A New Zealand Investigation into the Factors Influencing Consumers' Selection of Business Hotel Accommodation

Article excerpt

Abstract

A study was conducted to determine the factors that affected business travellers' selection of hotel accommodation and their application to industry management. Questionnaires were sent to 368 named individuals from a guest database of those who had stayed in a major business hotel in New Plymouth, New Zealand. The research contained both open and closed questions. Using a principal component factor analysis with VARIMAX rotation technique, this study identifies seven main criteria influencing hotel selection with `The room and its facilities' first, `Staff quality and service facilities` second, and `Facilities overall' third. From forty-seven factors rated by participants, `Cleanliness of hotel', `Bath and shower', Standard of bedroom maintenance', and `Comfortable mattress and pillow were rated as the four most important criteria. The importance of `Price' in hotel selection by business guests had a low rating and was `Neutral' to the decision. In contrast to these findings, the neural network analysis of the open questions indicates that `Price' may be of higher related importance. This study is important to hotel management as it gives greater insight into the factors that affect the selection of accommodation by business guests and can assist in further management planning.

Keywords: New Zealand; Business Travellers; Neural Network; Guest Accommodation.

Introduction

Frequent business travellers are considered the core business of many hotels and as such, it is important that management of hotels and motels understand the factors that influence the selection of accommodation (Knutson 1988). Weaver and Oh (1993) suggest that there is a misunderstanding of the importance of business travellers because they are fewer in number than leisure travellers and there are fewer business travellers than leisure travellers in the hotel market at any one time. However, even though they are fewer in number, the intensity of use of accommodation facilities by business travellers is much higher than that of leisure travellers. As a result, the business market has a significant impact on many hotels and being able to identify the characteristics of this market can assist in increasing occupancy. The purpose of this study is to investigate those factors that influence the selection of business travel accommodation within the New Plymouth area of New Zealand.

Business travellers are not an homogeneous group of customers; they have different needs and behaviours and not everyone gets the same satisfaction from the same hospitality experience (Pizam and Ellis 1999; Lewis 1985). As a result, hotel management should recognise these needs and respond so that they can maximise their occupancy. To investigate these factors, a survey was conducted, using a database supplied by a major business hotel in New Plymouth, New Zealand, of 368 names and addresses of past guests. The objective was to identify those factors that have an impact on hotel selection.

As illustrated by Choi and Chu (2000), research into attributes has often been centred on the different requirements of sectors of guests. Knutson (1988) identified five factors that a frequent business traveller looks for when selecting a hotel:

1. a clean and comfortable room;

2. a convenient location;

3. available services;

4. safety; and

5. friendly employees.

Callan (1996) investigated the mean difference between leisure and business travellers and identified clear distinctions between the two groups. Taninecz (1990) reported that room cleanliness was one of the most important attributes to business travellers in hotel selection. Weaver and Oh (1993) found that business travellers perceived as `very important', factors such as:

* clean and comfortable surroundings;

* convenience to business;

* a good reputation;

* friendly staff; and

* safety and security. …