Business improvement preferences for small/medium hospitality firms in Australia

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Butcher, Kenneth
Sparks, Beverley
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2011
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Abstract

Purpose - This paper aims to investigate how small/medium hospitality (SMH) firms set preferences for knowledge transfer relating to customer service improvement activities, through a determination of the most valued activities, preferred forms of media delivery and why best practice choice is valued. Design/methodology/approach - A single cross-sectional survey was used of 255 owners, managers or owner-managers of SMH firms in Australia using attitude rating scales. Findings - In nominating preferred customer service training/business performance improvement activities, the reasons for reporting a highly valued activity were grouped into six themes. Relevance and novelty of the activity were the two highest ranked activities. The remaining four themes of informative, credible, ease of use, and social were ranked equally. Research limitations/implications - The findings suggest that hospitality firms are reluctant to embrace knowledge transfer activities in general and customer service training in particular. These findings shed light on specific preferred activities and indicate the reasons why. Practical implications - The results from this study have been integrated with other studies to present a range of communication-based strategies to assist industry policy makers. It is recommended that communication strategies to sell the "novelty, relevance and newness" of the customer service activity should be promoted. Originality/value - The paper synthesises literature from the small business sector, together with hospitality-specific papers and extends thinking beyond prescriptive advice. Given that knowledge transfer, delivered as prescriptive advice, tends to be ignored by the sector at large, this paper focuses on what managers do in practice and how they can be reached more directly.

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International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
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23
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3
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Commercial services
Marketing
Tourism
Other commerce, management, tourism and services not elsewhere classified
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