Hotel customer needs, satisfaction, and loyalty: Analysis of travelers with disabilities in Taiwan
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The trend of tourism is on the upswing. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), this industry was expected to generate almost US$6 trillion of economic activity in 2008. The number is expected to surpass US$10 trillion by 2018 (WTTC, 2008). In addition, the number of leisure travelers has increased worldwide. In 2007, 458 million (51%) international tourist arrivals were motivated by leisure, recreation and holidays (WTO, 2008). There are millions of people worldwide with disabilities, including seniors, who would also like to travel. The cost of making a hotel accessible to people with disabilities are not prohibitive, given that this type of renovation can be considered as advantageous to both the hoteliers and the users. In 2005, there were 1.2 million Taiwanese reported with physical or mental disabilities, and this number was estimated to increase by 10% each year (the Ministry of the Interior of Taiwan, 2006). Similar to the global tourism trend, the hospitality industry in Taiwan is also on the upswing. However, most of the hoteliers in Taiwan have not yet recognized the importance of taking action regarding accessibility. If the lodging industry wants to tap into this new market and ultimately increase their revenue, understanding the needs of the disabled travelers and providing suitable accommodations to travelers with disabilities is necessary. This study used a convenience sampling strategy and snowballing technique to solicit Taiwanese with disabilities via email to join a web-based survey. The questionnaire was posted on my3q.com (www.my3q.com), a private web-based survey company. Data collection was conducted over a six-week period from February 13, 2010 through March 20, 2010. A total 176 surveys were collected. This study revealed that the accessibility of public facilities is the most important issue for disabled travelers when they stay in a hotel. Moreover, the results indicated that disabled travelers were “truly” loyal to a hotel that could satisfy their needs. This study also shows that participants, whose complaints were well-handled, even if they were not satisfied, still retained a positive attitude towards the hotel and would recommend it to other travelers.