INFLUENCE OF FACILITIES ON CUSTOMER PATRONAGE AMONG SELECTED HOTELS IN SOUTHWEST, NIGERIA.

Author:Patrick, Oladele Olajide
Position:Abstract
 
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INTRODUCTION

According to Kumar & Malik (2013), hospitality is defined as reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers with liberality and goodwill. Hotels have come up beyond what used to be in the years past in terms of customers. Hotels now arm themselves with modern equipment in order to be relevant and remain competitive in the industry. Just like any other commercial establishment, hotels have functional compartments ranging from customer service, human resources, finance, research and development and facilities which are the focus of this study among others. The competition for having a strategic location and adequate facilities that create delight to customers is now the priority in the minds of the hotel investors.

Generally, the hotel business is challenging and thrilling and these pave ways for investors to become financially independent, bosses in their own right, create job opportunity and also increase self-esteem. Besides, it gives owners the opportunity to be creative in terms of meeting customers' expectations. To record huge success in this aspect, efforts must be geared towards putting in place all essentials that will create customer satisfaction because, customers are becoming more conscious of their convenience, hence, want to be fulfilled. The awaking consciousness in customers had sharpened their knowledge horizon, thereby armed them to the extent that customers are readily prepared to challenge bad service rendered. This increase in knowledge has reshaped end user service expectations from service providers (Oladele, 2011). This heightened knowledge had exposed the organisation of hotel businesses to embrace factors that are capable of enhancing customer patronage. This is because the society depends on organisations, so also organisations depend on the society for survival and for achieving specific and desirable ends, through services, products, and facilities offered to the members of the society. Therefore, effective customer service through the availability of quality facilities cannot be ignored in the realm of achieving effective customer patronage in hotels.

The advent of dynamism in facilities becomes an imperative in the context of achieving effective customer patronage in hotel business provided to end users has reshaped the activities of hotels in Nigeria simply because most activities beyond lodging are now being carried out in hotels. Past studies have indicated the importance of facilities as a sub set of critical success factors in the management of service oriented organisations and their findings tend towards diverse and different focus (Mosoma, 2014; Okibo & Ogwe, 2013; Natuhwera, 2011; Shariff et al., 2015; Jakpar & Johari, 2012; Lacap, 2014; Kumar & Malik 2013; Choi & Chu, 2001; Zaim et al., 2013; Oliveira et al., 2013). Nigeria as a frontier market with the growing population of about 170 million is fast becoming the center of focus for potential investors who see Nigeria as a greener pasture where business will thrive. The dream of Nigeria as hospitality investment destination may not be fulfilled, if necessary quality facilities are not put in place. Therefore, this study intends to investigate the influence of facilities quality on customer patronage of hotels in Nigeria.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Facilities Quality

Facilities consist of, but not limited to security, parking space, stable power, constant water supply and road networks. Facilities are considered essential and critical to hotel business success. Conversely, its absence is a bad signal. Facilities, according to Bogoro et al. (2013) are man-made. Obviously, security in the service industry like hotels is the act of securing the customers from physical dangers. This connotes that the surroundings of the hotel must be predictable by customer, habitable, devoid of threat to existence and absolutely free from either physical or psychological harm in any way.

Choorichom (2011) stated that security and safety were identified as the most influential in determining customers' selecting hotels in Lanta Yai Island. These facilities include, but not limited to:

Parking space

In early 70's to late 90's, the emphasis placed on parking space was not well pronounced as it is in the contemporary hotel business. Ramly et al. (2004) showed that parking space plays prominent roles that influence and attract customers' patronage. They further see the availability of enough parking spaces as strength to enhance booming of business. It shows that the era of traditional hospitality, which was only concerned with providing accommodation, table, and food, had become a thing of the past (Ramly et al., 2004).

Yadav et al. (2012) observed that people visiting service industry, with their conveyance; see the need to be provided proper parking facilities. Therefore, investors in the hotel business now see a parking space as a strategic means of enhancing customer patronage, especially during the peak period.

Power

Assurance of enjoying uninterrupted power supply, especially during customers' stay, is one of the major reasons for customers' patronage. The important role of power to make customers delighted and satisfied cannot be ignored. Its consistent availability is capable of influencing customer re-patronage and the reverse is the case if it is not constantly available. Clifford (2010) pointed out that the dilapidated state of the infrastructural facilities in Nigeria is a cog in the wheel of the tourism development. This restrains and reduces the number of customer's patronage that should maintain the upsurge performance track of the industry.

Road networks

According to Anor et al. (2012), road network system is one of the most important infrastructures, in any country, as it provides the means to move people and goods from specific location to another. The authors stressed further that road network system manifests properties such as the hierarchy of roads, connectivity, accessibility, linkages, and movement...

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