Loyalty Marbella Club Hotel Essay

Abstract

The current paper is a descriptive comparative research on the customer loyalty factors of two hotels. With a random sample of 65 customers from each hotel, the point-biserial correlation was used to determine which factors were correlated with customer’s patronage. The researcher concludes that Marbella Club Hotel needs to improve on most of the customer dimensions to be able to meet or even exceed the expectations of its customers. On the other hand, while NH Alanda already exceeds the expectations of its customers on most facets, it must strive to maintain this status and focus on the areas with the lowest means. The comparative data shows that customers of NH Alanda are more satisfied on all customer loyalty dimensions, including amenities, cleanliness, ambience, food quantity, food quality, attentiveness, efficiency, gaming facilities, general staff attitudes, and staff grooming. A lone area for improvement would be entertainment which yielded nonsignificant results.

 

Marbella Club Hotel should leverage on sanitation and general staff attitudes because these are given high premium by their patrons. On the other hand, NH Alanda ought to put to their advantage the dimensions of food quantity, food quality, efficiency,  and gaming facilities, because these were significantly correlated with willingness to visit the hotel again.
An Empirical Investigation of the Customer Loyalty Factors of Two Hotels in Andalusia, Spain

 

Introduction

 

Today, consumers are continually expressing their irritation, frustration, and dissatisfaction on an individual case-to-case basis as we witness the growing needs for service industries (Christopher, Payne, & Ballantyne, 1991). Most of the cases of these dis­crete encounters are the service based on the customer’s perception. The current and comprehensive emphasis on service encounter satisfaction and service quality exemplifies both the significance and the complexity of the is­sues. First and foremost, customer satisfaction is greatly affected by the manage­ment and monitoring of individual service encounters (Gordon, 1998; Gronroos, 1990). Managing individual encounters is nested within broader managerial issues of organizational structure, philosophy, and culture that also can influence service delivery, and ultimately, the cus­tomer’s point of view of the quality of service (Guenzi, ; Pelloni, 2004; Gummesson, 1987).

The current study aims to determine the factors which may be predictors of customer loyalty – and thus of competitive advantage – of two hotels in Andalusia, Spain.

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Statement of the Problem

Main Problem

Is there a difference between the overall customer satisfaction levels and loyalty experienced by patrons of Marbella Club Hotel and NH Alanda?

Subproblems

1.)    What is the overall level of customer satisfaction of patrons of Marbella Club Hotel in terms of the following customer loyalty dimensions?

a.)    Amenities

b.)    Cleanliness

c.)    Ambience

d.)   Entertainment

e.)    Food quantity

f.)     Food quality

g.)    Staff attentiveness

h.)    Efficiency

g.) Gaming facilities

h) General staff attitudes

i.) Staff grooming

2.)    What is the overall level of customer satisfaction of patrons of NH Alanda in terms of the abovementioned customer loyalty dimensions?

3.)    Is there a significant difference in the customer satisfaction of patrons of Marbella Club Hotel and NH Alanda?

4.)    Which of the foregoing factors are significantly correlated to willingness of customers to visit and avail of the hotel’s services again?

Statement of Purpose

The researcher aimed to establish the baseline customer service satisfaction levels of respondents of each of the two hotels Marbella Club Hotel and NH Alanda. The detailed and empirical approach undertaken would allow a clear analysis of latent sources of the lack of customer loyalty, and ultimately permit hotel management to address these issues. Moreover, it aims to assist the hotel sector in creating awareness of the factors that strongly influence their evaluations of customer loyalty.

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Review of Related Literature

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Beyond The Transaction: Establishing Long-Term Relationships

Government deregulation has resulted in increased competition in industries such as transportation, energy, and telecommunications. Companies have broader geographic market scope and partnering with international suppliers. Efficient supply chains and the Internet have allowed for more sophisticated customer needs acquisition, fulfillment, and tracking. Christopher et al (1999) relates the eventual inadequacy of the transaction-based model:

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“Critics have long argued that these models and the assumptions on which they were based were inappropriate for industrial and services contexts, where relationships with customers were often on-going and of pivotal importance. They were also felt to be inadequate when applied to marketing in the international arena. Marketing management, as it was usually taught, represented neither the aspirations nor the reality of these branches of marketing. With the arrival of the recession in the 1990s it became widely recognized that, even in consumer markets, this classical marketing paradigm had lost its potency.”

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Gummesson (2002a) points out the shortcomings of current marketing theory:

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“The texts (referring to marketing textbooks) do not interlink phenomena in a deeper sense although they may offer some overriding framework. The continuous building of core variables to an increasingly more general level does not take place. For that, basic and scholarly research is required.”

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By the 1980s, the concept of relationship marketing began to emerge.

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Defining Relationship Marketing

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The theoretical values of relationship marketing are organic and developing in new beliefs and direction as it faces changes in the market place (Christopher et al, 1999; Stone, Woodcock, ; Machtynger, 2000; Gordon, 1998; Gummesson, 2002b) as well as changes in the methodologies and tools (Gummesson, 2003; Perry ; Gummesson, 2004) with which to assess it.

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For example, relationship marketing has often been seen as a means of creating value with individual customers (Gordon, 1998), “marketing based on interactions within networks of relationships” (Gummeson, 2002b), interactions stages of development (Stone, Woodcock, ; Machtynger, 2000; Sharma, 1994), customer retention (Reichheld, 1993). While relationship marketing has often been defined as the relationship between the company and the customer, recent literature has also introduced the concept of being concerned with other parties external to the company, such as distributors, suppliers, etc. (Christopher et al., 1999). This variation may be attributed to the differences in interpretation of phenomena; Gummesson (2003) points out the interpretation-research connection: “Let’s stop fooling ourselves: All research is interpretive!… There is interpretation all along, from the very start of the project until the very end.”
Despite the variations in definitions, relationship marketing borrows heavily from studies on customer service and customer retention. Scholars suggest that more than single-sale transactions, it is often desirable for companies to establish a longer-term, mutually beneficial (value-creating) relationship between the organization and its customers (Stone, Woodcock, ; Machtynger, 2000; Christopher et al., 1999; Gordon, 1998; Gummesson, 2002b). Blattberg ; Deighton (1996) posit that the growth of a business may be viewed as acquiring and retaining customers so as to realize the full potential value of the customer base. From the seller’s point of view, such relationships serve as effective entry barriers, improve differentiation, and in the long-term, result in more profitable returns. (Venetis ; Ghauri, 2004).

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Christopher et al (1999) report that while relationship marketing’s initial phases delved into establishment of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, the concept rapidly evolved to include internal marketing.

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The Global Hospitality Market

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The recent acceleration in the growth in the global hotels and motels industry is expected to level out and continue at current levels (Datamonitor 2005).

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The global hotel and motel industry generated total revenues of $ 488.6 billion in 2006, this represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9 percent for the five-year period spanning 2002-2006. In comparison, the Asia-Pacific and European industries grew with CAGR of 4.8% and 3.5% over the same period, to reach respective values of $96 billion and $204 billion in 2006 (Datamonitor 2005).

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The domestic consumer segment is still the industry’s most lucrative in 2006, generating total revenues of $321.5 billion, equivalent to 65.8% of the industry’s overall value. The international segment contributed revenues of $93.7 billion in 2006, which accounts to 19.2% of the industry’s aggregate revenues (Datamonitor 2005).

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Europe is the leading region in the global hotels and motels industry, forming 41.8% of the industry’s market value. United States follows Europe accounting for 27.4% of the market value. However, the Asia-Pacific region is the lucrative market moving forward. Industry experts expect the Asia-Pacific region to grow CAGR of 6.2% to reach $129.6 billion by 2011 (Datamonitor 2005).

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Moving forward, the global hotel and motel industry is expected to grow to $ 640.9 billion by 2011 at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6%. This is also an increase of 31.2% since 2006 (Datamonitor 2005).

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According to Griffin and Herres (2002), a loyal customer is someone who exhibits the following behavior: 1) makes regular purchases; 2) purchases across product and service lines; 3) refers others; and 3) demonstrates immunity to the pull of competition (p. 34). The further note that these behavioral indicators have a noteworthy commonality, and that is, they all help enhance sales.

Griffin and Herres (2002) further point out that winning the loyalty of customers transpires in phases or stages. First, is the stage of suspecting where the seller has a gut feeling that a client might purchase the product or the service, but we are not certain of this. In stage two which is prospecting, this does not remain to be a hunch as one is aware that the individual has reason to purchase the product or service. The customer may have read or heard about the offering through advertisement or word of mouth. They may also be aware of the location and of the merchandise or service but have not had the experience of buying. In stage three, which is the disqualified prospect, is when an individual realizes that he can do away without the product or service, or that he cannot afford to buy it. Stage four is the first time customer, one who has bought the product or service for the first time. The succeeding stage is the repeat customer, who are those who have availed of what one offers for two more times or greater. Stage six is the client, who is a regular customer who has a strong sustained association with the entity. Stage seven is advocacy where the person purchases most if not all of what is offered and does this on a regular basis. Moreover, they also inform others of what the entity offers.

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Methodology

Research Design

This study employs a quantitative research design. Quantitative methods have a number of attractions for the inexperienced researcher. The main attraction is that they appear to be clearer cut, with more obvious boundaries around the data collection phase. However, there are also disadvantages. To meet the requirements of the underlying philosophy of this approach the research instrument must be scientifically respectable. Chisnall (1997) makes the point that the development of the research instrument must incorporate rigorous design, administrative control and clerical accuracy. Also, if there is to be any subtlety of analysis it will be necessary for the research to be moderately large scale. Malhotra ; Birks (1999) suggests samples of 100’s or 1000’s are required if reliable results are to be produced. They further suggest that the quantitative philosophy leads to a preference for the use of written multiple choice questionnaires and surveys, and the statistical analysis of the results.

On the other hand, the qualitative research approach is based on a “world view” which is holistic and has the following beliefs: (1) there is not a single reality; (2) reality based upon perceptions that are different for each person and change over time;  and (3) what we know has meaning only within a given situation or context. The reasoning process used in qualitative research involves perceptually putting pieces together to make wholes. From this process meaning is produced. However, because perception varies with the individual, many different meanings are possible. The present study uses a deductive approach, capturing a blueprint that enables the researcher to structure a research problem in such a way that the outcome is the production of valid, objective and replicable answers (Chisnall, 1997; Cohen ; Manion, 1989).

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The current study utilizes a deductive research design. Quantitative data shall be gathered through a self-constructed instrument assessing the two hotels’ loyalty factors. Qualitative data shall also be gathered to supplement the quantitative data answering all issues related to customer loyalty strategies of Marbella Club Hotel and NH Alanda.

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Procedure

Secondary research were reviewed by academic, journalistic and relevant literature and why they will be relevant to the investigation including theoretical literature on relationship marketing. A review of the marketing literature was conducted, gathering past literature on relationship marketing in the macro-micro environment in order to develop research hypotheses. Primary research data will be gathered from survey questionnaires deployed to through a street questionnaire. Only those who have had at least experienced the services of either NH Alanda or Marbella Club Hotel will have the chance to participate in the study. This was done by asking the assistance of field researchers based in Spain to personally hand out the questionnaires to the respondents, with due permission solicited from both hotels. The duration for data gathering was two weeks. The primary data gathered shall be analyzed by extracting themes from the interviewer’s responses. A total of 65 respondents participated for each hotel.
Instrument

The questionnaire has been self-constructed, dealing with various customer loyalty dimensions used by either hotel. The instrument was content and face validated. This was pilot tested with at least 3 respondents to ensure clarity of phrasing and consistency of content / flow.

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These close-ended questions had fixed options given for each, and the respondent simply checked which option/s is applicable for him/her. Close-ended questions are questions that the researcher provides, and which may be accomplished by putting a check mark on a box or by encircling a response that corresponds to your choice. Oppenheim (1992) suggests these questions are straightforward and thus easier and quicker to answer; they are very useful in testing specific hypothesis. Most probably, they shall be utilized in the beginning of the investigation, since the unrestricted responses they attract create a better picture of the survey for the researcher. The main advantage of this kind of question is its ability to obtain a summated value.

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As Chisnall (1997) suggests that mail questionnaire is a predetermined set of questions that is sent to a predetermined sample. Its advantages over other methods include its low price, reassured anonymity, confidentiality, its large target scope and its ability to keep certain standards. Mail questionnaires are advantageous when responses have to be obtained from a sample that is geographically dispersed, or it is difficult or not possible to conduct telephone interviews to obtain the same data without much expense. Respondents can take more time to respond at convenience. However, the return rates of mail questionnaires are typically low. A 30% response rate is considered acceptable. Another disadvantage of the mail questionnaire is that any doubts the respondents might have cannot be clarified. Another disadvantage is the restriction to verbal behavior; answers must be accepted as written without the benefit of additional explanations which interviewers could obtain by probing questions, and overall lack of control on the settings of the research (Chisnall, 1997). Because of these constraints, the researcher decided to personally administer the tool to the respondents.

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It was finally decided that the self-administered questionnaire would be used for the purposes of this research. This was attributed to limitations in monetary funds and time, as well as the fact the entire preparation, administration and final discussion had to be solely assessed by the researcher. Because of constraints on the location of the researcher, he shall solicit the assistance of field assistants who shall deploy the instrument to patrons of the two hotels.

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There are some strong advantages that set out the self-administered questionnaire over other data collection techniques (Bryman, 1992). When compared to the mail questionnaire, the chosen method secures a higher response rate and costs less. The first of these advantages can be attributed to the fact that it is handed out in person, and that the interviewer is present. As a result, the overall atmosphere is warmer, friendlier and less impersonal. Additionally, because of the presence of the interviewer, the participants are accorded a wider scope of clarity. If anything is not clear in the questionnaire, the researcher can clarify a particular question, achieving a higher degree of accuracy and consequently more reliable responses (Burrell ; Morgan, 1994). With regard to the second advantage, the selected method can be followed at a comparatively low cost, as there is no demand for trained staff but solely the cost of printing the actual questionnaire forms (Bryman, 1992; Burrell ; Morgan, 1994).

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Results

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Marbella Club Hotel Descriptive Statistics

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Table 1. Frequency and percentage distribution of whether or not the respondent has visited the hotel more than once  in the past (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Response
Frequency
Percentage
Yes
43
66.15%
No
22
33.85%
Total
65
100.00%
When asked whether they have visited the Marbella Club Hotel more than once in the past, 43 (66.15%) of the respondents said yes, while 22 (33.85%) responded no.

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Table 2. Frequency of visiting the hotel (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Response
Frequency
Percentage
Never
9
13.85%
Rarely
32
49.23%
Sometimes
21
32.31%
Always
0
0.00%
Total
65
100.00%
For the frequency with which they visit the hotel, 9 (13.85%) of the respondents said they had never visited previously; 32 (49.23%) said they rarely visit; 21 (32.31%) expressed they sometimes visit; while none always visited.

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Table 3. Amenities frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
2.65
0.51
2
21
32.31%

3
43
66.15%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

Amenities garnered an average of 2.65. Majority of the respondents (43 respondents of 66.15%) expressed that the hotel met their expectations in terms of facilities; while 21 or 32.31% said it met some of their expectations; while 1 respondent said that the dimension needed improvement.

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Table 4. Cleanliness frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.49
0.50
2
33
50.77%

3
32
49.23%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

For the dimension cleanliness,  the computed mean was 2.49. Almost equal percentages of respondents said their expectations were either met (32 or 49.23%) or only some of these were met (33 or 50.77%). All the other responses yielded 0.00%.

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Table 5. Ambience frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.58
0.50
2
27
41.54%

3
38
58.46%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

Similar to the pattern of responses for cleanliness, ambience garnered an average of 2.58. with majority of the responses falling into the expectations met category (38 or 58.46%). Twenty seven (41.54%) expressed that some of their expectations were met. All other categories yielded 0.00% response rates.

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Table 6. Entertainment frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
4.26
0.87
2
4
6.15%

3
0
0.00%

4
32
49.23%

5
28
43.08%

Total
65
100.00%

Entertainment received a relatively high average at 4.26. Majority of the respondents (32 or 49.23%) said that most of their expectations were met, while 28 (43.08%) said that this dimension was outstanding. Four (6.15%) of the respondents said that only some of their expectations were met, while 1 (1.54%) expressed that this dimension needed improvement.

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Table 7. Food quantity frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.51
0.50
2
32
49.23%

3
33
50.77%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

For food quantity, the average was 2.51, with majority of the respondents (33 or 50.77%) responding that their expectations with the dimension were met; 32 (49.23%) said that their expectations were sometimes met. All other response categories garnered 0.00% response rates.

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Table 8. Food quality frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.58
0.50
2
27
41.54%

3
38
58.46%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

The average for food quality is 2.58. More than half of the respondents (38 or 58.46%) expressed that their expectations on the dimension were met; 27 respondents said that only some of their expectations were met. The remaining response categories did not yield any response.

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Table 9. Attentiveness frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
2.57
0.53
2
26
40.00%

3
38
58.46%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

For attentiveness, the average was 2.57. The category met expectations received the most number of responses (38 or 58.46%). Twenty-six (40.00%) said that some of their expectations were met, while 1 respondent (1.54%) expressed that this dimension needed improvement.

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Table 10. Efficiency frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.57
0.50
2
28
43.08%

3
37
56.92%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

Efficiency received a mean rating of 2.57. Most of the respondents (37 or 56.92%) expressed that their expectations on the dimension were met, while 28 (or 43.08%) said that only some of their expectations on the dimension were addressed. All other dimensions yielded 0.00% response rates.

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Table 11. Gaming facilities frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.52
0.50
2
31
47.69%

3
34
52.31%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

Gaming facilities garnered an average score of 2.52. More than half of the respondents (34 or 52.31%) concur that their expectations on this dimension were met; 31 (or 47.69%) expressed that only some of their expectations were addressed. The remaining response categories garnered 0.00% response rates.

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Table 12. General staff attitudes frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
2.46
0.53
2
33
50.77%

3
31
47.69%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

General staff attitudes has a mean of 2.46. Almost half of the respondents (33 or 50.77% said that only some of their expectations on the dimension were met; 31 (or 47.69%) expressed that their expectations were met. Only 1 respondent (1.54%) said that the hotel needed improvement on this dimension.

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Table 13. Staff grooming frequency and percentage distribution (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
2.51
0.50
2
32
49.23%

3
33
50.77%

4
0
0.00%

5
0
0.00%

Total
65
100.00%

For staff grooming, the average was 2.51. Half of the respondents (33 or 50.77%) said that their expectations on the dimension were met. Thirty two or 49.23% expressed that only some of their expectations on the dimension were addressed. All other remaining categories yielded 0.00% response rates.

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Table 13a. Frequency and percentage distribution of willingness to visit the hotel again (Marbella Club Hotel).

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Response
Frequency
Percentage
Yes
43
66.15%
No
22
33.85%
Total
65
100.00%
For willingness of respondent to visit the hotel again, 43 (66.15%) of the respondents expressed that they are willing, while 22 (33.85%) said they were not willing to visit the Marbella Club Hotel in the future.

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NH Alanda Descriptive Statistics

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Table 14. Frequency and percentage distribution of whether or not the respondent has visited the hotel more than once  in the past (NH Alanda).

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Response
Frequency
Percentage
Yes
58
89.23%
No
7
10.77%
Total
65
100.00%
When asked whether they have flown with Marbella Club Hotel in the past through the Cagayan de Oro / Cebu route, 58 (89.23%) of the respondents said yes, while 7 (10.77%) responded no.

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Table 15. Frequency of visiting the hotel (NH Alanda).

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Response
Frequency
Percentage
Never
7
10.77%
Rarely
13
20.00%
Sometimes
23
35.38%
Always
17
26.15%
Total
65
100.00%
For the frequency with which they fly, 7 (10.77%) of the respondents said they had never flown previously; 13 (20.00%) said they rarely fly; 23 (35.38%) expressed they sometimes fly; while 17 (26.15%) always flew.

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Table 16. Amenities frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
4.12
1.02
2
4
6.15%

3
12
18.46%

4
17
26.15%

5
31
47.69%

Total
65
100.00%

For amenities, the mean was 4.12. Majority of the respondents (31 or 47.69%) expressed that they found this dimension outstanding. Seventeen respondents (26.15%) said that the dimension exceeded their expectations. Twelve respondents (18.46%) agree  that their expectations were met; 4 (6.15%) said that only some of their expectations were met. Lastly, one respondent (1.54%) said that this area needed improvement.

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Table 17. Cleanliness frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.03
0.90
2
5
7.69%

3
10
15.38%

4
28
43.08%

5
22
33.85%

Total
65
100.00%

For the dimension cleanliness, the average was 4.03. Most of the respondents (28 or 43.08%) said that their expectations on the dimension were exceeded; 22 (33.85%) evaluated this dimension as outstanding; 10 (15.38%) responded that it met their expectations;  5 (7.69%) expressed that only some of their expectations were met; none of the respondents gauged it as an improvement area.

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Table 18. Ambience frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.28
0.80
2
2
3.08%

3
8
12.31%

4
25
38.46%

5
30
46.15%

Total
65
100.00%

Ambience received a mean rating of 4.28. Thirty (46.15%) said that the dimension was outstanding; 25 (38.46%) expressed that it exceeded their expectations; 8 (12.31%) responded that it met their expectations; 2 (3.08%) said that only some of their expectations were met; while none assessed it as an improvement area.

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Table 19. Entertainment frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
4.17
0.94
2
4
6.15%

3
6
9.23%

4
26
40.00%

5
28
43.08%

Total
65
100.00%

The dimension entertainment yielded a mean score of 4.17. Twenty eight (43.08%) said that the dimension was outstanding; 26 (40.00%) said that it exceeded their expectations; 6 (9.23%) expressed that it met their expectations; 4 (6.15%) said that only some of their expectations were met; while 1 (1.54%) expressed that it needs improvement.

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Table 20. Food quantity frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.20
0.89
2
5
7.69%

3
5
7.69%

4
27
41.54%

5
28
43.08%

Total
65
100.00%

Food quantity received an overall mean rating of 4.20. Majority of the respondents (28 or 43.08%) said that the dimension is outstanding; 27 (41.54%) expressed that it exceeded their expectations; met expectations and met some expectations received 5 responses each (7.69%); while none though that the dimension needed improvement.

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Table 21. Food quality frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.15
0.94
2
5
7.69%

3
9
13.85%

4
22
33.85%

5
29
44.62%

Total
65
100.00%

Food quality yielded an average of 4.15. Majority of the respondents (29 or 44.62%) said that the dimension was outstanding; 22 (33.85%) expressed that it exceeded their expectations; 9 (13.85%) responded that it met their expectations; 5 (7.69%) expressed that only some of their expectations were met; none thought of it as an improvement area.

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Table 22. Attentiveness frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
4.11
1.05
2
6
9.23%

3
8
12.31%

4
20
30.77%

5
30
46.15%

Total
65
100.00%

For attentiveness, the mean rating was 4.11. Thirty (46.15%) of the respondents assessed the dimension as outstanding; 20 (30.77%) assessed that it as exceeding their expectations; 8 (12.31%) responded that it met their expectations; 6 (9.23%) said that only some of their expectations were met; 1 respondent (1.54%) said that it was an improvement area.

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Table 23. Efficiency frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.23
0.95
2
6
9.23%

3
5
7.69%

4
22
33.85%

5
32
49.23%

Total
65
100.00%

Efficiency garnered an overall mean rating of 4.23. Nearly half of the respondents (32 or 49.23%) evaluated it as outstanding; 22 (33.85%) gauged it as exceeding their expectations; 6 (9.23%) said that only some of their expectations were met; none assessed it as an improvement area.

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Table 24. Gaming facilities frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.18
0.90
2
5
7.69%

3
6
9.23%

4
26
40.00%

5
28
43.08%

Total
65
100.00%

For the dimension gaming facilities, the mean rating was 4.18. Majority of the respondents (28 or 43.08%) said the dimension was outstanding; 26 (40.00%) expressed that it exceeded their expectations; 6 (9.23%) said that it met their expectations; 5 (7.29%) said that only some of their expectations were met; none of the respondents evaluated it as an improvement area.

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Table 25. General staff attitudes frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
1
1.54%
4.03
0.97
2
5
7.69%

3
8
12.31%

4
28
43.08%

5
23
35.38%

Total
65
100.00%

For general staff attitudes, the mean rating is 4.03. Majority of the respondents (28 or 43.08%) said that it exceeded their expectations; 23 (35.38%) said that the dimension was outstanding; 8 (or 12.31%) expressed that it met their expectations; 5 (7.69%) respondents responded that it met some of its expectations; while 1 (1.54%) said that it needs improvement.

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Table 26. Staff grooming frequency and percentage distribution (NH Alanda).

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Rating
Frequency
Percentage
Average
Standard Deviation
1
0
0.00%
4.14
0.86
2
4
6.15%

3
8
12.31%

4
28
43.08%

5
25
38.46%

Total
65
100.00%

The mean for staff grooming was 4.14. Twenty eight respondents (43.08%) said that the dimension exceeded their expectations; 5 (38.46%) responded that the dimension was outstanding; 8 (12.31%) responded that it met their expectations; 4 (6.15%) assessed it as meeting only some of their expectations; while none evaluated it as an improvement area.

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Table 26a. Frequency and percentage distribution of willingness to visit the hotel again (NH Alanda).

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Response
Frequency
Percentage
Yes
62
95.38%
No
3
4.62%
Total
65
100.00%
For NH Alanda passengers’ willingness to visit the hotel again, 62 (95.38%) responded yes, while 3 (4.62%) replied no.

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Comparison of Loyalty Dimensions

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Table 27. Loyalty dimensions of Marbella Club Hotel and NH Alanda.

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Customer Loyalty Dimension
Marbella Club Hotel average
Marbella Club Hotel standard deviation
NH Alanda average
NH Alanda standard deviation
t
p
Amenities
2.65
0.51
4.12
1.02
-18.51
0.00
Cleanliness
2.49
0.50
4.03
0.90
-20.52
0.00
Ambience
2.58
0.50
4.28
0.80
-23.68
0.00
Entertainment
4.26
0.87
4.17
0.94
0.76
0.56
Food quantity
2.51
0.50
4.20
0.89
-22.68
0.00
Food quality
2.58
0.50
4.15
0.94
-20.88
0.00
Attentiveness
2.57
0.53
4.11
1.05
-18.64
0.00
Efficiency
2.57
0.50
4.23
0.95
-21.94
0.00
Gaming facilities
2.52
0.50
4.18
0.90
-22.19
0.00
General staff attitudes
2.46
0.53
4.03
0.97
-19.50
0.00
Staff grooming
2.51
0.50
4.14
0.86
-22.05
0.00
A comparison of the loyalty dimensions of the questionnaire shows that NH Alanda had significantly higher means that Marbella Club Hotel on all facets, except entertainment (t=.76, p;.05). NH Alanda yielded higher averages on the following dimensions: amenities (t=-18.51, p;.05); cleanliness (-20.52, p;.05); ambience (t=-23.68, p;.05); food quantity (t=-22.68, p;.05); food quality (t=-20.88, p;.05); attentiveness (t = -18.64, p;.05); efficiency (t=-21.94, p;.05); gaming facilities (t= -22.19, p;.05); general staff attitudes (t=-19.50, p;.05); and staff grooming (t=-22.05, p;.05).

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Correlations of Customer Loyalty Dimensions with Willingness to Visit the Hotel

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Table 28. Interpretation of correlation coefficients.

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Degrees of Freedom
Probability, p

0.05
0.01
0.001
1
0.997
1.000
1.000
2
0.950
0.990
0.999
3
0.878
0.959
0.991
4
0.811
0.917
0.974
5
0.755
0.875
0.951
6
0.707
0.834
0.925
7
0.666
0.798
0.898
8
0.632
0.765
0.872
9
0.602
0.735
0.847
10
0.576
0.708
0.823
11
0.553
0.684
0.801
12
0.532
0.661
0.780
13
0.514
0.641
0.760
14
0.497
0.623
0.742
15
0.482
0.606
0.725
16
0.468
0.590
0.708
17
0.456
0.575
0.693
18
0.444
0.561
0.679
19
0.433
0.549
0.665
20
0.423
0.457
0.652
25
0.381
0.487
0.597
30
0.349
0.449
0.554
35
0.325
0.418
0.519
40
0.304
0.393
0.490
45
0.288
0.372
0.465
50
0.273
0.354
0.443
60
0.250
0.325
0.408
70
0.232
0.302
0.380
80
0.217
0.283
0.357
90
0.205
0.267
0.338
100
0.195
0.254
0.321
* Adapted from “Correlation and regression analysis for curve fitting”, http://helios.bto.ed.ac.uk/bto/statistics/table6.html#Correlation%20coefficient

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Table 29. Point-biserial correlation coefficients of customer loyalty dimensions.

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Customer Loyalty Dimension
Marbella Club Hotel r-value
Air Phil r-value
Amenities
-0.11
0.11
Cleanliness
0.31**
0.09
Ambience
0.06
0.08
Entertainment
0.14
0.04
Food quantity
-0.05
0.22*
Food quality
-0.01
0.19*
Attentiveness
-0.03
0.16
Efficiency
0.03
0.21*
Gaming facilities
0.10
0.21*
General staff attitudes
0.19*
0.16
Staff grooming
0.01
0.12
*tested at the .05 level of significance

**tested at the .01 level of significance

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The dimensions which are correlated with willingness to visit Marbella Club Hotel are cleanliness (r=.31, p;.01), and general staff attitudes (r=.19, p;.05). Whereas for patrons of NH Alanda, the significantly correlated dimensions are  food quantity (r=.22, p;.05); food quality (r=.19, p;.05); efficiency (r=.21, p;.05); and gaming facilities (r=.21, p;.05).

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Discussion

;

Customer Loyalty Dimensions of Marbella Club Hotel

;

The present study demonstrates that the patrons of Marbella Club Hotel evaluated most of its customer loyalty factors as below satisfactory, since most of the averages computed were below 3.0. This means that its passengers are not satisfied with its service delivery on most dimensions, but more particularly with general staff attitudes, staff grooming and food quantity. As one interviewee expresses, “There is a need for them to improve in terms of attending to their customers, because hotels which belong to big chains seem to be better at the task.” Another respondent expresses, “They should also check the food servings, and should be keen with both quantity and quality of what they serve.” One other interviewee stresses, “I have noticed one staff who seem very serious. They should be taught how to smile more during training. She may have had a bad day, but the service encounter is the only moment she has to delight the customer.”

On the other hand, its highest means are entertainment, food quality, and amenities.  While the improvement of food quantity is directly within the control of management, other more critical factors such as general staff attitudes and staff grooming are directly influenced by the staff themselves. The lack of satisfaction of respondents on their staff influenced dimensions may suggest lack of training. Marbella Club Hotel may reconsider on heavily investing on staff development and training to enable staff members to stay focused and constantly improve their performance (Smith, 2005). Such training may help them avoid complacency and keep crewmembers capable of handling critical incidents. It also gives the hotel a distinct advantage. This shows that continuous learning and development assist people in doing their jobs; this then helps individuals improve their potential. It may potentially allow Marbella Club Hotel to stay ahead of its competition while other carriers are cutting back.

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Customer Loyalty Dimensions of NH Alanda

;

Respondents of  NH Alanda evaluated most of the dimensions as exceeding their expectations, since majority of these areas garnered greater than 4.00 averages, especially on the areas of ambience, efficiency, and food quantity. On the contrary, the lowest rated dimensions are general staff attitudes, cleanliness, and attentiveness. One respondent says, “They attend to my concerns quickly and they really exhibit care for the customer.” An interviewer also said, “I am content with their service and I feel that I got what I paid for. Of course, there remains to be areas for improvement.”

;

Because its customers seem extremely satisfied with its services, this suggests that NH Alanda may want to sustain their niche by innovation and change. They may consider benchmarking with other service industries such as hotels and restaurants to make its service more comfortable, convenient, and creative (Smith, 2005). These means also indicate that the company already has a strong service orientation, which it may further reinforce by consistent communication about customer service initiatives and by rewarding exceptional customer service behavior (Smith, 2005).

;

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Comparative Data for the Two Hotels

;

Statistical comparisons of the loyalty dimensions of the customer loyalty questionnaire suggest that NH Alanda had significantly higher means that Marbella Club Hotel on all facets, except entertainment which garnered nonsignificant results.

;

Using the point-biserial correlation coefficient, the dimensions which are correlated with willingness to visit Marbella Club Hotel are cleanliness and general staff attitudes. This suggests that other than customer service, Marbella Club Hotel may want to go back to the basics of sanitation and greeting customers with a smile – which still matter, particularly for the respondents of Marbella Club Hotel.

On the other hand, for respondents of NH Alanda, the significantly correlated dimensions are  food quantity, food quality, efficiency, and gaming facilities. Among these dimensions, those that cabin crew have direct influence on are efficiency and gaming facilities.   Efficiency may have direct bearing on the way they address the different concerns and issues of their customers; to carry this out they must listen to customers, and analyze all feedback they get before immediately acting on them; moreover, they must have the mentality of always exceeding customers’ expectations (Hatch, 2000). This is especially applicable to direct customer interactions, as a personalized, positive experience is a very strong determinant of customer satisfaction in the hotel industry (Anderson ; Widener, in [email protected], 2005).

The management of NH Alanda may want to consider ways of reinforcing and rewarding exceptional customer service behavior. Excellent service is a learned behavior requiring constant reinforcement and recognition. Unless an organization develops systems and processes to reward and recognize the behavior it needs for success, it will never get it. NH Alanda may want to reward exceptional performance with increased pay and promotions. Moreover, it may also give out distinguished awards related to superior acts of customer service. These are effective culture building tools (Smith, 2000).

;

Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations

;

Summary of Findings

;

The current study determined that the customers of Marbella Club Hotel assessed most of its customer loyalty dimensions as below satisfactory, since most of the means yielded were below 3.0, except for entertainment which garnered a mean score of 4.26. The highest dimensions for Marbella Club Hotel are entertainment, food quality, and amenities.  On the contrary, the lowest rated dimensions are general staff attitudes, staff grooming and food quantity. Meanwhile, passengers of  NH Alanda evaluated most of the dimensions as exceeding their expectations, since most of these yielded greater than 4.00 means. The top three dimensions are ambience, efficiency, and food quantity. On the other hand, the lowest rated dimensions are general staff attitudes, cleanliness, and attentiveness.

;

When compared using the t-test for two independent groups, the loyalty dimensions of the questionnaire show that NH Alanda had significantly higher means than Marbella Club Hotel on all facets, except entertainment which garnered nonsignificant results.

;

Using the point-biserial correlation coefficient, the dimensions which are correlated with willingness to visit with Marbella Club Hotel are cleanliness and general staff attitudes. On the other hand, for respondents of NH Alanda, the significantly correlated dimensions are  food quantity, food quality, efficiency, and gaming facilities.

;

Conclusions

;

The researcher concludes that Marbella Club Hotel needs to improve on most of the customer dimensions to be able to meet or even exceed the expectations of its customers. On the other hand, while NH Alanda already exceeds the expectations of its customers on most facets, it must strive to maintain this status and focus on the areas with the lowest means. The comparative data shows that customers of NH Alanda are more satisfied on all customer loyalty dimensions, including amenities, cleanliness, ambience, food quantity, food quality, attentiveness, efficiency, gaming facilities, general staff attitudes, and staff grooming. A lone area for improvement would be entertainment which yielded nonsignificant results.

;

Marbella Club Hotel should leverage on sanitation and general staff attitudes because these are given high premium by their patrons. On the other hand, NH Alanda ought to put to their advantage the dimensions of food quantity, food quality, efficiency,  and gaming facilities, because these were significantly correlated with willingness to visit the hotel again.

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;

Recommendations

;

The researcher puts forth the following recommendations on the basis of the study’s results and their analysis:

;

1.)                Both hotels should review their lowest scoring dimensions, and establish means of improving these, especially those that strongly influence customer patronage;

2.)                Marbella Club Hotel ought to benchmark on customer best practices of competitor hotels to enable them to improve their own customer service portfolio;

3.)                For the management of both hotels to build a very strong culture of service, especially among hotel staff;

4.)                For both hotels to consider institutionalizing the Customer Loyalty Questionnaire to be able to track customer satisfaction trends in the long term;

5.)                Consider greater number of respondents, and getting samples from other locations to get a more representative view of satisfaction;

6.)                For future researchers to adopt more systematic research designs in undertaking similar studies, such as path analysis to discover variables that moderate the relationship between patronage and customer loyalty dimensions; or analysis of variance to allow comparison of dimensions with 3 or more hotels, among others.

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References

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“Correlation and regression analysis for curve fitting.” Retrieved on May 16, 2007 from http://helios.bto.ed.ac.uk/bto/statistics/table6.html#Correlation%20coefficient

Blattberg, R. ; Deighton, J. (1996). Manage Marketing by the Customer Equity Test. Harvard Business Review, July/August, 136-144.

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Burrell, G. ; Morgan, J. (1994). Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis: Elements of Sociology of Corporate Life. London: Heineman.

Chisnall, P. M. (1997). Marketing research (5th edn.), Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.

Christopher, M., Clark, M., Payne, A., and Peck, H. (1999), Relationship Marketing: Strategy and Implementation, Butterworth-Heinemann, Jordan Hill, Oxford.

Christopher, M., Payne, A., ; Ballantyne, D. (1991). Relationship marketing. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

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Appendix A – Customer Loyalty Questionnaire

;

Dear Valued Hotel Patron,

;

Greetings! This survey is being conducted to determine the factors that affect customer loyalty to a hotel. In submitting this form, rest assured that all responses shall be used for academic purposes only and that your identity shall remain confidential. You may withdraw participation at any point you so decide.

;

Kind regards.

g.) Gaming facilities

h) General staff attitudes

;

I.                   Demographics

;

Gender

? Male ? Female

;

Age

? ;25 years old  ? 25-35 years old  ? 36-45 years old  ? ;45 years old

;

;

II.                Loyalty Factors

;

Have you visited this hotel more than once in the past?

___ Yes   ____ No

;

How often do you visit this hotel?

4 – Always      3 – Sometimes     2 – Rarely     1 – Never

;

Rate the extent to which the following factors determine your choice of patronizing a given hotel.

;

Amenities
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Cleanliness
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Ambience
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Entertainment
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Food quantity
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Food quality
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Staff attentiveness
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Efficiency
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Gaming facilities
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

General staff attitudes
5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

11. Staff grooming

5 – Very Strong Influence    4 – Strong Influence      3 – Moderate Influence

2 – Weak Influence     1 – Not an Influence at All

;

Are you willing to go back to this hotel?

___ Yes   ____ No

;

***END OF SURVEY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ***

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;