An empirical study to determine the pre-eminent range of attributes of United Kingdom hotels as perceived by the hotelier and the customer and to educe how proficiently such ascriptions are measured by hotel classification and grading schemes.
The key research question which was addressed by the study
was whether gaps existed between the sal ient attributes
employed for hotel selection by managers and customers and
the inspection criteria used by the UK hotel classification
and grading schemes. If so, to identify whether such
unassessed attributes were appraisable by the hotel
A review of the literature indicated that no such published
study had previously been attempted. A literature review
examined the criteria identified to assess service quality,
and in particular its provision within the hotel industry.
The historical development and operational characteristics
of the major grading schemes were presented.
A unique numerical analysis of the schemes provided the
incidence of classified and graded hotels by country. This
formed the basis for the establishment of a representative
stratified random sample.
The determination of the hotel selection attributes was
achieved by literature review and in-depth and focus group
interviews. An extensive questionnaire asking recipients to
rate the importance of the selection attributes was
distributed to 500 hotel managers, producing a 62.4~
response. Equivalent customer contacts were provided by the
managers, and 500 customers were surveyed, producing a 57.8~
Attribute analysis defined important, interjacent and
unimportant groups. Comparisons were made between leisure
and business, gender, grading categories and forms of
business ownersh ip for both data sets. The closeness of
association between the total manager and customer data sets
allowed a merging into a consolidated attribute set. An
analysis of the schemes' grading criteria was compared with
the important attributes to indicate those which were not
specifically assessed by the schemes.
A survey of hotel inspectors asked them to indicate whether
such attributes were specifically, generally or not
assessab 1e during a routine inspect ion, and if they were
specifically assessable, to provide suggested methodologies
for such assessment. The aim was achieved. Sixty five
attributes were identified as important but not assessed by
the schemes. Of these, 45 were capable of being specifically
assessed. It was recommended that the scheme operators
should take account of these findings when reviewing their
hotel grading methodologies.