Gap Analysis for Hilton Hotel

Introduction

The hotel industry is one of the most prolific industries in Australia due to its presence in society and, the impact it has on the nation’s economy. Advances in technology since the end of the 20th Century have allowed the service market of a hotel to develop rapidly (Hilton Melbourne South Wharf 2012). The Hilton Hotel provides us with a satisfactory example of a major player in Australia’s hotel industry.

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This report will critically examine aspects of surveying patrons of Hilton hotels with the aim of identifying service ‘gaps’ for management to address. With the service gaps identified and corrective action taken this will allow Hilton Hotels to remain competitive and be the hotel of choice for the business customer.

Marketing objectives of the research

Hilton hotel management have identified the following business objectives and require qualitative and quantitative research to provide credible data for the implementation of potential solutions to address these issues. Research objectives required by Hilton Hotel management include the need to survey business customers in particular and determine areas for improvement. One of the main aims of management is to place Hilton Hotels at the forefront of the business traveller mind for executive and business related services.

As part of the Hilton Hotel commitment to continuous customer improvement strategies management want to gauge the strengths and weaknesses that the following service areas display. Hotel management wish to discover the level of customer satisfaction with the following services,  Rooms, Housekeeping, Food and beverage, Corporate and Business service, Conference facilities. In addition customer research will compare Hilton hotels with a major competitor.

This information will better palace Hilton Hotels to be more responsive to the requirements of the business guest, improve hotel check-in and check-out times, improve the standard of food and beverage and plan for the upgrade of business and internet facilities. Using a gap analysis management will be able to focus on the necessary requirements to improve our star rating, increase room occupancy rates and increase productivity whilst decreasing costs.

Information require to fulfil the marketing objectives

As defined in the marketing objective, Hilton Hotel will be based mainly on ensuring that what areas of service that still need to be improved in relation to determine the level of customer satisfaction. However, attention must be paid to the potential areas of service that may need improvement. Firstly, we should conduct a research to obtain the right information to fulfil marketing objectives. Then, we need to ensure information and outcome gained from our research are strongly related to specific business needs.

It means that we need to understand the customers’ expectations of the service in correlation to their current level of satisfaction. Therefore, we will be able to identify and understand our current position in certain areas of service. From this information, we can feasibly obtain a potential successful outcome. Finally, we can also determine the possible number of improvements that may help the business to advance. In this case, we may conduct a hotel survey with its objective to improve specific services and facilities.

Zikmund&Babin (2009, p. 6) suggest ‘business research process’ follows linear sequences of actions:

  • Idea development,
  • Problem definition,
  • Collecting information,
  • Analysing data,
  • Communicating findings.

It is in the first two steps of the business research process where an organisation would seek to understand what may be called the “information gap”. The lack of knowledge disrupts an organization to achieve its goal. One method for deriving this information gap is known as “gap analysis”.

In the case of the Melbourne Hilton Hotel gap analysis; these are the following areas of service that will be observed in order to improve the company’s reputation and leading to a greater market share: * Front office experience * Business and leisure facilities * Food and beverage service * Accessibility * Room and housekeeping service Essentially, the marketing manager will seek to understand how a competitive advantage may be gained over other competitors (Lemon et al 2002). Figure 1 shows that Hilton Hotel Corporation is one of the leading hotels in the world.

Nevertheless, as a newer hotel in Melbourne, Hilton is facing some serious challenges from competitors such as Grand Hyatt Melbourne and Sheraton Melbourne. Grand Hyatt Melbourne has completed its four year refurbishment project. Meanwhile, Sheraton Melbourne Hotel will launch a new full service as part of a 2013 development, combining hotel services with up-market residences and boutique retail (Melbourne Planner’s Guide 2011-2012, 2011). It is critical for Melbourne Hilton Hotel to understand visitors’ wants in order to satisfy visitors.

In addition, Melbourne Hilton Hotel needs to have a good understanding of the competition in order to respond the challenges from competitors. Measuring expectations, importance and satisfaction, performance is at the heart of the gap analysis approach (Zeithaml et al 1996). The research must focus on the main target of Hilton Hotel and the research output need to be interpreted well in order to drive change in the hotel. The gap analysis has to cover some of these aspects to give us an understanding of:

  • The areas of hotel service that the guests believe are crucial in making their stay satisfying.
  • The performance of Hilton in each area.
  • The performance of competitors in each area.

Such information might be illustrated after research is complete, on a service gap chart, as follows: This sample data bases on customer review by 260 business person at Hilton Melbourne South Wharf (Hilton Melbourne South Wharf 2012). If it’s accurate, then some great insight into areas of improvement and priority could be provided. Hilton Hotel meets the level of guest expectation in accessibility.  Lower performance than competitors and does not meet the guest expectation in business facilities.

Some business person complains that they have to pay extra money for the internet although it is a luxury room (Hilton Melbourne South Wharf 2012). By plotting these results in a SWOT chart below, the Hilton’s management can approach improvement with a view to value. The management has decided that areas with a HIGH guest importance, in which the hotel manages competing at a LOW or MID level, should be addressed first. Food and beverage Front Office Room and House Keeping Accessibility Business Facilities. By interpreting the collected data in such ways, Hilton will be able to take steps towards its goals, as well as measure its progress along the way.

Considerations in the Research Process

The market research process involves the stages of data interpretation, organisation and collection. “The stages in the research process throw up generic considerations that are relevant to a wide variety of research projects (Szymanski et al 2001). The specific research focus/problem area is most likely to be one of the key research areas” (Nayeem 2012).

The research will focus on the effort to minimise the risk of potential research failure for Melbourne Hilton Hotel Survey. To identifying the problems and needs for the research is to be conduct. This includes collecting of relevant information and how this information will affect the decision making process. (Stages in Market Research Process2012)

The Research Approach and Methodology

Data collection approach should be used as key considerations for achieving the marketing goals and objective of the research, the data collection approach will present some pitfalls to the Marketing Manager. Data Collecting Method

  • Primary data. The primary data of this research were gathered via survey distribution to Melbourne Hilton Hotel, in-depth interviews with survey respondents as a follow-up. The surveys were distributed at the Melbourne Hilton Hotel front desk and website. The in-depth interviews focused on gathering the customer/guests’ opinions about Melbourne Hilton Hotel service. The interviewsoperated with open-ended questions to solicit suggestions from the interviewees.
  • Secondary data. In order to understand the nature of Hotel industry in Melbourne, secondary data were collected from various sources including travel magazine, official government websites associated with Melbourne Hotel, journal-related Hilton Hotel, and textbooks about Marketing research.

Questionnaire Design

According to Malhotra (2004, p. 176), “A questionnaire is a formalized set of questions for obtaining information from respondents. The overriding objective is to translate the researcher’s information needs into a set of specific questions that respondents are willing and able to answer. Questionnaire is important because it allows for the collection of qualitative and quantitative data from a market survey.

Also a questionnaire enables data to be collected in a standardized way, therefore allows for the data to be analyse in a coherent and logical format. Questionnaire design is important to the survey process becausethe formation of the good questions can accurately measure the experiences, opinions and behaviours of the hotel’s guest. Designing the questionnaire is complex and multi stage process as surveys can covermany topics in varying degrees of detail.

Questions can be asked in different ways, and questions asked earlier in a survey may affect how hotel’s guest response to the questionnaire. Marketing researchers must be attentive in measuring change over time and therefore must be aware of how behaviours or opinions have been measured in previous surveys. Moreover, questionnaire design has no theoretical base to lead the marketing researcher in developing a complete questionnaire. All the researcher has to suggest them is a lengthy list of do’s and do not’s born out of the experience of other researchers past and present. Thus, questionnaire design is more of an art than a science.

Siniscalco and Auriat (2005, p. 22) states that “Two important aspects of questionnaire design are the structure of the questions and the decisions on the types of response formats for each question”. Survey questions can be classified into two structures: closed and open-ended question.

Customer Target and Sample

Define framework by enforcing the relevant information and secondary data. (Stages in Market Research Process2012) This involves creating a problem solving framework and analytical models after discussing the Melbourne Hilton hotel’s experts. It is important to carefully choose the sample to ensure that they are balanced of typical customer. The researcher should consider about resources such as time and budget that cover during research period.

Industry/sector/product Hotel industry: Melbourne Hilton Hotel services. Area of marketing Melbourne Hilton hotel located at South Warf Melbourne Target group Customer/Guests who are the business people, 260 sample target. The sample should be representative of all customers (Masterson &Pickton 2010).

Data Collection Approach and Response Rates

One of the keys to achieve in customer relationships is the design and performance of a customer-focused contact strategy. To be most effective, organisation’s contact strategy should be segment specific, multidimensional, actionable and measurable as suitable strategy can influence customer behaviours and choices based on their experience with us at every touch point.

By selecting the best contact strategy we will maximize the response rate to improve survey result. We recommend Melbourne Hilton Hotel implementsthe following methodology of research process for collecting data and preparing quantitative information is Questionnaire survey, Face to Face and web survey. The purpose is to research customer/guests satisfaction of Melbourne Hilton Hotel using questionnaire survey to collect the customer feedback and customer satisfaction rate. Research methodology designed questionnaire to interview customer/guests who check in at the hotel’s counter/ front desk and web survey.

The purpose of research is to gain quantitative data to score the customer rating of Melbourne Hilton Hotel services. The information is the customer feedback and satisfaction to improve Hotel services in the future.

Data Processing (Coding, input and analysing)

Data processing and analysis is the most important process in the research as the results are generated on the basis of data preparation. The final data is segmented according to the business standards and inserted into the Customer Resource Management (CRM) database (Stages in Market Research Process2012).

Researchers need to consider and discuss carefully how they relate to the broader questions, as posedby management. The result of marketing research should be present in a properdesigneddocument and can be referred in the future for decision making process or to change or modify any specific process or module. Proper presentation by using tables, graphs and figures to make documents more clarity and easy to understand such as percentages. To obtain the most benefit from marketing research, the outcomes of the research must be useful and assist to develop the marketing strategy(Boulding et al 1993).

For quantitative data, we would recommend to use a 5-point Likert scale survey thatallows the use of a multiple regression analysis. The researcher will use Statistical Package Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software, to analyse the questionnaire result. For qualitative data,we would recommend to use a Content Analysis approach to process and summarise the result into tables, graphs and figures. The results of the quantitative and qualitative data will be used to examine and interpret to support the proposed hypothesis. The discussion of rational, limitations, and recommendations concluded the research process.

Conclusion

Marketing managers must be aware of the main objectives that top management are seeking data for min relation to market research. The Hilton Hotel management are requesting information relating to service standards aimed at business customers. Intelligencegathered by surveys will demonstrate gaps in service standards with advice on improvements to reduce service gaps and therefore improve customer satisfaction.

Marketing managers must choose the correct survey methodology which includes survey structure, appropriatequestionnaire design, data collection methods, testing regimes, time frames and presentation models. Market research must include primary and secondary data collection, and a sample size which will produce quantitative and qualitative data. With accurate data collected appropriate recommendations can be made to top management relating to the aim of the stated objectives

References 

  1. Bickart, B. A. (1993). Carryover and backfire effects in marketing research. Journal ofMarketing Research, 30, 52–62.
  2. Boulding, W. , Kalra, A. , Staeling, R, and Zeithaml, V. A. (1993). A Dynamic Process Model of Service Quality: From Expectation to Behavioural Intentions. Journal of Marketing. 30(1), 7-27.
  3. Diamantopoulos, A. , Schlegelmilch, B. B. , & Reynolds, N. (1994). Pretesting in questionnaire design: The impact of respondent characteristics on error detection. Journal of theMarket Research Society, 36(October), 295–314.
  4. Dick, A. And Basu, K. (1994). Customer Loyalty: Toward and Integrated Conceptual Framework. Journal of Academic Marketing Science, 122(5), 99-113.
  5. Hilton Melbourne South Wharf 2012, The Trip advisor, viewed 29 September 2012,<http://www. tripadvisor. com. au/Hotel_Review-g255100-d1388984-Reviews-Hilton_Melbourne_South_Wharf-Melbourne_Victoria. html>.
  6. Lemon, K. N. , White, T. B, and Winer R. S. (2002). Dynamic Customer Relationship Management: Incorporating future Consideration into the Service Retention Decision. Journal of Marketing. 66 (1), 1-14.
  7. Masterson, R &Pickton, D 2010, Marketing: an introduction, 2ndedn, SAGE publications, UK.
  8. Nayeem, T 2012, ‘Lesson 4: The business research process ii’, MBM702 Contemporary applied marketing, Learning materials on Blackboard, Swinburne University of Technology, 29 August, viewed 27 September 2012.
  9. Siniscalco, M, Auriat, B 2005, ‘Questionnaire Design’, Quantitative Research Methods in Educational Planning, UNESCO International

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Gap Analysis for Hilton Hotel. (2016, Dec 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/gap-analysis-for-hilton-hotel/