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Consumers’ Motivation and Satisfaction of Luxury Hotel in China Proposal

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Introduction

The hotel industry serves a significant role in fulfilling people’s luxury-related needs. According to Husic and Cicic (2009), luxury can be defined as a condition of immense consolation or stylishness, which involves massive expenditures. In the hotel industry, such luxury relates to superior services and packages, which are majorly affordable by the wealthy class in the society.

However, providing luxury does not come straightforwardly. Consumer satisfaction is of great importance compared to any other factor in the industry. While offering luxury services, it is crucial to note that the customers already have an established perception of what luxury entails (Carpenter & Fairhurst 2005).

Therefore, it is imperative for the hotel industry players to have an understanding of consumers’ motivation and satisfaction factors, which influence their (consumers) decision to seek luxury hotels. This appreciation can help in providing quality services, which meet these perceptions.

Report Structure

This research aims at analysing the consumer motivation and satisfaction in luxury hotels in China. The competition in the hotel industry has gone to levels such that only players who can meet and maintain customer satisfaction are likely to emerge winners in this contest (Truong & McColl 2011).

In this case, this research seeks to highlight significant consumer incentive and contentment factors in the Chinese luxury hotels. The report will include an elaborate literature review on the issue of client satisfaction and motivation in magnificence hotels in China. The findings will set a central basis for further research by establishing knowledge gaps that this study seeks to fulfil.

The proposal will also highlight the research questions, objectives, and the methodology that will be adopted to gather data. A project plan or a Gantt chart will be used to emphasise the tentative activities and the expected duration of such activities during the research.

Definition of Terms:

  1. Motivation-Denotes the things that push clients towards seeking the services of a particular hotel
  2. Satisfaction-Refers to various organisational issues that make the client contented with the organisation
  3. Luxury hotels-Refer to magnificent areas where from customers seek services such as high-quality food, accommodation, or any other service where the client needs the assistance of hoteliers

Literature Review

In the 21st century, the value that is attached to luxury is very crucial in many societies. Luxury connotes various aspects of consumptions, especially those that are linked to affluence in the in the social order. According to Zhan and He (2012), thoughts towards ‘luxury’ differ from an individual to another.

The way an individual experiences luxury depends on many factors, which Wu and Liang (2009) term as the comfortable condition of mind. In this case, one standard functionality may be another person’s luxury and hence the need to have a subjective definition of each person’s understanding of luxury.

A research by Dubois, Laurent, and Czellar (2005) suggested significant segmentations of consumers concerning their attitudes towards luxury. According to Dubois, Laurent, and Czellar (2005), three views dominate the western cultural context. They include discrimination, independence, and seclusion.

While many consumers in the research used the word “luxury” to express their perception of various organisations, others used abstract terms such as freedom to express attitudes, space, or time as indicators of the fact that “luxury” is an extremely subjective term that varies even in the same cultural setting.

According to Hansen and Wanke (2011), the psychological distance is a major determinant of luxury perceptions among consumers. In this case, this psychological distance relates to how consumers perceive products as luxurious or unpleasant. Consumers often define and describe luxurious products in abstract terms compared to when they describe what they see as “ordinary” products or services.

In their research that is aimed at testing the motivation of luxury consumption, Kim and Kim (2005) find that intrinsically motivated consumers of luxury goods often look for the actual quality and ability of such products to meet or provide self-directed pleasure. Since luxury is functionally unnecessary, most users approach it as an experiential aspect.

Hence, the hotel industry, especially the segment that focuses on providing luxury, can take this opportunity to help customers to define and become more knowledgeable about luxury as a primary marketing strategy that can be successful in such hotels.

Service Quality and Satisfaction

According to Wu and Liang (2009), service quality is an extremely significant factor in customer satisfaction in high-end hotels around the world. According to Wiedmann, Hennigs and Siebels (2007), service quality is an intricate, prejudiced, vague, and abstract concept, which has different meanings to different people. Ma (2010) views customer satisfaction as an interaction of expectations and perceptions concerning the received services.

Fornell, Rust, and Dekimpe (2010) consider quality a multidimensional concept where material quality, business excellence, and interactive eminence are central indicators of the quality of service in a given setting. According to Zikmund et al. (2012), service quality comprises a well-designed, methodological, and commercial image. Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml (1988) developed one of the most popular tools, namely the SERVQUAL, for measuring service quality.

The tool identifies five dimensions of service quality, which include dependability, receptiveness, compassion, tangibility, and assurance (Parasuraman, Berry, & Zeithaml 1985). The SERVQUAL provides 22 items that relate to customer satisfaction and expectations concerning the quality of service that they access in a given setting.

In this case, the level of disagreement or agreement with a particular attribute that is linked to the five indicators of service quality helps to identify the positive and negative quality gaps. The differences are measured in terms of the difference between the perceived and achieved outcomes of the services.

A positive result indicates that the received services exceed the distinguished services prior to receiving such service while a negative result indicates that the received services are of low quality and/or do not meet the perceived customer expectations.

For its elaborate coverage of service value determination, SERVQUAL has been extensively used by many Chinese companies to help in the estimation of service excellence. The tool has been deployed expansively in the sightseeing and hospitality sectors where the luxury hotels dominate.

For instance, Frochot and Hughes (2000) used the tool to measure customers’ perception of service quality in historic houses. The tool was also used to determine service superiority in hotels (Douglas & Connor 2003; Nadiri & Hussain 2005; Antony & Antony 2005). The tool was also applied to compute service worth in travel agencies (Atilgan, Akinci, & Aksoy 2003), health spas (Snoj & Mumel 2002), restaurants (Heung, Wong, & Qu 2000; Fu & Parks 2001; O’Neill & Palmer 2003).

In this case, the Chinese luxury hotels must separate themselves from other ordinary hotels by providing superior quality services based on what consumers can perceive to be magnificent. Such services must be of the highest quality to ensure that the term “luxury” does not lose its allure to such consumers. According to Ma (2010), providing high-quality services allows a luxury hotel to meet the particular values that customers require.

Hotels that demonstrate consistency in terms of quality attract client loyalty. Luxury hotels are expected to provide higher quality services to allow the achievement of superior satisfaction values in customers. Such advanced services are not just related to the provision of goods and services. Besides, they are also highly linked to the quality and serenity of the facilities as compared to lower ranked hotels.

Customer satisfaction is a significant variable and concept in the word of business, specifically in marketing practices. Thus, the concept has received enormous research, which can be traced back to the 1960s when the marketing subject in business was receiving increasing interest from researchers (Wu & Liang 2009).

Despite the enormity of the existing research in the industry, it is still difficult to clarify what defines or explains customer satisfaction since it is an extremely diverse concept. According to Truong and McColl (2011), customer satisfaction can be defined as the post assessment verdict that concerns an explicit commodity or service.

In other words, client contentment is the outcome of the evaluation of a customer’s pre-purchase prospects and perceptions of performance during and after consuming the product or service. To understand the concept of consumer satisfaction, various theories have been put forward. The expectancy disconfirmation theory is the most popular presumption (Truong & McColl 2011; Wu & Liang 2009).

The hypothesis, which was established by Oliver (1980), holds that the degree of clients’ contentment by a commodity or a service is an outcome of the disparity between the ordinary and alleged performance. According to Wiedmann, Hennigs, and Siebels (2007), while customer satisfaction is a vital aspect of any business, it is significant in the luxury hotel industry where there is no compromise for quality and services towards ensuring maximum customer satisfaction.

It is of great significance since luxury consumers are on a deliberate mission to experience services and products that are superior to the ordinary services and products that are offered in ordinary hotels. Hence, customer satisfaction in luxury hotels has a significant bearing on the success of such hotels. Many studies that have examined the relationship between business success and customer behavioural patterns have found that indeed client fulfilment is a major factor that determines customer loyalty, positive comments, and repurchase intentions among the consumers of the products and services.

Since customers have found a strong link between their contentment and the success of a business entity, such studies, including Lee and Kacen’s (2008) research, have been even more prominent in the luxury hotel industry where satisfaction is an important selling point. These studies have increasingly focused on determining what constitutes satisfaction.

According to Lee and Kacen (2008), customer satisfaction can be defined in terms of subjective and objective factors. In the hospitality industry where the luxury hotel industry is found, many studies have focused on identifying factors that influence customers’ sense of satisfaction. A study by Carpenter and Fairhurst (2005) found that customer satisfaction in the luxury industry is attributed to defence, hygiene, value for money, and the politeness of staff members.

Another study by Sheth, Sethia, and Srinivas (2011) found that room sanitation and consolation, prompt service, expediency of locality, sociability of workers, wellbeing, and security were key factors of customer satisfaction in the Chinese luxury hotels. Song, Hur, and Kim (2012) also confirm that employee attitude, room status, and the location of the hotel are significant factors that determine customer satisfaction.

Choi and Chu (2001) assert that room worth, staff superiority, and significance are the three top factors that determine client approval. Another study by Husic and Cicic (2009) regards staff behaviour, appropriateness, and cleanliness as key determinants of consumer happiness in high-end hotels in China. Service excellence and client approval are two discrete matters, despite the fact that they are highly connected.

Sheth, Sethia, and Srinivas (2011) consider buyer approval an antecedent of service quality. In this case, the level of buyer fulfilment influences clients’ thoughts and the evaluation of their alleged superiority of the availed service. According to Wu and Liang (2009), satisfaction with a given product or service may result in a general feeling of positive service quality. However, not all authors hold the above opinion.

For instance, Sheth, Sethia, and Srinivas (2011) consider service quality an antecedent or precursor of client pleasure. According to Sheth, Sethia, and Srinivas (2011), service superiority refers to a cognitive appraisal method that may result in client fulfilment. Hence, customer satisfaction is an outcome of service quality.

From the above discussion, satisfaction and service quality are two directly related complex concepts. In this case, one can conclude that despite this complex relationship, they concepts help to determine consumers’ motivation and satisfaction of a given product or service. In the luxury hotel industry, consumers of luxury hotels are highly motivated by perceptions of satisfaction and service quality.

Hence, to understand the primary motivation and factors for luxury spending in the Chinese hotel industry, Carpenter and Fairhurst (2005) declare self-incentive or the desire to present one’s self with gifts an important motivating factor for luxury spending in China. Luxury is an easy choice since consumers seek to receive high quality for highly priced luxury products.

This observation contributes towards an overall feeling of self-incentive in the Chinese setting. The other motivation factor that pushes people towards luxury spending in China is the social need or self-esteem, which is also referred to as “MianZi” in China (Lee & Kacen 2008). In this case, many luxury brands utilise this aspect by providing trust and relationship, which are essential social needs in the Chinese society and Asia at large.

Research Questions and Objectives

Research questions and objectives are essential aspects of any research since they help to define the direction that a research will take. In this research, the main research questions are as follows:

  1. What are the motivating factors for luxury hotel consumption in China?
  2. What are the factors for customer satisfaction of luxury hotels in China?
  3. How can the Chinese luxury hotels ensure customer satisfaction?

The objectives of the research are as follows:

  1. To identify the motivating factors for luxury hotel consumption in China
  2. To determine the factors for customer satisfaction of in luxury hotels in China
  3. To propose major activities and approaches that the Chinese luxury hotels can use to ensure customer satisfaction

Research Philosophies

Research philosophies or views explain the approaches that a study deploys in answering the set research questions and objectives. A view helps to determine the research strategies and instruments that are utilised in the pursuit of research goals. This study will use the interpretivism philosophy.

Interpretivism philosophy holds that reality can be construed only through social constructions such as mutual connotation, language, awareness, and instruments. The current study focuses on consumer motivation and satisfaction in luxury hotels in China. According to Fornell, Rust, and Dekimpe (2010), the culture of a given society plays a very central role in influencing the perceptions of luxury as an extremely subjective matter.

In this case, using the interpretivism philosophy helps to project the motivation and satisfaction factors onto the wider society to give an idealistic view that can help to meet the objectives of the research (Flint, Blocker, & Boutin 2011). Through the application of the philosophy, the study will explain the identified variables in a manner that can be linked to the unique factors that are socially construed in the Chinese setting.

Research Approaches

The study will use a deductive approach where the focus will be on identifying the factors that cause luxury hotel consumers to be motivated and satisfied to seek the services of luxury hotels. The deductive approach is very significant in helping in identifying a new phenomenon. It also helps to view the existing knowledge from a different perspective (Bergman & Klefsjo 2010).

For instance, in this research, while customer satisfaction has been found as a key motivator for the use of specific products or services, such knowledge has not been well applied in the luxury hotel sector. Further, the Chinese setting presents its unique cultural, economic, and social factors that have not been considered and hence the reason that this research will be vital in deducing these factors comprehensively (Zikmund et al. 2012; Bowling 2014).

While a deductive research is widely linked to quantitative research, no set rules have been established to restrict its use to the quantitative research. In this research, the deductive approach will be essential since this study is quantitative. Therefore, the approach will help in fulfilling the goals of the study.

Research Strategy

The research strategy will be based on the survey where data will be collected from various sources and stakeholders in the luxury hotel industry. The survey allows the collection of large amounts of data through questionnaires that have well-structured open and closed-ended questions that the sampled population is expected to answer (Bowling 2014).

In this case, the survey process will involve the collection of data and information from a population sample of 300 people from various segments of the industry. Of great significance will be the survey that will be targeted to customers of luxury hotels in China. The goal will be to identify vital motivation factors concerning their (customers) consumption of luxury hotel services and products.

The survey will also include hoteliers, the management, and other stakeholders of hotels who may shed significant insights into the factors that influence how they deliver services to consumers to ensure maximum satisfaction and customer loyalty.

Data Collection

Data collection is an imperative aspect of any research. Crucial findings are deduced using the gathered facts (Bergman & Klefsjo 2010; Bowling 2014). However, the data that is collected for a given research must be relevant to the given study. The data provides an imperative platform upon which deductions can be made concerning the goals of the research.

This research will utilise the survey data collection method. The method will target a sample population of 300 people in the luxury hotel industry. The respondents will include customers, hotel managements, and other stakeholders who can shed more light on the various survey questions.

Questionnaires will be distributed via online platforms, as well as through hotels where consumers can find them as hard copies. The research will also use other sources of data, especially secondary research data, which will be central in helping the study to substantiate its findings.

Data Analysis

Data analysis is an essential step, which helps a researcher to convert raw data into understandable trends, characteristics, and information that can be interpreted to meet the objectives of the research. In this research, the SPSS software will be used to analyse the collected data to help in presenting the findings in more understandable forms such as graphs, charts, percentages, and other relevant figures.

Project Plan/Gantt Chart

Gantt Chart

Conclusion

The research proposal’s central research question is the analysis of consumer motivation and satisfaction in luxury hotels in China. The objectives of the research include identifying the motivating factors for luxury hotel consumption in China, to identify the factors that drive customer satisfaction in luxury hotels in China, and to propose major activities and approaches that the Chinese luxury hotels can use to ensure client contentment.

The research will utilise survey methods for the collection of data. The analysis of data will be done using SPSS. Overall, the research will contribute to the existing knowledge and understanding of consumer motivation and satisfaction of luxury hotels in China.

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