Quality Standards and Competitiveness of Star Rated Hotels in Nairobi City County, Kenya

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Musembi, Janiffer Mutio
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Kenyatta University
Globally, the concept of competitiveness in business is very rife. 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 and especially 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 independent variables; classification system, branding and ecolabels on the dependent variable; 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 the star rated hotels currently operating in Nairobi City County, Kenya. The study focused on 54 hotels 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. A pre-test was performed to establish the instrument’s validity and reliability. Data was gathered using self -administered questionnaires. Reliability was checked using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and outcomes were; classification 0.937, branding 0.933 and eco labels 0.855. Analysis of data was by quantitative approach using SPSS version 25. Descriptive statistics (by use of measures of dispersion, means and percentages) and inferential analysis were utilized in the data analysis. Analysis with the aid of multiple regression displayed the Variables’ relationship strength. Frequency tables displayed the findings which were explained thereafter. One-way ANOVA analysis demonstrated independent variables statistically significantly predicted the dependent variable. 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. 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. Also it was revealed that branding influence hotel image, hotel recognition and also customer loyalty in terms of increased attachment. It was established eco labels improve hotel image, attract customers, improve market share and operational fitness. 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.
The Research Project Submitted to the School of Business in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of the Degree of Master of Business Administration (Strategic Management), Kenyatta University, October, 2021
Quality Standards, Competitiveness, Star Rated Hotels, Nairobi City County, Kenya