Mobile Technology Adaptation by Hotels and Customer Satisfaction Project
Added on -2020-02-24
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Abstract Understanding the relationship between mobile technology adaptation by hotels and customer satisfaction forms the basis of this project. The study was conducted over a three month period at the J W Marriott Hotel Bangkok, Thailand through questionnaires and interviews with customers. Questionnaires and interviews focused on customer satisfaction values relating to the ease of use paradigm underlain by Cresswell’s Research Onion Theoretical base. The Equity Theory relating to customer beliefs in equitable treatment by the hotel, particularly regarding mobile technology was another category in the questionnaires. The Marriott Hotel was selected for several reasons. The first one iseasy accessibility by the researcher, thesecond isMarriott’s implementation of mobile technology for check-in and out proceduresand finallyfor customer accessibility to hotel amenities. In addition, the Marriott in Bangkok was rated the best global hotel by Fortune magazine.Thereforethe research problem relating to mobile technology and customer satisfaction, could be tested to see if this was a major reason for the hotel’s high rating. The results indicated that the overall rating was 83% for those guests participating in the last month of the trial. However, customers’ recommendations for future stay were lower by these same respondents to 65%. It can be suggested that further correlation and longitudinal studies be performed to determine the lower ranking for recommendations. i
Acknowledgment I would like to thankSHMSfor giving me this opportunity to perform a research project relating to customer satisfaction and mobile technology in hotels. Since I reside in Bangkok and it is my hometown, the ability to use the JW Marriott Hotel in Bangkok has made the research time and effort a seamless enterprise. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the management and staff and unnamed guests of the Marriott Hotel willing to participate in the study. Additionally, sincere thanks go to Mr.Mikhail Romanenko for his help, assistance andguidancethroughout the project. Without the combined assistance of these individuals, this study would not have been possible.It is with deep appreciation that I extend my gratitude to the individuals and institutions who guided me throughtothecompletion of the project.
Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1. Background Mobile technology is changing the way that the world conducts business, goes shopping, buying major items such as cars and household appliances, conducts banking, pays bills, and plans holidays, among many other features. Smart phones, easy to carry tablets, small computers, all comprise elements of quickly ascertained data for consumer convenience. Email, texting, Facebook and other applications are other venues for creating a speedy line of communication when seeking information. Google too provides instant information gratification link to thousands of sources. It is virtually impossible to travel to almost any part of the world where technology is not being adopted and adapted. Even in some of the mostremote corners of the globe, advancesare being installed via satellite, cable, and cloud technologies enabling the use of mobile networks. The subject of this thesis is to examine the impact of customer satisfaction through the use of mobile technology, specifically a case study on hotels and hotel stays. For this project, the JW Marriot Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand is the primary source for data collection and analysis on customer satisfaction and the hotel’s implementation of mobile technology. 1.2. Definition of Key Terms Mobile technology -Mobile technology is the primary function for cellular communication which has evolved rapidly over the past two decades. From the onset of this millennium, a standard mobile device has changed from the very clumsy mobile phone system and pagers to becoming a hand-held computer, smart phone and convenient tablet. Included in these devices are navigation systems, web browsers, telephone capabilities, as well as a variety of instant messaging platforms.
Customer satisfaction -Client contentment is a promotional term intended to evaluate how the product or service by a firm complies with or surpasses client expectations. Client contentment is vital since it provides promoters as well as business owners with a metric to use in managing and enhancing business. 1.3. Rationale In the current world technology has been changing dynamically due to the continued innovations and technological advances. In many cases it appears as if tech companies continually race againsteach other to create more sophisticated devices for mobile communication. Global society has highlyembraced mobile technology to the extent that statistics indicate over 70% of the world uses some form of mobile communication devices (Alice, 2016). Mobile technology contributes to changing the way daily tasks are conducted in addition to significantly transforming the manner in which people interact, whether on local, national, or international levels (Chieh-Heng& Tsai, 2014). Time saving devices installed in mobile phones for example mobile banking saves time to travel to banks in order to transact business. In the United States, a few companies have applications for home loans that are advertised to be accomplished at the touch of a button on the mobile device (Quicken Loans, 2017). Other situations relate to holiday planning, hotel stays, and other aspects of a holiday made more comfortable through the use of mobile devices. Also, many hotels are including a function to accentuate their visitors stay by reducing wait time for check-in and check-out procedures, room service, or other hotel operations meant to increase customer enjoyment. Most visitors can now easily use the mobile devices to interact with hotels whenever they require their services while hotels can use similar devices to interact with their customers. Recent research indicates that
customers enjoy the convenience of mobile connectivity with hotels for the many transactions they may conduct during their holidays (Garrett, Rodermond, Anderson, Berkowitz, & Robb, 2014). Functions implemented through mobile technology were adapted for receiving notifications when rooms were ready, requesting room amenities and services and check in and out. Hotels in Thailand are no different as tourism in the country is increasing to the extent that Thailand is one of the mostpopular countries for tourists attraction thus, the country’s hotels cannot afford to be caught without the latest in technology for customer satisfaction and convenience (Alice, 2016). Seventy percent of travellers to Thailand believe that the digital status of any hotel in terms of its mobile applications indicates customer experience during a hotel stay. Eighty-four percent of travellers prefer to receive information about the hotel during their travel using mobile connectivity. Sixty-percent will not travel without a mobile device since they wish to be current in connectivity to hotels and other aspects of their travel requirements prior to and during travel (Alice, 2016). The daily use of mobile technology is an inevitable integration with the hotel business to protect them against customer dissatisfaction. Customers prefer receiving quality services and positive experiences from service providers and since competition is severe in the service industry,hotels need to be up-to-date in what they offer customers, particularly in the way of technology (By & Macleod, 2012). Mobile technology is one of the expectations of the customers; hoteliers are in the process of ensuring that they fully adopt it so as to improve the customers ‘experiences. In Thailand, around seventy-three percent of hoteliers have invested more in technology during 2016 compared to the previous year, especially the mobile technology for booking-system,
check-in process, in-room entertainment, room customization, loyalty account, and other touch points (Alice, 2016). In the Marriott Hotel chain, digital strategy is implemented and linked to the overall business plan (Chieh-Heng& Tsai, 2014). The hotel is ranked first for its remarkable use of technology in enhancing its customers’ experience. Marriott was the first hotel company in Thailand to start offering mobile check-in and checkout. As mentioned in the Marriott Annual Report 2015, the hotel is investing in technology, especially mobile to meet the demand of today’s tech-savvy customers and to offer better guest experiences during their stay. I. 4. Statement of the problem The problem for this dissertation is to determine the efficacy of mobile technology as it relates to customer satisfaction in the hotel industry. For this project, the JW Marriot Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand provided the platform for research into customer satisfaction and mobile technology availability in the hotel. In recent years, customer loyalty marketing strategy has been challenged due to so many hotels competing for the finite number of consumers. Thus travellers are given many opportunities to select the most cost efficient, yet comfortable hotel that offers free WiFi for all its guests. Price comparisons and quality services for the customers are additional supplements to selecting a hotel for a holiday and/or business stay. Customers are more interested in having the best guest experience at a hotel and less interested in being loyal to a particular hotel (Chieh-Heng& Tsai, 2014). There has been a constant change in the market conditions and customer needs vary frequently according to the Intercontinental Hotel Group Annual Report (IHG) (2016). The report indicates that the fierce level of competition has created an epidemic of hotels seeking new ways of buying customer loyalty. Some use reward points and free visits, others offer a variety of other
amenities, but hotels need to acquiesce to customer needs in order to attain any degree of loyalty and return business (IHG, 2016). Mobile technology is one paradigm that contributes to winning customers back by offering integrated applications that provides them with more control over their guest experiences. Mobile applications ensure that their needs are being addressed. The recent rise in tourism reveals that a 450% increase in the number of travellers book hotels using mobile technology (Garrett et al., 2014). This increase of customers using mobile devices worldwide challenges major hotels and even the smaller chains or boutique hotels to adopt mobile technology in order to fit the customers’ standards of being digitally compliant for purposes of meeting customer needs. These institutions also adopt digital advertisements for easy marketing through various systems, e-newsletters, Expedia, Trivago, Priceline, and other online databases created for customer satisfaction. If the hotels adopt the above digital strategies, they may acquire new customers; retain guests to stay loyal to the hotel, and remain competitive in world of increasing tourism. Promotional news will alert the customers to view various sales and deals offered by hotels and even attract new customers who have never experiencedthe services of a particular hotel. In this case study, the JW Marriot Hotel Bangkok, Thailand is providing the research paradigm. The Marriott hotel has recently adoptedmobile technology currently trending in the hospitality industry while some hotels may still reluctantly lag behind in investing in new systems as they may not be fully aware of the impact mobile technology has on customer experiences towards the achievement of customer satisfaction (Garrett et al., 2014).
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