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After the times of recession of 2008, the world economy has seen a bit slow and stubborn recovery, the impact of this move reflects almost all sectors of the business and industry. With the strong appetite for growth, the hospitality industry has entered in 2015 with an enthusiasm to build a continuous momentum that was gained by the industry in the previous years. The industry has slowly and gradually renewed the confidence of the investor and geared up demands for propelled growth in the lodging sector at the international level. In the hospitality industry, firms do not just offer the products but also a set of services to their guests and visitors (Law R, Leung, Buhalis D, 2009). Hence, in the hospitality industry it is just about product or service but about an overall value creation of the customer. This is mainly of the fact that the growth of the entire industry is based on the experience of the customers that generates a particular perception and value of the place and compels them to visit it again.
In due course, the service encounters in several industries like tourism, travel and hospitality industry have conventionally centered on the customer services that are delivered by the employees at front line (Beatson, Lee, Coote, 2007; Curran, Meuter,Surprenant, 2003; Chathoth, 2007). In past this encounter is revolutionized with the introduction and advent of customer SST (Self-service technologies) like Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and self-check in kiosks. The self-service technologies are implemented and working very successfully at domestic and international airports, banks and several other service providing organizations all over the world (Kontzer, 2005; Makarem, Mudambi,Podoshen, 2009; Starwood Inc, 2010). Now with the increase in exposure to the self-service technologies, the way customers interrelate with the employees at service encounters and technology have been totally changed. Consumers are now attracting towards the convenience, saving of their time, consistency and the efficiency of the self-control operations and tasks at public and private places.
The underlying research is set to investigate and identify the elements that have a potential to influence the preference and choices of the consumers and compel them to avail the opportunity of self-service technologies provided to them in the hospitality industry. In order to get an authentic and comprehensive insight of perception of the people, this research is based on questionnaire based survey. The questionnaire is comprised of few questions that are specially designed and set to gather the real and authentic insight of the consumer. The research is conducted in the context of Malaysia, and all the respondents are Malaysian citizens. These days the travellers, tourists, and other visitors need to have efficient, convenient, effortless and easy services while checking in and checking out at the hotels. The role of technological advancements is quite comprehensive in this way and let the management and administration of the hotel to install the technological initiatives to facilitate their customers in the best possible way.
Every research is based on certain aim that needs to be attained over a due course of time. Aim defines the general intentions of the study that gives a glimpse of the research picture (Jankowicz, 2005). The aim of the underlying research is to investigate the factors that influence the likelihood of consumers using self-service technologies in the hospitality industry.
The objective of the research defined the set of advantages that are subject to be addressed in the conduction of the research. The research studies are set to explore and identify the facts and access the extent of the degree of advantages which can be created from the kind and type of a relationship that is present among different variables of the entire investigation. Therefore, each research study is specifically designed to attain certain objectives that are laid down in the very initial section of the research (Saunders, Thornhill, Lewis, 2009). The proposed research study is aimed to attain the below presented set of objectives in a well-defined, appropriate and systematic manner:
Review and examination of the literature on the topic of self-services technologies and hospitality industry.
Exploration of the factors that have the potential to influence consumers’ perceptions and preferences.
Exploration of the scope of self-service technologies.
Identification of the role of self-service technologies in the hospitality industry.
At present, the hospitality industry is going through a boost. The growth in this industry is not limited to any specific region or country. Overall there is a stream of growth in the hospitality industry but when it comes to the hotel industry, this is not specifically the case. The tourists, travellers, and the visitors want to have an amazing and outstanding experience when they want to visit a certain place. The treatment they received at the hotels and resorts builds up their experience and the way they feel about a certain place. If the tourists, travellers and visitors are not provided with the excellent and exceptional services, they will not likely to get back to the place again and would not recommend to others. Hence, it is very important for the hotel and hospitality industry to facilitate their visitors and guests with the best of the services. For that purpose, it is of great significance these places are well equipped and provide the services that are in line with the changing and emerging needs and preferences of the customers.
Further, the hospitality industry is going forward towards the most automated systems of services including several automated check in systems. Same is said by Weed (2013), the general manager and vice president of the NCR corporations travel business that develops these systems for several different hotels (Weed, 2013). This develops a comprehensive rationale for the study and the significance it will bring in the overall progress and improvement of the hospitality industry.
The underlying section is the literature review section that develops and present a comprehensive analysis of the previous work on the subject. The section will conduct and an assessment of the information gathered in several studies as well as on its findings. These findings and assessment will provide a guideline for further study on the domain along with a strong and comprehensive reference to relate the findings of the present study. According to Sekaran (2006), Literature review is a systematic, clear and reproducible approach. This helps in determining, evaluating and interpreting the accessible recorded work that have been developed by others scholars in past (Mackenzie and Chan, 2009).
5.1 Hospitality industry
In order to understand the nature and scope of services serve in the hospitality industry, it is very important to analyse and understand the concept lies in the term hospitality. There have been many definitions of hospitality. It is a simple act and gesture of kindness and compassion in welcoming and taking care of the guests either relatives, acquaintances or strangers. The more modern concept of hospitality is about building and strengthening the relationship between the host and the guests. Now, when it comes to hospitality industry, the concept is referred to organization and companies that provide food, drink, accommodation and other recreational services to the people who are usually away from their home and want to spend some time at such places (Mackenzie and Chan, 2009).
The physical or tangible products provided by the hotel include food, drink, a place for accommodation and other related products. However, a successful and memorable hospitality does not end here; it also incorporates the way these products have been delivered to the prestigious guests that are the services of the hotel and hospitality place. It includes the exquisite qualities and traits of the staff and the way they rendered the services to the guests. This is the intangible aspect of the hospitality industry which creates an entire hospitality experience of the guests (Mackenzie and Chan, 2009).
The hospitality industry is very broader as compared to other existing industries. One of the key defining aspects of this industry is that it focuses on the satisfaction of the customers. While, there are several industries that rely on achieving customer satisfaction, but the hospitality industry is entirely based on making their customers happy. The rationale behind this is that the hospitality business is based on offering the luxury services to its customers. Another aspect that defines the hospitality industry is the reliance on this business on leisure time and disposable income. Therefore, the business mostly attracts rich patrons and tourists. If in the global economy there is any fall in the disposable due to any recession or economic slump then the business in the domain of hospitality industry are ones that suffers initially becomes the target market of the industry does not have extra income to avail the services.
The key performance indicator of the industry is the level of services delivered to the customers, and the entire hospitality industry relies on that. People are attracted towards that business in order to spend some time away from their worries and trouble. In due course, any sore experience can stop them returning again. The element of brand loyalty is every hospitality business wants to create and sustain and for that they always strive offer best services to their visitors and guests (Best Hospitality Degrees, 2014).
In the current decade, the role of services is going to be move to the edge of almost each industry (Zeithaml et al., 2006). The significance of services for the organizations and the economy is undisputed. With the increase in the competition in every market, organizations tend to compete mainly on the basis of their services (Bitner et al., 2000; Jasmand, 2006).
The term self-service delineates a process via which the consumers are involved in a portion or all of a terms and conditions of a product or service. The existence of self-service dated back for long. However, the importance of self service has been enhanced since the advent of information technology has created opportunities and leveraged the technological advancements for immense gains in terms of efficiency and convenience (Lin and Hsieh, 2006; Beatson, Coote, Rudd, 2006). With the existence of self-service, the customer and consumer fills up a particular role of service for instance bagging the shopped items from a grocery store that is usually done by the service employee. It can be said that self-service is life automation. However, there are some similarities and some differences in between. Both of them have made the service very efficient but on the other side automation is often used to restrict the tasks that need to be done by service employee. The example of the gas station would be of great use, self-service facilities at the gas station allow a person to pump the gas in the vehicle in the substation of any attendant. On the other side, automation facilitates such as an automatic car wash system that replaces the staff needs to wash the car from their hands (Castro, Atkinson and Ezell, 2010).
The terminology of self-service technology was initially used by Bitner, Ostrom, and Meuter, (2002). They have defined the term as the “technological interfaces that help the customers to develop a service that is independent of involvement of direct service employee.This terminology has achieved wide acceptance in many succeeding researches by several other researchers (Makarem, Mudambi and Podoshen, 2009; Shamdasani, Mukherjee and Malhotra, 2008; Beatson, Lee and Coote, 2007; Curran and Meuter, 2005)
According to Meuter et al (2003), there are many benefits of self-service technologies and because of these benefits the self-service technologies have seen a good growth. These benefits have seen from the perspective of consumers, organizations and business and the perspective of the overall economy. From the perspective business sectors, the existence of information technology is of great importance especially to attain a competitive position in the market (Reinders, Dabholkar, Frambach, 2008; Snellman and Vihtkari, 2003). The revolution of information technology has brought a noteworthy and momentous growth in the productivity of the organizations and the organizations that have high investments in IT have seen high degree of productivity (Kelley, Skinner, Donnelly, 1992).With the use of technology at the front and back offices of the organizations, organizations have availed the opportunity by facilitating the technology to their customers and made the delivery of the service very efficient. It has been observed that for several forms of services, the customers are often part of the production as well as a delivery process (Kelley, Skinner, Donnelly, 1992; Elliott, Meng, Hall, 2008). The rationale behind business investment in self-service technology is to reduce the costs and to increase the quality of service. Further, with the incorporation of self service, the employees get free from providing services to the customers and placed at some other profitable jobs (Meuter et al., 2005; Lin & Hsieh, 2007; Lee et al., 2011).
If we see the self-services from the point of customers that we would get know that customers have a variety of reason to choose self-service technologies (Bobbitt and Dabholkar, 2001; Oyedele and Simpson, 2007; Elliott and Hall, 2005). Among them, key factors include the increased efficiency of the service, convenience and it is much easier to use or in other words it is more user friendly. The convenience is the biggest factor due to which it is more preferable. It makes sure the availability of many businesses 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Consumers often perceived the self-service technology in empowering them in a way that by using that customers are in a position to control the encounter of the service, and they do not feel being pressured and rushed. There are some organizations that think that their customers prefer more face to face interactions but in actual this may not be the case (Curran &Meuter, 2005; Dean, 2008).
Self-service technologies in hospitality industry
The role of self-service technologies in the hospitality industry has high importance. It has got a potential to improve and augment the operations of the hotels by several means. Technologies have facilitated us with advanced precision, productive and customisation as well as customisation (Curran et al., 2003; Fitzsimmons, 2003; Griffy-Brown et al., 2008). The chances of errors in technology is very minimal provided the information and the data is entered correctly (Curran et al., 2003; Durkin, O' Donnell, & Crowe, 2008; Fitzsimmons, 2003; Makarem et al., 2009).If the technology is well programmed and automated, the entire system operates with accuracy and efficiency. For example, when a guest checks in at the hotel room through a kiosk, there are higher chances that the machine give accurate information, provide with the correct payment and regain the accurate details of the guest as compared to any staff member of the hotel. Carl (2005) concludes that there is a high probability that the kiosk technology would facilitate the hotel running organizations to improve the customisation and standardisation in the processes of service delivery.
At present, the managers of the hotel are often found in increasing the level of staff to accommodate the peak times (Kotler et al., 2003). Whereas, on the other side kiosks have a potential to serve as an extra options of service which helps the staff at front office to process higher arrivals of guests and visitors (Kotler et al., 2003).Carlin (2005) has proposed that self-service technologies can allow the hospitality industry to lessen the labor requirement in the hotel. This can consequently reduce the cost of labour because preferences of consumer are rapidly changing by now, and they often prefer avail the facility of kiosks for their check-ins at the hotel. While, obtaining that services long waiting times and crowding of the customers at the front desk and at the reception will be very lessen (Curran et al., 2003; Fitzsimmons, 2003; Makarem et al., 2009)
The increasing research in the domain of self-service technology has brought the requirement for the development of a particular classification system (Kim, Christodoulidou, & Brewer, 2011). Meuter et al. (2000) has formulated a specific classification of self-service technology to aid and assist their research study. The classification has divided the self-service technology into two different domains; one is the interface, and the other will be the purpose. The interface includes interactive or telephone voice response, internet or online interactive kiosks, CDs or videos, whereas the purpose division is related to the customer services, self-help, and several transactions. This requirement for the classification of self-services by purpose and interface was confirmed with the adoption factor models tested by Walker and Johnson (2006) and Curran and Meuter (2005) across different self-service technologies.
With so many advantages and facilitation, there are some risks associated with the adoption of self-service technologies. Bitner et al. (2000) has reported that the infusion and incorporation of technologies in service many encounters might not be too much welcomed by the customers irrespective of their benefits. The two significant concerns in this regard include the preferences of the customers for the interpersonal encounter they experienced during the service and the confidentiality and privacy issues. In this context,Meuter et al. (2000) proposed that developing and strengthening the trust in the atmosphere of non-employee can facilitate a possibility for future studies in the domain of self-service technologies. The significance of achieving the trust and confidence of the customers is highlighted by the findings from the studies that trust is an element which is direct precursor of any behavioral intentions in the electronic environments (Yousafzai, Pallister, and Foxhall, 2009; McKnight, Choudhury and Kacmar, 2002).
According to Parasuraman (1996), the growing significance of self services is bringing an essential move in the service nature. Among these technologies of self service include the ATMs, ecommerce website, or kiosk and these are those market places where there isn’t any requirement of interpersonal contact between the buyer and the seller. And this is obvious in the daily interaction of the people with the self service technologies in several public places. Each technology aspect of the self service options possesses a distinct effect on the perceptions of the consumers at each self service encounters (Meuter et al., 2000). Like in shopping malls the interaction of people with the SST is of different nature as compared to their interaction at a certain hotel, at a hospital or at any other public. In his study Dabholkar (1996) has figured out that control and enjoyment are very influential attributes for the evaluation and analysis of self service technologies. In accordance to that Meuter et al (2000) has argued that there are some customers in the market that perceive the employees at the front line like an annoyance that need to be avoided. This will lead to the less trust and loyalty and rising the switching behaviour.
The insights on the human computer interaction and the self service systems reflect that the affective variables in the domain are the element of perceived enjoyment, trust and convenience. In their paper, Hwang and Kim (2007) have presented a model that is based on the conceptual framework about the customer self service systems. The model reflects that the perceived web quality of the contents of service would likely influence and persuade the affective variables of reaction.
(Hwang and Kim 2007)
The model further explained the link of perceived web quality services its linked with the affective reaction including enjoyment and anxiety that is directly linked with entrust integrity, benevolence and ability. The model presented by Hwang and Kim (2007) reflects that the services perceived by the customers turn out to be the element of enjoyment or anxiety which further leads towards integrity, benevolence and ability.
(Hwang and Kim 2007)
In relation to that Gefen (2002) in his paper has presented a multidimensional construct that combines the particular constructs of customer’s e-trust that include integrity, benevolence and reliability of the customers. Here the integrity relates to the perception of the people that the party that is rusted stick to the established rules of conduct like keeping promises and honesty (Mayer & Davis, 1999). In due course, the benevolence is a perception that highlights that the trusted party is willing to too good something good or beneficial for the customer other than the approach to make legitimate profits (Hwang and Kim 2007). The connection of the customer experience with the researches reflects on the developing awareness of the people over the use and integration of self service technologies. In addition to that the relation is significantly important as the customer service production assumes the need of the particular knowledge and skills on the side of the customer for operating the self service technologies (Kelly, Lawlor, & Mulvey, 2013). This connection helps in developing and enhancing the role of customer learning in their encounters self service technologies (Kelly, Lawlor, & Mulvey, 2013).
The research methodology section gives a comprehensive roadmap of the way the research has been conducted in a well-defined and appropriate manner (Stewart, 1993). The significance of a well-defined research methodology gives a complete and detailed attention to each and every important area of the research within the available parameters and specific research scope (Pelissier, 2008). Below presented section gives the detail of the steps in the conduction and completion of the research “A Study to investigate factors that influence the likelihood of consumers using self-service technologies in the hospitality industry”.
The approach of the research is the system that is taken into consideration in order to achieve the objectives set for the stated research. The approach adopted for any research is based on the type of research results that are expected to attain from the entire study (Patton, 2002). The underlying research is aimed to investigate the factors that influence the likelihood of the consumers to use self-service technologies in the hospitality industry. In view of the range of factors that a potential to build the perception of consumers towards the use of technology, the research has set an objective of exploration of the factors that have potential to influence consumers’ perceptions and preferences, exploration of the scope of self-service technologies as well as the identification of the role of self-service technologies in the hospitality industry. Hence, in relation to the objective of the research, by approach it is an exploratory and descriptive research.
The descriptive research is explained as the approach that is aimed to investigate the factual detail as it exists. This research provides the study with an approach to give the factual description as matter of existence and the research benefit from no control on any variable for the assessment and evaluation of the impact. According to the research literature, the exploratory research delineates the approach that is used to explore the facts if there is any existence of any relationship aiming the variables (Maylor and Blackman, 2005). With the above stated description, it can be said that the underlying research attempts to identify the factors that have a potential to influence the consumer's perception of self-service technologies in the hospitality industry. While the entire research is of the descriptive nature, it aims to present the facts by several different participants of the research.
In its simpler form, the research strategy is defined as the action plan that aimed to achieve a certain objective. For that reason, the research strategy is a proper plan of action which incorporates many steps set to attain the objective of the research. In line with the systematically designed results, the stated research formulated a plan to carry out the research with a proper scientific strategy (Veal, 2005). According to the literatureon research methodology, the strategy used for the purpose of scientific research can be of inductive or deductive format (Crabtree, 1992). The inductive approach towards the research is the in which the relationship between different variable are tested over and again which results in the progress and advancement of the theoretical model. On the other hand, deductive plan or strategy towards a research leverages the support from previously formulated a theoretical model (Jankowicz, 2005). Hence for this research, the strategy that has been adopted is scientific in manner along with the deductive approach. In that way, the study is based on the deductive strategy and it will deduct the factors that have a potential to influence the customer's preference towards self-service technologies.
After setting the action plan for the research, it is then proceed to make the decisions that are relatedto the actions need to incorporate for the successful execution of the research strategy. It is very significant to highlight that with the passage of time several research methods have been formulated in the science of research methodology which can be taken into consideration according to need of the research aim and objectives. Research methods are broadly divided into two main categories from which the sub categories of research methods have been formulated like interviews, focused group surveys, case study, questionnaire, and observation (Lewin, 1939).
In the light of best of researcher knowledge and expertise, the underlying research will form significant input in the academic literature. This is mainly because of the subject that it has covered and the chosen hospitality industry. In order to make the research a comprehensive study along with strengthening the authenticity of the research, the research is planned to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research methods. In order to construct the qualitative aspect of the research, a comprehensive section of literature is presented in the research that has provided with ample and widespread information about different aspect of the factors taken into consideration (Beiske, 2007).
The second method applied in the research is based on the quantitative approach, and it is used in assessing the gathering of the relevant data via questionnaire based survey. The quantitative assessment will be carried out by employing the descriptive analysis of the responses gathered from the questionnaire. The questionnaires have been responded from around Malaysian citizens belonging from different age groups and demographics.
The collection of the data is the most significant stage of the research study. According to Snieder and Larner (2009) the accuracy of the data collection is very much reflected in the results of the research and the degree up to which the attainment of the desired objectives have taken place. For the underlying research the data is collected through both primary and secondary sources and these are explained below:
Primary data collection
The primary data is defined as a set of information which is raw in nature that information or data that has not passed through any sort of the analytical procedure previously (Snieder and Larner, 2009). Additionally, this form of data is available in the way it exists. Primary data is the first hand information that is collected from the respondents of the research mostly because of the particular objective of the proposed research study (Snieder and Larner, 2009).
The collection of primary data is accomplished by a different variety of sources. These sources include observation based surveys, questionnaire, interviews and others. These categories also incorporate many sub categories to employ in the collection of primary data in accordance with the need of the research (Snieder and Larner, 2009). Questionnaire is a form that is comprised of systematically structured questions that are developed specifically in light of the objectives of the research (Kothari, 2004). Additionally, Questionnaire along with other survey tools is the most significant elements of the research study that can be transformed and changed into the information that is useful for the attainment of the research objectives (Kumar, 2005). All these elements have a direct influence on the relevance and accuracy of the research findings.
Reviewing the studies of (Dabholkar; Kolah, (2011); Kelly, Lawlor and Mulvey, (2010); Jasmand, (2006) and Meuter (1999) ), it is inferred that there are certain critical factors that possess the ability to influence the consumers’ behaviour toward adopting self-service technology. Additionally, as reported in the literature Hwang and Kim described a conceptual model in terms of explaining factors associated with customer satisfaction about self-service system. In accordance with reviewed studies and conceptual model of Hwang and Kim, below derived is the conceptual model for the study. The derived model is aimed to develop questionnaire relevant to extract the information about underlying important variables and their relatively to the underlying phenomena.
Figure 1: conceptual model for underlying Research
In accordance with the above theoretical aspects and conceptual model for underlying research, questionnaire-based survey research method is adopted to conduct the underlying research. As described, the underlying research is developed by exploring the preference and choices of Malaysian citizen on using the self-service technologies in the hospitality industry. For the purpose, study tool in form of questionnaire is designed on the following technical grounds as explained by Colosi (2006).
Above presented is the technique and format of the study questionnaire with the aim of explaining systematic approach adopted to develop study material. In continuation to that below presented are the reasons of selecting different question strata and variables embedded in questions to accomplish the purpose of underlying research.
Secondary data collection
The secondary resources for the collection of data are related to those sources of information that have formerly collected for some different objectives (Rubin, &Babbie, 2012). In addition, the secondary data is acknowledged widely. This is mainly because of the fact that this data is previously collected and assessed for the attainment of some other sort of research objectives (Snieder and Larner, 2009).The secondary sources of the data include books both print or electronic, journal, articles, information extracted from different newspaper, organizational and institutional reports and other sources of authentic information (Zikmund, Babin, Carr, and Griffin, 2010).
The secondary data for the stated research is also based on gathering of relevant information and the review of the data that is related to a different aspect of the research consideration. The secondary data gathered for the underlying research is related to the concept of hospitality industry, self-services, and the incorporation of technology in self-services and the overall concept and application of self-service technologies in the hospitality industry. These key topics have been given in the literature review section of the research. The secondary data gathered from the literature review is employed to explore the intrusion of the responses of research participants.
Population and Sampling
For the conduction of any research, the role of population and sampling is of great importance. The population of the research comprises of a comprehensive set of entities that are part of the domain that is assessed and evaluated in the research (Bernard, 2011). In this perspective, the population of the research involves all individuals that expose to the self-services technologies in the hospitality industry or have some idea about the subject of the study. However, because of the cost and time constraints, it is very difficult and cumbersome to take the entire population on board.
Secondly, along with this dimension considering the implications of Hwang and Kim’s (2007) conceptual model that perceived quality influentially affects the variables of reaction in terms of usage or avoidance, zero-time travellers are also included in the sample of the study with the consideration that if not check-in but any other self service technology may employed by that respondents (Parasuraman, 1996). The aim is to assess perception of future prospect clients for said services. With the above defined boundaries, a set of 60 individuals including both genders has been selected and given a questionnaire to record their responses irrespective of gender and travelling differences.
Data availability and credibility
After the collection of data, the next step is the analysis and evaluation of the data. The significance of the systematic analysis of the data emphasizes the interference of results following to the conclusion that is based on the quality and excellence of the data analysis. Therefore, much concentration is needed to be placed into this section of the study (Goddard & Melville, 2004).
The analysis of the data needs the researcher to perform various operations like the formulation of the groups, assessment of the raw data and transforming into the information by creating the defined categories. After the processing of the data in the tabular form, the researcher proceeds to conduct the analysis that is based on different statistical operations. Later in the discussion and analysis section the researcher identifies the relationship and the differences as well as the facts existing in the gathered data (Monette, Sullivan, and DeJong, 2005).
The analysis of the underlying research is based on the mathematical tool of percentages. The percentages of the individuals for different questions have been evaluated for the purpose of analysis after the collection of the data from the participants through questionnaires. Along with these percentages, the assessment section also incorporates the graphical representation of the results generated from the responses of the participants. The graphical representation provides a clear picture of the key factors related to the study.
Irrespective of the minute attention given to each and every detail of the study, there is still some room left regarding the cost and time constraints of the research (Pelissier, 2008). Despite well-defined research methodology, below presented is the limitation of the research.
The underlying research is based on primary and secondary resources of the data. The primary data is gathered by questionnaire from 60 individuals from Malaysia. The topic and subject of the study is very comprehensive and substantial. Hence it would require a larger number of respondents, and this would strengthen the finding of the research. Further, the research is gathered from Malaysian citizens hence it does not represent the global perspective about the subject.
Discussion and analysis
The below presented section is the discussion and analysis of collected data. This section is considered as the most significant section of the entire research paper. The data analysis provides with the development of the systematic and a specialized categorization of the data that is gathered with the help of the questionnaire. An appropriate and well organized data makes sure the successful attainment of the set aim and objective for this research paper. On the other side, the discussion part of the research draws the empirical and logical connection of the research findings with the review of the literature developed in the area of the subject. The discussion will incorporate the significant findings and develops a conclusion along with the recommendation set in the later section of the research.
Discussion and analysis
The section comprises the organization and grouping of the data thatis gathered with the help of the questionnaire. The data is gathered from a sample of 60 individuals from Malaysia belonging to different demographics, educational background, and preferences in Malaysia. The assessment and evaluation of the data are done with the help of percentage toll analysis along with a graphical representation of the responses.
The entire questionnaire is divided into two different parts. The initial part of the questionnaire is about the demographics of the respondents. The second part of the research is about the experience of the respondents of self-service technology and its application in the hotel as well as hospitality industry. The questionnaire is based on total ten questions carrying variety of open and close ended questions.
Part 1: Demographics
Part one of the research is based on the demographics of the respondents; this has incorporated the gender, age and education of the respondents. The rationale for judging the demographics of the individual is to incorporate and analyse the diversity of the population the researcher has chosen. Without the enclosure of this information, the risk of the researcher assumes the standpoint of absolutism that is based on the phenomena of preferences and interest regardless of the ethnicity, culture, and race. In addition to that a comprehensive description of the research participation facilitates the researchers and the readers to identify the generalise findings of the research as well as the comparisons to be made in the entire research study. Further, it also gives the information that is required for the synthesis of the research (Hammer, 2011).
The very first question of the first of the part of the questionnaire was about the gender of the respondents. This is an equally important question as the role of both male and female is seen very enthusiastically when it comes to travelling and tourism aspect. Though the preferences and expectations of both the genders may be differ from each other but the overall inclination towards the services and experiences of the hotels and resorts is same. Further, the insight will also provide the likelihood of the responses from male respondents as well as the female respondents.
In the survey conducted on the likelihood of customers towards the self-service technologies in hospitality industry, the feedbacks were taken from total of 60 respondents. As the pie chart above shown, 24 respondents were male and 36 respondents were female. This number makes up around 40% of the male population and 60% of female taken as a sample for the survey. Hence, the majority of these responses were from female participants.
The second question in the questionnaire is about the age of the respondents. This question is mainly important because in almost age group the choices, preferences and behavioural pattern of the human being are different, and it varies from each age range. The lifestyle and the way of looking at things of young, adults and the aged people are quite different most of the time except few exceptions. In addition to that, the cognitive ability and the way of perceiving things of each individual are different, and it also differs on the basis of various age groups.
The entire sample of the population of the research includes the young and adult people ranging from 21 years of age to 35 years of age. There were some respondents that aged below twenty. The majority of the sample population were from the age group of 21 years to 30 years. Out of 60 respondents, only three respondents were below 21 years of age making up 5% of the total population sample. 52 respondents fall in the age range of 21 years to 30 years, making up a major chunk of 87% and 5 of the respondents are from 31 years to 35 years that makes up 8% of the entire sample of the population in this questionnaire.
The figure shows that the entire sample belongs from the young people, and this is justified by the domain and scope of the research. Since the subject of the research is related to technology and the technological advancement in the field of the hospitality industry, the exposure is more for the young and adult generations, and it also attracts them to the usage of advanced technologies in hospitality industry. The selection of this age group is backed by the study presented by Harteveldt (2014). The study reports that with the passage of time average age of the leisure travellers have been increasingly dropped and the visitors who book the rooms are increasingly younger. The report highlights that around 123 million travellers searched online for the available hotel options. Among the major findings of the report, it has been figured out that the largest portion of the guests that comprises 33% belong from generation Y that fall in the age group of 24 to 26 years of age and one in every ten guest is of 18 to 23 years old. Thus, the selection of this age group will help in finding the deeper insight of the factors that are likely to influence the potential and prospects customers towards self-service technologies in the hospitality industry. The comparatively aged individuals usually do not prefer the technologies especially in services rather they are more comfortable and at ease in human interaction.
The third question in the questionnaire was about educational background of the respondents, it has been specifically designed to know the qualification level of the respondents. Among the total of 60 respondents there were two respondents graduated from high school which occupied 3% of the total population sample. Besides, 25 of these respondents were completed foundation level and had some diploma and equivalent qualification; this 25 number of respondents comprise 42% of total 60 respondents. There were 30 of the participants who responded to the questionnaire had done with their graduation and possess bachelor’s degree, this makes up around 50% of the sample population which is the highest group of individuals among the population sample. Lastly, 5% of the entire respondents are neither mastered nor they hold a higher qualification, which made up by 3 participants among 60.
Thus, majority of the population in the chosen sample size are qualified in studies at graduate level. This reflects the credibility and relevancy of the data with the domain and scope of the research study. For any technological advancement, it is very necessary that the technology is easily adaptable and usable by the individuals for whom it has been built. This is backed by the fact that common demographic variables related to self service technologies include gender, age, income and education level (Lee et al., 2010).
Any particular level of qualification is not necessarily required for the use of technology. However, the ability to get familiar with the technology along with its better understanding, ease of use and the awareness about the technology is positively related to the level of qualification of people especially in hospitality industry. In addition to that the interaction between the demographics including the age gender, income and education with the personality traits of the individuals like technology innovativeness, technology anxiety and the need for interaction and their impact on the intentions of the individuals to use the self service technologies have great influence (Lee et al., 2010). Hence, the feedbacks gathered for this research with an educated individual will help in determining a genuine insight into the set objectives of the research.
Part 2: Self-Service Technologies Experiences
The second part of the research questionnaire is about the overall experiences of the respondents chosen over likelihood and experience to use self-service technologies in hospitality industry.
Question 4 was a close ended question about how often one travels in a year. The respondents were given with only three different options of frequency of travelling time per year. Option one was the frequency of travels 0 to 5 times a year, option two was from 6 to 10 times a year and option three are about the frequency of travelling of an individual equal to or greater than 10 times a year. Each respondent was compulsory to choose only one option. As the pie chart above shown, among 60 respondents, only 13 respondents travel in the frequency of 6 to 10 times a year which represents 22% of the sample population. Additionally, only one respondent travel more than ten times a year and represent 2% of the entire sample while there were 46 of respondents travel less than five times a year; this figure makes up to 77% of the total sample of the population for this questionnaire.
With the above analysis, it has been found that most of the respondents lie in the 0-5 times per years travelling strata. This reflects that all the 77% might never be travelled yet and questions the viability of further responses for the purpose of accomplishing research objective. Though, it is assumed that people within the category of 0-5 times are not all those who didn’t have travelling experience. However, if such case comes at effect, the responses of sample can be considered effective with the explanation of Parasuraman (1996).
As elaborated in literature review, highlighting the significance of self-services technologies, Parasuraman (1996) maintained that self services technologies include ATM, Kiosk, ecommerce interfaces and self service marketplaces. There is a vital chance that non-travellers have used any other self-service technology and can relate to the perceived benefits of self-services technologies during travelling. This implication is developed considering the age and education strata of respondents and increased usage of technological assistance in current macro-environment.
In accordance with the above assessment, the relevance of the non-traveler respondents can be justified with the conceptual framework of Hwang and Kim. Hwang and Kim highlighted the role of perceived quality in terms of influencing the variables of reaction. For instance, if a consumer faces complexities using an ATM interface might not be ready to experience a Kiosk or any other self-service check-in technology. Considering the major implications above, the zero-time travelers and relevancy of their responses to the study can be justified.
Fifth question of the questionnaire was about the use of any self-service technology at the time of checking in the hotel during their trips and travels. A total of 19 respondents answered that they have had experience on using self-service technologies whereas 41 of the respondents answered that they did not use any of the self-service technologies during their travels. This shows that the majority of the respondents have not been in touch with this type of self-service technologies provide in hotels, and that makes up 68% of to the total population on contrary, only 32% have used such services. This is reflecting that from the sample of the population majority is not yet exposed to the self-service technologies for instance self-service check in kiosks during their check in time into a hotel.
Question 5 (a)
Question five was then divided into its two subsections; subsection (a) was an open ended that asks the number of times they have used the self-service technologies approximately in their travels. This question has specifically asked for those individuals who have marked “Yes” in question 5. The responses gathered from this question shows that some of the respondents have experienced with self-service technologies one time; some have used 2, 3 or 5 times, and even other have written 10 times. There were respondents who have experience the services whenever it is possible for them to choose.
Question 5 (b)
The second subsection of question 5 was to find out if the respondents have given the chance to use the self-service technology, they would like to choose self-check in or they would proceed to the to the front line counter or receptionist for their check in during their travels. A high majority has shown their agreement about their positive inclination towards the use of self-check in service; this majority represents 44 respondents that make up 73% of the total sample of the population. Whereas, only 8 respondents which is 13% of the sample responded that they prefer to proceed towards the receptionist to do their check-in.
When asked for the explanation of the choices they have made either yes or no, the respondents have presented variety of explanation. They responded that the availability of the self-service check in would save their time; it is faster, more efficient and reduces the existence of the queue at the front desk. Majority of the respondents agree that self-check in is a very convenient way to shorten their check in process, as guests in the hotel may require to wait for long time to at reception desk for traditional check in way. There are also respondents who commented that they would like to use the service in order to try or explore new and innovative things.
On contrary, there was a least number of respondents would like to use traditional manual check in rather than self-service technologies. It is because they prefer to have human interaction and communication with receptionists at desk over the use of technology. Further, they have not found any support from the hotel management or staff to facilitate the guests and visitors with the self-check in service. Hence, they would prefer the conventional system of check in. Among these, there are also respondents who not prefer to try on the new facility in hotel because they feel themselves too lazy to learn the technological advancements.
List of options:
Self-service kiosks at reception
Technological devices with internet such as smart phones/ tablets
I have never used self-service technology during checking into a hotel
The questionnaire then proceeds to question number 6, which was specially designed to find out the responses of participants about different types of self-service technology that they used while checking in a hotel during their travels and their stays. This question is a close endedquestion, and the respondents were provided with three different choices for them to answer. Among the total sample of 60 respondents, 41 of the respondents (68.3% of the total sample population) had chosen the option which explained that they have never used any self-service technology while checking in a hotel during their travel and stay. And among 31.67% of the remaining respondents that had responded positively for the use SST while checking into the hotels 11.7 have chosen self-service kiosks at the reception and 20% of the individuals had experienced with the service of technological devices with internet connectivity like smart phones, tablets or any other similar devices.
Question number 7 was designed to find out if the respondents would have to choose any self-service technology why they would like to choose while checking in the hotel. The question was a close ended question, and the respondents were given with four different choices to answer this question. These choices along with the responses are given below:
The first choice given to answer the question was “I do not like waiting in a long queue at the front desk”. A large majority of the respondents have strongly agreed with the statement, this majority represents 53% of the total sample of the population that makes up 32 respondents of the study. 24 respondents (40% of the sample population) agreed with the statement however 7% of them had aneutral response. There was not any respondent that strongly disagree or just disagree with the statement; this goes without saying that the entire sample of the population with the exception of only four respondents were neutral with the statement. Meuter et al., (2003) have pointed out the benefits of self service technologies that have followed with a good growth. Further there are many benefits related with the customers point of view in inclining towards the self service technologies and among them convenience comes first (Bobbitt and Dabholkar, 2001; Oyedele and Simpson, 2007; Elliott and Hall, 2005). Hence, it can be said that waiting in a long queue at the front desk can one of the most important reasons which people would like to use the self-service technology while checking in the hotel. Guests are more likely to complete the check in process in a shorter time rather than queuing at the desk which may lead the guests losing their patient waiting in the queue.
The second choice given to the respondents was “I do not want to communicate with the receptionists”. To respond to this statement, the respondents were provided with the degree of their preferences in the form of strongly agree with the statement, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree with the statement. Among 60 respondents, only 3 respondents strongly agree with the statement that makes up around 5% of the total number of responses; there were 9 participants agree with the statement. However, a large majority of the respondents that makes up from 28 individuals were indifferent to the statement. 20 of the respondents disagree among which five strongly disagreed. These figures show that very few of the respondents have a certain agreement with the statement. Moreover, majority are neutral of this. Hence, communication between guests and receptionists is not a strong reason for which people are more inclined towards self-service technology. According to Carl (2005) that there is significantly increased likelihood that the self service technology including kiosk technology has a potential to facilitate the organizations so that they would be able to augment the standardization and customization in the service delivery process. Further, Carl (2005) added that self service technologies have reduced the excess need of the staff in the hotels.
The third choice to answer the question regarding the reason to choose the self-service technology at the time of checking in a hotel was “I support paperless work”. Among 60 respondents, only 2 respondents disagree with the statement. 16 of them were neutral, and majority of the respondents were in agreement of that they would prefer the self-service technology because they truly support the paperless environment. Among these respondents, 24 individuals that make up around 40% of the sample population were in agreed and 18 individuals representing 18% of the sample strongly agreed with this statement. This reflects that now people really want to reduce paperwork as much as they can which is directly affecting cost of hotel. Curran et al., (2003); Fitzsimmons, (2003); Makarem et al., (2009) added that with the advent of technology in the hospitality industry the long waiting lines and rush of the customers at the reception has reduce a lot. In addition to that self service technologies come with the ease of use, saving of time, saving of money, avoidance of the personnel and above all the convenience of use (Meuter et al., 2000).
The last choice given to the respondents was based on their preference and interest in using technological devices while choosing the use of self-service technology during the time of checking in a hotel. While analysing the responses of the respondents, it has been figured out that majority of the respondents agreed with the statement including 21 respondents which equal to 35% of the sample population strongly agreed; 20 respondents which makes up 33% of the sample population just agreed, and lastly 16 respondents (27% of the sample population) were neutral. There were only 3 respondents that disagree with the statement. The responses thus reflect the choices and preference of the people that would like to choose the self-service technology upon checking in a hotel because they enjoy the use of technological devices in their life. With the passage of time, the perception of the people is changing they are no more inclined towards the technological advancement. While there are other factors of this inclination, one is that these are interesting, and the use of the technology attracts people especially the younger ones. These elements reflect the readiness of the consumer towards the use of technology in every walk of life. Parasyraman (2000) highlighted the propensity of the people to adopt the use of technology in the attainment of their daily life at home and at work, in addition to that, he discussed that the innovativeness and optimism are the contributors to the technology readiness of the people.
Question eight was created to comprehend the respondents about the significance and importance of the self-service technologies in a hotel; the question was about how important they think that self-service technologies in hotel. A scale from 1 to 5 was set for this question, 1 signified very important and 5 indicated not important. 15 out of 60 respondents were strongly agreed, and 20 of the respondents just agreed with the significance of self-service technology in a hotel. However, 14 respondents were neutral on this and total of 11 respondents disagree with the statement. All in all, a good number of people believe that the self-service technologies are of great important in the hotel industry in Malaysia.
After these responses, a subsection of this question was created for the participants to explain of their answer in question 8. It was an open ended question, and the participants have given a variety of responses. Many respondents believe that self-services are important because they shorten the process of check in can reduce the time of the hotel guests. They will need not to stand in the queue, and they do not have to wait for a long time just to do their check in. Further, many respondents believe that self-service can increase the efficiency of the check in process and also several other processes in a hotel. There was this response that the installation of self-service technologies will reduce the human errors as receptionists may get tired or confused after deal with large number of guests in a day. Since it is faster than the traditional manual check in method, it will then attract the youngsters to come to the hotels with self-service technologies. Another significant factor that supports the inclination of the respondents towards the self-service technologies is the element of convenience. It will help hotel staff to deal with the guests more efficiently and effectively especially at peak seasons. In addition, the management and administration of the hotel will be able to save their time, they would be reduce the staff from the check in and lessen the paper work hence letting them save a good amount in terms of hotel cost.
On contrary to that, there were some responses do not reflect the likeliness of the participants towards the use of self-service technologies in hotels and according to them it is less important. The reasons that support these preferences include that the installation of the self-service technology might turn out hard for some different groups of people. They may feel helpless because of lack of awareness and exposure to the technology used. For the aged and old visitors, the use of self-service at the hotels where they come for leisure and relaxation would be quite cumbersome; their lack of interest and familiarity in the technological advancements would turn out to be a hassle for them. Another important point raised by a respondent is that when it comes to leisure and luxury in high class hotels people usually expect, prefer and seek for the service hotel, if the hotels offer self-service all the time, there would be very minimal interaction of the management or staff of the hotel with their guests. Further, too much of technology in the hotels and resorts will eliminate the element of hospitality and friendliness of the hotel staff which is an integral part of the service industry especially in the hotel and hospitality sector.
The second last question of the questionnaire was to ask the respondent about the method they would like to choose while checking into a hotel. The respondents were given with two different choices including advanced self-service technologies check in or the traditional check in at the front desks. 47 respondents that make up 78% of the sample population responded that they would like to use the self-service check in while the other 13 respondents making 22% of the sample population preferred to use the traditional check in at the hotel. While asking the reason of the responses, the participants have raised that machines are faster as compared to human beings plus it helps to reduce the number of human errors. The conventional methods are faster and efficient as compared to the traditional methods of check in at the hotels. The respondents believe that technological advancements are safer, but there are chances that machines may turn out dangerous due to the wrong input of the information. Therefore, the element of convenience, time saving, efficiency, comfort and ease of use and the general interest of the respondents towards the technological innovation and devices influence them to use self-check in system in hotels in Malaysia. According to Mackenzie and Chan (2009), the front office of any hotel is like a heart of the place, from reservations to the collection of the revenue, a well installed computer system will facilitate the hotel staff as well as the guests with the up to date information.
However, those who prefer traditional check in method in hotels believe that they are likely to have human interaction to another, in case of any query and issues the tradition from desk would let them ask the hotel staff who on duty. They also believe that machines and technologies are emotionless hence the human element at the reception of the hotel would welcome them and give them the feeling of care, attention, and hospitality. Some responses show that guests are likely to have face to face communication rather than facing machines right after entering a hotel. There is no comparison of being welcome by human than machine, they provide the guests with standard procedures and greet them well.
The last question in the questionnaire asks the respondent whether the respondents would recommend their family members and friends to use the self-service technologies whenever they are checking into a hotel during travels. Majority of the responses comprising 82% of the sample population say yes to the question whereas the other 18% of the respondents responded that they will not recommend. The subsection of the question was to ask the respondents to reason their choice. They respond that it is convenient, efficient, easy to use, time saving, provides an opportunity to learn new technologies, it is paperless, unique and futuristic. However, those who would not like to refer the self-service check in, to their family and friends believe that there are chances of error in the use of technology, and they cannot always rely on that. The parents and aged family members of the respondents are familiar with the technological advancements hence it would be difficult for them to avail such facilities.
Summary of findings
The analysis and discussion chapter of the dissertation on the topic of factors influencing the likelihood of consumer preferences for using the self-service technologies in the hospitality industry reveals that majority of the respondents are inclined towards using the self-service technologies. The respondents were both of male and female and came into the category of literate individuals. The respondents belong to the age group of comparatively young individuals ranging mainly from 21 to 35 years of age. For the second part of the questionnaire that is designed to judge the experience of the people for self-service technology, majority is ha
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