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Human Factor as the Key Success Factor in Experience Management

Human Factor as the Key Success Factor in Experience Management

Tourism has become a global mass phenomenon and the hospitality industry is an important part of it. It is a service industry whose primary objective is to create wealth for shareholders through service and guest satisfaction. Hence, it is considered of main interest in the service sector to know how the internal clients or workers and their emotional labor can have an impact on the external client or customer’s emotions.

The hotel industry, which has always aimed to meet the needs and demands of a changing society, has become an extraordinary and complex brand of the economy. Today, the hotel industry includes all categories of establishments, from guest houses to luxurious 5-star hotels. That is why hotel management strategies have had to adapt to this development. In this context, globalization and competitiveness between tourism areas and companies is increasingly high, not only in hotels, but also in new accommodation models which currently compete with hotels. For this reason, the capacity of workers in the sector to personalize and meet the new needs of consumers becomes especially important.

The quality of service perceived by clients of tourist establishments fosters the predisposition to be a loyal client to that company, and for this reason, companies need to increasingly influence how professionals in this sector should interact with. For all these reasons, customer service becomes a key and defining point in terms of brand loyalty. Therefore, the main component of this topic are customers and employees in the hotel industry. Specifically, how their satisfaction could be related, especially when talking about front line employees as within the service sector, the interactions between frontline employees and customers influence the overall perception of the service quality and ultimately, customer satisfaction. This is because services are characterized by inseparability and intangibility, and it is often the employees themselves who deliver the service and act as a communication channel.

The literature highlights that in this interactive process those employees in direct contact with customers play a vital role. This is because employees often act as the representative of the company taking an active role in delivering the service, which is of great importance for the present and future value of the company. Increased employee satisfaction, attraction, and retention reduce of absenteeism, greater awareness of customers and service orientation are the consequences of an alignment of employees with the strategy and the objectives of the companies. Various aspects such as training and motivation of employees can therefore help explain why certain customers are willing to become engaged customers.

Accordingly, the analysis of company–customer relationship incorporates the concept of customer engagement. This new concept suggests that transactional criteria (repurchasing, cross-selling, level of use) are insufficient to assess the profitability of each. Research on customer engagement has focused its attention on analyzing customer profitability, using both their transactional and non-transactional behavior. From an academic point of view, unanimity exists by postulating that there is a positive relationship between the quality of employee actions and the level of perceived customer satisfaction.

That is why it is considered interesting to analyze the impact of various aspects related to the employee in direct contact with the guest on their final emotional connection. Frequently, the purchased product is either intangible or the perceived quality of the product purchased is impacted by the service method in which was received. In that sense, it should be recognized that to achieve guest satisfaction, their customers need to perceive not just good service, but also feel valued and respected by the service providers, the employees, known as internal customer.

During the last decades, the hospitality sector faced the era of customer centric services. Various authors define customer centric as a component of market orientation that focuses on putting the customers at the center of the strategy. Now is time for a new era where employees, who frequently work with customer interactions are the main actors in service quality delivery and should therefore be included at the center of the strategic actions. That is why Human Factor should be considered as the Key Success Factor in experience management. 

Nuria Louzao, profesor and researcher at the research group at CETT-UB GRATiR

GRATiR Hospitality Research Group Toursim Hospitality experience