Hotel and restaurant management are bundled together and known as the hospitality industry or the Service sector. The sector plays significant roles in many economies, including those of the developing world such as Nigeria, where there is increased importance and recognition for the Service sector. The percentage share of the Service sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent times ranges between 21% and 64% (Nigeria Tourist Board, 2011). The hospitality industry is one of the world’s major industries. It comprises of diverse activities, which include the hotel industry. The growth of the Service industries has created a demand for research into their operations and marketing. The hospitality industry’s success can be seen as one of the key components of growth in the Nigerian economy.
However, in the pursuit of Service growth and success, much depends on the performance of the industry which also flows from the quality of the services that are rendered (Joby, Grove & Fisk, 2006; Nickson, Baum, Losekoot, Morrison & Frochot, 2002). One perceived problem found by previous studies in the hotel industry in Nigeria is the differences in the quality of the services that are delivered by entities in the industry. Darko (2002) contends that as competing firms expand, all operations at a given price level tend to become similar, and thus, service quality and its management by industry players therefore become the key differentiation factor.
In view of the above reasons, this exploratory study employs a desk review as a methodology to evaluate the service delivery standards currently in use by industry players in the hospitality industry in Nigeria. Key questions that guide this project are as follows: What is service quality and how is it structured? How do consumers and service providers perceive the phenomenon of service quality of hotels in Nigeria? These questions are important because the desk review employed in this project provides information to serve as a basis for a more robust study towards developing service standards based on local conditions within the hospitality industry in Nigeria that will be appreciable and accepted by the WTO.
The project is structured such that, in the next section, we provide a review of some relevant literature on the meanings of some of the key concepts such as service and service quality to offer explanations of these concepts as they are used in this project. We follow that with an examination of the factors that are considered necessary for determining and measuring service quality generally, and end with a review of hospitality service delivery in Nigeria.
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY:
The domination of the service sector today is confirmed by the fact that 70% of the world GDP is realized in the service sector. The same sector sees the concentration of 70% of workforce.
In order to ensure and keep the quality expected by today’s customer/tourist, we need to differentiate two aspects of quality in general with particular attention to tourism, namely: design quality and the quality of conformity with design.
The design quality is a concept implying the presentation of products/services directed to the needs of the clients. The hotel company can satisfy the demands of the client (tourist) only if they are included in its design, i.e. in order to do that, his demands need to be included or “built into” the product/service of the hotel. The hotels do market research in order to determine who their customers are and which of their demands require special attention.
The quality of conformity with the design completes the first aspect because it represents the level to which the product/service meets the demands of the market. The quality represents the satisfaction of the client’s needs and in order to achieve it and keep it in time, we not only need a continuous research into the demands of the clients but also of our own capabilities. Such an approach would ensure the pursuing of constant improvements according to the demands of the clients.
The harsh competition on tourist market requires the development of a new approach to management known as TQM – Total Quality Management. When introducing the quality management system, hotel companies use various approaches adapted to their business conditions. The following part of the paper describes the most common service quality measurement criteria, in particular the model of internal service quality and the SERVQUAL model.
The hospitality industry is much broader than most other industries. The majority of business niches are composed of only a handful of different businesses, but this industry applies to nearly any company that is focused on customer satisfaction and meeting leisurely needs rather than basic ones. While this industry is very broad, there are some defining aspects that are important to understand.
One of the most defining aspects of this industry is that it focuses on customer satisfaction. While this is true of nearly every business, this industry relies entirely on customers’ being happy. This is because these businesses are based on providing luxury services. Very few hospitality businesses provide a basic service that people need, like food or clothing.
Another defining aspect of this industry is its reliance on disposable income and leisure time. For this reason, the majority of these businesses are for tourists or rich patrons. If disposable income decreases due to a slump or recession, then these are often the first businesses to suffer because customers won’t have the extra money to enjoy their services.
Most people think that hotels alone belong to the hospitality industry, but hotels are only one sector of this industry. Many forms of transportation that cater to tourists are also part of this business world. For example, this niche includes airlines, cruise ships and even fancier trains. Restaurants, general tourism and event planning also belong to this niche.
Some of these businesses partially belong to the hospitality industry. For example, a fast food restaurant would be considered convenient. A restaurant that provides fancy food with amazing service would be providing a hospitality service.
Regardless of the business, this industry relies heavily on providing an excellent level of service. Customers are visiting the business to get away from their troubles. A bad experience might keep them from returning ever again. Brand loyalty is very important to these customers, so the associated companies do their best to provide the best service.
Companies hire employees based on skill and behaviour. Most of these employees are great with customers, and they can flawlessly give the customer what he or she needs.
Another defining aspect of the hospitality industry is its theme. This doesn’t apply to every business in this industry, but many of them use a certain theme to attract customers. For example, a fancy restaurant might have a Mediterranean theme to attract customers who like that type of food and atmosphere.
Not only does this set the business apart from competitors, but it also allows customers to judge the business on another level. Hospitality businesses that provide an authentic theme are often appreciated more than general hospitality businesses. If the above restaurant cooks authentic Mediterranean cuisine and uses the proper decorating elements, then this will make customers happy and more willing to visit the business.
A hospitality business doesn’t need a theme, but the vast majority of them use one because customers love themed businesses.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
With the burgeoning of service industries and the need to adopt distinctive service orientations, there has been an accompanying demand for more appropriate management concepts, approaches, and techniques. While much of what we already know about effective management applies to service industries, some of the traditional concepts of management are inadequate in solving the problems faced by service businesses.
In the hospitality industry, the management of services have been found to be lagging behind due to several reasons that will identified in this research. This research work is therefore devoted towards providing means of solving these problems.
1.3. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:
The following forms the objective of the study;
1. To review the requirements of service management in the hospitality industry.
2. To review the obstacles facing the implementation of effective service management in the hospitality industry
3. To encourage hospitality industry owners to adopt the implementation of service management in their industry.
1.4. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
The researcher is of the opinion that this research work will be a source of motivation and enlightenment to both the owners of hospitality industry and the students of tourism and hospitality department. The owners of hospitality industry will benefit from this study through the implementation and adoption of the procedures statement here for service management. The students are expected to benefit as well through gaining more knowledge on the essence of service management in the hospitality industry.
1.5. RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
The following forms the research questions of this study;
1. What the necessities of service management in the hospitality industry?
2. Does the implementation of service management in the hospitality industry influence the profitability of the industry?
3. How can the application of service management in the hospitality industry be encouraged?
4. What are the involvement of service management implementation and enforcement in the hospitality industry?
1.6. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS:
The following forms the research hypothesis of this study;
HO: the implementation of service management in the hospitality industry is not necessary
HI: the implementation of service management in the hospitality industry is necessary.
HO: the adoption of service management in the hospitality industry does not influence the profitability of the hospitality industry in a positive way.
HI: the adoption of service management in the hospitality industry affects the profitability of the hospitality industry in a positive way.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
The project work is structured in such a way that the chapter one presents the general introduction, the background and other research rudiments necessary for the research. Chapter two presents the review of literature of the work. Here, the previous researches conducted by other researchers are reviewed by the researcher as well as a general and comprehensive review of the topic under research. Chapter three dealt with the research methodology where details of the method used for the information and material gathering was sited. Chapter four presents the result generated by the distributed questionnaires in chapter three and chapter five which is the last chapter presents the summary, conclusion and recommendation of the research work.
1.8. DEFINITION OF TERMS:
SERVICE MANAGEMENT: is a customer-focused approach to delivering information technology. Service Management focuses on providing value to the customer and also on the customer relationship.
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY: The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.
TOURISM: The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go "beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only ", as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business.
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