Hospitality Products’ Quality as a Competitive Advantage in Private Hospitals in Mombasa County
Appida, Felix Onyango
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Hospitality in hospitals is increasingly becoming a practice in the healthcare sector in many countries around the world. With the ever increasing number of private hospitals, stiff competition and the changing patient’s needs is compelling administrators to pursue new strategies to remain relevant in the market. This has seen hospitality products taking center stage as an element of differentiation for hospitals’ products in the market. Moreover, private hospitals are increasingly adopting the hotel set-up ranging from the physical design to the systems of operations to create a more welcoming and comfortable environment for the patients stay and enhancing their overall satisfaction. Despite the relevance of the concept of hospitality products in gaining competitive edge as well as increasing customer satisfaction, it has not been fully embraced in Kenyan hospitals. The main objective of this study was to assess hospitality products’ quality as a competitive advantage in private hospitals in Mombasa County. The study adopted survey as the research design and was carried out in Mombasa County. Both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies were used to collect and analyze data. Representative samples of the private hospitals were arrived at using proportionate sampling while simple random sampling was used to select the number of patients in each hospital to be included in the study. Data were collected through questionnaires, personal interviews and observation checklist and analyzed by use of computer software program. The study adopted one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) as a technique for data analysis as well as correlation analysis to test the relationships between the variables. The findings revealed that hospitals in Mombasa County had adopted food & beverages and accommodation products to a moderate level (0.494=V=0.576, P=0.000; 0.455=V=0.557, P=0.00 respectively). The results indicated a close connection in set up between the private hospitals and hotels. Therefore there is need for the healthcare managers to adopt more of the identified products due to the current trends in the healthcare market where customers are now looking for more than just medical care but comfort as well. The results also indicated that the quality of hospitality products greatly influenced patients’ choice of private hospital (0.000=P=0.002). Patients were more concerned about the quality of food and beverages as well as their general comfort while choosing private hospitals. Private hospital managers should therefore invest in constantly improving quality of hospitality products in order to attract more patients. Finally, the results also indicated that price had an inverse relationship with patients’ choice of private hospital (r=-0.483, P=0.000). Patients were seen to be more price sensitive across the private hospitals and majority showed preference to those hospitals with competitive prices. Consequently, hospitals should improve quality of services while maintaining competitive prices as well. It is hoped that these results would enable healthcare managers to devise strategies to enable them compete effectively both locally and internationally.