignored. Gronroos (1990) has noted that product quality was traditionally linked to the technical specifications of goods, with most definitions of quality arising from the

manufacturing sector where quality control has received extensive attention and research. Conversely, Crosby (1979)...
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