Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Management Science

Relationship between Quality Management and Customer Satisfaction to Improve Loyalty towards Tourist Destination

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Management Science

Relationship between Quality Management and Customer Satisfaction to Improve Loyalty towards Tourist Destination

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The relationships between service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty are a contentious issue (Anton, Camarero and Laguna-Garcia, 2014; Dolnicar, Coltman and Sharma, 2015; Nowak and Washburn, 1998; Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1994). There are several empirical models applied in different industries, including tourism, with the aim of studying this relationship (Anton et al., 2014; Chi and Qu, 2008; Eusebio and Vieira, 2013; Taylor and Baker, 1994; Wang and Hsu, 2010; Yoon and Uysal, 2005). Diverse authors argue that, in tourism, the quality of the high service generates a state of satisfaction in the tourist that provokes the return to the destination and the recommendation to others of the service received (Anton et al., 2014; Dolnicar et al., 2015; Zabkar, Brencic and Dmitrovic, 2010).

Previous studies show relatively contradictory results: (1) establish that customer satisfaction is directly related to the quality of service attributes and influences their future behavior (Cole and Illum, 2006; Chen and Tsai, 2007), (2) recognize only a partial mediation effect (Baker and Crompton, 2000; Chi and Qu, 2008), and (3) do not find any kind of relationship (Lee, Petrick and Crompton, 2007). This is an expression of persistent difficulties in the theoretical analysis of customer satisfaction, especially its conceptualization and operationalization, depending on its degree of correspondence with the quality of the service (Cole and Illum, 2006; Chun-An, Li and Yang, 2013).

It is a common practice of tourism service providers to assess quality of service and levels of satisfaction and loyalty (Mazanec, Wober and Zins, 2007), but in the opinion of the authors there is no abundance of quantitative analyses that demonstrate the actual relationships between the quality of a tourist destination and the satisfaction of the tourists and between the latter and the future behavior of the tourist in relation to the destination and, on this basis, to predict the behavioral intentions of visits. This is the purpose of this article.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Research related to customer satisfaction emerged in the late 1970s as a particular research field, based on the analysis of consumer behavior. Since then several studies have been developed in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty (Gronroos, 1994; Baksi, 2014; Tosun, Dedeoglu and Fyall, 2015; Nicoletta and Servidio, 2012; Teas, 1993; Wang and Hsu, 2010; Zabkar et al., 2010).

The most recognized service-quality research is concentrated mainly in two schools: (1) the Nordic, coalesced around the Service Research Center of the University of Karlstad, headed by Gummesson (1991) and Gronroos (1997), which focuses on the quality of service from the point view of the product, and (2) the American, led by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1994) from the Interstate Centre for Services Marketing at Arizona State University, focused on the study from the perspective of customer perception.

In particular, the American school has linked the concept with two other notions: perception and expectation, so that the "measurement" of customer satisfaction is sustained in the identification and evaluation of their expectations and perceptions. The quality of service conceived in this way requires the development of two different measurement scales. The most widely reported biescale tool is SERVQUAL (Parasuraman et al., 1994), in which different gaps are measured. Modifications to this proposal have been developed by Teas (1993) and Wang and Hsu (2010). The methodological limitation of this instrument is related with two fundamental elements: the way of considering the quality of service construct, as well as the definition and utility of expectations.

In contrast, other researchers (Brady, Cronin and Brand, 2002; Brady et al., 2005; Baksi, 2014; Tosun et al., 2015; Teas, 1993) have proposed the subjective non-confirmatory pattern, which develops measurement of service quality directly by difference of perception - expectation. …

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