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Running head: Motivation in Hospitality Industry
Motivation in Hospitality Industry
Yunxiao Yang
Troy University
Motivation and the Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry is concerned with providing accommodation and foods for its
customers who comprise mostly of travelers. The hospitality industry is currently a competitive
venture, and this implies that each entity specialized in offering hospitable services should strive
to build and retain a positive image to its customers and staff. As such, motivation of employees
and customers is an outstanding factor in retaining the image of a particular hospitality entity to
the public domain. The motivation of staff involves a number of processes, programs, and actions
initiated by the employer with the purpose of forming a conducive working environment. Staff
motivation is regarded as an important productive factor that increases the quantity of output and
the quality of goods and service being offered (Bharwani & Jauhari, 2013). When the staffs are
motivated, they undertake their services passionately and for the interest of the customers. Serving
for the best interest of the customers, is by itself, a customer motivational factor because it gives
them (customers) the confidence to continue enjoying the services of a restaurant or hotel that
satisfies them better (Chan & Wong, 2006). Their level of motivation can be judged by observing
how attentive and friendly they appear, their facial expression, attitude and the manner they
implement tasks assigned to them. In this perspective, this research investigates as to whether the
motivation of staff leads to the motivation of customers. Whether the motivation of staff is directly
proportional to customer motivation in the hospitality industry or whether the employers have to
devise other means of motivating their customers is one of the arguments encountered when
addressing this issue.
The Scope of Motivation of Staff and Customers in the Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry, just like any other organization, cannot exist without employees.
The strength of the organization depends on the abilities of its employees to deliver the required
tasks in the right manner. Motivated for cooks, chefs, chief chefs, waiters, supervisors and
receptionists in the hotel industry means inspiration for full involvement in organizational
activities and potential to deliver the best (Boella & Goss-Turner, 2013). The interdependency
between the employees and customers refers the industry as the ‘people’s business’ making it
different from other industries. This means that it is people who deliver the goods and services
(staff) and the direct beneficiaries of the goods and services also people (customers). Employees
in this sector require different kind of knowledge, skills, and experience and additional of
performance appraisal to attain the goals of the organization (Barron, 2008).
Naturally, individuals can be driven by desires and needs. Motivation revolves around such
desires where both external and internal forces strive to attain a certain level of satisfaction. The
internal factors include an employee’s personal needs and expectations while the external factors
include organization rewards and compensations. The performance of a hotel depends on how well
the human resources managers complement the employee’s internal and external factors (Barsky
& Labagh, 2012). If a hotel pays its staffs the minimum wage rates only as required by the labor
laws, the pay may not be sufficient to cater for the needs of employees as per the economic
situation. The employers in the hospitality industry have the responsibility to reward employees
with a salary amount that can motivate continuity of service by the employees and also appealing
services. Apart from the traditional salaries offered by employers to the employees, hotel
organizations should give tips and bonuses periodically as a way of motivation. This factor pumps
in more energy for employees to act lively and perfectly to the visiting customers (Lockyer &
Scholarios, 2004). If the employees are happy about the duties they carry out, their subjects have
a reason to feel return and enjoy the services of the particular place. Some organizations in the
hospitality industry prefer employing the young people alone because they believe the young
physically appeal well to the customers. However, some departments would definitely require
staffs with immense experience, and therefore, older staffs are the best choice (Guerrier & Adib,
Job satisfaction can result to either a positive or a negative attitude towards a job. The work
environment regarding restrictions, policies and various rules may make an environment
unfriendly for the workers. This may change the attitude and feelings that hotel staffs have towards
their responsibilities. Employees gain the morale when they perceive that the policies within the
workforce satisfy their various needs or achieve something of an important value recognition in
the organization (DiPietro & Condly, 2007) The morale of hotel staff declines when the employees
are overloaded and stressed with work, poor relationship with the managers and inadequate
compensations and other forms of rewards within the organization. Job satisfaction as a form of
employee motivation brings a pleasant feeling leading to a positive attitude and improved work
performance. When dealing with clients in the hospitality industry, the employees’ manner in
which the welcome and respond to the customers’ queries and complains leaves a positive
reputation that attracts many customers to the workforce. A satisfied employee is flexible, creative,
loyal, innovative and committed to offering high-quality goods and services to all the clients
(Harris & Reynolds, 2004).
In the hospitality industry, employees are regarded as assets and should be treated with the
utmost level of motivation. Empowerment and teamwork are said to be indirect employee
motivational factors that keep the working relationships tight and honored. In this sense, it is
believed that decision-making powers are pushed to the lowest level of the organization. It means
granting the employees the important decisions about customer services (Kazlauskaite Buciuniene
& Turauskas, 2006). The employees will have the freedom to deal with the customers directly and
deliver important organizational information that would not wait for the top managers. When the
employees are empowered, they bring about best ideas to the workplace. Empowered employees
own the entity and ensure that every decision or action they chose to implement is for the benefit
of their own benefit rather than for the managers (Kusluvan et al., 2010). This kind of motivation
definitely has a positive influence on the customers who book accommodation, foods, and
beverages in the hotels. Empowering employees as a motivational factor erases fear and increases
the desire for working. The more the people take control of their work, the greater their enthusiasm,
self-esteem, energy, and productivity increases (Lee et al., 2006).
Two Sides of the Issue
Earlier, this document introduced an argument as to whether employee satisfaction
indirectly results in customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry. Customers are always looking
for best services whenever they want to satisfy their needs. As a result, an organization with warm
and welcoming employees stands out to be the best choice for customers (Lub et al., 2012). This
means that poor service delivery or customer attendance decreases the number of customers for a
particular entity. In the hospitality industry, it is the people who make the other people happy and
interested in offers. The staffs are thought to have the ability for increasing or decreasing the value
of goods and services (Minghetti, 2003). If the staffs are motivated and render their services to the
fullest and for the interest of the customers, then the customers will flock the place where such
services are offered. The motivation of staff will always lead to the production of the desired food
products by the hoteliers, and in return, customers will yearn for the quality of goods and services
being offered by the particular place. The CEO, managers and other top administrators do not have
a direct link with the customers enjoying hospitable services at the workplace, but it is the staff
who directly deal with the customers (Ottenbacher, 2007). Due to this association, an employee
becomes a very important factor of customer motivation than any other imaginable form of
motivation. The employees can ruin the image of the organization if their personal needs and
welfare are not out into consideration while undertaking their duties at the hotel or restaurant. The
way top managers deal with the employees can impact on the manner in which the employees deal
with the customers (Sigala, 2005). If the top managers give an encouraging and motivational
atmosphere for the workers to express themselves, then the resultant effect will be the same on the
side between the customer and the staff. If the relationship between the manager and the employees
is ‘dim’ then the resultant implication for the relationship between the employee and the customer
will, as well, be problematic.
The argument against the use of employee motivational factor as a customer attraction
strategy in the hospitality industry revolves around various issues. Some critics have argues that
good customer services is a compulsory policy in the hospitality industry and thus, employee
motivation should not be seen as a way for customer attraction. Customers are choosing to enjoy
hospitable services already expect exceptional treatment from the places (Ogbonna & Harris,
2002). Therefore, such kind of treatment should not be termed as a favor but a command. This
means that a hospitality organization that relies on employee motivation for customer satisfaction
may not compete with a different organization that employs other marketing strategies such as
product promotion. In fact, instead of a hospitality business wasting much of its resources in
employee motivation, they should save the resources and use it in product promotional strategies
that would attract many customers to the business. Lower prices for the goods and services and
discounts are some of the product promotional tactics that a hospitality business can employ to
motivate the customers. The customers should be motivated in a different and visible way other
than the unseen form through the employees. This side of the issue means that while the issue of
employee motivation is important, it should not be combined with customer motivation. Separating
employee motivation and customer motivation is an important factor that helps in definite
assessment of a company’s progress in a particular time frame.
Implications in the Hospitality Industry
The implications of employee and customer motivational issues in the hospitality industry
will vary depending on the goals and objectives of a particular business. If an organization uses
employees to motivate customers, then it means its goal is to satisfy the customer in return for the
profit margins depending on the level of its operation (Ottenbacher & Gnoth, 2005). If an
organization enjoys profit margin according to the increasing number of customers, then-then its
purpose is to ensure that the number of customers visiting the business increases through employee
motivational service which attract the customers. On the other hand, organizations that think they
can reap many benefits through the acts of product promotional tactics depending on its operating
capital and goals, then they are free to invest in the advertisement to increase their sales (Seth,
Deshmukh & Vrat, 2005). This issue may also bring controversial implications amongst the
industry players in the case where two or more companies with different perceptions about
employee and customer motivation come together to deliver hospitality services.
Employee and customer motivation as factors of good quality services and products may
be problematic in the current global economy. Globalization and cultural diversity may pose
different forms of motivation for different people, and this means what one culture perceives as a
good form of promotion may not necessarily mean the same to a person from a different culture
(Simons & Enz, 2005). It is also important to assess that motivation of any kind depends on the
recipient. In as much as an employer might think that they are meeting the needs of their employees
and customers through motivation, the impact might be negative. As such managers have the task
of assessing the most appealing form of motivation that suits their employees and awards them
accordingly (Torres & Kline, 2013). Motivational factors are complicated because of their
measurability. Since things change with time, the amount of motivation is also expected to change
or increase with time. Any form of motivation that satisfied an employee in the previous years may
not satisfy them at the current time. Therefore, the motivation of employees and customers in the
hospitality industry is still a factor that requires intensive research for proper solutions.
Boella, M., & Goss-Turner, S. (2013). Human resource management in the hospitality industry:
A guide to best practice. Routledge.
Barron, P. (2008). Education and talent management: Implications for the hospitality industry.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 20(7), 730-742.
Bharwani, S., & Jauhari, V. (2013). An exploratory study of competencies required to co-create
memorable customer experiences in the hospitality industry. International Journal of
Contemporary Hospitality Management, 25(6), 823-843.
Barsky, J. D., & Labagh, R. (2012). A strategy for customer satisfaction. Cornell Hotel and
Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 33(5), 32-40.
Chan, E. S., & Wong, S. C. (2006). Motivations for ISO 14001 in the hotel industry. Tourism
Management, 27(3), 481-492.
Lockyer, C., & Scholarios, D. (2004). Selecting hotel staff: why best practice does not always
work. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 16(2), 125-135.
DiPietro, R. B., & Condly, S. J. (2007). Employee turnover in the hospitality industry: An
analysis based on the CANE model of motivation. Journal of Human Resources in
Hospitality & Tourism, 6(1), 1-22.
Guerrier, Y., & Adib, A. (2001). Working in the hospitality industry. In In search of hospitality
(pp. 255-275).
Harris, L. C., & Reynolds, K. L. (2004). Jaycustomer behavior: an exploration of types and
motives in the hospitality industry. Journal of Services Marketing, 18(5), 339-357.
Kazlauskaite, R., Buciuniene, I., & Turauskas, L. (2006). Building employee commitment in the
hospitality industry. Baltic Journal of Management, 1(3), 300-314.
Kusluvan, S., Kusluvan, Z., Ilhan, I., & Buyruk, L. (2010). The human dimension: A review of
human resources management issues in the tourism and hospitality industry. Cornell
Hospitality Quarterly, 51(2), 171-214.
Lee, Y. K., Nam, J. H., Park, D. H., & Ah Lee, K. (2006). What factors influence customeroriented prosocial behavior of customer-contact employees?. Journal of Services
Marketing, 20(4), 251-264.
Lub, X., Nije Bijvank, M., Matthijs Bal, P., Blomme, R., & Schalk, R. (2012). Different or alike?
Exploring the psychological contract and commitment of different generations of
hospitality workers. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management,
24(4), 553-573.
Minghetti, V. (2003). Building customer value in the hospitality industry: towards the definition
of a customer-centric information system. Information Technology & Tourism, 6(2), 141152.
Ottenbacher, M. C. (2007). Innovation management in the hospitality industry: different
strategies for achieving success. Journal of hospitality & tourism research, 31(4), 431454.
Ogbonna, E., & Harris, L. C. (2002). Managing organisational culture: Insights from the
hospitality industry. Human Resource Management Journal, 12(1), 33-53.
Ottenbacher, M., & Gnoth, J. (2005). How to develop successful hospitality innovation. Cornell
Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 46(2), 205-222.
Sigala, M. (2005). Integrating customer relationship management in hotel operations: managerial
and operational implications. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 24(3),
Seth, N., Deshmukh, S. G., & Vrat, P. (2005). Service quality models: a review. International
journal of quality & reliability management, 22(9), 913-949.
Simons, T., & Enz, C. A. (2005). Motivating hotel employees: beyond the carrot and the stick.
Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 36(1), 20-27.
Torres, E., & Kline, S. (2013). From customer satisfaction to customer delight: Creating a new
standard of service for the hotel industry. International Journal of Contemporary
Hospitality Management, 25(5), 642-659.

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