Unit 4 – Research Project Travel and Tourism Management Assignment Sample

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Introduction Of Research Project Travel and Tourism Management Assignment Sample

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This research project aims to study and explore the influence of technology on the 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 to check the service quality of the hotel industry. In this report, thorough research has been carried out on Marriott International. The report's first section is dedicated to 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 the research proposal. Coming on the third task talks about the data collection techniques and data analysis. Certain inferences and recommendations have been provided based on the data analysis in this report. The fourth section contains a poster that consists of the research outcomes.

LO1-Understanding how to formulate a research specification.

1.1. Formulate and record possible research project outline specifications

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

Introduction

The transforming technologies have greatly affected almost all hotel operations and management. It has increased productivity and acted like a catalyst that assists the hotel industries in innovating their services and adding value 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 people on this earth believe that service quality and customer satisfaction go hand in hand, and both factors are crucial for the survival of an organisation. The common thing between them is that they are intangible and cannot be defined as their meaning is quite controversial. Customer satisfaction is more of a psychological term characterised by the feeling of pleasure and well-being. Suppose the expectations of a customer are met by the type of services offered by the hotel. In that case, it leads to a 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 confirmation.

In simple words, customer satisfaction is different for different customers. It depends basically on experience, personal needs, and demands. In today's time, customers demand the quality of goods and services. In the tourism industry, the role of quality and customer satisfaction is irreplaceable. An organisation like Marriott International is spending thousands of dollars on improving 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. Suppose Marriott International manages to increase customer retention by 5%. In that case, this may increase 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 the tourism sector.

Research Objectives and Scope

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

  1. To determine the role of technology in influencing consumer decision-making in the tourism sector.
  2. To determine the importance and relevancy of service quality dimensions of Marriott International as a part of the tourism industry.
  3. To determine the level of customer satisfaction with respect to hotel services.
  4. To recommend different services based on new technological innovations for reducing the gaps between consumers' 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 the topic's relevancy in the current era of fast-changing technology. Along with it, customers' demands that are also fluctuating contribute to the selection of the topic. Another factor was interest in the topic that inspired and motivated me toward taking up the topic (Cline, 2012). Apart from other factors also motivated toward choosing this topic, that is 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, 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 free of biases. This is considered while choosing the topic of the research project.
  • Ease of structuring the research: The research should be well structured and should cover almost all the objectives. This helps in making 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 the highest value to the customers. Technology plays a crucial role in developing services 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 meet them efficiently. Technology acts as the most useful instrument for hotel businesses to offer services beyond the organisation's basic business fundamentals.

Technology is rapidly changing, and therefore, the hotel industry has to transform to meet the consumers' emerging needs. High-speed internet, wireless roaming, and access to internet service is the major differentiator in modern time. Major hotels like Marriott International provide complimentary internet service to the guests without charging any extra amount. Technology alone cannot make any difference, but the manager must combine it with certain innovative strategies to add the maximum value to the offered services (Wilson, 2016). It helps gain the maximum profit and assists the hotels in serving the consumers better.

The hospitality industry has gone through some major transformations. This reformation is applauded from a low-tech sector into a high tech sector. Technology has changed the business concepts and how traditional businesses are conducted, thereby removing the barriers to becoming innovative. Even though the hotel industry has witnessed a major technological advancement, it still lacks the momentum of using technology to the fullest. Businesses know that bringing technology in operations and management can offer a wide variety of services (Cline, 2012). The major problem is that the technology is still not considered a multi-tasking tool.

It is a well-known fact that the travel industry is a technology-driven sector. This sector is the fastest-growing sector globally. As a result, 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, increasing 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, Marriott International has been taken for reference study. The main focus of this research project is on the role that technology plays in improving the quality of services offered by hotels. A small emphasise has also been put on the relationship between IT and customer loyalty (Chow, 2014). It is a well-known fact that technology eases off doing things. Therefore, it is beneficial for the organisation, employees, and customers. Marriott International utilises simple technologies to maintain quality and reliability, thereby increasing customer loyalty.

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

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

Project Objectives

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

  • To determine the role of technology in influencing consumer decision-making in the tourism sector.
  • To determine the importance and relevancy of service quality dimensions of Marriott International as a part of the 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 consumers' perceptions and expectations.

Research Methodology

This research project aims to determine the extent to which technology has penetrated the tourism sector in the UK. In addition to this, the research also tries 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 questions. By making use of this survey, information related to operational technology (e-mail, voice mail, Internet, Wi-Fi, etc.), self-checkouts, and the influence of technology on consumer loyalty will be gathered. There were a few limitations to this method that usually impacted the validity and reliability of the research project results. The first is that there could be some biases in the data. Another one is that the research focused only on the sales and marketing manager's perception and may not provide comprehensive details of the influence of technology on customer loyalty.

Sample Size: In the research project, a random selection process is 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 questionnaires, 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 the 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 decide the course of action and set deadlines for each task. This way, scheduling becomes easier. Once the research structure is prepared, the researcher will act accordingly. Matching helps optimise the 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. Different resources are needed to carry out research, namely human resources, financial resources, and technical resources. The first one is needed to execute and manage all the activities required in the complete research work. The second one is the most crucial resource, without which the other two resources 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 research that can affect the overall effectiveness of the project. Based on the literature review, a certain hypothesis has been prepared regarding using technology in the hotel industry. There is a positive impact of technology on customer satisfaction and service quality. This improves the effectiveness of Marriott International. The organisation is implementing simple and advanced technology in operations and management to serve its customers better. This further gives them an edge over their national and international market competitors.

2.2. Undertake the proposed research investigation following the agreed specification and procedures.

For this purpose, the questionnaire survey method is used. The questionnaire consists of both open and close-ended questions. By making use of this survey, information related to operational technology (e-mail, voice mail, Internet, Wi-Fi, etc.), self-checkouts, and the 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. Do not 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 alerts and email reminder facilities?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Neutral

Question 4: Do they provide discounts on online booking?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Do not Know

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

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Do not 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' experiences 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

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 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 using certain evaluation techniques, the investigator makes judgements, checks the validity of the information acquired, and decides 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 is 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 choice of evaluation is that this evaluation examines 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 charged value.

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

As shown in the above graph, most 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 of all the services. Only 1 individual out of the 11 knew about self-checkouts, and none of them was aware of zero cost cancellation.

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

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

Question 4: Do they provide discounts on online booking?

As shown in the above graph, most customers are unaware of hotels' discounts on 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 do not know about the personal data protection policy of 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?

Marriott International is quite famous among the customers, 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 advanced techniques to resolve the issues customers are facing. That is why most of them believe that it has good customer care support that resolves their problems at the earliest.

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

Marriott uses various methods for feedback, and the most famous 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 feedback 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 a lack of awareness among the customers about the services offered by the hotels. Therefore, the following recommendations are suggested in the context of Marriott International:-

  1. To build trust, the organisation must make the customers aware of their data security policies and secure their data. It must use the safest software to secure the information of the customers.
  2. Organisations must improve the feedback process to understand the customers' demands in a better way.
  3. It must use advanced technologies and software to provide accurate information to the customers.
  4. 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 preparing the research project, it was noticed that service quality is a crucial aspect for any hotel industry to survive in the competitive market. The report tried to elaborate on 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, thorough research was carried out on Marriott International. The report's first section talked about the research proposals, aim, and objectives. The second part of the research was based on implementing the research. Different tasks are there that focuses on the implementation of the research proposal. Coming on the third task, talked about the data collection techniques and data analysis. This report provided certain inferences and recommendations based on the data analysis. The fourth section contained a poster that consisted of the research outcomes.

References

  • Anfodillo, T., Petit, G., Sterck, F., Lechthaler, S. & Olson, M.E. 2016, "Allometric Trajectories and "Stress": A Quantitative Approach", Frontiers in Plant Science,
  • Arif, M., Gupta, A. & Williams, A. 2013, "Customer service in the aviation industry – An exploratory analysis of UAE airports", Journal of Air Transport Management, vol. 32, pp. 1-7.
  • E A. Oghojafor & Adekoya, A.G. 2014, "Determinants of Customers' Satisfaction in the Nigerian Aviation Industry Using Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) Model", Acta Universitatis Danubius: Oeconomica, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 107-126.
  • Chow, C.K.W. 2014, "Customer satisfaction and service quality in the Chinese airline industry", Journal of Air Transport Management, vol. 35, pp. 102-107.
  • Cline, R.S. 2012, "Hospitality 21st century", Lodging Hospitality, June, pp. 18-28.
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  • Gummesson, E. 2014, Total Relationship Marketing: Rethinking Marketing Management from 4Ps to 30Rs, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.
  • Gupta, D.R. & Sharma, P. 2011, "An Examination of Service Failures Encountered in Indian Aviation Industry", International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Systems, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 21.
  • Kandampully, J. and Suhartanto, D. 2013, "The role of customer satisfaction and image in gaining customer loyalty in the hotel industry", Journal of Hospitality and Leisure Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 1/2, pp. 3-25
  • Keiningham, T.L., Morgeson, F.V., Aksoy, L. & Williams, L. 2014, "Service Failure Severity, Customer Satisfaction, and Market Share: An Examination of the hotel Industry", Journal of Service Research, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 415-431.
  • Namukasa, J. 2013, "The influence of airline service quality on passenger satisfaction and loyalty: The case of Uganda airline industry", The TQM Journal, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 520-532.
  • Nishad, P.M. & Sankar, S. 2016, "Efficient random sampling statistical method to improve big data compression ratio and pattern matching techniques for compressed data", International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 179.
  • Canada, M. & Matibiri, B. 2016, "An Investigation into the Impact of Service Quality, Frequent Flier Programs and Safety Perception on Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty in the Airline Industry in Southern Africa", South East European Journal of Economics and Business, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 41-53.
  • 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.
  • Thomas, J.A. 2015, "Using unstructured diaries for primary data collection", Nurse researcher, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 25.
  • Wilson, V. 2016, "Research Methods: Design, Methods, Case Study…oh my", Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 39-40.

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