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Factors That Influence Chinese Tourists Hotel Selection in Thailand

Info: 10457 words (42 pages) Dissertation
Published: 9th Dec 2019

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Tags: TourismTravel and Tourism

­Factors That Influence Chinese Tourists Hotel Selection in Thailand

ABSTRACT

This research aims to explore how Chinese tourists make hotel selection in Thailand, with an ultimate goal to help the local hoteliers find the right marketing strategy to improve hotel business and attract Chinese customers. This research used online questionnaire and surveyed 216 students at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Sichuan, China. The questions were translated into Chinese to control the quality of the research. This research focused on four important marketing factors including product, price, place, and promotion.

The result showed that all factors have a significant influence on Chinese tourists and product was the most important followed by price, place and promotion. This research suggested that hoteliers should not only focus on just one factor to satisfy customers’ needs. Therefore product, price, place and promotion should be developed at the same time.

Key words: hotel selection, Chinese tourists, marketing factors

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 BLACKGROUND

Thailand has a variety of natural tourist attractions, including forests, mountains, and sea. It’s also known as the land of rich culture heritage, many such festivals are frequent in this land such as Thai traditional New Year Festival (i.e. water festival), which is considered the best festival in Thailand. Additionally, the Thai people are considered to be incredibly friendly and hospitable to outsiders, which helps hospitality business to perform better, relative to other countries, making Thailand one of the fascinating countries for travelers.

The tourism industry is a major economic source in Thailand. According to the Tourism Department of Thailand, the country received the most foreign tourists to Thailand in 2011 was from Malaysian with the number of 2,500,280, followed by 1,721,247 Chinese tourists and 1,277,893 Japanese tourists. At the end of 2012, the Chinese film – Lost in Thailand, which was shot in Chiang Mai province Thailand, was released in China. A significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists was observed, jumping to 4,637,335 in 2013 and the number kept increasing as time progressed. In 2015, a total of 29,881,091 tourists traveled to Thailand. Chinese record the most foreign tourists who travel to Thailand with the number of 7,934,791 (Wikipedia.com, 2015). In recent times, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket are top tourism attractions among Chinese tourists (Department of Tourism, 2015).

Figure 1: Tourists in Thailand by Regions 2015

Source: The Department of Tourism (2015)

Chinese tourists contribute the most to the Thai tourism industry and show a significant impact on Thai hospitality industry. This includes restaurants, transportation and accommodation, especially hotel service. Traveling from China to Thailand need to take a long journey, tourists will at least stay a few days in Thailand. On average, visitors will stay about eight days in Thailand (ThaiWebsites.com, 2015). Thus, given the significance of the tourism sectors to the Thai economy, it is imperative to focus on the hotel sector.

In 2015, the revenue from tourism industry is approximately 42.544 billion U.S. dollars in Thailand (ThaiWebsites.com, 2015). According to the total expenditure by regions, the total expenditure of Chinese tourists has rivalled that of tourists from all European countries. Specifically, Chinese tourists spent 11,348 million U.S. dollars and the total expenditure of European tourists is 11,539 million U.S dollars (ThaiWebsites.com, 2015)

Figure 2: Expenditures per day of tourists in Thailand 2015

Source: The Department of Tourism (2015)

The graph above shows the spending per day of all tourists in Thailand. We can see that 29 percent of the total expenditure goes to accommodation, 25 percent for shopping, and 20 percent goes to food and beverage. It implies that most visitors prefer to stay at a good accommodation, three stars and above, rather than budget hostel or premium resorts.

The objective of this research is to explore what influences Chinese tourists when selecting hotel in Thailand, in terms of product, price, place, and promotion. I used these four important factors from prior research (Chaithanee, 2013; Pungnirund, 2011; Phadungyat, 2008; Rattanakitrungrueang, 2006) as a guideline. This research could help Thailand hoteliers understand Chinese customer’s demands, which will be useful for the development and improvement of hotel business by attracting new customers and preserving customer loyalty. Understanding customers could help hoteliers to differentiate from competitors, develop an advantage from the competition, improve business performance, enhance customer royalty, and attract new customers as well (Choosrichom, 2011; Law & Yib, 2010).

1.2 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research will focus on four factors that influence Chinese tourists when they make their selection of hotel in Thailand, including product factors, price factors, place factors, and promotion factors.

Product refers to the goods and services that hoteliers offer to the customers. There are various attributes that customers may be attracted to hotel products, such as room facilities, quality of services, and brand name, etc. Research on customers could help hoteliers understand what customers want on product features, and thus hoteliers could bring effective strategy to attract customer.

Price refers to how much hoteliers charge customer on product and service. Some of hotel business owners are of the view that lower prices could help them obtain a comparative advantage from the competitors. However, this may be a signal that customers view the hotel products and services as low quality. The growth of business would not only depend on price of product but base on the demand of customer as well.

Place refers to the channels that hoteliers used to distribute products to customers. To be effective, hoteliers should focus on market research to promote product via appropriate channels.

Promotions refer to special offerings designed to increase sales and advertise products. Promotions might offer through many alternatives, and therefore hoteliers need to seek which alternatives will influence customer decision.

A good combination of these factors could help hoteliers satisfy customers and create a profitable hotel business. Once the hoteliers understand customers then they can develop a better marketing strategy to promote the right product attributes, in the right price, through the right places, and with right promotion alternatives.

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESIS

This research conducted four hypotheses, which they were stated below:

  • H1: Product factor is the most important for the Chinese tourists when making hotel selection in Thailand.
  • H2: Price factor is the most important for the Chinese tourists when making hotel selection in Thailand.
  • H3: Place factor is the most important for the Chinese tourists when making hotel selection in Thailand.
  • H4: Promotion factor is the most important for the Chinese tourists when making hotel selection in Thailand.

1.4 OVERIEW OF RESEARCH AND METHODOLOGY

The methodology of this research consists of several research instruments, including sampling, quality control, and research design. I used online questionnaires to collect data. The data was collected by surveying 216 Chinese students at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Sichuan, China. The questionnaire was translated into Chinese and the length of content was limited to control the quality of research. The questionnaire was divided into three parts: first part and second part were personal information and traveling behaviors, the third part was about influencing factors including product, price, place, and promotion. Mean and standard division was used to analyze personal information and travelling behavior. In addition, T-tests were conducted to test whether there was significant difference between the four marketing factors.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

There are several research studies that have been done on factors influence customers’ hotel selection. However, researchers have not focused any research on Chinese tourists’ hotel selection in Thailand. Therefore, this research will focused on Chinese tourists. Thus, the findings of this research would help hoteliers to have a better understanding of Chinese tourists’ hotel selection and travelling behaviors as well. It could help hoteliers to create a better product and service design to satisfy Chinese tourists and attract new Chinese tourists.

1.6 OVERVIEW OF THE THESIS

This research consisted of 5 chapters.

Chapter 1 contains background description and statement of problem.

Chapter 2 is literature review of prior research on factors that influence hotel selection. The main topics reviewed concerning about how marketing mix (i.e., product, price, place, and promotion) influences customers when they make hotel selections.

Chapter 3 describes the methodology used in this research, including instruments used in this research, the target population, quality control, and research design.

Chapter 4 describes how the results were analyzed by using frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation. This chapter also summarizes the finding of the research.

Chapter 5 concludes the overall of research, including the purpose the research, the finding, discussion, recommendations for hoteliers, and the limitations and suggestions for future research.

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter will review prior research that relates to the study of factors influencing customer decision making on product/service and customer decision on hotel.

2.1 CUSTOMERS DECISION ON PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Many prior research studies have demonstrated that price, quality of product, service, technology, promotion, and placing influence customer decision on products/service. For instance, Young (2015) indicated that before purchasing a product, the first four factors consumers would like to consider are price, quality, technology, and feature of product. Even though customers consider price to be the most important factor, they would pay more if the product has updated with good features and better quality. Pugazhenthi (2010) found that price is the most important for customers as well, while no matter what group of customers is, price, product quality and availability of products are the three main determinants in the selection process.

Although prices has an effect on customers’ decision but price does not directly affect customers’ decision when the customer decision influenced towards in stimulus in the environment. Hansen (2000) researched on consumer decision making and indicated that price matters to customer when they make a decision on unknown product; however, price does not matter that much when customer buy a product has good quality and with a reputable brand. Gan et al. (2015) argued the convenience, service quality and technology all have a significant positive relationship with service selection, while price of service is significantly negative.

Pungnirund (2011) studied on the factors that influence customer purchasing behavior as well, with a focus on seven elements that may influence the decision including product, price, place, promotion, people, physical environment, and process. Results showed that price, place and product have significant influences on customers’ decision. This is consistent with the research of Rattanakitrungrueang (2006), which found that place, promotion, and price influence on the decision of tourists.

2.2 CUSTOMERS DECISION ON HOTELS

For the hotel business, Hoteliers can find ways to satisfy customers with their product and service by understanding customers’ want. Understanding customers’ want can increase customer loyalty and bring new customers through positive word-of-mouth (Marketing Donut, 2016). Choosrichom (2011) also stated that a better understanding of customers would help hoteliers to develop customer loyalty for their products and services. Similarly, Law and Yib (2010) said that the quality of service, such as the manners and courtesy of staff, could help hoteliers enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and willingness to recommend to others.

Petra and Žana’s (2012) research on how customers choose hotel showed that important factors influencing customer decision are personal experience, word of mouth communication; while location of hotel has no effect on customer decision, it could help hoteliers have a competitive price. Hameed and Ashraf (2014) have expressed a similar view, the location of hotel has no effect on decision, but hotel reservation and payment process would effect in customer decision. The research of Srisopha, Homchan, and Chaiyason (2013) stated that marketing mix (i.e., product, price, place, and promotion) all have influence on customers when they select the hotel, however placing is influenced at the highest level.

Wijayanto’s (2015) research on hotel selection of customers indicated that three significant variables that have impacts on customer decision include price, manner of staff, and physical evidence; while product, place, promotion, and the process do not significantly influence customer decision. Chaithanee (2013) discovered that different group of tourists represent in different of decision making. Specifically, the author found that the feature of hotel influenced Thai tourists more than international tourists who are more influenced by price. Similarly, the research of Phadungyat (2008) showed that price is the most important factor that affect business traveler s’ decision on hotel selection, followed by service and brand while place is least important.

Hameed and Ashraf (2014) conducted 330 questionnaires from customers in five star hotels in Jordan and found that customers ranked the trademark of international brand as most important when they make hotel selection, followed by safety consideration. In particular, even if the hotel is very comfortable or has good features but if there is not safe, customers would better take other place to stay. The research done by Choosrichom (2011) also revealed that security or safety is the most influential factor when customers make a hotel selection followed by price, service, location, room quality, and hotel facility respectively.

Based on prior research, I noticed that the most important alternative that influences customers’ hotel selection is marketing mix, including product, price, place, and promotion. Marketing mix is an important strategy that companies used to run a business (Kotler, 2003). According to prior research, no researcher has focused on factors that influence Chinese consumer s’ decision when make hotel selection in Thailand. Therefore, the primary objective of this research is to figure out which factor is most important for Chinese tourists’ hotel selection in Thailand.

CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY

3.1 RESEARCH INSTRUCTMENT

This research used questionnaires to collect data. The questionnaire used close-end questions. Respondents filled in the first two parts in multiple choices about personal information and travelling behaviors. On marketing part, respondents answered the questions by using rating scales to measure their attitude. The purpose of using this method is because close-end questionnaires are suitable for quantitative surveys and the data can be easy to analyze (Sincero, 2012). The questionnaire could help to find out how consumers select the hotel, how they make decisions, what they are looking for, as well as how they respond to advertising from hoteliers. An online questionnaire was used, as online questionnaire is the cheapest and the most convenient way to collect the data.

3.2 SAMPLING

The target populations of this research were Chinese students at The Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Sichuan, China. Finally, a total of 216 students responded to the questionnaire, including students who had visited Thailand and those who had never visited Thailand but intended to visit it in the future. The questionnaire was sent through Wechat and respondents were asked to share the questionnaire to their friends. Respondents were not required to send the questionnaire back. The responses will be stored in a survey database automatically.

3.3 QUALITY CONTROL

To control the quality of this research, the questionnaire was translated from English to Chinese to help participants have a better understanding of the questions and thus they can give the right answers, following what Chaithanee (2013) did in his research on consumer decision making in hotel selection. Moreover, the length of the contents in the questionnaire was limited to a certain level to prevent fatigue. Sometimes respondents are unwilling to answer questions because the survey is too long. They may feel bored or too busy to respond to the questions thus they will give a wrong answer.

3.4 RESEARCH DESIGN

The questionnaire for this research included three parts. The first part is general personal information related to the background of tourists such as gender, age, educational levels, hometown and average living expense per month. The second part is about the travelling behavior, which respondents were asked about which places in Thailand they plane to visit, in which season they plan to visit Thailand, and who they want to travel with, etc. The third part is about influencing factors. Respondents were requested to rank factors from least important to most important when they make hotel selection, using a 5-point Likert scale, with 1 represents the least important and 5 represents the most important. The influencing factors included a hotel product, price, hotel’s booking channel and promotion. The questionnaire was developed according to relative prior research (Chaithanee, 2013; Pungnirund, 2011; Phadungyat, 2008; Rattanakitrungrueang, 2006) was finalized after several discussions with my supervisor.

Frequency and Percentage were calculated to analyze data on personal information and the personal behavior part to check whether there were any differences in demographic and behavioral traits of the respondents. Mean and standard deviation were used in the third part. Mean was used for analyzing whether hotel product, price, place, and promotion had influences on respondents’ decision. The standard deviation was used to analyze how responses are spread out. If the responses were not much different, it indicated that the responses were centralized and the standard deviation will have a lower score. However, if the opinions of respondents were very different, it indicated that the responses were polarized, and thus the standard deviation will have a higher score (Green Book, 2013). In addition, T-test was conducted into this research to test a significant difference between product, price, place and promotion.

CHAPTER 4 DATA ANALYSIS

This chapter presents the result of the data collected from the respondents.

Personal information

Table 1: Personal information

 

Variable

Frequency Percent
 

Gender

   
Female 139 64.35
Male 77 35.65
 

Age

Below 18 years old 3 1.39
18-25 years old 187 86.57
26-35 years old 20 9.26
Over  35 years old 6 2.78
 

Education

Bachelor 193 89.35
Master 23 10.65
Ph.D. 0 0.00
 

Hometown

Central part 21 9.72
Eastern part 23 10.65
Western part 17 7.87
Southern part 125 57.87
Northern part 30 13.89
 

Average living expense per month

Less than 1,000 19 8.80
1,000-3,000 165 76.39
3,001-5,000 21 9.72
More than 5,000 11 5.39

 

As shown in Table 1, by gender, 139 respondents were females, presenting 64.35 percent of the sample. 77 respondents were males presenting 35.65 percent. By age, 187 respondents were between 18-25 years old, presenting 86.57 percent of total respondents. 20 respondents were aged between 26-35 years, presenting 9.26 percent of the respondents. 6 respondents, presenting 2.78 percent, were aged over 35. 3 respondents were less than 18 years old, representing 1.39 percent. By education, 89.35 percent were undergraduate students, 10.65 percent were master students. No Ph.D. students attended our research.

By hometown, 57.87 percent of respondents came from the southern part of China, where the university in which the data was collected located. 13.89 percent came from the northern part, 10.65 percent came from the eastern part, 9.72 percent came from the central part, and the remaining 7.87 percent came from the western part of China.

By average cost of living per month, 76.39 percent of respondents spent around 1,000RMB to 3,000RMB per month, 9.72 percent spent around 3,001RMB to 5,000RMB, 8.80 percent spent less than 1,000RMB, and 5.09 percent spent more than 5,000RMB per month.

Travelling behaviors

37 of respondents had visited Thailand before, which accounts for 17.13 percent of all the respondents. Most frequently visited places were Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket. 82.87 percent of respondents had never been to Thailand, but they intend to go there in the future.

Figure 3: Intended places

For the intended place of respondents, the researcher put four choices of destinations from top four destinations among Chinese tourists. Chiang Mai was the most intended place for respondents, which presented 37.50 percent, followed by Bangkok of 36.11 percent, Phuket of 15.74 percent, Pattaya of 7.41 percent. As for the other places, Samui Island was the most frequently recommended place, presenting3.21 percent.

By the season of visiting Thailand, 42.13 percent of respondents would like to travel during winter vacations, followed by summer vacations present 39.35 percent, Thai’s festival presented 7.41 percent, Chinese National day presented 6.48 percent and other seasons presented 4.63 percent which respondents have several different seasons. 48.15 percent of respondents would like to travel with a friend. Followed by 27.31 percent would like to travel with a partner, 17.59 percent would like to travel with family, 3.24 percent would like to travel alone, 2.78 percent would like to travel with a tour group, and 0.93 percent gave others recommend such as travel with friend and family together.

Table 2: Travelling behavior

                      Variable

                  Frequency        Percent

Have you ever been to Thailand?

Yes 37 17.13
No 139 82.87
 

Which city do you intend to visit?

Bangkok 78 36.11
Phuket 34 15.74
Pattaya 16 7.41
Chiang Mai 81 37.50
Others 7 3.21
 

When would you like to visit Thailand?

Winter vacation (January to February) 91 42.13
Summer vacation (June to August) 85 39.35
Chinese National Days 14 6.48
Thai’s festival 16 7.41
Others 10 4.63
 

Who would you like to travel with?

Alone 7 3.24
Family 38 17.59
Friends 104 48.15
Partner 59 27.31
Tour group 6 2.78
Others 2 0.93
 

In total, how long would you stay in Thailand?

2-3 days 2 0.93
4-5 days 61 28.24
1 week 118 54.63
More than 1 week 35 16.20
 

How would you make your hotel reservation?

Walk in 15 6.94
Reserve in advance 201 93.06
 

How much would you like to pay for the hotel per night? (RMB)

150 – 250 120 55.56
251- 350 71 32.87
351-450 14 6.48
More than 450 11 5,09
 

Which location do you prefer to stay?

Downtown area 8 3.70
Close to beach 125 57.87
Transportation area 56 25.93
Shopping area 8 3.70
Night life area 17 7.87
Others 2 0.93

As shown in Table 2, by the total time tourists would like to stay in Thailand, most of the respondents would like to stay around one week, which represented 54.63 percent. Around 28.24 percent of respondents would like to stay around 4 to 5 days, 16.2 percent would like to stay more than one week, and 0.93 percent would like to stay around 2 to 3 days in Thailand. Moreover, 93.06 percent of respondents will make a hotel reservation in advance before traveling, while 6.94 percent would like to book a hotel after arriving in Thailand. A total of 55.56 percent were willing to pay the lowest price for accommodation, which was around 150RMB to 250RMB per night; 32.87 percent were willing to pay 251RMB to 350RMB, 6.48 percent were willing to pay 351RMB to 450RMB and 5.09 percent were willing to pay more than 450RMB per night.

Figure 4: Location of hotel

Most respondents, i.e., 57.87 percent, preferred to stay at a hotel close to the beach , followed by transportation area (25.93 percent), nightlife area (7.87 percent), downtown area and shopping area (3.70 percent respectively), and other locations such as quiet and safe area (0.93 percent).

 Influencing factors

I focused on marketing mix to analyze factors that influenced Chinese tourists when selecting a hotel in Thailand. The marketing mix included product, price, place and promotion. The respondents indicated that hotel product (M = 3.97, SD = 0.65) was the most important factor to consider when making hotel selection, followed by the price of hotel product (M = 3.66, SD = 0.87), places (M = 3.48, SD = 0.70), while promotion factors (M = 3.37, SD = 0.88) were the least important.

Table 3: Importance of Hotel Factors

Hotel factors (product)  M S.D.

Room Facilities

4.44 0.94
Hotel facilities 4.13 1.00
The manners of the staff 4.08 0.94
Customer ratings 4.07 0.94
 Location 3.98 0.90
Brand name 3.13 0.96
Overall 3.97 0.65

Regarding hotel attributes (product), it was indicated that room facilities (M = 4.44, SD = 0.94) and hotel facilities (M = 4.13, SD = 1.00) were the most important thing for respondents to consider when making hotel selection. The manners of the staff (M = 4.08, SD = 0.94) and customer ratings (M = 4.07, SD = 0.94) were similarly significant, while brand name (M = 3.13, SD = 0.96) was the least important factor.

Table 4: Importance of Price Factors

Price factors ( Price ) M S.D.

Price of room

4.07 0.96
Price of food and beverage 3.57 1.08
Price of other services 3.33 1.10
Overall 3.66 0.87

Regarding the price of hotel product, when customers make a selection for the hotel, they would consider the price of the room (M = 4.07, SD = 0.96) as most important. This was consistent with what we found in the customer behavior part, as most respondents preferred to pay the lowest price. The price of food and beverage (M = 3.57, SD = 1.08) and price of other services (M = 3.3, SD = 1.10) were least important to consider.

Table 5: Importance of Placing Factors

 

Booking factors ( Place )

M S.D.

Ctrip.com

3.80 1.08
qunar.com 3.74 1.07
Other online booking channels 3.36 1.11
Travel agency 3.35 1.09
Phone booking 2.94 1.29
Overall 3.48 0.70

All items in hotel’s booking factor were spread out responded which customers have a different way to make the hotel reservation. Travel website agent influenced most when customers make a hotel reservation, Ctrip.com (M = 3.80, SD = 1.08) was at the first and qunar.com (M = 3.74, SD = 1.07) was the second. Doing phone booking (M = 2.94, SD = 1.29) was the least important.

Table 6: Importance of Promotion Factors

Promotion factors ( promotion )

M S.D.

Discounts for special events

3.65 1.08
Discount due to cooperation with other service companies 3.31 1.15
Discounts on hotel membership 3.26 1.06
Special activities provided by the hotel 3.24 1.10
Overall 3.37 0.88

The responses for promotion factors were same as booking factor. The responses were spread out, meaning that customers had different interests in hotel’s promotions. Thus, the overall standard deviation had the highest number, compared with other items. Most respondents would like to have discount on special events (M = 3.65, SD = 1.08) while special activities provided by the hotel was the least interesting to customers (M = 3.65, SD = 1.10).

4. 1 HYPOTHESIS TESTING

T-tests were used to examine whether there was significant difference between product, price, place and promotion in perceived importance when Chinese tourists select hotels in Thailand.

Table 7 : Paired Samples Test
∆ Mean SD SE t df p
Pair 1 Product – Price 0.31 0.75 0.05 6.12 215 *.000
Pair 2 Product – Place 0.50 0.71 0.05 10.31 215 *.000
Pair 3 Product – Promotion 0.61 0.88 0.06 10.13 215 *.000
Pair 4 Price – Place 0.18 0.88 0.06 3.02 215 *.003
Pair 5 Price – Promotion 0.29 0.89 0.06 4.81 215 *.000
Pair 6 Place – Promotion 0.11 0.77 0.05 2.11 215 *.036

Note: * indicated a significant difference at p < 0.05

Table 7 indicated that product was perceived significantly higher in perceived importance than price (p < 0.000), place (p < 0.000) and promotion (p < 0.000), which supported Hypothesis 1. Price was significantly more important than place (p = 0.003) and promotion (p < 0.000), but less important than product (p < 0.000). Thus, Hypothesis 2 was partially supported. Place was perceived as more important than promotion (p = 0.036), but less important than product (p < 0.000) and price (p = 0.003). Thus, Hypothesis 3 was partially supported. Promotion was perceived as the least important among the marketing mix (p’s < 0.05), which rejected Hypothesis 4.

4.2 SUMMARY

From the results above, majority of the respondents were female (64.35%) and 86.57 percent were age between 18-25 years old. Most of the respondents were undergraduate students (89.35%) and most came from southern China (57.87%). 76.39 percent had average living expense per month around 1,000 RMB to 3,000 RMB. In term of traveling behavior, 82.87 percent of respondents had never visited Thailand but intend to visit it in the future. Most respondents would like to visit Chiang Mai (37.50%) and Bangkok (36.11%), which was consistent with the research of Sangkakorn (2013), that found Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Pattaya are the places Chinese tourists most tend to visit. Respondents would like to visit Thailand during winter vacation (January to February) (42.13%). Friends were the persons who respondents are expected to travel with (48.15%). During travelling time in Thailand, 54.63 percent planned to stay around one week and 93.06 percent will make a hotel reservation in advance with the price around 150 RMB-250 RMB (55.56%). And respondents would like to select hotels close to beach (57.87%).

4.2.1 THE MOST EFFECTIVE FACTOR

From Table-7 we can see that, all marketing mix factors were perceived as important for Chinese customers when making hotel selection in Thailand. Furthermore, products factors (M = 3.97, SD = 0.65) were the most influential, followed by price (M = 3.65, SD = 0.87), place (M = 3.48, SD = 0.70), and promotion (M = 3.37, SD = 0.88) respectively. This is similar to the findings of Chetanont (2015), in which Chinese tourists were found influenced by product most, followed by price, distribution and promotion.

In term of product factors; room facility (M = 4.44, SD = 0.94) was the most important consideration, which was consistent with the research of Choi and Chu’s (2001). In term of price factors, the price room (M = 4.07, SD = 0.96) was ranked highest, while price of food and beverage was considered as secondary. In term of booking channel, Ctrip.com (M = 3.80, SD = 1.08) influenced respondents most when they make hotel reservations. In term of promotion, discount on special event (M = 3.65, SD = 1.08) was considered as the most important when respondents make hotel reservations.

CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION

This study aims to explore how Chinese tourists make hotel selection in Thailand; it could help hoteliers to find the right marketing strategy to improve their products and services, and to attract more Chinese customers. This research used online questionnaire and had surveyed 216 students at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Sichuan, China. The questions were translated into Chinese to control the quality of the research.

This research focused on four important marketing factors including product, price, place, and promotion. The results showed that product, price, place and promotion had a significant influence on Chinese tourists when making a hotel selection in Thailand, and we found that the product factor was the most influential among all factors. Results from this research contradict the findings of prior research studies which showed that price was the most important (Chetanont, 2014; Wijayanto, 2015; Masud, 2016; Phadungyat, 2008).

According to the result we found that, room facilities were the most important when regarding hotel products. Since most hotels in Thailand provide room facilities such as having clean rooms, hair-dryers, hot showers, air-conditioners. Thus, hotels should provide these facilities as well, to avoid adverseness. Moreover, product differentiation could help hoteliers stay ahead of the competitors. Since most Chinese tourists intend to visit Chiang Mai during January and February, where the difference between evening and daytime temperatures is high (Thailand-Weather.com, 2017).  Hotel could also provide air conditioners that have both a heating and cooling function to achieve differentiation for more competition. In other words, tourists may not travel solely for leisure but perhaps relaxation as well. Therefore a TV should also be provided for guests while relaxing in the room.

Apart from room facilities, hotels may offer others services to customers such as hotel Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and shuttle buses since tourists prefer to travel with friends rather than a tour group. So shuttle buses would be very helpful especially if such tourists are visiting Thailand for the first time and have no idea how to get to hotel. The employees should also be trained before serving customers and employees could have a meeting at the end of each month to brainstorm solutions for problems that occurred during the period. In addition, Chinese language is common in many countries so hotels should provide at least one Chinese speaking employee in case the tourists cannot understand Thai or English.

However, other factors should not be forgotten. Although Chinese customers preferred to pay the minimum price when make hotel selection but price was just the second influential factor. In other words, if hoteliers could satisfy customers, customers would like to pay more. This is consistent with the research study of Hansen (2000), showed that price matters when customers make a decision on unknown products but price does not matter when customers make a decision on known brand. Since most Chinese tourists would like to stay at hotels close to the beach. Therefore, hotels which located far away from the beach may adjust the view instead of beach view, such as natural forest or garden. And during low season of tourism, hotels may offer discount on special events, such as discounts for tourists who visit Thailand for the first time, discounts for customers who reserve a room for several nights, discount on birthday or birthday surprise. The website Ctrip.com and qunar.com are known widely among Chinese; hoteliers may advertise their product/service through this channel.

5.1 LIMITATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

There are several limitations in this research. Firstly, this research only focused on hotel section in the hospitality industry. Thus, future research could focus on others accommodations service such as resorts, guesthouses, motels and other forms of accommodations.

Second, the target populations in this research were Chinese students at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. Future research should focus on others target with different occupations as well.

Lastly, the survey was conducted through online questionnaire; future research may conduct a survey through a manual questionnaire which the result may be different.

APPENDIX A: QUESTIONNAIRE (ENGLISH VERSION)

Questionnaire

I am an international student at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. This questionnaire is a part of my undergraduate thesis. The objective of this research is to explore factors that influence Chinese tourists’ hotel selection in Thailand. Your answers would be very helpful to my research.

Please read the following questions very carefully and choose the answers that reflect your true thoughts and feelings.

Part I: Personal information

  1. Gender

  Male                        Female

  1. Age

Below 18                  18-25        26-35           Over 35

  1. Education

Bachelor                   Master                  PhD.

  1. Hometown
  • Central part (Henan, Hubei and Hunan)
  • East part (Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shandong, Zhejiang and Shanghai)
  • West part ( Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang, and Tibet)
  • South part (Guizhou, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Fujian, Taiwan, Sichuan and Chongqing)
  • North part (Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang)
  1. Average living expense per month (RMB)

Less than 1,000               1,000-3,000         3,001-5,000         5,000 above

Part II: Personal behavior

  1. Have you ever been to Thailand?

Yes (please write down the city(ies) that you’ve visited in Thailand____________)

No

Imagine that you have a plan to go to Thailand, please answer the following questions according to your true feelings and thoughts.

  1. Which city do you intend to visit?

Bangkok             Phuket                 Pattaya             Chiang Mai

Others (please specify ___________)

  1. When would you like to visit Thailand?

Winter vacation (January – February)      Summer vacation ( June – August)       Chinese National day                               Thai’s festival

Others (please specify _____________)

  1. Who would you like to travel with?

Alone               Family

Friends                               Partner

Tour group                              Others (please specify ____________)

  1.  In total, how long would you stay in Thailand?

2-3 days   4-5 days              1 week   More than 1 week

Imagine that you plan to stay in a hotel when you are visiting Thailand, please answer the following questions.

  1. How would you make your hotel reservation?

Walk in              Reserve in advance

  1. How much would you like to pay for the hotel per night? (RMB)

150 – 250             251- 350               351-450     More than 450

  1. Which location do you prefer to stay?

Downtown area     Close to beach               Transportation area

Shopping area        Night life area               (please specify ____________)

Part III: Marketing Mix

Please indicate the level of importance for each of the following factors when making your hotel selection in Thailand.

1 = Least important   2 = Less important                       3 = Average

4 = Important     5 = Most important

List of factors The scale of effect on decision
5 4 3 2 1
Hotel factors
1.Hotel facilities Ex. Wi-Fi, swimming pool, Hotel shuttle bus
2. Room Facilities Ex. Hair dryer, Air conditioner, TV, hot shower
3. The manners of the staff  Ex. Friendly, Communication, Helpful
4. Location
5.Brand name
6. Customer ratings
Price factors
1.Price of room
2.Price of food and beverage
3. Price of other services (e.g., entertainment)
Hotel booking factors
1.Hotel website
2.Travel agency
3.qunar.com
4.Ctrip.com
5. Other online booking channels
6. Phone booking
Promotion factors
1.Discounts for special events
2.Discounts on hotel membership
3. Discount due to cooperation with other service companies Ex. Airline, restaurants
4. Special activities provided by the hotel

 

~ Thank you for your participation ~

 

APPENDIX B: QUESTIONNAIRE (CHINESE VERSION)

调研问卷

本人是西南财经大学的一名国际留学生,该问卷是本人毕业论文的一部分。该问卷主要是为了探究中国消费者去泰国旅游时酒店选择的影响因素。您的回答将对本人的研究有非常大的帮助。

请认真阅读以下每一个问题,并且选择最能反映您真实情况及想法的答案。

第一部分:个人信息

  1. 性别

 男性                          女性

  1. 年龄

18岁以下                   18-25 岁             26-35岁           超过 35岁

  1. 学历

本科                             硕士                 博士

  1. 家乡所在地
  • 中部:河南,湖北,湖南
  • 东部:安徽,福建,江苏,江西,山东,浙江,上海
  • 西部陕西,甘肃,青海,宁夏,新疆,西藏
  • 南部贵州,云南,广东,广西,海南,福建,中国台湾,四川。重庆
  • 北部:北京,天津,河北,山西,内蒙古,辽宁,吉林,黑龙江
  1. 平均每月花销(人民币)

少于1000           1,000-3,000         3,001-5,000         超过5000

第二部分:旅游偏好调查

  1. 您去过泰国吗?

是 (请写出你去过哪些泰国的城市____________)

假设你计划(再)去泰国旅游,请回答以下问题。

  1. 你会去哪些地方?

曼谷             普吉               芭堤雅              清迈

  其他地方(请注明_______________)

  1. 你会选择以下哪个时间段去泰国?

寒假(一月至二月)     暑假(六月至八月)    中国国庆节

泰国节假日                     其他时间段 (请注明_______________)

  1. 你会选择和谁一起去?

单独去             家人          朋友                 伴侣

旅行团                  其他人 (请注明_________________)

  1. 你会计划在泰国待多久?

2至3天                4至5天          一周                超过一周

假设在泰国旅游时,你选择住酒店,请回答以下问题。

  1. 你会如何预定酒店?

到那再找               提前预定

  1. 你会选择下面哪种房型?

单人床                双人大床         双人双床房      三人间

  1. 你每天愿意为酒店住宿支付的价格是多少?(人民币)

150 – 250                251- 350           351-450     超过450

  1. 你更喜欢下面哪种居住环境?

市区中心     靠近大海           交通方便地区       方便购物的地方  夜生活繁华区              其他(请注明_________________)

第三部分:营销组合调查

请将下面会改变你的选择的影响因素进行重要性标序

1 = 非常不重要的  2 = 较为不重要的                 3 = 一般不重要的

4 = 重要的               5 = 非常重要的

因素列表 5 4 3 2 1
酒店因素
1.酒店基础设施:例如wifi,游泳池,酒店班车
2. 房间配备:例如吹风机,空调,电视机,热水供应
3. 酒店服务质量:服务人员态度和语言沟通技能
4. 地理位置
5. 酒店品牌
6. 其他消费者对酒店的评价
价格因素
1. 房间价格
2. 餐饮价格
3.其他服务价格(休闲娱乐等)
预订渠道因素
1. 酒店官网
2. 旅行机构
3. 去哪儿网站
4. 携程网站
5.其他网络预订方式
6.电话预订
其他因素
1. 预定酒店可以享受到的其他活动的优惠
2. 会员优惠
3.捆绑销售优惠(例如,机票折扣或者餐饮折扣)
4. 酒店提供的娱乐活动

 

~ 感谢您参与本次调研 ~

 

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