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Hoteliers strive to win guests and subsequently retain them by trying to understand the factors that influence customer decision making toward hotel selection. Studies have found that there are several factors that might give hotel leverage over the rest in the industry, namely service quality, customer satisfaction, corporate image and customer loyalty. Hence, hotel operators need to be updated about the current and future trends of the ever-evolving hotel industry to effectively meet the demands and needs of highly sophisticated hotel guests. To have a competitive edge in the hotel industry, operators have to be innovative and creative in providing service elements that exceed the hotel guests’ expectations; so that both of their perception of service quality and level of satisfaction would translate into a favourable corporate image and strengthen customer loyalty.
This research proposed a model to test the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction, and their impact on corporate image. This research also examines the mediating role of customer satisfaction on the relationship between service quality and corporate image; and how corporate image subsequently affects customer loyalty in the hotel industry in Malaysia. Systematic sampling approach was adopted in the study; with the data collected through self-administered questionnaire from 300 hotel guests. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was adopted to analyse the reliability of items and the hypothesised relationships in the proposed research model.
The findings revealed that perception of service quality is significantly related to customer satisfaction; and both service quality and customer satisfaction have significant impacts on corporate image. Besides, customer satisfaction is found to be a partial mediator on the relationship between service quality and corporate image. In addition, corporate image has a significance direct influence on customer loyalty customer loyalty in the hotel industry.
Overall, the findings of this research contribute to several fields of study relating to the objectives. In terms of theoretical contribution, this research seeks to underpin the development of the marketing management theory and service quality strategies in the hotel industry in Malaysia. For managerial contribution, this research will determine aspects of hotel services which are important to customers, and to suggest ways to improve the hotel service quality, customer satisfaction, corporate image and customer loyalty. At the same time, to address practical implications by recommending relevant and effective micro-marketing strategies for the hotel industry in Malaysia. The knowledge and input are essential for hotel operators to boost long term business growth and sustainability in the hotel industry in Malaysia.
In spite of the noteworthy findings revealed by this study, there were certain limitations. The current studies did not examine other variables such as perceived values and employee performance that may influence corporate image and customer loyalty. Future studies should include these variables to obtain more comprehensive findings. Besides, the use of close-ended questions in the questionnaire may limit the respondents to reflect their real opinions and perceptions. For this reason, later studies should use open-ended questions to better access their feelings on the issues.
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- Interrelationships of Service Quality, Customer Satisfaction, Corporate Image and Customer Loyalty of Malaysian Hotel Industry
Boon Liat Cheng
Zabid Abdul Rashid