Quality Standards and Competitiveness of Star Rated Hotels in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Globally, the concept of competitiveness in business is widespread. In the hospitality sector, the concept of competitiveness has been applied differently in the varied operational segments and types and in most cases expanded to include the sustainability discourse. Certain business strategies for instance pricing, brand image, quality and sustainable tourism are at the core of day to day operations. Although, there has been a plethora of published research, related to quality in the last decade worldwide, very few studies have been conducted on the area of quality as an element of competitiveness in Kenya particularly in the hospitality industry. This study zeroed in on one key segment of tourism’s hospitality sector; the hotel or tourist accommodation segment, to discuss further the aspect of competitiveness vis-a-vis the quality standards that are applied. The study therefore sought to determine the effect of quality standards and competitiveness of hospitality establishments in Nairobi City County, Kenya by specifically assessing the effect of classification system, branding and ecolabels on competitiveness. These study objectives were anchored on three theories; the Resource Based Theory, the brand equity theory and the dynamic capabilities theory respectively. The study used descriptive research design that included a cross-sectional survey with the study population being 54 star rated hotels currently operating in Nairobi City County, Kenya as per the data from Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA). Out of these, 2 hotels were used for pilot testing and the remaining 52 hotels were examined. Data was gathered using self-administered questionnaires. A pre-test was performed to establish the instrument’s validity and reliability. Analysis of data was by quantitative approach using SPSS Version 25. Inferential analysis (multiple regression) was utilized in the data analysis. ANOVA demonstrated independent variables statistically significantly predicted the dependent variable. The study revealed that classification provide avenue for benchmarking with competitors, help in marketing hotel locally and abroad and improve the quality of service delivery with a regression results of (? =0.412, p-value =0.043). It was established eco labels is not significant with a regression result of (?=0.042, p-value<0.080).Classification and branding were statistically significant in hotel competitiveness from the multiple regression analysis compared with eco labels. Eco labels lower influence could be attributed to lack of eco labels by most the hotels in the survey. Also it was revealed that branding influence hotel image, hotel recognition and also customer loyalty in terms of increased attachment and had a regression result of (? =0.672, p-value =0.001). The study recommended for suppliers in the tourism and hospitality sector to familiarize and implement existing quality standards in a bid to become more competitive.
Key Words: Quality; Standards; Competitiveness; Star rated hotels; Nairobi City County, Kenya
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