Choice of Hotel Facilities by Guests with Physical Disabilities in Nairobi, Kenya
Murungi, Charles Muthamia
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As effort is made to boost tourism in the country, hotels and tourism planners must identify areas with growth potential or identify niche markets as a potential new source of tourists both locally and internationally. Persons with disabilities comprise one such market. This study sought to find out priority considerations in the choice or preference of hotel facilities by PWPDs in Nairobi and in the process identify the unfulfilled gaps in product and service delivery so as to make hotels friendlier and more sensitive to guests with disabilities. The study had seven objectives namely; to determine experiences of guests with physical disabilities when using hotel products and services; to establish attitudes and perceptions held by guests with physical disabilities towards hotels, their products and services; to find out whether persons with physical disabilities experience any discrimination in Kenyan hotels and responses to discrimination by persons with physical disabilities; to determine credibility of sources of information as perceived by persons with physical disabilities while sourcing for hotel products and services; to categorize challenges faced by persons with physical disabilities while using hotel products and services; to find out social motivations of persons with physical disabilities while using hotel products and services and lastly to determine best predictor variables for choice or preference of hotel facilities by PWPDs. A cross sectional survey design was adopted for this survey which was conducted in the County of Nairobi; Kenya. The population under study covered persons with physical disabilities. A total of 356 usable participant surveys out of the targeted 361 were analyzed yielding a response rate of 98.6%. The study utilized semi-structured questionnaires and personal interviews to obtain data. Data analysis involved quantitative techniques for data analysis which was a combination of various descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient was used to measure the strength of linear dependence between each variable used in the study and the choice or preference of hotel. Multiple Regression was used to determine predictor variables influencing choice or preference of hotel facilities by persons with physical disabilities in Nairobi. It was found that majority of the survey respondents had positive experiences while visiting hotels in the country and that many of them did not feel discriminated against by hotels (p-value <0.001); it was also found that persons with physical disabilities in Kenyan hotels were still not in a position to fully participate in leisure activities when visiting hotels due to lack of upgraded sports equipment (p-value <0.00l). Findings also revealed that persons with physical disabilities found Kenyan hotels to be ignorant in terms of arrangements needed for and knowledge of persons with disabilities (p-value <0.001). Findings also indicated that previous experience was the most credible source of information closely followed by recommendations from friends with similar disabilities. Findings also revealed attitudes of managers and staff to be the most difficult challenge for persons with physical disabilities while using hotel products and services and that visiting family and friends were the most important social motivator. Three (3) factors namely information sources, challenges faced by persons with disabilities and interventions by the Government and hoteliers pertaining matters with a bearing on PWDs (all at a p-value <0.001) were the best predictor variables that influenced the choice or preference of hotel facilities by persons with physical disabilities.