Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

 

Using the relevant literature and your own experiences, describe the

contemporary marketplace and describe the kind of hospitality consumer you

are in that marketplace.

You will need to address the following connected issues.

  1. Describe the contemporary marketplace.
  2. Describe the different types of hospitality consumers within this

marketplace.

  1. Build a model that contains the consumer types you identified.
  2. Use this model and your real-life experiences as a consumer of hospitality

to identify and describe what type of consumer you are.

  1. Make an informed judgement as to how useful or not useful this model was

in terms of helping you identify the kind of hospitality consumer you are.Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

  • To support what you say it is important that you use appropriate terms,

concepts and models that are drawn from a range of academically acceptable

sources which must be referenced correctly to be of value.

  • To support what you say it is important that you use theoretical and empirical

research findings which must be referenced correctly to be of value.

  • To support what you say it is important that you use examples from your

personal experiences as a hospitality consumer.

  • The work should be in the form of a personal essay using paragraphs not

sub headings.

  • Any tables, figures or visual material should be placed in an appendix

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My Type of Consumer in the Contemporary Hospitality Marketplace

The modern-day consumer of hospitality services is far different from consumer samples from the previous generations. There is a significant awareness gap between consumers from the contemporary hospitality marketplace and those from a couple of generations ago, for example, a decade. The modern hospitality consumers are particular with the kind of services that they would want to experience and would not settle for products that do not meet the threshold. Besides, unlike the previous generations of consumers, today’s consumers are empowered by technology to speak about their quality demands. The modern hospitality services consumers are also relatively busier and value their time, often using it efficiently to access the needed information. To respond to this smarter and more confident generation of consumers, businesses within the hospitality industry continue to adjust effectively to the changes by understanding each customer group separately. This essay will apply my personal experiences as a modern-day consumer alongside a wealth of literature to describe the existent features of the contemporary hospitality industry marketplace and the type of consumer that I am in this marketplace.

The hospitality industry has recorded significant expansion over the recent set of years, with the market for hospitality, increasing more than any other period in history. As a result, the nature of investment in the industry has also expanded both in terms of size and quality.  Consumer of Hospitality Services EssayCustomer behavior in today’s hospitality marketplace is influenced by specific factors that have also increased the number of players in the market. As a result of these changes, high levels of competition have emerged within the industry. Hospitality businesses are compelled to identify, understand, and act in line with the specific needs of different client segments within the contemporary market. Contemporary hospitality businesses have shifted considerably from the traditional strategy of maximizing returns and are more focused on developing high-quality products customized to each consumer segment.

The contemporary hospitality marketplace is increasingly getting comprised of more millennials compared to any other demographic group. According to Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (2019), millennials (individuals aged between 18 and 34) are expected to constitute 50 percent or more of the total travelers getting into the United States by the year 2025. Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (2019) urges that hospitality organizations should align their strategies around the millennials by understanding the aspects of life that attract them. He millennials are the earliest adopters of emerging technology and are fond of elements that sustain one-on-one interactions (Veríssimo & Costa, 2018). Active participation across social networks is a strategic means through which hospitality businesses can actively interact with the millennials and attract them to their companies (Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, 2019).

The modern-day hospitality marketplace is based on a technological explosion where consumers are aware of technological advancement and their impacts on self-awareness. The cotemporary hospitality consumer is mindful of the technological directions that hospitality service delivery has taken and enjoys the convenience that emerges from such technological growths. Travelers today use mobile applications or websites to seek the highest quality, yet favorable price services within their destinations. On the other hand, business travelers demand that they are served with a seamless variety of meeting and conferencing equipment and highly qualified staff that are knowledgeable in such fields. Also, the contemporary consumer has knowledge of connectivity across diverse platforms. As a result, they are ready to initiate services such as mobile check-in alongside digital concierge services that promote luxury and convenience. Technology has redefined the roles of hospitality staff in the emerging hospitality marketplace. Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

Also, the contemporary hospitality marketplace is increasingly expanding in terms of the influx of international leisure travels. As the GDP of most developing countries grows, the number of dollar millionaires has increased in several countries. As a result, more significant populations can afford international leisure travels. The Dubai International Airport, for example, has emerged through the years to be the busiest airport in the world. As a result, consumers continue to demand services tailored in multitudes of language. Hospitality businesses continue to tailor services and experiences that accommodate diverse identities. International consumers would need services tailored to suit the unique cultural needs rooted in their regions of origin.

More than before, the modern-day hospitality marketplace continues to serve a cohort of consumers that is more focused on their health and well-being than any other thing. The growing trends of lifestyle disorders diseases arising from inactivity and poor diets have informed the evolution of a generation of consumers that have assumed full charge of their health. Preferences are more substantial in hotel services with properly equipped fitness centers, well-maintained pools, and spas. Besides, modern-day travelers have based their preferences on the hospitality facility’s abilities to initiate innovative wellness options for them. Consumers have also based their preferences to clean, organic food sources high nutritive values. Alongside healthy food and dietary programs, other emerging services continue to disrupt choices in the contemporary hospitality marketplace. Such services include energizing lighting systems,  purified breathing air, adequate yoga spaces, in-room exercise equipment, and vitamin-infused shower water. The nature of eco-friendly practices such as continued use of renewable energy are aspects that serve environmental health awareness in the modern-day hospitality marketplace.

The influence of technological advancement around the world can be felt in the contemporary hospitality marketplace through the freedom of choice that it presents consumers. While there have been several brands of hospitality organizations to select from, today’s consumers are advantaged in that they use their mobile gadgets to search for the precise services and chose from the facilities that offer such. In the wake of the social network explosion, hospitality organizations are involved in active destination and self-promotion. This provides further advantages to the consumers as they evaluate several facilities and chose from them. To the disadvantage of hospitality companies, the internet and social media offers consumers a platform on which they can conduct real-time damage control publicly. When dissatisfied, consumers can now log into their Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, or twitter to launch their grievances. Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

The consumer decision model is the most appropriate model that can be used to explain the behavior of the modern-day consumer of hospitality products. The essential functions of the consumer decision model include problem recognition, information search, and evaluation of available alternatives, the actual purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation (Cohen et al., 2014). Different from the rest of the previous generations is that the current generation enjoys a more robust version of this model with the assistance of technology. Technological devices and the internet have made the decision processes quicker and much more comfortable. In the previous era, consumer decision for hospitality processes was influenced by consumer’s cognitive abilities and the environment. Information had to be perceived, processed, and linked to the individual’s previous experiences or tested (Kandampully, 2015). Today, technology has successfully bridged the decision gap, and consumer does not entirely depend on their cognition or environment for purchase decisions.

The twenty-first-century customer of hospitality products has higher expectations of the products in terms of quality, quantity, and the experience they derive in purchasing and using such products and services. The fundamental trait of the modern-day consumer of hospitality services lies in their profound awareness of their product needs (Altinay et al., 2017). Today’s hospitality consumers, unlike those in any other previous generation, are adequately advantaged. They hold abilities to define the nature of services and experiences that they want, the time at which such services must be rendered, and how they must be delivered. The contemporary consumer will only settle upon receiving the exact quality of services that they want and at the right time and condition(Altinay, et al., 2017). Owing to the smartness and confidence of the consumers, businesses offering hospitality services continue to face complex challenges creating unique products and services that please them. Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

The particular nature of the 21st-century consumer of hospitality has dictated changes in several aspects within the industry. First, it has informed changes in the buying processes. The contemporary hospitality consumer has continually demanded seamless purchase processes that are as easy and intuitive as possible (Kandampully, 2015). The payment methods, for example, are expected to be devoid of complicated procedures. Since consumers have prior information, there is always np need to overload websites with data that is not beneficial to them. Seamlessness in the purchase of products is further enhanced by quick access to products. As a millennial and a consumer of modern-day hospitality services, I would expect that access to such products is as easy as accessing the organization’s website (Hudson & Thal, 2013).

Currently, there is a general increase in the number of hospitality consumers that prefer to use mobile devices to the traditional distribution mediums compared to a decade ago. The contemporary consumer would like to access and purchase products of their choices at any time, from wherever they are. My peers and I, for example, occasionally prefer to access entertainment information, locations of live rock bands, and purchase weekend tickets while at home or from school (Altinay et al., 2017). The contemporary hospitality has seen considerable increases in the number of mobile searches before mobile purchases. It is, therefore, necessary for competitive hospitality businesses to establish properly designed websites but also update them such that they can accommodate mobile services. As part of the contemporary hospitality consumer network, I know that facilities that do not consider the importance of websites are non-existent. Hotels and other hospitality organizations are responding to the current generation of consumers by designing clean, easy to navigate, functional, yet modern-looking websites. Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

Another aspect that outstands within the current hospitality marketplace reviews. The modern-day consumers have unimaginable power within their hands, and they have used it to drive quality services delivery and affordability among hospitality businesses. Each aspect of service does not go unnoticed (Hudson & Thal, 2013). The current generation of consumers have mobile devices readily in their hands and carefully watch for possible mistakes made by businesses. The social platforms have offered platforms upon which they share such information with the rest of the work. As a heavy use of social networks and search engines, I rely on reviews to acquire information regarding hotels and travel services. It is difficult to risk acquiring services if I cannot ascertain that I would be satisfied with such services (Hudson & Thal, 2013). Going through the websites and reading through the reviews and opinions of previous users of such services is a sure way of getting heads up regarding the organization’s services. The contemporary consumer of hotel services do not have to test each product by themselves but depend on the internet to acquire other people’s opinions of such products (Freeman & Glazer, 2015). Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

Today’s consumer is also aware of the elements that constitute their surroundings, especially the ones that have significant implications in their lives. During recent years, environmental awareness has become a vital issue of concern of which millennial consumers are aware of and attached (Mihajlovic & Koncul, 2016). Consumers of hospitality products have a broad preference for sustainable products. The popularity of electric cars is hinted to be driven by the general need of the young population to drive change in environmental conservation. There is an increasing preference for hospitality businesses whose services are produced using environmental-friendly approaches.

The modern-day consumers also prefer organizations that support the local communities in which they do businesses. In recent years, I have traveled with Aracari Ltd, which provides travel services to Peru, Bolivia, and the Galapagos Islands. The company supports each area visited by taking care of the environment (Mihajlovic & Koncul, 2016). Lastly, the contemporary customer of hospitality products has a broader awareness of issues connected to responsible shopping. There is a general rise in intolerance with businesses that take advantage of their position in the marketplace to initiate unfair practices. For example, the rate parity among hotels has compelled other hotels to close enterprises (Mihajlovic & Koncul, 2016). The internet provides modern-day consumers with access to intermediary sites that propose alternatives to the facilities that practice rate parity. Bidroom.com is such a site that also advocates against rate parity. Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

Informed by the trends of contemporary hospitality and the characteristics of the modern-day consumer of hospitality products, several consumer niches, and types can be derived. Different hospitality businesses target different kinds of consumer segments (Mihajlovic & Koncul, 2016). Also, different modern-day market segments have different tastes and preferences, which informs the niche of services they prefer to have. Four types of consumer niches can be derived from the characteristics of the contemporary consumers describes. These types of consumer segments include backpackers and solo travelers, couples, families, and business travelers (Salver, 2009).

Backpackers and solo travelers are an essential type of modern-day hospitality consumers. In most instances, backpackers and solo travelers have the desire to walk through the locality and explore more as compared to spending hours within hotel rooms (Hannam & Ateljevic, 2007, p. 216-224). Their reference is to access low-budget facilities as opposed to acquiring high-quality amenities or hotel services. Among the modern-day groups of hospitality consumers, Hannam & Ateljevic, (2007) explains solo travelers are considered the lowest sources of income, but can also be among the highest yielding. The hotel industry accommodates solo travelers by offering slightly lower qualities of accommodation, which are paid for every night spent. Another unique aspect of solo travelers is that they prefer socializing and establishing networks with other travelers. As a result, they prefer acquiring accommodation in hotels designed such that they have common lounges and communal areas within them.

The second type of consumer that can be derived from the contemporary hospitality marketplace is couples. Married or dating, couples form a significant demographic in the modern-day hospitality marketplace (Salver, 2009). During their travels or accommodations, intimate and romantic partners thrive in quiet environments, prefer luxurious candlelit restaurants to seek accommodation in high-quality facilities. Although romantic partners may leave their hotel rooms to go off-shore and enjoy the look of nature, their crucial attraction is the interior of their hotel rooms. Couples seeking hospitality services may be newly married, those dating or engaged,  or sometimes those celebrating their marriage anniversaries (Salver, 2009). Either way, hospitality businesses have tapped into this type of consumer by customizing products that suit their needs. Currently, many hotels offer packages to attract couples in their honeymoons. According to Salver (2009), most childless couples seek higher-value products due to the high disposable incomes that they hold.Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

According to Freeman & Glazer (2015,p.169 ), families constitute yet another essential type of consumer in the contemporary hospitality marketplace. Families as consumers have particular needs and would seek services from specific businesses that fit their requirements. Families seek services from environments that are friendly to childrenand which are also inexpensive. Additional utilities that would attract families into hospitality businesses includea guarantee of safety, on-site play areas, entertainment, and ideally, discounts for other rooms that would be occupied by the children (Salver, 2009). Couples or families that accompany children often visit online sites seeking for hotels with extra amenities such as booster chairs, full stroller-friendly paths, and changing stations with extra safety. Hospitality facilities that target families as their customers in the modern-day market must also create open-air spaces within their structures. Additional, these facilities must offer lucrative discounts and menus tailored for children. Having attractions that are friendly to children, such as amusement parks, is an added advantage.

The last type of consumer segment that can be derived from the modern-day hospitality market is business travelers. Powers & Barrows (2002), in the book “Introduction to the Hospitality Industry 5th Edition,” suggests that business travelers highly held by hotels and other hospitality facilities because they are a high-expenditure group of consumers. Business travelers fancy fast internet connection, access to sophisticated electronic gadgetry. The American Hotels and Lodging Association (2015) lodging industry report of 2015 indicates that business travelers constitute 48 percent of the total number of guests. Business travelers always remain within their rooms for most hours when they book hotels, although they might leave no one within their views (Salver, 2009). Retaining them means that such facilities must focus their attention on details such as the delivery of breakfast and meals, proficient room service services, and extra furnishing such as a working desk. Internet connection should be fast and reliable throughout their visit (AHLA, 2015). Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

After a careful analysis of the consumer decision making process and the different types of customers in the contemporary hospitality marketplace, I now apply my experiences to determine where my type falls in the listed categories. I am a millennial, also referred to as the generation of Y, and have had a lifestyle and behavior that differs considerably from the rest of the previous generation (Veríssimo & Costa, 2018). Millennials are different in terms of their priorities, lifestyle preferences, the quickness with technology adoption, as well as their travel behaviors. Millennials have disrupted the luxury travel industry by encouraging more lone travels than ever witnessed (Hannam & Ateljevic, 2007). Their access to sophisticated mobile devices, as well as an extensive understanding of the internet, has become instrumental in informing the millennial’s confidence and desire to explore the world alone.

Being an independent traveler also makes me a backpacker or solo traveler whose principal purpose in traveling and consuming hospitality services is to explore and learn more about destinations. The focus of backpackers and solo travelers is derailed from the need to consume luxurious amenities provided by hospitality facilities, but rather to explore the nature outside, the architecture of the city, and establish new networks and friendships (Hannam & Ateljevic, 2007). When my friends and I formed a small group to travel to Madeline Island park through the weekend,  we focussed more on creating more daily activities and experiences as opposed to finding hotels with the best facilities. While searching for the best travel ideas, we concentrated more on the events that each site offers, before accessing information about accommodation. The hotel industry has readjusted to accommodate millennials backpack travelers by offering affordable low-amenity paid-per-night accommodation services (Hannam & Ateljevic, 2007). Besides, hotels continue to create common lounges and communal areas within their premises to accommodate solo travelers whose crave for socializing is enhanced. Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

References

AHLA, 2015. Lodging Industry Trends 2015. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ahla.com/sites/default/files/Lodging_Industry_Trends_2015.pdf
[Accessed 12 November 2019].

Altinay, M., Güçer, E. & Bağ, C., 2017. Consumer Behavior In The Process Of Purchasing Tourism Product In Social Media. Turkish Journal of Business Research, 9(1), pp. 381-402.

Cohen, S. A., Parayag, G. & Moital, M., 2014. Consumer behaviour in tourism: Concepts, influences and opportunities. Current Issues in Tourism, 17(10), pp. 872-909.

Freeman, R. & Glazer, K., 2015. Chapter 8. Services Marketing. In: M. Westcott, ed. Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC. North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Capilano University, pp. 167- 189.

Hannam, K. & Ateljevic, I., 2007. Backpacker Tourism: Concepts and Profiles. First ed. Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.

Hudson, S. & Thal, K., 2013. The Impact of Social Media on the Consumer Decision Process: Implications for Tourism Marketing. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 30(1-2), pp. 156-160.

Kandampully, J., 2015. The new customer-centered business model for the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 18(3), pp. 173-187.

Mihajlovic, I. & Koncul, N., 2016. Changes in consumer behavior – the challenges for providers of tourist services in the destination. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 29(1), pp. 914-937.

Powers, T. & Barrows, C. W., 2002. Introduction to the Hospitality Industry. Fifth ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Research, C. C. f. H., 2019. 2019 CHR Roundtable Addresses Sustainability Initiatives in the Hospitality Industry. [Online]
Available at: https://sha.cornell.edu/faculty-research/centers-institutes/chr/
[Accessed 12 November 2019].

Salver, J., 2009. Brand Management in the Hotel Industry and it’s Potential for Achieving Customer Loyalty. Print ed. Munich, Germany: GRIN Publishing.

Veríssimo, M. & Costa, C., 2018. Do hostels play a role in pleasing Millennial travelers? The Portuguese case. Journal of Tourism Futures, 4(1), pp. 57-68.Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

 

 

Appendix

  1. United States Hospitality Statistics

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, National Travel & Tourism Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Hospitality Revenue

Source: American Hotel and Lodging Association website. Lodging Industry Trends 2015  Consumer of Hospitality Services Essay

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