Customer satisfaction and loyalty in the application of the all-inclusive holiday concept at the Kenyan Coast
All-inclusive holidays can be defined as those where all travel, accommodation and a substantial amount of food and drink, together with activities such as entertainment, trips or sports coaching are included in a pre-paid price while booking. The all-inclusive holiday concept was first introduced in the in 1840s, and later re-emerged in the 1930s. The concept exploded in the Caribbean in the 1950s and was introduced in Africa in the 1980s. An explosion of the concept was later realised along coastal strips in the late 1990s. At its inception, the all-inclusive concept was a fundamentally different holiday where a guest had to carry no form of currency, paper, coin or plastic to a hotel, resort or while on a cruise. With time it was realised that the application of the all-inclusive concept had been modified and varied from the original. Due to its modification, the validity and efficacy of the concept has been questioned particularly with regard to service procedures, professionalism of the personnel employed, value for money, quality of food, drink and accommodation offered; quality of tourists it attracts, and the spillover effects to the host country. The general objective of this research was to analyse the all-inclusive holiday concept as applied in Kenya. To achieve this, the study used four specific objectives to profile the application of all-inclusive practices, assess service delivery versus customer expectations, identify important attributes to customer delight and assess the relationship between customer delight and customer loyalty. The study reviewed literature on the all-inclusive holiday concept across different countries; customer satisfaction, delight and loyalty. The study used a conceptual model, theoretical model and operational model to link theory to practice. The theoretical models used were the SERVQUAL Model, Expectancy Disconfrrmation Model and Kano's Satisfaction Model. The study used a cross-sectional survey design to collect information from the vacational hotels at the Kenyan coast. Purposeful and stratified systematic sampling techniques were used. A sample size Of 209 respondents was obtained. The research instruments were questionnaires, interviews and observations. The data analysis involved use of descriptive statistics where frequencies, content analysis, the servqual research instrument and factor analysis were used to identify the correlations among variables. Hypotheses were tested using t-test, chi square and non-parametric correlations. The findings of the study show customer satisfaction level averaging between satisfactory to fairly satisfactory. Further, there was a discrepancy between customer expectations and customer perceptions. A linear relationship between customer delight and customer relationship was established. For the concept to remain viable in Kenya, the current mode of its application and marketing needed to be revised. The study proposes a new approach to marketing and applying the all-inclusive concept. Such an approach would involve the intervention of the Ministry of Tourism and the local hospitality practitioners. The study suggested further studies to compare and benchmark the application of the holiday concept with other parts of the world including the Caribbean Islands where the concept is well-grounded.