Unit 4 – Research Project Travel and Tourism Management Assignment Sample

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Introduction

The purpose of this research project is to study and explore the influence of technology on service quality of Marriott International in the UK. Service quality is the extent of discrepancies between the customer’s perceptions and expectations. There are five dimensions, namely Responsiveness, Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, and Empathy that can be brought under use so as to check the service quality of hotel industry. In this report, a thorough research has been carried out on Marriott International. The first section of the report is dedicated on the research proposals, aim, and objectives. The second part of the research is on how to implement the research. Different tasks are there that focuses on the implementation of research proposal. Coming on the third task, it talks about the data collection techniques and data analysis. Based on the data analysis, certain inferences and recommendations have been provided in this report. The forth section contains a poster that consists of the outcomes of the research.

LO1-Understanding on how to formulate a research specification.

1.1. Formulate and record possible research project outline specifications

1.1.

Topic: Impact of changing technology on service quality and customer satisfaction in tourism industry.

Introduction

The transforming technologies has greatly affected almost all the aspects of hotel operations and that of management. It has increased the productivity and acted like a catalyst that assists the hotel industries in innovating their services and adding values to them. It gives the hotels an edge in the competitive market. All that is required from the organisations is to support the workers and advance their services. Most of the people on this earth believe that service quality and customer satisfaction go hand in hand and both the factors are crucial for the survival of an organisation. The common thing between the two is that they are intangible and cannot be defined as their meaning is quite controversial. Customer satisfaction is more of a psychological term that is characterised by the feeling of pleasure and well-being. If the expectations of a customer are met by the type of services offered by the hotel, then it leads to higher level of customer satisfaction. On the other hand, if the service provided does not meet the level of expectations, then this results in negative confirmation. Customers can be said to be satisfied only when there is positive cofirmation.

In simple words, the level of customer satisfaction is different for different customers. It depends basically on experience, personal needs, and demands. In today’s time, customers demand the qaulity of goods and services. In tourism industry, the role of quality and customer satisfaction is irreplaceable. Organisation like Marriott International are spending thousands of dollars in improving the service quality. In one of research, it has been found out gaining a new customer cost six to seven times higher than retaining an old one. If Marriott International manages to increase the customer retention by 5%, then this may lead to increase in the profit by 25% to 95% (Wilson, 2016).

(Figure 1. Showing the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction)

(Source: By author)

Research Aim

The primary aim of the research project is to determine the influence of the changing technology in tourism sector.

Research Objectives and Scope

The present research project aimed at accomplishing the following mentioned objectives:

  • To determine the role of technology in influencing the consumer decision-making in tourism sector.
  • To determine the importance and relevancy of service quality dimensions of Marriott International as a part of tourism industry.
  • To determine the level of customer satisfaction with respect to hotel services
  • To recommend different services based on new technological innovations for reducing the gaps between consumer’s perceptions and expectations.

1.2. Identify the factors that contribute to the process of research project selection

The selection of the research project is done after considering various factors. One of such factors was relevancy of the topic in current era of fast changing technology. Along with it, customers’ demands that are also fluctuating, contribute in the selection of the topic. Another factor was interest in the topic that inspired and motivated toward taking up the topic (Cline, 2012). Apart from other factors also motivated toward choosing this topic, that are discussed below:-

  • Feasibility: The likelihood of achieving the mentioned objectives and the complexities that can occur in data collection also influence the topic.
  • Scope: The scope defined in the above section that was defined after considering the limitations, dependencies, assumptions, etc., also plays a significant role in deciding the topic.
  • Ease of Data Collection: The investigators are always concerned about gathering the relevant data which is free of any kind of biases. This is considered while choosing the topic of research project.
  • Ease of structuring the research: The research should be well structured and should cover almost all the objectives. This helps in making a research more realistic and meaningful.

1.3. Undertake a critical review of key references

Technology has integrated the use of time, distance, and information. Hospitality businesses are reaping a huge profit by clubbing the technology with its services and are providing highest value to the customers. Technology plays a crucial role in the development of service and increasing the quality of existing services (Arif, et.al, 2013). This is beneficial for both the firm and its stakeholders. In the modern time, the lifestyle and demand of the consumers are changing continuously and technology is helping the businesses in meeting them efficiently. For the hotel businesses, technology act as the most useful instrument to offer services that are way beyond the organisation’s basic business fundamentals.

Technology is rapidly changing and therefore, the hotel industry has to transform in order to meet the emerging needs of the consumers. High speed internet, wireless roaming, and access to internet service is the major differentiator in modern time. Major hotels like Marriott International are providing the complementary internet service to the guests without charging any extra amount from them. Technology alone cannot make any difference, but the manager must combine it with certain innovative strategies so as to add the maximum value to the offered services (Wilson, 2016). It not only helps in gaining the maximum profit but assist the hotels to serve the consumers better.

The hospitality industry has gone through some major transformation. From being a low-tech sector into a high tech sector, this reformation is applauding. Technology has changed the business concepts and the way traditional businesses are conducted, thereby removing the barriers from the path of becoming innovative. Even though the hotel industry has witnessed a major technological advancement, it still lacks the momentum of making use of technology at the fullest. Businesses know that bringing technology in operations and management can contribute in offering a wide variety of services (Cline, 2012). The major problem in this is that the technology is still not considered like a multi-tasking tool.

It is a well-known fact that the travel industry is technology-driven sector. This sector is fastest growing sector globally and as a result of which the expectations of the consumers are increasing. This obligates the hotel businesses to attend to those demands and meet them as soon as possible. Once the demand is met, the customer satisfaction level rises and this adds to the customer loyalty.

1.4. Produce a research project specification

The nature of the given project is descriptive and the basic goal of carrying out this research work is to analyse the relationship between technology, service quality, and customer satisfaction. For this purpose, the Marriott International has been taken for reference study. The main focus of this research project is on the role that the technology plays in improving the quality of services offered by the hotels. A small emphasise has also been put on the relationship between IT and the customer loyalty (Chow, 2014). It is a well-known fact that technology ease off the way of doing things. Therefore, it is beneficial for the organisation, employees, and customers. Marriott International is utilising the simple technologies in order to maintain the quality and reliability, thereby increasing the customer loyalty.

Research Project Title: Impact of changing technology on service quality and customer satisfaction in tourism industry.

Research Background: Various factors have played a significant role in selecting the topic of the research. One of them was relevancy of the topic. Along with it, customers’ demands that are also fluctuating, contribute in the selection of the topic. Another factor was interest in the topic that inspired and motivated toward taking up the topic. Apart from this, other factors, such as feasibility of the project, its scope, ease of collecting data, and ease of structuring the research work play a crucial role in selection of the topic. An emphasis has been laid down over the effect of customer satisfaction over the organisation’s performance. Customer satisfaction is a function of quality of service and customer demand.

Project Aim: The primary aim of the research project is to determine the influence of the changing technology in tourism sector.

Project Objectives

The present research project aimed at accomplishing the following mentioned objectives:

  • To determine the role of technology in influencing the consumer decision-making in tourism sector.
  • To determine the importance and relevancy of service quality dimensions of Marriott International as a part of tourism industry.
  • To determine the level of customer satisfaction with respect to hotel services
  • To recommend different services based on new technological innovations for reducing the gaps between consumer’s perceptions and expectations.

Research Methodology

The purpose of this research project is to determine the extent to which technology has penetrated the tourism sector in the UK. In addition to this, the research also try to understand the perception of the businesses regarding employing the technology in operation management and overall service. For this purpose, the questionnaire survey method is used. The questionnaire consists of both open and close-ended question. By making use of this survey, information related to operational technology (e-mail, voice mail, Internet, Wi-Fi, etc.), self-checkouts, and influence of technology on consumer loyalty will be gathered. There was a few limitation to this method that usually impact the validity and reliability of results of the research project. First is that there could be some biases in the data. Other one is that the research focused only on the sales and marketing manager’s perception and may not be able to provide a comprehensive details of the influence of technology on customer loyalty.

Sample Size: In the research project, random selection process is being followed and 20 samples are taken into account from every 100.

Data Collection Technique: The instruments that are used in the collection of data include questionnaire, surveys, interviews, general observation, and focus groups.

Data Analysis Method: Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis tools are used for the research project.

1.5. Provide an appropriate plan and procedures for the agreed research specification.

Activities

Starting Date

Ending Date

Duration (Days)

Finalising the research topic

6 June

8 June

3

Introduction

9 June

18 June

10

Aims and Objectives

19 June

25 June

7

Research Background Studies

26 June

6 July

11

Selection of Research Methodology

7 July

13 July

7

Literature Review

14 July

30 July

17

Data Collection

31 July

15 Aug

16

Data Analysis

16 Aug

26 Aug

11

Research Evaluation

27 Aug

7 Sep

12

Recommendations

9 Sep

9 Sep

1

Conclusion

10 Sep

10 Sep

1

LO2- Be able to implement the research project within agreed procedures and to specification

2.1. Match resources efficiently to the research question or hypothesis

The research questions or project hypothesis try to figure out certain aspects of technology in travel and tourism industry of the UK. The chosen organisation is Marriott International and the study will try to determine whether implementing the technology in operations and management is suitable or not. In addition to this, the project also tries to find out various positive and negative impacts of technology on the tourism sector. Matching the available resources with the project hypothesis and questions is very useful for the investigator. It helps them in deciding the course of action and set deadlines for each task. This way scheduling becomes easier. Once the research structure is prepared, the researcher would act accordingly. Matching helps in optimise use of research resources, such as time, funds, stakeholders, and working hours. In addition to this, matching can help in influencing the analysis of client attitude and customer behaviour. Basically, there are different resources that are needed to carry out a research work, namely human resource, financial resource, and technical resource. First one is needed in executing and managing all the activities required in the course of the complete research work. Second one is the most crucial resource without which the other two resource cannot be brought into use. Technical resources consist of tools and techniques that can influence the outcomes of the research work (Thomas, 2015).

A hypothesis is based on certain assumptions about different aspects of a research that can affect the overall effectiveness of the project. Based on the literature review, certain hypothesis has been prepared regarding the use of technology in hotel industry. There is a positive impact of technology on the customer satisfaction and service quality. This improves the effectiveness of the Marriott International. The organisation is implementing the simple and advanced technology in operations and management to serve its customers in a better way. This further gives them an edge over their competitors in the national and international market.

<h32.2. Undertake the proposed research investigation in accordance with the agreed specification and procedures.

For this purpose, the questionnaire survey method is used. The questionnaire consists of both open and close-ended question. By making use of this survey, information related to operational technology (e-mail, voice mail, Internet, Wi-Fi, etc.), self-checkouts, and influence of technology on consumer loyalty will be gathered. The format is given below:-

Question 1: Are the services of Marriott International good enough?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don’t Know

Question 2: What type of services are being provided to the customers?

  1. Free Internet
  2. Self-checkouts
  3. Online Booking
  4. Zero cost cancellation
  5. All of these

Question 3: Do they provide SMS alert and email reminder facilities?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Neutral

Question 4: Do they provide discounts on online booking?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don’t Know

Question 5: Do they provide personal data security to their customers?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don’t Know

Question 6: How much would you rate their online booking process out of 5?

  1. 0-1
  2. 2-3
  3. 3-4
  4. 4-5

Question 7: How effective are their customer care executives in resolving the issues?

  1. Poor
  2. Average
  3. Good
  4. Excellent

Question 8: How do they ask for feedback about customers’ experience during their stay in the hotel?

  1. Online
  2. Offline
  3. Telephonic conversation
  4. Email

2.3. Record and collate relevant data where appropriate.

Options

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

1

A

B

A

A

C

B

A

C

B

A

B

A

C

B

C

C

A

A

A

B

2

E

E

E

E

A

A

E

C

A

E

C

B

E

C

E

C

A

A

A

E

3

B

C

B

A

C

B

A

C

B

A

B

C

C

A

C

C

A

D

C

A

4

B

B

A

C

C

C

B

A

C

A

B

C

A

C

A

A

C

B

B

C

5

C

B

A

C

B

C

A

C

A

C

B

C

A

C

B

A

C

B

C

A

6

C

C

A

C

A

C

C

B

C

B

C

C

B

B

C

B

B

C

D

D

7

D

A

B

C

C

C

B

C

D

A

C

D

C

B

A

C

A

D

C

C

8

A

A

B

B

D

A

C

A

A

A

A

C

C

A

C

A

B

B

B

B

LO3- Be able to evaluate the research outcomes

3.1. Use appropriate ‘research evaluation techniques’. Which types of evaluation (formative or summative) is more appropriate for your research? Why?

Research evaluation is a process of utilising certain methodologies, skills, standards, management abilities, sensitivities, and political dexterity in order to study the reality of the situation or a problem. To be more precise, evaluation is the orderly assessment of the importance or worth of some project. It can be done via implementation, analyses, descriptive studies, and formative evaluations (Arif, et.al, 2013). By making use of certain evaluation techniques, the investigator make judgements, check the validity of the information acquired, and decide the merit of the project.

Since the aim is to check the impact of technology on service quality and customer satisfaction, the “qualitative or anthropological model” should be used in the following research project. The reason being that it retains the phenomenological quality of the gathered data.

For the chosen research project title, summative evaluations are better than the formative evaluation approaches. The reason behind the choice of evaluation is that this evaluation examine the impacts and outcomes of a process or phenomenon (Thomas, 2015).

3.2. Interpret and analyse the results in terms of the original research specification

Question 1: Are the services of Marriott International good enough?

From the above shown graph, it is clear that 9 out of 20 customers thinks that the service quality of Marriott International is good. On the other hand, only 6 customers think that service quality is not as per the value being charged.

Question 2: What type of services are being provided to the customers?

As shown in the above graph, most of the customers are aware of the hotel services, such as free internet, self-checkouts, online booking, zero cost cancellation. The rest 11 out of 20 individuals were unaware about all the services. Only 1 individual out of the 11 knew about self-checkouts and none of them was aware zero cost cancellation.

Question 3: Do they provide SMS alert and email reminder facilities?

From the above shown graph, it is clear that 6 out of 20 customers said that they got reminder through SMS alerts from the hotel about their booking. On the other hand, only 5 customers deny to this fact.

Question 4: Do they provide discounts on online booking?

As shown in the above graph, most of the customers are unaware of the discounts that hotel provide on the online bookings. Only 6 out of 20 were aware of the fact.

Question 5: Do they provide personal data security to their customers?

As shown in the above graph, most of the customers don’t know about the personal data protection policy of the Marriott International. Only 6 out of 20 were aware of the fact.

Question 6: How much would you rate their online booking process out of 5?

Among the customers, the Marriott International is quite famous as this can be seen from the rating they have provided. 50% of the customers have rated it in the range of 3-4 out of 5. Only 10% have given it a poor rating.

Question 7: How effective are their customer care executives in resolving the issues?

Marriott is using advance techniques to resolve the issues customers are facing. That’s why most of them believe that it has a good customer care support that resolves their problems at the earliest.

Question 8: How do they ask for feedback about customers’ experience during their stay in the hotel?

For the feedback, Marriott uses various methods and the most famous of them is feedback on online booking portals after the checkouts. 9 out of 20 give their feedback on such platforms. Only 1 of 20 persons said that Marriott has asked for feedbacks via email.

3.3. Make recommendations in their research and link to research findings

After analysing the data collected through the survey, it was determined that there are many loopholes in the strategy that Marriott International follows. Most of the problems are associated with lack of awareness among the customers about the services offered by the hotels. Therefore, the following recommendations are suggested in context of Marriott International:-

  • To build the trust, the organisation must make the customers aware of their data security policies and how their data is secured by the company. It must use the safest software to secure the information of the customers.
  • Organisation must improve the feedback process so as to understand the demands of the customers in a better way.
  • It must use the advanced technologies and software so to provide the accurate information to the customers.
  • Keep running the advertisements of their new services to make their customers aware of them.

LO4- Be able to present the research outcomes

4.1. Use an agreed format and appropriate media to present the outcomes of the research to an audience

Conclusion

In the course of preparing the research project, it was noticed that service quality is the crucial aspect for any hotel industry to survive in the competitive market. The report tried to elaborate the concept of service quality and customer satisfaction. For this purpose, the service quality of Marriott International in the UK was researched and analysed thoroughly. Five dimensions, namely Responsiveness, Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, and Empathy were used to study the service quality. In this report, a thorough research was carried out on Marriott International. The first section of the report talked about the research proposals, aim, and objectives. The second part of the research was based on how to implement the research. Different tasks are there that focuses on the implementation of research proposal. Coming on the third task, it talked about the data collection techniques and data analysis. Based on the data analysis, certain inferences and recommendations were provided in this report. The forth section contained a poster that consists of the outcomes of the research.

References

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  • Scotti, D., Dresner, M. & Martini, G. 2016, "Operational performance and customer satisfaction in the US hotel industry", Journal of Hotel Management,vol.55, pp. 139-146.
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