Consumer behaviour is a study of why the consumers behave the way they do. It has been mostly observed that customers are often segmented into different groups and it so happens that individuals within the same group also behave differently. The factors which affect the perceptions, beliefs and attitude of customers are different for different individuals and the intensity with which different factors affect the individuals is also different. The products and services which satisfy the customer at one point might not satisfy him in another situation and needs and preferences differ from situation to situation. It has also been observed that products and services which satisfy one customer might not satisfy another customer.
In the service industry, and particularly for hospitality sector, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. For hospitality sector, it is building up a strong base of satisfied customers that will bring new business to the hotel and strengthen its position in the industry. The expectations of the customer must be met in order to bring them back to the same hotel as an unsatisfied customer will never return to the same hotel. Also, it is important to raise the service standards every time because customers always look for differentiated and specialised services every time they move into the hotel.
This report particularly deals with the Marriott Hotel and presents the position of Marriott in the minds of the British hospitality customers. Marriott has been able to build up a brand image and have services and products which are the best as per the industry standards and norms. The report also discusses the various measures that Marriott has undertaken to meet the growing demands and needs of the customers. Marriott has always tried to establish close connectivity with its customers and keeps a track of their feedbacks and tries to improve its services as per the expectations and demands of the guests.
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Consumer behaviour is the higher version of the idea that human behaviour is influenced by numerous factors. These factors that influence the decisions of the customer can be grouped in different categories such as social settings, social forces, roles and attitude relative to roles. In case of tangible products like automobiles, laundry detergent and other products, it has become easy to understand the consumers through marketing research, but managers in service industry, particularly in hospitality industry, are faced with a challenge to understand the behaviour of customers who are consuming their services as to what are the factors that influence their decisions (Reid and Bojanic, 2009). In the hospitality sector, it has become very important that there is a constant link between management and the customers so that it becomes easy for the organisations to offer excellent services to its customers as per their needs and preferences.
The hospitality industry of UK has been rapidly developing and also has a significant contribution towards the economy. Also, hospitality sector has been a major contributor in terms of employment as well (Ridley, 2012). As far as the perception and attitude of British customers towards hospitality is concerned, many customers have reported that there is a gap between what was perceived and what was obtained in reality (Blessing and Chakrabarti, 2009). Marriott hotel, UK being one of the most renowned and well established groups in UK has scored high with guests in terms of services and overall hotel experience (The Power of Marriott International, n.d). The customers have reported that with respect to Marriott hotel, UK, their expectations were met that is what they perceived, they actually received.
For understanding the behaviour of hospitality consumers it is also important to have a complete understanding of the internal and external factors which influence their decisions, the different ways in which the consumer makes purchase decisions, and the numerous methods of ensuring constant quality improvement (Ogbonna and Harris, 2002). It needs to be understood that a satisfied customer will spread positive word of mouth and can bring new customers for the hotel whereas a dis-satisfied customer will spread negative word of mouth and will never return back to the same hotel and will also be influencing the potential customers (Chon and et. al, 2012). An hotelier has to ensure that the expectations of the customers are met in the most efficient and effective manner. A hotel experience is a mix of several elements like surroundings, ambience and services and it is very important and difficult at the same time to monitor each element. The major problem that British customers have reported in context of hospitality sector of London is the gap between perception and reality. British consumers mainly focus on ‘value for money’ and an inadequate performance in any of the elements which lowers the overall customer experience will be difficult to compensate. In the context of present research, that is focusing on Marriott hotel, UK, customers have shown high level of satisfaction in terms of overall hotel experience. The customers received what they perceived (UK Chain Hotels Market Review, 2012).
Marriott Hotel has been one of the most excellent and established groups in United Kingdom. Marriott has been a market leader in the hospitality industry for the last 80 years. Marriott has always focused on innovation and offering excellent services to its customers but at the same time has also tried to remain true to the principles of the founder family. Marriott has been place itself among the world’s most ethical companies. Their business revolves around five core values which are put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity and serve our world. Marriott operates in 73 countries and territories worldwide with 3700 properties and 17 brands (About Marriott UK- Corporate and Career Information, 2012). Marriott has been constantly growing and expanding on global level and thus, as the group tries to reach across cultural borders, they have also focused on global diversity and inclusion. Marriott has also been recognised as the best organisations to work.
The aim of the research is to study the perception and attitude of British customers towards the hospitality sector in London. The research will also be a focused study on the case of Marriott Hotel, UK. To accomplish the above stated aim, certain objectives are set and these are as under:
Research methodology can be defined as a systematic way of solving research problem. It is important to note that research methodology basically considers the logic behind using certain techniques for conducting the research. Research methodology can be a set of tasks like what the activity of research is, how to move further, how progress can be measured and what constitutes success (Taylor and et. al., 2006). In this research, secondary data collection method will be used and for this various books, journals, magazines and articles will be used. The research is mainly focused on hospitality consumers with special focus on British customers and a particular study on Marriott Hotel, UK. Thus, the information from different studies that have been conducted on hospitality sector of UK will be used in order to have a comparison of Marriott and other hotels in UK. Also, it would be very beneficial to extract information from various consumer forums so that it will be easy to have an idea of the experiences of the consumers with respect to particular hotels. The researcher will try to wind up the research in the stipulated time and will also follow the ethical procedure required during the process of research and will also ensure that the information collected is kept confidential.
In any research, the research question helps in providing a direction to the entire process so that all the efforts and resources are channelized into a proper direction. The research question suggests an appropriate way towards achieving the aims and objectives of the research. In the present research, the research questions are as follows:
A research is basically done to build up knowledge because it is primarily an objective investigation of facts about a certain subject. In the present context, with a rapid growth of hospitality and tourism industry and increasing competition at a global level, there is a constant effort by managers to work towards improving the organisation. In the context of hospitality industry, investigation of a defined problem can have many dimensions and can be multi- disciplinary in nature (Altinay and Paraskevas, 2008). Hence, while conducting a research it becomes important to have a wide perspective when determining the source of information and it is also necessary to select an appropriate research design. The current research is significant as it provides an insight into the underlying opportunities and understanding the markets.
It has been observed that the UK Hospitality sector suffered 2 years of decline which was an impact of the economic recession in UK. There was also an effect of global financial turmoil on international tourism. A different trend is being observed in UK where there is an increase in domestic tourism that is large number of UK residents shifting to domestic vacations rather than going for overseas holidays or increasing the frequency of small domestic vacations that they take. In the year 2012, three major events took place in UK that was London 2012 Olympics, Paralympics games and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (Hotels Market Report, 2012). Thus, these events provided UK with immense opportunity to advertise itself as a major tourist destination. The present research is a study of perception and attitude of British customers towards hospitality sector of London. This research will analyse the different dimensions related to the attitude of hospitality consumer, particularly British customer towards hospitality sector of London, UK. This survey hold huge importance for the fact that hospitality sector is a service sector and the behaviour of customers hold huge importance in order to keep a track of changes in their needs and preferences so that the managers of the hotels could take corrective measures in order to mend the shortcomings. A study of Marriott hotel will give an idea as to what are the practices that hotel follows which results in high customer satisfaction and what strategies have made it one of the best hotels in UK.
It is very important that the research accomplished is in an appropriate structure and the process is carried out step by step. The research has to be conducted in a chronological order where it is clear that the steps are logically derived from the previous step. It is also important that the finding of the entire research that is the research report is also written in a proper format with proper sequence of chapters so that the reader has a clear idea of the entire research undertaken. This research report is also presented in a series of chapters and the brief of each chapter is as follows:
A lot of factors determine the way in which customers behave. The study of consumer behaviour begins with an evaluation of different ways in which a consumer tries to identify needs which leads to information search. As compared to tangible goods, it is difficult to study consumer behaviour in terms of services because it is not only the need which determines the decisions made by consumers but there are several aspects like lifestyle, roles, social factors etc. which influences the ways in which customers make decisions. The expectations of consumers in hospitality industry is constantly rising and thus, it becomes very important for management to constantly review and upgrade the level of their services in order to match up to what the customers are expecting (Huck, 2000). It is very important to understand that an inadequate service can never be compensated by any other means and a customer who is not satisfied will never return back to the same hotel.
Particularly, it has been noted that British customers report of wide variations between perception and reality. They feel that the hotels in London and all of UK except a few have not been able to put their message across in an efficient manner. Some of the big brands even are not able to offer an upmarket experience. Marriott Hotel has been able to score high on customer satisfaction as customers reported that the services of the hotels were beyond their expectation. The hotel has some excellent strategies in place which help them to attract and retain customers from different sections of hospitality customers.
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