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Abstract

Services have been the interest of research since the 1960’s. After the 1990’s the development of technology became an interesting research area along with other service research. There are two customer service concepts that this study is discussing. These are traditional human based customer service and self-service technology based customer service. According to earlier studies, high service quality is a result of human interaction where people are seen as the key to company’s success. However, since technology has had its impact on services the overall image has changed companies as well as customers. In the 21st century self-service technology has become a new interest of research. The purpose of this study is to find out whether Finnish young adults choose to use selfservice technology instead of interaction with a receptionist in a hotel reception. Furthermore, purpose of the study is to discover what Finnish young adults want from the customer service nowadays.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Consumers have grown tired of incompetent and inexperienced staff, long waiting lines and closure of outlets at times they prefer to do business. To overcome such frustrations, an increasing number of industries are choosing to provide self-service technology options for their patrons. Self-checkout at retail stores and supermarkets, pay-at-the-pump gas stations, self-checkin at airports, online banking and stock trading, and a variety of other applications (Ref).

The hospitality industry has also adopted the transition from customer service to self service. As touchscreen terminals become more user-friendly they become capable of handling more complicated tasks. Lodging providers, fast-food operators, private clubs, fine dining restaurants, casino operations and others are trading face-to-face encounters for face-to-monitor inter­activity at a variety of unattended points of sale (Ref……..). Will this trend continue? Which forms of self-service technology will endure? Will current technologies converge to form a new self-service platform?

Self service as a model and a market trend has gained momentum as guests in the hospitality industry increasingly accept and often prefer self service to assisted service. Most businesses report self-service applications lead to a reduction in operating expenses while markedly improving customer entertainment and satisfaction (Ref……..). For example, today, full service banking means that the bank provides a wide range of technological alternatives designed to discour­age customers from interacting with the bank’s tellers. Applications like Internet banking, ATMs and interactive voice response (IVR) systems have become popular self-service alternatives. While it appears bank customers clearly value the convenience, consistency and self-control of automated transactions, the future for hospitality industry applications is not as clear. Similar to other retailers, hoteliers and restaurateurs appreciate the extended coverage, lower operating costs and reliability of automated transactions. As a result, opportunities to conduct online and on-premises self-service applications are welcomed alternatives even for an industry that prides itself on personal hospitality. However, it is been noted that guests in the hospitality industry sees self-services as entertainment and this has left a positive experience for the guests.

A positive guest experience leaves an impact on customers, and can make the difference in a repeat visit. As customer expectations increases the hospitalityorganizations must not simply respond to their customers’ needs and wants, they must go above and beyond expectations from a staffing interaction and service level. A dedicatedeffort through technology and service to achieve these positive touch-points will paydividends in the end through increased customer loyalty and traffic.

This research highlights the need for going beyond traditional customer touch-pointsin hotels, resorts, casinos, and restaurants to establish customer entertainment through self-service.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Most hospitality organizations have been implementing self-service channels with a goal of reducing costs, increasing customer entertainment, satisfaction and loyalty, and reaching new customer segments. No matter how successful the self-service channel and entertaining, organizations rarely eliminate traditional personal service when they introduce a self-service channel. Instead, hospitality organizations typically maintain a portfolio of service-delivery channels which allows guests to select the way they interact (Ref…………).

According to (Ref…………) the hospitality industry has made considerable strides in using information technology (IT) to improve service efficiency and effectiveness. IT-enabled supplementary services and after-sales service foster differentiation, which helps set a company apart from its competitors. In addition to the well-known web-based applications, the hospitality industry has innovated in a number of ways to better serve customers; for example, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts and Harrah’s Entertainment have introduced Microsoft Surface, a 30-inch, tabletop computer display that guests can use for such services as 360-degree satellite maps and tools to search for local city information, a digital jukebox, and a photo library of Sheraton properties. Less radical, but perhaps more common customer service IT applications include mobile-based reservations, kiosk based check-in, and e-folios. These service innovations have been found to improve service and guest entertainment.

1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The main purpose for the study is to study the impact of self-service as a method of entertaining guests in the hospitality industry. Therefore, the objectives for the research are;

  1. To find out whether hospitality industry adopt self-service in their transaction
  2. To determine the different types of self-service technology
  3. To examine the impact of service in entertainment of guest in the hospitality industry
  4. To examine the benefits of self-service to guest in the hospitality industry

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The significance of this study cannot be overemphasized. This is because there are a lot of benefits that self-service can offer customers such as entertainment and fun. Also, hospitality companies have expanded selfservice with the idea of reducing costs, increasing customer satisfaction, and reaching new customer segments. Self service has gone beyond web sites and lobby kiosks to include smart-phone apps that allow guests to search for hotel information, manage their reservation, and check in or out

1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. Do the hospitality industry adopt self-service in their transaction?
  2. What are the different types of self-service technology?
  3. What is the impact of self service in entertainment of guest in the hospitality industry?
  4. What are the benefits of self-service to guest in the hospitality industry?

1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

 H0there are no benefits of self-service technology to guest in the hospitality industry

H1there are benefits of self-service technology to guest in the hospitality industry

H0hospitality industry does not adopt self-service technology in their transaction

H2hospitality industry does adopt self-service technology in their transaction

1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the impact of self-service as a method of entertaining guest in the hotel industry; but in the cause of the study, there are some factors that limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities

1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Self-service

Self-service is the practice of serving oneself, usually when purchasing items. Common examples include many gas stations, where the customer pumps their own gas rather than have an attendant do it

Technology

Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation

Hotel industry

The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, travelling and additional fields within the tourism industry

Guest

A person who is invited to visit someone’s home or attend a particular social occasion.

1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

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