A questionnaire and internet web interviews that conducted between the dates of 28th February 2014 and 29th April 2014 with 1200 Holiday Inn customers across various ranges of the company sizes and the various services offered by the company. The data gathered formed the primary sources of my research. This survey was conducted with a view to analyze the response to various views and perceptions the customers have in mind about the services and products offered by the company (PILOT, 2014). These customers use the very many services and products of The Holiday Inn Company such and the lodging facilities, the restaurant facilities, and the catering services among others. Some of the customers use the services once or twice a year while most of the customers utilize the services frequently i.e. daily weekly and monthly. For our research we would use the hotel services, the resort services, the lodging services and the outside catering services. The various books and other scholarly articles that I used to research form the secondary resources.
3.1 The Customer Satisfaction levels and Requirements
According to the research, the overall satisfaction with the services offered by the company remains invariably high. This is depicted by an overall mean score of 7.9 out of the very possible ten. Again 92% of the customers gave a score of seven and above. As it stands right now, the company target is 82% which is considerably below par as per the statistical analysis of the customer satisfaction table below.
Fig. 1.0 The overall satisfaction of the customers with the specific services
Source; Holiday Inn Statistics, 2013
From the figure 1.0, the hotel service takes the lead generally with a mean of around 8.9 out of ten. The figure also reveals to us that the services from the hotel are quite superior according to customers’ perception. The satisfaction levels in the catering services are relatively low at a mean of 6.4. This prompted me to look at the reason for the discrepancies in the catering services. I found out the following in my research.
3.2 Research on Customer Satisfaction and Requirements
Out of the 1200 customers interviewed 700 of the customers had it that the pricing of the services were high and was not commensurate to services provided. Additionally, their perception to Holiday Inn Company is that they were to offer high quality food just like the ones offered at the hotels which is not the case (PETERS, 2011). This is clear indication that there is a perceptional gap created between the actual services provided and the expectations of the customers (PILOT, 2014). When the customers were asked to evaluate the between the catering services offered by the holiday inn company and that offered by the Hard Rock Company who is a serious competitor of the company. They categorically co notated that they were more satisfied with hard rock catering services because their use of integrated information system of delivery where they have automated the dispensation of different meals makes them feel upgraded. Again the high- tech serving of the customers makes them like them like hard rock catering services than the Holiday inn services.
Conceptual response and requirement
Here we checked on the conceptual response by the customers to the purchase and use of the products and services offered by the holiday in company. This comes from the clear and distinct evaluation and comparison of the reward and cost of purchase benchmarking ourselves on the expectations of the customers (PETERS, 2011). Particularly on the lodging and the catering services, 72% of the customers made it clear that the expectations they had with the high prices of these services are not met and categorically stated that they are deemed to prefer other companies services over them especially The Hard Rock Company for the reason that the prices were not commensurate to the services provided (PILOT, 2014). To this effect, a statistical analysis was done which entailed the calculation and evaluation of the betas of the prices of the catering services across the industry for the half year ending June 2014. A graph of the betas of the various companies’ prices of the catering services was done to discern the volatility of the industry prices as shown below.
Fig. 1.1: companies’ prices betas between January and June 2014.
Source; Holiday inn Statistics 2013
From the graph above, the companies’ price betas range from 0.4 to 1.5, to this stance, it means that the prices of these services are quite volatile, thus the prices keeps on changing and that’s why the customers are quite indifferent of the prices of the catering services being offered. This in essence would mean that they would not rely on the prices to determine the quality but would exceptionally depend on the actual quality delivered ( HEYN, 2012).
The study research conducted also scrutinized on the emotional attachment derived by the customers to the services provided. 70% of the customers interviewed said that they feel really honored when they are tendered by the waiters they find at the holiday inn motels, the kind and understanding gentlemen and ladies they find at these restaurants and the motel gives them a reason to stay longer at these hotels. The research clearly affirmed that the service delivery at the motels and restaurants were up to date with the current customer needs ( HEYN, 2012). The other 30% had mixed feelings and noted that their expectations according to what is usually being advertised are not the same since the advertisement usually insist on fast delivery of the meals at the convenience of the customer while the waiters in as much as they are welcoming, they are quite slow and sometimes the impatient customers cannot bear the long wait for food to be served. To this effect has created an advertisement gap which the company needs to close (PETERS, 2011).
Firstly the company should bridge the perceptional gap created by the service delivery of the catering service. This could be done by bringing in an integrated information system that would change the whole service delivery system. Most successful companies employ the Enterprise resource planning to this effect that would wholesomely streamline the whole system delivery and this is what I highly recommend (PILOT, 2014).
To the pricing, due to the volatility of prices, I would recommend that the holiday inn company should change give the customers an incentive for high quality service delivery because if they lower the prices it will not add any value because the customers are not price sensitive. To this effect they should customize and personalize their services to create the emotional attachment with the customers in order to earn their trust on these services delivery ( HEYN, 2012)..
Finally the company should strive to bridge the advertisement gap by quickening their service delivery as advertised in the media. This could be done by training the employees with skills of how to be quick while serving the customers, especially the waiters that serve at the motels (PETERS, 2011)
It is an astounding fact that The Holiday Inn Company has up their game in the service delivery in the hotel department, and resort services. Most of the customer needs and expectation have been substantially met and the dynamism in the catering sector, if they instinctively try to bridge the advertisement gap and also bring in formidable information system in place, they would be at the epitome of the industry it belongs.
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