TOURIST ACCOMMODATION AND RETENTION IN THE NIGERIA HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
1.1 Background of the Study
In the modern times, the way people spend their vacations has undergone a great change. People like to spend good times with family and friend while at the same time exploring various tourist places across the globe. As a result the tourism industry across the globe has seen an unprecedented growth which in turn has also resulted in tremendous growth in accommodation facilities. Comfortable hotels and accommodation facilities play a very important role in popularizing any tourist destination. If a person, who is far away from home, gets to enjoy the same facilities and comforts as he enjoys at his home, then he is bound to become attached to the place. On the other hand if the tourist ends up at a place where the hotels and accommodation facilities are not satisfactory, it is quite likely that he might never return to that place. Perhaps that is why, accommodation facilities being made available at different tourists spots, have shifted focus on providing maximum comfort to tourists at reasonable rates. It is also vital to provide comfortable accommodation to people from diverse economical backgrounds. While five star hotels can cater to the needs of affluent visitors, small and medium range hotels and lodging houses are available for use by a middle class traveler. There is no doubt that tourism is an important source of employment for non-metropolitan communities, especially those that are economically underdeveloped. Furthermore, tourism could lead directly to unsightly sprawl in rural areas by creating a demand for development involving different sectors within the tourism industry. One of such sector is accommodation.
Accommodation has been a travel requirement since the first trading; missionary and pilgrimage routes were established in Asia and Europe in pre-Christian times. The basis for such accommodation was generally non-paying as travelers were provided with a roof over their heads and sustenance as part of a religious obligation or in the hope that similar hospitality might be offered to the host in the future. The first reference to commercial accommodation provision in Europe dates back to the thirteenth century. This concurs with the traditional perception that associates tourism with hotels. Traditionally, hotels played a central role in the development of tourism industry. Similarly, tourism accommodation in general can be used as a tool for tourism development. In contrary to the traditional perception, this article establishes that tourism is one of the most dynamic industries that change with time. Nowadays tourism is associated with service industry that embraces business principles like competitiveness, sustainability and many others that will hopefully come up in the proposed generic strategy.
At the same token, several scholars regard accommodation as a basic, functional business within the tourism industry. Most tourists experience the extreme luxury and opulence of tourism when accommodation is of a high standard. Such accommodation can either be informal or private or it may be provided within governments or independently. If one considers the traditional view of a hotel as an establishment that provides accommodation, food and beverage services to short- stay guests on a paying basis, the level of luxury would depend on personal choice and expectations. Hotels constitute proportion as a sub-sector of tourism accommodation business. Most of the existing studies only focused on hotels, ignoring the fact that there is a diverse array and numerous classifications of accommodation facilities related to the tourism industry.
Since the beginning of recorded time, people have travelled, and during their travels, have needed shelter. This consequently encouraged the springing up of some accommodation in form of inns and small hotels and subsequent larger hospitality suites, to meet such needs. This thus hospitality is said to be the worlds‟ second oldest profession. Just after the civil war in 1970, there was a virtual absence of hotels and especially, the well known names in the international hotel industry in Nigeria. Not until the late 70‟s, during the oil boom era, did Nigeria start experiencing some growth in her hotel industry. In recent years however, Nigeriahosting of several major international events like the common wealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM), All African games, carnivals, meeting including the visits of two American presidents an other presidents with their entourage, has led to the building of several more hotels in Nigeria, especially in the major cities.
This growth is not restricted to Nigeria alone, example, the American food service industry in 1979 had 110 billion dollars of busing for meals away from home and was infact the third largest industry in the country in terms of gross retail sales, it employs about 6 million people and had average of 125. 42 employees in 1995 and yet still needs many additional employees every year. Nigeria has since seen many important developments and changes in the relative improvement in the standard of living of a vast majority of working people. These improvements have come about as a result of many different factors including greater national productivity, stronger growth of economy, having more enlightened management and pressures from trade unions. The contributions made by the hotel and catering industry to this general rise in standard of living are considerable, providing essential and leisure services, employment and wealth creation.
Hotel development in any country is a detailed process, requiring a high level of pre-planning prior to, during and after construction. There is still evidence in many places in Nigeria that this pre-planning has not adequately been carried out, resulting in some hotels that are unable to meet today’s and tomorrows ever-changing and increasing customer needs, including the fact that demand far outstrips supply, with major cities like Lagos having now shortages. Nevertheless, Tourism, of which the hotel and catering industry is a principal element is said to be a potential growth sector in Nigeria. The conditions of employment of a large number of the industry’s staff have not kept peace with those enjoyed by working people elsewhere, in spite of the technical improvements within the catering industry itself. The reasons for the slow rate of improvement in the industry’s condition of employment are considerable including an understandable reluctance on the part of many proprietors and managers to adjust labor earnings according to improvements in the industry. Another reason could be that trade union movements exert little influence in most sectors of the industry, since moreover most people that make up the industry’s workforce are people who are not prepared to make a career out of the job.
The working conditions of the industry’s staff are for most cases unattractive. There are intrinsic problems which are unavoidable such as having to work long evenings and weekends. Other problems however can certainly be removed or reduced by determined management action. Such problems are staff reliance on tips, ignorance of workers on methods of calculating pay and the distribution of service charges, and management’s reluctance to involve staff in matters that affect their working lives. Management should therefore evolve a way of bringing out the best in these groups of ignored members of our workforce.
In Nigeria, there are many organizations that provide catering services and which by their nature can be termed hotels. It is estimated that there exists about 550 hotels, inns and commercial guest houses in Nigeria by the year 2008 that employs between 10 and 250 people in line with their sizes. It is said that about 418 – 900 people were employed in 2003 worldwide. (Jones & Hamilton, 1992:9 1-95). Retention policies are not intended to provide a straightjacket for the industry, but are intended as a tool to both protect stock for which there is a viable future and manage loss where there is not. The principal situations in which local authorities or Inspectors have released accommodation sites and permitted change of use include where:
• Properties are outside a defined ‘core area’ where visitor facilities are concentrated;
• Properties are judged to be making little contribution to the destination, in terms of the nature and location of the offer (both existing and potential);
• The individual circumstances of the property dictate, for example a historic building that would not justify the cost in terms of bringing it back up to standard as a hotel;
• There is evidence of oversupply, based upon a robust market analysis, including data demonstrating below national average occupancy levels for the destination;
• There is evidence of accommodation losses and gains balancing one another out, implying new hotel development activity in the destination;
• Where there is a wider regeneration benefit.
Often it will be a combination of the above factors that leads to the site being released from tourist accommodation use (although it should be noted that these individual examples are not to be confused with the recommended procedures detailed later in the report). Tourist accommodation is unlike most businesses. The nature of the supply of tourist accommodation is that it is most often located within an area where the primary land use is for residential purposes. Indeed, the majority of hotels in resorts were initially built as residential properties. This situation gives developers an avenue to argue that a reversion to a residential alternative is in the best interests of the area. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that retention policies recognise that the co-existence of residential and tourism uses is, in fact, the norm and not the exception. Policies should also acknowledge the wider tourism function of accommodation businesses through the economic interdependence of related services, such as transport,entertainment, catering and retailing. This will allow a more accurate calculation of the total impact of any proposed reduction in capacity.
Tourist accommodation performs an important function within both the context of rural and urban tourism. It provides the opportunity for visitors to stay for a length of time to enjoy the locality and its attractions, while their spending contributes to the local economy. Accommodation forms a base for the tourist’s exploration of the urban and non-urban environments. The tendency for establishments to locate in urban areas preclude peripheral opportunities from expansion thus intensifying their need to find a relevant modus operandi rather than relying on what happens in the metropolitan areas and within established urban tourism initiatives.
Generally, accommodation do not attract tourist on its own right, rather they provide support services that are the core element of tourism industry. It can thus be argued that accommodation does not generate the tourist’s motivation for travelling. The motivation to travel is usually led by the desire to experience a wider tourism product at a particular resort or locality with accommodation as one of the crucial tourism product. Accommodation as a tourism product has to reflect the vital components of any business product. For sustainability, a product has to be well positioned or located. The location needs to be accessible in terms of transport, information technology, and infrastructure. Location often determines the appeal and accessibility of properties. Typically the distance decay principle applies to decision making when considering accommodation locations. However, accommodation is an integral part of the over all tourism infrastructure as without it tourists will not visit the location. There are situations where its provision has dominated development plans. Moreover, it also assists in attracting wider investment in the tourism product at the locality. Some scholars agrees that accommodation could feature as an element in wider economic development strategies but it needs to play a primary and varied role as a successful tourism product too. It is difficult to generalize about the proportion of total tourist expenditure that is allocated to accommodation because this varies greatly according to the market, accommodation type and nature of product purchased. A generally accepted estimate is that a third of the total trip expenditure is allocated to this sector. This figure decreases in the case of fully inclusive packages. In addition, accommodation acts as a catalyst for a range of additional sales opportunities within the complex tourism and hospitality business. Casino hotels have discounted accommodation in anticipation of generating considerable profit from customers at the gaming tables, while golfing hotels may seek to generate good profits from green fees rather than room revenues. Indeed, accommodation pricing in general is a complex and sometimes controversial area in tourism industry.
1.2 Statement of research problem
A business like an hotel needs to put competitive marketing strategies in place to improve its ability to compete with other businesses in order to eventually accommodate tourist and retain them (Kurtz & Clow, 1998). A business like an hotel should, firstly, gain and sustain competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is, as we have seen, the value a business is able to create. The value should be something that tourist want and that competitors find difficult or impossible to imitate. If a business is able to hold on to this value over time, it can be said that the business has a sustainable competitive advantage (Hill & Jones, 2001; Hitt et al., 2001; Anderson & Vincze, 2000; Passemard & Kleiner, 2000; Chaharbaghi & Lynch, 1999; Ma, 1999). The ability to retain tourist improves a hotel’s chances of surviving and being profitable (Choi & Chu: 2001; Reicheld & Sasser, 1990). As the cost of gaining tourist in competitive markets is on the rise, successful tourist retention circumvents the costs of seeking new and potentially risky tourist. It also allows the business to focus more accurately on the needs of its existing visitor, by building relationships with them. Profitability, we saw, has more to do with retaining existing profitable visitor and increasing their spending than with trying to attract new tourist and accommodate them. When the relationship with a customer, therefore, is appropriately managed the profitability of that customer grows with the duration of the business relationship. Businesses should seek increased profitability through tourist-driven approaches to touristaccommodation and retention (Hoffman et al., 2003; McIllroy & Bamett, 2000; Jarnieson, 1994; Reicheld & Sasser, 1990).
i. The issue is on how to manage tourist accommodation and serve them better for retention.
ii. Acquiring the best and suitable site for accommodation for tourist destination, that which will have a high percentage of retaining them for future revisit.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This research work seeks to develop a suitable retention policies to ensure that the hospitality industry retains an appropriate amount of tourist accommodation to attract increased numbers of visitors, but also that the quality of the tourist accommodation remains high and that the policy is not too restrictive so as to allow poor quality accommodation to exit the market where there is no viable future for it. Highlights service strategies that can motivate the tourist to revisit and be retained.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the cost of accommodation within the tourist center or in the hospitality industry as relative to residential homes?
2. Is there service value fair enough to the cost of service rendered within the industry?
3. Is this your first time of being accommodated in this hospitality home?
4. If question three is no, then what made you revisit the same hospitality home, any significance for your revisit?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: There is no significance relationship in tourist accommodation cost to tourist accommodation retention.
Hi: There is a significance relationship in tourist accommodation cost to tourist accommodation retention.
Ho: There is no significance impact to tourist accommodation service and tourist accommodation retention.
Hi: There is a significance impact to tourist accommodation service and tourist accommodation retention.
1.6 Conceptual framework
The research conceptual framework gives a clear picture of how a tourist accommodated can be retained if served well, using the real life situations. Substantial evidence have proven that satisfaction is the key driver of customer/tourist retention or loyalty to service (De Wulf, 1999; Kassim, 2001; Musa, Pallister and Robson, 2004; Ranaweera and Prabhu, 2003), however, Jones and Sasser (1995) demonstrate that firm or seller may be unable at times to retain even satisfied customers. Indeed, they argue that even satisfied customer defect. Hart and Johnson (1999) conjecture that this may be partly due to the absence of trust in the service transaction. Macintosh and Lockshin (1997), examining the linkages between trust in the tourist accommodated and trust in the industryand retention behavior, found that interpersonal relationships and trust to the tourist are directly related to retention intention.
1.7 Significance of the study
This research work will be of great significance to the end users, adhering to the suggestion and guideline of this research work will help thee management manage visitors and tourist effectively and have them retained for a better service quality. It is also hoped that from the findings of this research will help identify the common strategies that should be used to achieve this research.
1.8 Scope of the study
This research is only studying on four hospitality homes in Rivers state (Boniview Hotel, Greenland Home hotel, Executive Guest House hotel and Dulbe Inn Home), also this research covered a total number of 342 respondents.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
One of the limitation to this research work is the cost of performing/researching this project work, the researcher encountered a lot of challenges as well as opposition which ranges from financial constraints, time factor. This factors in their own ways, slowed down the speedy progress of this work that resulted to the researcher not being able to finish the research work on time as is required. Also, within the area of study the researcher was faced with some other forms of constrains that contributed to the limitation of this researcher work, like accessibility to data, information and facts concerning the present study due to some reasons or the other, some not willing to give out information that it is to be within the workers.
1.10 Definition of Terms
Hotel: An establishment held out by the proprietor to offer food and drinks, and if so required sleeping accommodation to anybody who is in a fit state to receive the services.
Residential Hotel: These are hotels that provide full apartment type living facilities as contrasted with simple quest norms that lack facilities for cooking and eating within individual units.
Resort Hotel: Hotel situated along seaside’s lakes or other natural geographical features capable of being integrated as part of the hotel.
Casuals: Workers normally working on a session basis, for instance on evening or afternoon, with no guarantees about future work, usually paid by one session in cash.