African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4188

Full Length Research Paper

An assessment of the impact of quality service on customers’ satisfaction and loyalty in selected hotels in Tamale Metropolis, Northern Region, Ghana

Sulemana, A.M
  • Sulemana, A.M
  • Department of Home Economics, St. Vincent College of Education, Yendi, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Galyuoni, B.
  • Galyuoni, B.
  • Department of Home Economics, Al-Faruq College of Education, Wenchi, Ghana
  • Google Scholar
Cowther S.
  • Cowther S.
  • Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Tamale Technical University, Ghana
  • Google Scholar
Issah, A.
  • Issah, A.
  • Departmenrt of Education and Psychology, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 04 August 2022
  •  Accepted: 23 January 2023
  •  Published: 31 March 2023

 ABSTRACT

This study was carried out to assess the impact of quality service on customers’ satisfaction and loyalty in some hotels in Tamale Metropolis, Ghana. A total of three hundred structured questionnaires were distributed to native and international tourists for the study. A self-employed form of survey was used to gather information from the respondents using service quality model. All the three hundred respondents answered the questions. Data were analyzed by using SPSS version 20. The results show that dimensions of quality service such as empathy, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and tangibility significantly predict customers’ loyalty. All the studies of quality service features were evaluated as influential determinants of customers’ satisfaction, which leads to customer loyalty. It is also possible to conclude that customers’ satisfaction is linked to both quality service and loyalty. The relationship between the variables was studied by applying Pearson-moment correlation analysis. The results indicate that a significant relationship exists between service quality attributes and customers’ satisfaction/ loyalty. The study therefore recommended that, hoteliers in the hotel business should offer better services to their customers to gain competitive advantage. They should not however overlook the relevance of factors such as responsiveness, assurance, reliability, tangibles and empathy.

 

Key words: Service quality, hotel industry, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, hoteliers.


 INTRODUCTION

The expansion of hotel services is critical to the development of the tourism sector and the success of destination management. Ghana has sought high-quality hotel service standards against a policy backdrop of high value for long-term growth. More recently, the government has invested in its long-term   national economy in order to position itself as a top tourism destination. Hotels that provide superior services at affordable prices and offer various facilities are more preferable among customers (Haque et al., 2014). Many previous studies such as Al-dweeri et al. (2017) and Alzoubi  et  al. (2020) indicated the significant effect of service quality on customers’ satisfaction, delight, and trust as well as customers’ commitment. It has influence on customers’ loyalty and retention.

 

Service quality influences the results of the service process such as loyalty, relationship, satisfaction and trust. Also, service quality is the research focus, based on five basic dimensions of service: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibility. The availability of high-quality service will increase reputation, improve customer retention, attract new customers through word of mouth, improve achievement or financial performance, and raise profit (Alkalha et al., 2014).

 

Tangible dimension is defined as the physical appearance of equipment, personnel, and communication materials; the look of buildings (Ali et al., 2021).

 

Reliability dimension reflects the hotel sector’s capability to execute services accurately and dependably. It means “doing it right the first time” and it is one of the most significant dimensions cited by the respondents (Ali et al., 2021).

 

Responsiveness dimension – refers to the hotels’ readiness for prompt service. It is significant to respond to all customers’ needs and expectation; otherwise the customers will complain about the service quality of the hotels. Hotels’ ability to provide a service on time is a basic part of service quality for many customers (Anwar and Shukur, 2015).

 

Assurance dimension is the duration of time required for customers to wait for the response of their inquiries. Standard for promptness indicates requirements in the hotels’ internal policy might be different from what the customers require or expect. Assurance refers to the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence. This dimension is especially critical for services that customers see as highly hazardous or for the services they are not certain of. Assurance and empathy comprise originally developed seven dimensions, which are communication, security, credibility, competence, understanding/knowing students, courtesy, and access (Lim et al., 2018).

 

Empathy depicts proper communication skills and job knowledge while offering related services. It is the ability of service providers to have good communication with their customers; it is individualized attention given to customers as discussed in the study (Anwar and Surarchith, 2015). Empathy shows that clients are unique and uncommon and that their needs are important. It is very important for hotels’ guests to feel that their needs are understood by them. They appreciate it when a frontline staff calls them by name. This in turn builds up relationship between customers and service providers.

 

Customers’ satisfaction, as defined in literature, is based on the difference between what customers expect and what they get (Parawansa, 2018). In addition, satisfaction is an overall customer’s attitude towards a service provider.

 

Customers’ satisfaction is a key to building lasting relationships with consumers. Satisfied customers repurchase the service, recommend and encourage others to use the service, develop positive word of mouth toward the service and the organization, pay less attention to competitive brands and advertising, are less sensitive to price and buy other services. Several hotels are struggling to upsurge market share by giving higher-quality service in order to raise customers’ satisfaction (Bala et al., 2016). Customers’ satisfaction is upgraded through great help, which is generally viewed as a huge dependent in the hotels, providing food and the travel industry organizations.

 

Companies regard customer loyalty as a key to sustaining long-term business success (Alshurideh et al., 2020). A customer who has a good experience will encourage others to buy and also share the experience of the product (Alshurideh et al., 2015; Ghannajeh et al., 2015). Customer loyalty is a major objective of service providers, since loyal customers are less likely to be influenced by negative news or information about the services (Alshurideh et al., 2017). If the customers have positive experience towards service, it will positively influence customer loyal by way of enhancing patronage of services.

 

Customer retention is liking, identification, commitment, trust, willingness to recommend and repurchase intentions, with the first four being emotional –cognitive retention constricts, and the last two being behavioral intention. Customer retention could mean a commitment to continue to do business or exchange with a particular company on an ongoing basis.

 

Customer retention means retaining customers since finding new customer could cost more than the cost of retaining an existing one (Alshurideh, 2016).  An individual cannot totally conjecture the client mind since it is a convoluted blend of contemplations and thoughts.

 

Tamale Metropolis has many business prospects and attracts so many tourists and visitors to meet and conduct effective business. As a result of that the hotel industry is becoming increasingly important and the demand for the hotel services in Tamale is at its peak. This notwithstanding, many hotels in the city are still struggling to fill their rooms.

 

It is of this background that by studying the overall interest and the decision making process of customers, service delivering organizations (hotels) might help customers to go through it. This study will focus on hotels so as to measure positive quality service attributes, customer satisfaction and loyalty among hotels in the Tamale Metropolis.


 LITERATURE REVIEW

Nature of the service quality, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty in the hotel industry

 

Hotel, hospitality and service industry needs more customer satisfaction and customer loyalty as an essential tool more than other industries (Abd-Elaziz et al., 2015; Alareefi et al., 2019; Khalifa, 2018). The obvious situation is that the hotel amenities and facilities are no longer regarded as luxurious things and have become the integral part of normal lifestyle. Over the past decades, the demand for hospitality service over traditional service has grown rapidly with intense competitors (Hewedi et al., 2019). Thus, creating and gaining competitive advantages are required as essential elements in competitive service industry (Mohammad et al., 2017).

 

Among the common strategies for achieving competitive advantage, improving customer loyalty by serving distinct features to customers has become popular and widely used (Khalifa, 2018). As a consequence, service quality compared to price makes hotels to be different from their main rivalries and acquire loyalty (Kandampully et al., 2011).

 

Due to the overall advancement in technology (Alkutbi et al., 2019; Khalifa and Mewad, 2017), amenities, facilities, economic situations and globalization, hospitality industry has been experiencing uprising trends of competitors and competitive environment; the determinant or critical factor which can be assessed or judged with other hotels has become so complicated and relies on the service quality or delivery of service of hotels (Khalifa and Fawzy, 2017; Morsy et al., 2016).

 

Service quality is the essential element that can improve customers’ satisfaction, loyalty and financial performance of hotels (Khalifa, 2018). Owing to the prominence of customer loyalty, hotels are trying to improve their loyalty via retention programs; loyalty cards, loyalty rewards, benefits and so forth (Abd-Elaziz et al., 2015; Husin et al., 2013; Sudigbo et al., 2019).

 

The relationship between service quality and customers’ satisfaction 

 

Service quality which can satisfy hotel guests is not easy as people think. The perceptions and manners of guests change time by time; different guests have different desires and preferences (Mohamud et al., 2017). There are a number of papers on hospitality and service quality of the variables affecting the level of satisfaction (Khalifa, 2015; Khalifa and Hewedi, 2016; Mohamud et al., 2017; Aldholay et al., 2018; Aldholay et al., 2018). Service quality entails meeting the need of a hotel’s guests to obtain their loyalty, thereby boosting the financial performance of the hotel. In other words, customer’s satisfaction is attached to the level of service quality (Khalifa and Fawzy, 2017). Besides, measuring service quality is the most appropriate way for hotels to determine whether their guests are satisfied or not (Shimekit, 2016). To increase customers’ satisfaction is based on the level of service quality (Kandampully et al., 2011; Khalifa and Abou-Shouk, 2014; Khalifa and Fawzy, 2017).

 

The relationship between service quality and customers’ loyalty

 

The relationship between service quality and customers’ loyalty has been shown to be the case in most literature (Sudigbo et al., 2019; Tariq et al., 2017). Previous articles evaluated that these two variables have direct and indirect relationship (Chen and Raab, 2017; Khalifa, 2018). When a service quality is satisfactory, customers are willing to recommend the brand and purchase more. Increasing service quality may likely improve the loyalty, as proven by other scholars (Saleem and Amin, 2013; Wijaya, 2013).

 

Without good quality consistency, the process may not achieve the final destination of the markets, customer loyalty. If a hotel’s service quality is inconsistent or lowers than the standard, its customers may be dissatisfied sooner or later and will no longer visit the hotel again. This might be a great loss to the hotel (Khalifa, 2015; Sudigbo et al., 2019).

 

The relationship between customers’ satisfaction and customers’ loyalty

 

Several researchers and academics confirm that customers’ satisfaction has positive impact on customers’ loyalty. Bennett and Woodward (2016) say the more a hotel’s customers are satisfied with the hotel’s services, the more they will highly recommend the hotel’s product, brand or services (Agwa et al., 2018; Alareefi et al., 2019; Husin et al., 2013; Khalifa and Mewad, 2017; Nusari et al., 2018). Also, they will be regular customers to the hotel, and their intention to switch to another band will be less. Badran and Khalifa (2016), Khalifa (2018) and Howat and Assaker (2013) contended that, however the satisfied clients are probably going to be progressively loyal; all the loyalty clients are not satisfied. Evaluation of customer satisfaction does not mean a relevant measurement of loyalty whilst higher degree of customer’s satisfaction is required to keep loyal customer. Besides, evaluation of customer  satisfaction does not mean a relevant measurement of loyalty whilst higher degree of customer satisfaction is required  to keep loyal customers; customer requires evaluating which higher degree of customers satisfaction is required to keep loyal customers; customers require evaluation which customers are loyal and satisfied ones.  


 MATERIALS AND METHODS

The study area

 

Tamale Metropolis, Ghana was chosen as the study location, the capital city of Northern Region, Ghana.

 

Source of data

 

In order to get appropriate data, the study employed both primary and secondary sources of data. Primary data were collected through closed-ended structured questionnaires from sample respondents of the hotels. Secondary sources of data were collected from relevant books, journals, publications and other online information.

 

Population of the study

 

The population of the study is the customers who patronize the hotels in Tamale metropolis. Thirty- three different hotels were registered in Tamale metropolis as at the time this study was carried out.

 

Sample procedure and sample size

 

A systematic sampling technique known as multi-stage sampling was used as follows:

 

Stage 1: This involved the stratification of Tamale Metropolis into ten zones with each zone having their number of hotels.

Stage 2: Thirty respondents of the hotel population in each of the ten zones were simple randomly selected.

Stage 3: The population size of guest respondents in this study data was 300. The determination of population of the respondents was done through personal contacts with the management who gave permission to obtain necessary information from the guests.

 

Data analysis

 

Model was used in order to measure service quality which incorporates 5 dimensions namely tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. 4 items for each independent variable and 10 items for the dependent variable were used. A 5 point interval Likert scale was used for all the variables with 1 denoting strongly disagree and 5 strongly agree. The data collected were analyzed by making use of SPSS and descriptive analysis like frequency, mean, standard deviation and inferential statistics like the Pearson’s correlation and sample t-test. Validity and reliability of the adapted scale were established. Based on the new factors derived from the factor analysis, standard deviation, correlation and sample t-test analyses were used to identify the relative importance of the factors in predicting customers’ satisfaction and loyalty with the quality service.


 RESULT AND DISCUSSION

This study was conducted to assess the impact of quality service on customers’ satisfaction and loyalty in some selected hotels in Tamale metropolis, Ghana.

 

Socio-economic characteristics of respondents in Table 1 showed that majority of the respondents were males as they accounted for 53.7% of the selected population with females accounted for 46.3%. The implication of this was that the hotels in Tamale Metropolis enjoyed impressive patronage of males than females. In Table 2, majority of the respondents fall between the ages of 18-25 representing 90%, and ages of 50-65 also representing 10% respectively.

 

This explained that hotels in Tamale metropolis enjoyed the biggest patronage of the teaming youths who involved actively in productivity and businesses that take them out of their homes.

 

In Table 3, it is evidently revealed that 203 respondents which represent 67.7% sampled population were civil servants while the remaining 32.3% were entrepreneurs. The main occupation of the respondents could have seriously also affected regularity of their income. The implication of the study findings was that the main occupation engaged in by the respondents were public service and this further demonstrates that Tamale Metropolis is a business dominated area where investors flock in to conduct business.

 

All the respondents have experienced in hotel patronage. Table 4 shows 132 respondents indicate that they have been patronizing the hotel every 1-2yrs and they account for 44%. 3-4yrs account for 32%, 5-6yrs for 13.3% and 7-8yrs account for 10%, respectively. The implication of this study finding was that loyal customers see the services provided as the best hence, they patronize the hotel every 1-2yrs.

 

Four items were created to measure tangibility as one of the service quality characteristics, as shown in Table 5. Based on the overall mean of 4.32 and the accompanying standard deviation of 0.68, it can be shown that majority of the participants regard tangibility as a service quality dimension and an influential factor responsible for customer satisfaction. According to Omondi et al. (2021), tangibility proved to be highly relevant and useful. Customers are visual beings and what they see, touch, feel or smell have an impression on their satisfaction. This shows that there is a strong relationship between tangibility and customers’ satisfaction; an increase in tangibility affects customers’ satisfaction.

 

Yosep (2016) found that tangibles have an impact on customer satisfaction in the Gran Puri Hotel; in this regard, when hotels improve their tangibles, their customers who use their services will be satisfied. The study, on the other hand, contradicts the findings of Minh et al. (2015), who found that tangibility had a non-significant impact on customer satisfaction despite having a favorable association with customer satisfaction. The researcher wanted to see if customers’ satisfaction is influenced by reliability. Based on the overall mean and standard deviation of 4.23 and 0.77 in Table 5, it can be concluded that reliability as a service quality dimension was evaluated as an influential factor responsible for customers’ satisfaction.

 

Ngaliman and Suharto (2019) says reliability has a positive direct effect on customers’ satisfaction. This shows that the ability to provide promised services with reliable, accurate, and reliable can affect customers’ satisfaction in using the services provided by the hotel. Most clients give this dimension a higher rating than the others when booking a hotel reservation since they travel with complete trust in the hoteliers. This study supported the findings of Yosep (2016), who found that reliability has a beneficial impact on customers’ satisfaction, and that employees must continually work hard to improve reliability. This contradicts Sanjuq (2014), who said that reliability had little bearing on customers’ satisfaction, possibly due to the growing popularity of phone and online services, which provide customers with an alternative to face-to-face customer support. Based on the finding, it could be concluded that the more consistent the services provided by the hotels are, the more customers will patronize the hotels. The respondents agreed that responsiveness as a service quality factor influences customer satisfaction, as evidenced by the overall mean of 4.21 and the accompanying standard deviation of 0.74 in Table 5. 

 

 

Moon et al. (2015) found that social and personal incentives had a substantial impact on customers' behavioral intentions. Again, Tessera et al. (2016) revealed that guests in Ethiopia emphasized that their hotels provide prompt help, cater to guests needs, render quick check-in and check-out facilities, quickly correct mistakes and give special attention to their guests. Responsiveness with a p>0.05, on the other hand, was deemed statistically insignificant.

 

Based on the overall mean of 4.14 and the accompanying standard deviation of 0.76, the four items assessing assurance as a service quality dimension were considered by hotel customers as the influential factor responsible for customer satisfaction, as shown in Table 5. Ludfi (2017) found that the component of service quality has the greatest impact on customer happiness, as also confirmed in this study. In this situation, hoteliers must keep all of their promises to their consumers in order to keep their business. Customers will only be satisfied if the service is seen to be valued and of exceptional quality, according to the research.

 

 

The findings supported Hamzah et al. (2015), who revealed a direct relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction. As shown in Table 5, empathy as a service quality dimension was an influential factor responsible for   customer  satisfaction, with an overall mean and standard deviation of 4.15 and 0.76, respectively. As a result of the study's findings, empathy appears to have a considerable impact on customers’ satisfaction. Jones and Shandiz (2015), and Markovic et al. (2015) say empathy is an important variable for individual consideration among humans.

 

The findings revealed that hoteliers' empathy had a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Sanjuq (2014), on the other hand, stated that there is no significant positive relationship between empathy and customer satisfaction. In this study, Richard et al. (2016) opined that empathy protects customers' pleasure during service   encounters.  As   a   result, empathic   behavior among service providers has a beneficial impact on commitment, perceived service quality, and clients’ happiness. The findings of WHDP (2014) also demonstrated a relationship between empathy and customers’ satisfaction. Because the value of Empathy leads to customer satisfaction (+ 0.140), the notion is backed by facts. As a result, it can be argued that Empathy and Customer Satisfaction have a good relationship.

 

In this study, the five service quality aspects (tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy) were evaluated as influential determinants of customers’ satisfaction by the respondents. In Table 6, in examining the relationships between service quality and customer loyalty, customers derived satisfaction from the facilities and equipment available in the hotel. The results of the relationship between service quality and customer loyalty were provided in Table 6. The findings revealed a high positive relationship between service quality and customer loyalty (r=0.673, n=300, p0.05). Since p?0.05, the results demonstrated that there was a statistically significant relationship. This suggests that service quality and customer loyalty are linked, and that when service quality improves, customer loyalty improves as well. The findings demonstrated a highly significant relationship between service quality and customer loyalty in Tamale Metropolis hotels. This research confirmed the findings of Leninkumar (2017), who found a link between service quality and customer loyalty.  The findings from many studies have a considerable impact on the present research. However, such studies were not identical to the current study, and their findings revealed no statistically significant relationship. This implies that customer loyalty is not affected by service quality. Based on the findings, service quality has a substantial relationship with customer loyalty in this area.

 

In evaluating the relationships between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty (Table 7), customers’ satisfaction and loyalty were found to have a high, positive correlation (r=0.618, n=300, p?0.05). Since p?0.05, the results revealed that there is a perceived strong relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This confirms that customers’ satisfaction and loyalty are related; when customer loyalty is growing customer satisfaction also increases. Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty ensure a significant strong positive relationship, according to the study's findings. The study discovered that service quality variables such as tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy have a major impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty, which has an impact on the hotel industry. Customer satisfaction has been identified as the most important indicator of customer loyalty in early study. However, many studies have established the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, signifying a positive relationship by finding customer satisfaction as one of the most projecting predictors of customer loyalty (Flint et al.,2011; Lee et al., 2016).  

 

Customer satisfaction is one of the most significant influences in customer loyalty (Gillani and Awan, 2014). Based on the results, it can be concluded that when customers are completely satisfied, they are more likely to become extremely devoted to such hotels, which affects their ability to repurchase.

 

Finally, the significant difference in gender in terms of service quality is considered. The findings of the independent sample t-test used to compare gender in perceived service quality are shown in Table 8; t (269.318) = -0.779, p=0.436 is the result of the analysis. Because p>0.05, the results revealed that there was no statistically significant difference in service quality between males (M=88.07, SD=9.7) and females (M=89.05, SD=11.7). This is consistent with the findings of a study conducted by Sun and Ham (2022), that there is a within-gender difference in the influence of service quality on word of mouth, but no significant difference between male and female. Ladies are also becoming more involved in the purchase of hotel protducts. Again, female visitors are more mindful of service quality than male tourists, and they prefer to look for current technology and beautiful facilities while traveling. The data suggested that hotel guests, whether male or female, have high expectations in terms of perceived service quality, but the differences between them are minor, as shown in Table 8.

 


 CONCLUSION

The current paper contributes to the theoretical orientation of hotel quality service and customers’ satisfaction in hotel industry by determining some pivotal quality service levels. This study also identified five hotel quality service dimensions, namely, tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy, all of which comprise the criteria customers use to evaluate the quality service of hotels in Tamale Metropolis. The limitation of the study was a problem of funding. Mobile credit to communicate to the hotels’ receptionists to find out whether they have checked-in customers were a challenge. The study was conducted for only ten hotels and to be able to generalize the findings for this specific hotel segment, a study that would involve all hotels in the Tamale Metropolis should be conducted.

 

The study aimed to first investigate the impact of quality of service on customer satisfaction, to explore the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty in the hotels patronage in Tamale metropolis and finally, to investigate the gender difference in hotel patronage. A quantitative approach was applied to thirty-five structured questionnaire to collect the data from 300 respondents.  

 

The findings of this research revealed that the majority of the participants emphasized strongly the significant importance of hotel service quality as well as customers’ satisfaction. The study's objectives were met, and the findings revealed that quality service had a major impact on customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. It was obvious that whenever hotels’ services and performances are trustworthy with high assurance, customers will be more satisfied, committed, have more desire to retain the hotels, and build long-term relationship with these hotels.


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.



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