CUSTOMERS’ SELECTION CRITERIA AND HOTELS SERVICES PATRONAGE IN THE SOUTH EASTERN STATES OF NIGERIA
This study was undertaken with the major objective of establishing the crucial aspects of the hotel offer (selection criteria) that determine the hotel patronage behaviour of hotel customers in the South Eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. The specific objectives of the study was to determine the extent to which the hotel selection criteria of hotel location, physical facilities, price of accommodation, room quality, service delivery quality, security of lives and property and availability of electricity derived through the extensive review of extant literature on the subject matter as well as pilot test influenced the hotel selection behaviour of hotel customers in the study location. The sample size for the survey was 1000 respondents arrived at through convenience sampling from a sample frame of randomly selected 100 hotels in the capital cities of the participating states. Close-ended self completion questionnaire was used in obtaining the opinion of respondents on the subject matter. Data computation, analysis and presentation were carried out using IBM SPSS statistics 21, mean ranking, regression coefficient, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and frequency tables. The analysis and interpretation of data indicate that the derived predictor variables can precipitate changes in the levels of patronage for hotels but at varying degrees. The explanatory variables (selection criteria) arranged in descending order of their ability to change the levels in the patronage for hotels in the study location are: security(70.60%), availability of electricity(60.60%), price/value of accommodation(60.40%), location of hotel(51.10%), hotels’ physical facilities(50.90%), quality of hotel rooms(50.80%), and hotel service delivery quality(50.10%). Equally, the levels of significance of the hotel selection factors arising from their F- statistic values are 5% for security, availability of electricity, price/value and location respectively while for hotels’ facilities, room quality and service delivery quality their levels of significance was 10% further confirming the predictive powers of the individual aspects of the hotel offer. Going by marketing theory with regards to choice by processing attributes, the hotel service attributes of security and availability of electric power are the determinant/ necessary aspects of the hotel offer in the South East. The hotel service attributes of price/value, location, physical facilities, hotel room quality and service delivery quality are salient/important but not critical. It is therefore the recommendation of the study that for survival , growth and profitability in the hotel business in the South East, hoteliers incorporate the hotel service attributes of security, availability of electricity, competitive accommodation charges, good location, excellent physical and room facilities as well excellent customer service in their service offerings. Security and 24 hour electric power supply must however be emphasized in their service offering.