Significance of accommodation service
The Hotel Act of Thailand 1935(Section3) defines hotel as any places establish to serves travelers or people who want a place to live or stay. It is also mentioned in section 25 that any residences used as lodgings or as a place for at least an overnight stay with the owners of the residences not selling food and drinks are not considered �Hotel�. It can thus be concluded that any accommodation call �Hotel� needs to include food and drinks services for customers (Boonserm Hutapaet & Manoon Kalapat, 1999 : 121). Also, Preecha Dangroj (1994 : 200) defines hotel industry as the conventional and systematic business of service travelers or people who would like a place to stay with accommodation like rooms, food and drinks.
Accommodation and tourism business have brought a lot of income to the country, creating a job opportunity to many people and decentralize income and prosperity to the rural area. Hotels in other provinces have greatly benefited from these two businesses. This bring about prosperity and improvement of more convenient and secure communication and transportation. During the past ten years, there have been a great number of foreign tourists coming to Thailand which brought a lot of income to the country and enhanced economic progress. Nonetheless, the situation of accommodation business are also dependent on many surrounding factors, for instance the political situation in the country, the world economic state, or even the security state of some countries that have influence upon world economic system.
The significance of accommodation services can be cited in two ways : the significance to the economic , social and cultural systems, and the significance to guests (Boonserm Hutapaet & Manoon Kalapat, 1999 : 121).
1.Significance to the economic, social and cultural systems
1.1Economic : The growth of accommodation and tourism businesses creates income and employment in the country. Apart from expense on accommodation, income from tourists includes food, sources of entertainment in the hotel. New kinds of services then emerge to serve customers� needs.
1.2Social : The fact that accommodation services bring about income and employment produces an effect on the quality of life of people in society. Income has spread to different parts of the community especially the one where there are many tourist sites through various ways like selling foods, local products, or souvenirs. In terms of employment, it decrease the problem of unemployment and migration to the urban areas.
1.3Cultural : Thai people are famous for their generosity and smile which create an impression to tourists. Good service provider should process good Thai manners and traditional Thai shows like theatricals, music, carvings should be presented as a means to preserve Thai culture.
2.Significance to Guests
Service delivery of accommodation varies according to price rate, different types of services, variety of services. This is provided as an alternative for the recipients to choose the service that suit their purpose. The significant is presented as follow ;
2.1Accommodation : Guests are currently able to choose a variety of services provided by the hotel such as catering service, wedding venue, seminars, laundry service.
2.2Feel-like-home atmosphere : Many hotels provide home-like services to get rid of the guests� feeling of discomfort while they are away from their home. All kind of services aim at giving guests an extreme satisfaction with hope that they would be attracted by services and comeback or recommend them to others.
2.3Entertainment and relaxation : In almost all the hotels, there is an entertainment zone that includes bar, club, or food and beverage corner. Besides, new relaxing kind of services like massage, mineral bath are meant to satisfy the guests at most.
It can be said that as long as travelling to other places for different purposes is still going on, accommodation services are always there to support and serve the travelers� needs. Especially in the globalization era, it is more sensible for people to travel and that makes accommodation services enlarge and prompts service providers to improve better services that satisfy the customers the most.
With an average over 300 billion baht (US$ 7 billion) in tourism revenue every year representing about 6% of Thailand's GDP, the tourism industry has an important role at generating income and growth to the country especially in the time of economic recovery. On an average nearly 12 million tourists visited Thailand every year staying long for about 8 days on an average in one of the world's most favorite tourist destination. A majority of tourist arrivals (about 46.06%) are from East Asia, which up to now had been identified as the "new engine" of global travel and tourism, 34.85 percent from Europe, 6.82 percent are Americans, 3.91 percent are South Asia, 5.01 percent are Oceania, 2.70 percent are Middle East and 0.63 percent from Africa.(Tourism Authority of Thailand, TAT) Asia had a sizeable 17% share of the world tourism market with a strong 8% growth in 2007.( Fiscal Policy Research Institute,2007)
The main marketing slogan for promoting Thailand internationally was "Amazing Thailand", but, in reaction to the 2009 tourism crisis, it was relaunched as "Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value". (http://issuu.com/iasiamagazine/docs/iasia_09_p01-64 page 34)
In 2007, Thailand was the 18th most visited country in the World Tourism rankings with 14.5 million visitors. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, (http://www.tourismthailand.org/about-tat/about-tat-47-1.html ) 55% of the tourists in 2007 came from the Asia Pacific region, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Malaysians forming the biggest groups. The largest groups of Western tourists come from the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the United States and Scandinavia. The number of tourists arriving from the Middle East and Russia is on the rise.(http://www2.tat.or.th/stat/web/static_download.php?Rpt=ita ) Around 55% of Thailand's tourists are return visitors. The peak period is during the Christmas and New Year holidays when Western tourists flee the cold conditions back home. Domestic tourism has also grown significantly in the past decade. Revenues from domestic tourism have gone from 187,898 million baht in 1998 to 380,417 million baht (approximately 7.8 billion Euro) in 2007. (http://www2.tat.or.th/stat/web/static_index.php )
Asian tourists primarily visit Thailand for Bangkok and the historical, natural and cultural sights in its vicinity. Western tourists not only visit Bangkok and surroundings but in addition many travel down to the southern beaches and islands. The North is the main region for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic minority groups and forested mountains. The region receiving less tourists is Isan in the north-east. To facilitate foreign visitors, the Thai government established a separate tourism police with offices in the major tourist areas and its own central emergency telephone number.( http://www.amazing-thailand.com/Police.html )
It can't be denied that sex tourism also contributes to arrival numbers. Although officially illegal, prostitution in Thailand is monitored and regulated by the government to stem the spread of A sexually transmitted disease and to prevent excesses. Prostitution catering to foreigners is believed to be around 20% of the total prostitution scene in Thailand, and is concentrated in a few major red-light districts such as Pattaya, Patpong and Patong Beach.
Thailand has been receiving increased competition ever since Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam opened up to international tourism in the 1980s and 90s. Destinations like Angkor Wat, Luang Prabang and Halong Bay now contest Thailand's former monopoly in the Indochina region. To counter this, Thailand is actively targeting niche markets such as golf holidays, or holidays combined with medical treatment. Around 2 million foreigners visiting Thailand for medical treatment are expected in 2009, more than 3 times the amount of tourist visiting for that purpose in 2002. (http://amazingthailand.tourismthailand.org/thailand_tourism_update/090304f.html ) According to Lonely Planet, Thailand ranks second of "Best-value destinations for 2010" after Iceland; the latter having been hit very hard by the subprime mortgage crisis. (http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/travelnews/158928/thailand-second-in-best-value )
Thailand offers a great variety of attractions. These include diving sites, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, varied night-life, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, exceptional flora and bird life, palaces, a huge amount of Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites. Many tourists follow courses during their stay in Thailand. Popular are classes in Thai cooking, Buddhism and traditional Thai massage. Thai national festivals range from the fun-for-all water splashing Songkran to the almost fairytale like quality of Loy Krathong. Many localities in Thailand also have their own festivals. Famous are the "Elephant Round-up" in Surin, the "Rocket Festival" in Yasothon and the curious "Phi Ta Khon" festival in Dan Sai.
Thai cuisine has become deservedly famous worldwide with its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices. From an inexpensive plate of delicious Som tam at a simple street stall upcountry to a modern take on Thai cuisine in the gourmet restaurants of Bangkok, it's very difficult not to eat well in Thailand.
Only the most austere ascetics can resist shopping when in Thailand. Bangkok is renowned for its main shopping malls down town (with CentralWorld being the biggest shopping mall in South-east Asia), offering an astounding variety of international and local brands. Towards the north of the city, and easily reached by skytrain or underground, is "Chatuchak Weekend Market". It is possibly the largest market in the world, selling everything from household items to live, and sometimes endangered,( http://cms.iucn.org/index.cfm?uNewsID=850 ) animals. The "Pratunam Market" downtown, is nearly totally specialized in fabrics and clothing. The night markets in the Silom area and on Khaosan Road are mainly tourist orientated, selling items such as T-shirts, handicrafts, counterfeit watches and sunglasses. In the vicinity of Bangkok one can find several visually stunning floating markets such as the one in Damnoen Saduak. The hotels offer world-class hospitality and include both luxury and budget accommodation options from 5 stars to 3 stars.
Thailand to be emphasized as the leader of tourist destination of Asia by gained �the most popular tourist destination in Asia� award in December 2009 which given by more than 52000 tourist�s feedback around the world through website call �hotelclub.com� which is the hotel reservation service provider. It has more than 6 millions people client base (Thairath newspaper ,29 December 2009 )
According to Thailand Hotel Association(THA) it has 194 hotels who officially register with THA from 5 stars to 2 stars hotels all over Thailand. In Bangkok it has 53 hotels who registered with THA, 19 hotels are 5 stars, 25 hotels are 4 stars, 6 hotels are 3 stars and 3 hotels are 2 stars. But in fact in Bangkok it has so many which not register with THA.
How the rate of quality and standard as Star will be given to hotel is also a critical issue in the hotel industry.
The Thai tourism industry has long recognized the importance of setting a consistent standard for hotels and resorts in Thailand. Hotels have contributed significantly the growth and development of the Thai tourism industry and will continue to play a vital role. Hence in order to increase Thailand's competitive potential on the international stage, the Thai hotel industry deemed it an important step to raise overall standards by adopting internationally-recognized practices, such as the introduction of a 'precise, accurate and reliable' hotel standard and certification process that would enable Thai hotels to compete with world-class hotel properties on an equal footing. Prior to this, Thai hotels have principally operated under the legislative framework and regulatory provisions of the Hotel Act of BE 2478 (1935).
In 1999, the Thai Hotel Association (THA), supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), embarked on a pilot project to establish a comprehensive and credible "hotel standard" that defines the qualities and characteristics of a particular hotel or resort property and sets it apart from properties in other levels, and is also universally-recognized and internationally-accepted.
THA entrusted the responsibility for drafting the "Thailand Hotel Standard" to Mrs Piyaman Kanathanavanich - a THA Member, Chairman of Membership and Chairman of the THA Western Chapter - and a task force consisting of personnel from large and small properties in Bangkok and other provinces.
The drafting process was governed by the following policy guidelines.
� The classification of the standard has to be clear and accurate.
� The criteria for verifying have to be transparent and verifiable.
� Following certification of the standard, when re-evaluated, a consistent result must be achieved.
� The standard offers equal protection to both the hotel and its customers/guests
� The standard has to be open to all hotels and not only members of THA.
International models, particularly European, provided the conceptual framework for the formulation of the current Thai Hotel Standard, which is based on the universally accepted 'star rating' concept. During the information-gathering phase in 2002-2003, over 60 hotels were surveyed. To oversee the administration of and certification process for the Thai Hotel Standards, a non-profit organization and juristic person representing the private and public sector, named "The Foundation of Standard and Human Resources Development in Service and Tourism Industry" has been established.
LEVELS OF THE THAILAND HOTEL STANDARD AND SYMBOL
As the certification organization for the Thailand Hotel Standard, the Foundation awards the internationally-recognized 'star rating' to a hotel or resort property.
The hotel standard is divided into 5 levels and arranged in ascending order with one star ( ) denoting the lowest standard and five stars ( ) denoting the highest standard.
At participating hotel and resort properties, the star-rating symbol is presented in one of two formats.
� In the form of a 21-by-30 sign on a gold background with the corresponding number of 'stars' awarded featured on the sign.
The sign is displayed at the top right-hand corner of the main entrance sign at the front of the hotel. In cases where it is not possible to place the sign at the main entrance to the hotel, the sign will either be placed in the way-in to the hotel building or in the lobby.
� A certificate awarded by the Foundation must be placed in the lobby.
By the end of the initial phase from 1 October 2003 - 30 September 2004, 110 Thai hotels had applied for certification.
MAJOR FACTORS IN CONSIDERING THE HOTEL STANDARD
The major factors taken into consideration in the assessment and certification of an individual hotel and resort property are:
� Physical aspects :
such as location and surroundings
� Construction aspect :
ie. the physical structure of the hotel, systems in place, security system, etc.
� Facilities for hotel guests :
taking into consideration guests who are resident at the hotel (in-house guests) as well as guests who frequent the hotel and use the services provided
For example, the quantity of the facilities, d?cor, equipment, etc.
� Quality of Service and the ability to maintain quality
includes such criteria as personality, the quality of services, cleanliness, hygiene, etc.
� The maintenance of the hotel and the abovementioned facilities.
The Thai hotel standard covers three aspects
� The standard of construction and facilities
� The standard of maintenance
� The standard of services
RAISING THE VISIBILITY AND AWARENESS OF CERTIFIED HOTEL AND RESORT PROPERTIES
To ensure widespread awareness of the introduction of the Thailand Hotel Standard among local and international travel and tour operators, individual travelers and tourists, as well as media, the following is being undertaken.
� A guide to the Thai hotels participating in the Thailand Hotel Standard program is being produced and will be distributed worldwide and will help individual travelers and tourists, and travel and tour operators in the selection of hotels and resorts to suit varying needs and budgets.
� Certificates and plaques are displayed at the front entrance or in the lobby of each of the certified hotels
� Certified hotels will be promoted through press conferences, TAT media and travel-related publications
Successful implementation of the certification program increases international confidence in Thailand as a world-class travel and holiday destination, enhances the overall image of the Thai tourism industry and reinforces Thailand's positioning as 'Tourism Capital of Asia'.
As a growing number of hotel and resort operators recognize the importance of having set standards for the industry, it is expected that the program will attract increased participation from Thai hotels and resorts.
To be eligible, a hotel or resort property applying for the standard must meet the following requirements:
� The hotel must operate in Thailand
� The hotel must have a legal hotel license and must have been in full operation for at least one year.
� The hotel must accept the regulations for the Thai Hotel Standard certification process and must have paid certification fees.
The certification of the hotel standard is valid for a period of three years from the date the certification results are issued by the Committee, unless the certification awarded has been cancelled or revoked for a specific reason prior to that date. Hotels are able to renew certification by informing the Committee before the expiry date. For renewal and re-evaluation, hotels are required to only pay an annual fee. With this gradual roll-out and growing acceptance of the Thai hotel standards program, the number of complaints from tour operators, travelers and tourists is expected to decrease. (News room, Tourism Authority of Thailand)
Five Service quality dimensions
1.Reliability : Delivering on Promises
Reliability is defined as ability to perform the promises service dependably and accurately, promises are about delivery, service provision, problem solution and pricing.
2.Responsiveness : Being willing to help
Responsiveness is the willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service, emphasizes attentiveness and promptness in dealing with customers requests, questions, complaints and problems. Responsiveness is communicated to customers by length of time they have to wait for assistance, answers to questions, or attention to problems and captures the notion of flexibility and ability to customize the service to customer needs.
3.Assurance : Inspiring Trust and Confidence
Assurance is defined as employee knowledge and courtesy and the ability of the firm and its employees to inspiring trust and confidence. It is important for service that customers perceive as high risk or service which they feel uncertain about their ability to evaluate outcomes.
4.Empathy : Treating Customers as Individuals
Empathy is defined as the caring, individualized attention that the firm provide its customers. The essence of empathy is conveying , through personalized and customized service, that customers are unique and special and their needs are understood.
5.Tangible : Representing the Service Physically
Tangibles are defined as the appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials. Tangibles provide physical representations or images of the service that customers, particularly new customers, will use to evaluate quality.
(Services Marketing. Zeithaml, Bitner, Gremler, Pandit. 2008, p.118-122.)
At present the prospect of Asian-tourism in becoming the "new engine" of global travel and tourism so many competitors want to share pieces of cake in this industry. According to political problem Thailand is likely to suffer more than neighbor countries from the downturn, as tourists choose to visit less volatile countries such as Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India etc.
For Bangkok - While the tourism industry worldwide is being buffeted by the economic crisis and swine flu, Thailand's hoteliers have their own special problems, such as persuading guests that airports would stay open and protestors won't invade the premises.
Although statistics are hard to come by - tourist arrival s have been elusive in Thailand ever since the Tourism Ministry took over the job of compiling them from the Tourism Authority of Thailand - Thai hotels are definitely hurting this year.
First-quarter earnings of the hotel groups listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand were down by an average of 70 per cent with some of them in the red.
According to Surapong, Thai hotel occupancy rates in May were down 50 per cent compared with the same month last year.
Hotels are slashing prices and offering deals, making Thailand a cheap destination again after years of rising prices and healthy profits for the industry. (http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/business/features/article_1477080.php/Thai_hotel_industry_runs_into_perfect_storm_Feature#ixzz0fA4yFMKf)
The Tourist Authority of Thailand is expecting visitor arrivals of 14mn in 2009, representing a further drop from 2008�s level. This will imply a corresponding fall in tourist revenues, and a rise in unemployment.
Another principal of service staffs in service business is the insufficiency in labor. The service business is necessary to get knowing, skillful and experience workers. In these days, there is a study project to arrange the developing program in tourism and service industry of the nation following the national socioeconomic development plan, no.10, from the year 2007-2011. This operation needs to meet to the nation�s doom and its tactic emphasizes onto upgrading of attribute and basis of the nation. The measurement is establishment of quality assurance�s system, educational standard, tourism�s knowledge workshop, certain system of industrial standard, for instances, the stars given for the hotels for the service standard.(Tourism Authority of Thailand,2001 : 5) Correspondingly, TAT is encouraging the supporting project of long stay tourism project. This targeted through Japanese , American and Scandinavian tourists, over 55 years old. This project insists them to stay in Thailand longer than general tourists. And the project is the long-term which plan to get 200,000 tourists to stay in Thailand around ten months. It estimated that if tourists� outgo is at bottommost of 50,000 baht, the national income will be utmost of 100,000 millions baht. TAT and networking organizations has been working on the improving of facilities in most areas. For examples, the implementing of accommodation and service�s standard, which is advantageous for the country.(Kanistha Pondouam, Ed., 2001 : 25)
0n the point of significance and the declared problem, the researcher assume that the quality of business�s service for tourist customers is very important. Though the standard quality of hotel business is in pleasing level. But tourists still may compare the service to overseas� service of accommodation business since they traveled to many countries. It is suggested that the evaluation of satisfaction from tourists toward the service is practicable. Since this is the assessment that reflective the service�s outcome whether it has been served customers enough or less. The result from the evaluation from tourists customers is rewarding since it reflects the performance of workers by the observation of tourist customers. Moreover, this is another method that given a chance for customers to evaluate the finished service so that other service�s requirement may be suggested. This information is the advantageous to hotelier in accommodation�s business, in the form of giving instruction, skill training and behavioral improvement of the staffs to meet the efficiency. The evaluation�s program and system mechanic were accomplished if tourists indicated superlative satisfaction to the quality of the service. On the contrary, if tourists reveal the general disappointment of the service , this will be display the failing in accommodation�s service. The finding from study can improve the service to become more effective.
The researcher emphasize on the study of the satisfaction of international tourists toward service quality by hotel�s business in Bangkok, Thailand. I also investigate the satisfactory level and relevant factor toward service quality. Determinants of problem and demand of tourists is also analyzed in order to determine the implementation and recommendations for quality�s development in the service of accommodation for tourists. Considering the survey result of hotel�s visitors in year 2001, it indicated that the total numbers of guests are 37.7 millions people. Bangkok is the city were most tourists visited at 37.7 percent of total numbers. While tourists visited the south of Thailand at secondly of 20.9 percent of total numbers. (The Prime Minister�s Office,2001 : 13) most of international tourists have experienced in traveling to many counties, thus they can see the opposite sides of Thailand�s accommodation service when compare with other�s excellent.
Purpose of the study :
This study is an attempt at asses the tourists� satisfaction toward the service quality of hotels in Bangkok.
Objectives of Research :
1.To analyze the requirement for accommodation for tourists and problem faces by hotels
2.To examines the factors determining tourists� choice of hotel
3.To assess the satisfaction level of tourists� toward the service quality of hotels in Bangkok.
1.What is the requirement for tourists� accommodation especially the hotels?
2.What are the problem faced by hotelier to accommodating tourists?
3.What factors that determine tourists� choice of a particular hotel?
4.What are the satisfaction levels of tourists toward service quality of accommodation in Bangkok ?
Scope and Limitations
This research is exploration of international tourists� satisfaction toward the service quality of hotels in Bangkok. The research method is the survey of information from international tourists and problem faces by hotelier. The survey questionnaire will be filled by hotelier and customer of the hotels.
The study will have its limitations in the sense that the researcher could not derived the data from all the tourists. The data were collected only from tourists who can speak English so might be we missed out some information from the tourists who can not speak English. Some hotels do not like any questionnaire to be filled by their customer because it kind of interrupt their customers. The study is confined to Bangkok, Thailand and may not be applicable as a base study for others countries.