Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Implementation of a Quality Management System in Rural Accommodations: Perceived Benefits

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Implementation of a Quality Management System in Rural Accommodations: Perceived Benefits

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Rural accommodation establishments, mostly micro SMEs, as well as industrial companies or service enterprises of a larger size must provide services that meet the real needs of their customers and on the other hand, do it at the lowest possible cost. Thus, quality as a means to achieve it becomes part of a long-term business strategy, by putting emphasis on meeting customer needs, becoming an approach for continuous improvement of all the aspects of the business (Al-Khalifa and Aspinwall, 2000).

In this sense, rural accommodation managers should consider both quality prospects; the external prospect, according to Hurtado et al. (2009: 19) "considers quality as something that creates customer value, to the extent that the product or service meets its customer's expectations, as well as maintaining good management of company relationships with customers, suppliers, society and the environment (stakeholders)", and the internal prospect, which "is based on identifying a strategy that mobilizes the entire organization to achieve optimization of all the operations, cultural change and internal changes necessary to maintain or achieve a competitive position". In conclusion, the former places emphasis on efficiency and customer satisfaction and the internal prospect on efficiency.

There are many studies showing that implementing quality in a company generates positive and measurable results for the company (Casadesús and Karapetrovic, 2005; Aldowaisan and Youssef, 2006; Camisón et al., 2007; Sila, 2007; Prakash, 2008; Lee et al., 2009; Mak, 2011; Chatzoglou and Chatzoudes, 2015). In this sense, when you take into account that quality management systems involve every area of the company, we can therefore consider that the benefits derived therefrom are felt throughout the company: benefits at customer level, financial and business performance (processes, organizational) benefits, etc.

In the literature review on quality, we have found that the benefits to be gained from the implementation of a QMS have been extensively studied in the industrial sector (Buttle, 1997; Huarng et al., 1999; Gotzamani and Tsiotras, 2002; Stevenson and Barnes, 2002; Naveh and Marcus, 2007; Martínez et al., 2008, entre otros), but there are very few studies in the tourism sector (Casadesús et al., 2010; Mak, 2011; Sheehan and Presenza, 2011; Tarí and Pereira, 2012; Tarí et al., 2012) and none in the rural accommodation sector, which leads us to consider the present study.

On the other hand, we must consider that rural tourism is more relevant in today's economies due to its potential for local and regional development, in areas where there is a great socio-economic imbalance caused by the decline of the primary sector. Thus, it becomes an important driving force for development, due to its ability to generate economic benefits, boost employment, promote the settlement of the population and promote conservation of natural resources and its historical and cultural heritage. The data provided by the Rural Tourism Accommodation Occupancy Survey in December 2014 in Spain, gives us an idea of the importance of this sector: the number of rural accommodations open is 14,654 with 133,290 places and 20,178 employees. The number of travelers who stayed in these establishments was 238,191, representing 592,853 overnight stays, with an average stay of 2.49 days.

In view of the above considerations, the importance of this type of tourism and scarcity of studies in this area, the aim of this research is to identify the benefits perceived by managers of rural accommodation establishments provided by the implementation and certification of QMS and analyze the impact of these benefits on the implementation level of the critical factors and results obtained.

To be able respond to these objectives, the work is divided into several sections. In the first place, a review of the literature on the perceived benefits of implementing a QMS is performed. …

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