Promoting the consistent growth in the environment of a particular market is a challenging yet necessary step to take so that the premise for further development could be created. Herein lies the significance of encouraging companies to accept new and improved quality standards. However, there is also the need to align the crucial corporate processes with the specifics of the market environment.
Therefore, an enhanced model for managing the key risk factors and at the same time delivering the performance of the expected quality is crucial. By exploring the issues faced in the realm of the UAE hotel industry, one will be able to determine the possible approaches for introducing TQM, as well as the associated obstacles and the methods of overcoming them. As a result, a powerful impetus for a massive improvement in the specified area, as well as implications for enhancing the quality management in others, will be provided.
UAE Hotel Industry: Description
The UAE hotel industry is blooming currently because of the enhancement of tourism and the focus on attracting the target audience. Particularly, Dubai remains one of the top global destinations due to the numerous attractions and tourism opportunities that it has to offer, according to a recent report: “Dubai is expected to receive roughly 12 million international visitors, up by 7.5% y/y” (Emirates NBD, 2017, p. 2). The UAE hotel industry, therefore, has a plethora of resources, yet the companies working in it need to learn to allocate the available assets wisely.
A steep rise in the number of tourists has been registered lately in the UAE hospitality sector. According to the calculations provided by the Hotels and Hospitality Group (2017), the increase in the number of tourists reached 8% in 2016 (Hotels and Hospitality Group, 2017). Also, the total hotel industry revenue made 9% of the UAE GDP in 2016 (“UAE’s hospitality industry: The complete picture – 2017,” 2017).
It has been predicted that, by 2026, the number would be even greater and is likely to amount to 11.2% of the state’s GDP (“UAE’s hospitality industry: The complete picture – 2017,” 2017). Therefore, there are substantial reasons to expect that the hotel industry is going to bloom in the environment of the UAE market. However, there are certain impediments on the way to achieving global success, the quality issue being the key one (“UAE’s hospitality industry: The complete picture – 2017,” 2017).).
Quality Management in the UAE Hotel Industry
At present, the tools deployed for quality management in the UAE hotel industry can be considered adequate (Ashi & Hasan, 2016). Since the UAE owes a significant amount of revenues that it receives on an annual basis to its hospitality industry, massive efforts are taken to sustain the quality of the services at the required level. For this purpose, a range of the UAE hospitality organizations, including hotels, rely on the idea of consistent knowledge acquisition as the foundation for quality management.
Indeed, the specified assumption has a reason to be accepted in the modern hotel industry realm since it is linked directly to the idea of appealing to the needs of diverse customers and learning to identify their culture-specific needs with the help of an unceasing learning and experience acquisition process (Nair & George, 2017). However, there has been a necessity to incorporate an even more powerful framework for managing quality into the current set of tools used by the UAE hotel companies.
To maintain service quality, the UAE organizations adopt the latest technological advances as the means of coordinating the performance of the staff and purchasing high-quality equipment and materials (Ross, 201). Furthermore, the communications system has been updated accordingly, with the tools such as the online booking system, marketing automation, active use of the media and especially social networks, introduction of smart applications and appliances, the development of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM), etc. (Buttle & Maklan, 2015).
Also, the fact that the Electronic Point-of-Sale (EPOS) framework has been incorporated into the set of stools utilized by the companies operating in the UAE hotel industry deserves to be mentioned. The active promotion of automated services and electronic options such as online booking has advanced the UAE hotel industry. As a result, the UAE currently dominates the global hospitality industry (Al-Khouri, 2014).
Total Quality Management (TQM) as a Framework
The concept of the TQM is fairly simple (Khanam, Siddiqui, & Talib, 2013). According to the definition provided by Buttle and Maklan (2015), TQM is a framework that suggests setting long-term goals aimed at increasing the levels of customer satisfaction through boosting the quality of end products and services (Buttle, & Maklan, 2015; Psomas, Vouzas, & Kafetzopoulos, 2013). To deconstruct the concept of TQM, one must mention the fact that there are different ways of looking at the framework; therefore, the components thereof may vary depending on the perspective from which it is considered (Small, Ayyash, & Hamouric, 2017).
However, there is a general agreement that the TQM strategy incorporates the so-called “hard” (i.e., based on a set of rigid standards, such as ISO9001) and “soft” (less rigid and more abstract ones, e.g., employee training) components, therefore, retaining flexibility even in the environment that requires meeting very specific standards (Imeri, Kekale, Takala, & Liu, 2014; Calvo-Mora, Picón, Ruiz, & Cauzo, 2013). The specified characteristic of TQM helps customize it to fit the realm of any industry, which is crucial for promoting it to the companies operating in the UAE hospitality service environment.
At this point, the Parasuraman model for quality management must be mentioned. The specified framework, which is also known as SERVQUAL, implies that five dimensions should be considered when measuring the quality of provided services. Specifically, the parameters such as reliability, assurance, tangibility, empathy, and response are evaluated based on the degree to which the specified qualities manifest themselves in the provided services (Pena, Silva, Tronchin, & Melleiro, 2013). The SERVQUAL model, therefore, allows promoting a set of values that will encourage the staff to develop responsibility and propensity toward the consistent improvement of their skills. Thus, the foundation for the increasingly high quality of workplace performance can be created.
As a rule, TQM is viewed as the combination of the following components: ethics, integrity, trust, training, teamwork, leadership, recognition, and communication (Carroll, Brown, & Buchholtz, 2017, p. 451). The identified framework implies that the use of the transformational leadership style coupled with the active promotion of assets of rigid quality standards and an enhanced communication process is bound to trigger a steep rise in the quality of the produced services (Carroll et al., 2017). The perspective described below is based on the iSixSigma philosophy that views quality improvement as a natural and lifelong process that companies must consider as part and parcel of their routine (Furterer, 2016).
TQM in the UAE Hotel Industry: Pros and Cons
As stressed above, the introduction of TQM, in general, and SERVQUAL, in particular, into the realm of the UAE hotel industry is fraught with numerous challenges. However, there is also a plethora of opportunities that the suggested innovation is bound to trigger. Therefore, a detailed overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the identified change is to be provided (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García, & Marchante-Lara, 2014).
The use of the TQM tools will contribute to a rapid increase in quality due to not only the rearrangement of workplace processes, particularly, the ones related to production, but also because of the realignment of the companies’ priorities. The adoption of the specified tool is bound to lead to a significant rise in the quality of the services offered to the target population. Particularly, the number of delays is likely to drop significantly once the TQM framework is adopted because the latter allows improving the key processes of the Supply Chain Management, especially the procurement- and transportation-related ones (Benavides-Velasco et al., 2017).
Indeed, a closer look at the nature of the TQM approach will reveal that it contributes extensively to the enhancement of the corporate logistics, therefore, providing opportunities for reducing the number of delays, as well as the overall time is taken to perform the key stages of service delivery, including transportation (Carroll et al., 2017). The specified goal is achieved by addressing the communication management process and enhancing it with the help of a close focus on communication and teamwork (Benavides-Velasco et al., 2017).
Seeing that there is an element of coercion in the TQM framework, it allows compelling every member of an organization to focus on the key processes and deliver the services of the required quality. Furthermore, the emphasis on communication promotes interdisciplinary cooperation, thus, simplifying a range of processes occurring in the context of the hotel industry, such as the stages involving booking, the management of customers’ data, the transportation of the required equipment, products, and materials, etc. (Carroll et al., 2017).
That being said, there are several problems that the application of the TQM model may cause. For instance, the framework implies that all employees should be a part of the quality enhancement process. Therefore, all participants must share the same idea of consistent quality improvement, as well as follow the set of values associated with TQM (e.g., Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), responsiveness, propensity toward unceasing learning, etc.). Since making sure that every single staff member accepts the specified philosophy demands additional investments in the human resource management (HRM) strategies, some organizations may view the adoption of the TQM Model as far too expensive.
Addressing Possible Obstacles
Despite the existing impediments to the implementation of the TQM and SERVQUAL principles, there are sufficient reasons for incorporating the TQM framework into the set of approaches used by the companies operating in the UAE hotel industry. The fact that the number of customers in the tourism industry is growing points to the need for UAE hotel companies to grow and adjust to the quality standards set by the target population.
To manage the challenges linked to the implementation of the TQM, one will have to introduce a positive leadership framework that will boot the employees’ enthusiasm and loyalty levels. Thus, the issue of reluctance will be managed efficiently. The use of the transformational leadership framework should be viewed as the most sensible approach toward raising loyalty, motivation, and engagement levels among the staff (Benavides-Velasco et al., 2017).
Moreover, to eliminate the barriers to Parsuraman’s model implementation, one should consider using interpretive structural modeling (Muruganantham, Vinodh, Arun, & Ramesh, 2016). The specified tool helps improve the interactions between the elements of the organizational system, thus, making a company a single entity. As a result, the active promotion of corporate values and the enhancement of the CSR principles as the foundation for decision-making in the context of the organization becomes possible. Furthermore, the introduction of TQM principles into the hotel industry realm will lead to an increase in customer loyalty rates (Muruganantham et al., 2016).
Implications of TQM in the UAE Hotel Industry
It is expected that the incorporation of the TQM strategies will lead to a gradual improvement in the speed and quality of service delivery in the realm of the UAE hotel industry. Particularly, the issues associated with the design of the management philosophy will be addressed. Parsuraman’s paradigm promotes the idea of unceasing improvement as an integral part of a company’s identity.
As a result, the UAE organizations will learn to handle the issues associated with delays, communication problems (e.g., rude or unresponsive staff), quality of the rooms (e.g., cleanness, comfort levels, food, etc.) efficiently and prevent the instances of conflicts or misunderstandings when communicating with clients. The SERVQUAL approach is bound to introduce the UAE hotel industry and the companies operating in it to an entirely new philosophy, which considers improvement as a natural and inevitable process.
Consequently, it is expected that, apart from a general improvement in quality levels, the UAE hotel organizations will experience a massive change in the corporate philosophy and values. Shifting from short- to long-term goals as far as the management of positive changes is concerned, the UAE hospitality organizations will finally set the course for meeting the ever-changing standards of global customers. In other words, the adoption of Parsuraman’s framework will also help introduce the principles of multiculturalism and efficient cross-cultural communication into the specified setting.
As a result, a range of scenarios involving conflicts with clients will be avoided successfully. Moreover, the very concept of conflict will be altered significantly. As soon as the idea of an unceasing improvement is incorporated into the communication process carried out by the firms working in the hotel industry of the UAE, conflicts will be viewed as an opportunity to learn new and valuable information so that similar incidents could be handled better in the future. Thus, rapid economic growth is expected in the context of the UAE hospitality market.
The goal of the study is to answer the following questions:
- What are the key strategies used by the UAE organizations operating in the hotel industry t increase the quality of their products?
- Why are the current strategies inefficient in addressing the quality problems emerging in the context of the UAE environment?
- How will the adoption of the SERVQUAL framework help improve the current situation with quality management in the UAE hotel industry?
- How efficient is Parsuraman’s moel compared to the strategies that are currently used by UAE hotels?
- What areas of quality management will the use of the SERVQUAL and TQM framework help improve?
As stressed above, the study is aimed at exploring the opportunities that the application of the TQM framework will open in front of UAE companies that compete in the environment of the hotel industry. Therefore, the goals of the study will include exploring the strengths and weaknesses that the current quality management frameworks deployed by the said organizations have. Furthermore, determining the positive and negative aspects of using the TQM framework in the same environment will have to be evaluated accordingly. Therefore, the following objectives will have to be met to carry out the research:
- Determining the strategies used for meeting the required quality standards in the environment of the UAE hotel industry;
- Defining the strengths and weaknesses of the specified approaches;
- Exploring the leadership frameworks used in the UAE hotel industry setting and defining their advantages and disadvantages;
- Identifying positive and negative effects of deploying the TQM and SERVQUAL principles in the target setting;
- Comparing the outcomes to the effects produced by the current quality management frameworks;
- Defining the effects on the attitudes of staff members toward quality processes in the context of a TQM-based quality management process.
Therefore, the study is aimed primarily at determining the effects that the adoption of TQM as a tool for increasing the quality of the staff’s performance will have on the current quality of the services that UAE hotels offer. As a result, a better understanding of the significance of the SERVQUAL framework in the environment of the UAE hospitality industry will be possible. Furthermore, suggestions concerning the possible methods of introducing Parsuraman’s principles so that they should not be impeded by the resistance from the staff will be made.
Research Parameters Based on Literature
An overview of current studies has shown that the study will have to incorporate several crucial parameters concerning the specifics of the UAE hotel industry. Particularly, it will be necessary to narrow the study down to the strategies that allow improving quality in the hotel setting. Primarily, the communication issue must be addressed. Furthermore, the introduction of innovative information technologies must be viewed as an important aspect of which one must focus. Moreover, the issue concerning the specifics of logistics processes in the environment of the hotel industry in the UAE will have to be discussed.
Thus, a better understanding of the changes that need to be made to the companies working in the hospitality industry will become possible. Moreover, the impediments to the promotion of TQM will also have to be deemed important parameters of the research. Consequently, the weakness in the new approach toward addressing quality issues will be identified. The resistance among the staff members toward the promotion of changes should also be recognized as an important aspect of the process of introducing TQM into the realm of the UAE hotel industry.
Creating the environment in which a company working in the hotel industry will be able to improve its customer service, including communication, transportation, time management, and other issues, one will be able to contribute significantly to the economic growth of the UAE.
Therefore, determining the opportunities that the SERVQUAL framework has to offer to the UAE hotel organizations, as well as the means of implementing it in the specified setting and avoiding resistance from staff will become a possibility. As a result, further options for quality improvement by introducing the principles of unceasing improvement and acquisition of new skills and knowledge by the employees will be open for the UAE organizations in the hotel industry.
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Appendix A: Questionnaire
- How is quality managed at your organization?
- Does the current leadership strategy support quality enhancement?
- How are you motivated to perform?
- How are you motivated to acquire new skills and knowledge?
- With what opportunities for further knowledge acquisition are you provided?
- What principles of quality are currently promoted at your organization?
- Are there rigid control tools for product and service quality at your organization?
- How would you improve the current quality of your performance?