Measuring Service Quality in the Tourism Industry with Special Reference to Uttar Pradesh (India)

Abstract

The present work aims to develop a scale for measuring Service Quality in the Tourism Industry with special reference to Uttar Pradesh with an aim to find out the dimensions of service quality. The study is based on primary data using a sample of 250 respondents (out of which 238 responses were fit to be used) who have visited Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Mathura/ Vrindavan, Aligarh, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Various touring objectives were studied using a structured questionnaire. The results have identified ten dimensions of service quality (core tourism experience, Value For Money, Hospitality, Availability of Timely And Accurate Information, Facilities, Reasonability of Prices, Security, Health & Hygiene, Cuisine, Logistics) in the Tourism Industry in Uttar Pradesh. The paper has been concluded by summarizing the work and providing directions for future research.

Introduction

Quality in the tourism industry involves consistent delivery of products and guest services according to expected standards. Delivering quality service is one of the major challenges the hospitality managers face as it is an essential condition for success in the emerging, keenly competitive, global hospitality markets. There are various tools that measure and improve quality service as well as mechanisms for quality recognition in the tourism and hospitality industry. But as such, there is no state specific scale to measure service quality in the tourism sector in India or abroad.

Be it tourism or any other industry, service quality and customer satisfaction continue to draw the attention of both researchers and practitioners alike. The research interest in service quality has been attributed to its relationship with costs (Kellogg et al., 1997), financial performance (Nelson et al., 1992; Rust & Zahorik, 1993; Rust et al., 1994), customer satisfaction (Bolton & Drew, 1991; Boulding et al., 1993; Cronin & Taylor, 1992), customer retention (Boshoff, 1997; Hocutt, 1998; Keaveney, 1995) and price elasticity (Bolton & Myers, 2003). Customer satisfaction has been gaining importance as it is seen as a leading indicator of future profits (Anderson & Fornell, 2000) and customer loyalty (Anderson & Sullivan, 1993; Bearden & Teel, 1983; Oliver, 1980). By increasing loyalty, customer satisfaction secures future revenues (Bolton, 1998; Fornell, 1992; Rust et al., 1994), reduces the cost of future transactions (Reichheld & Sasser, 1990), decreases price elasticities (Anderson, 1996) and minimizes the likelihood that customers will defect if quality falters (Anderson & Sullivan, 1993). Word-of mouth from satisfied customers lowers the cost of attracting new customers and enhances the firm’s overall reputation, while the same from dissatisfied customers naturally has the opposite effect (Anderson, 1998; Fornell, 1992). Satisfied customers are economic assets with high returns and low risks (Fornell et al., 2006). Customer satisfaction also creates shareholder value by increasing future cash flow growth and reducing its variability (Gruca & Rego, 2005). A basic concept analysed from the literature on service quality and customer satisfaction is that both are conceptually distinct, but closely related constructs (Dabholkar, 1995; Parasuraman et al., 1994; Sureshchandar et al., 2002).

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