SERVICE QUALITY DIMENSIONS. The literature review illustrated that the most common model used in hotel industry is SERVQUAL, even though it is also most criticized. Using comparing method, this study examines the differences found between the number of s

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The article reviews the issues on measuring service quality, on defining the dimensions of service quality and the way in which the measuring models applies to hotel industry. The literature review illustrated that the most common model used in hotel industry is SERVQUAL, even though it is also most criticized. Using comparing method, this study examines the differences found between the number of service quality dimensions, the service quality dimensions content and the rank of each dimension. This paper also gather the recommendations made by researchers for improving the future studies on service quality in hotel industry.


SERVQUAL, service quality dimensions, hotel industry, literature review


The relationship between service quality and organizational performance in service industry has often been emphasized and demonstrated by an large amount of examples. In 1980 Jan Carlson, the president of  Scandinavian Airlines System, managed to turnaround a loss year into a profitable business, by managing "moments of truth". This is the reason that strongly supports the significant impact of service quality on the business performance of those who adopt customer orientation approach. The same opinion is embraced by Juran and Gryna (1993), which claimed that in a log-term view, the most important factor affecting business performance is the quality of goods and services offered by organization compared to its competitors. [10]

Thus, since 1978, when one of the first service quality models was developed, a variety of other models tried to explain the factors that determine the quality of services and to measure the service quality dimensions in order to satisfy its customers. So far, studies show that there is no universally valid definition of the concept of service quality, as there is no single model to capture all the attributes that determine quality. This is primarily due to the subjectivity of customers and their needs and expectations in continuous development. As long as service quality will be considered to be qualitative only if it meets the expectations required, then the only way to measure this quality is only in terms of customers. Some of these models applied in hotel industry will be reviewed in this work using an exploratory approach and comparing method.

Studies in the field of service quality in hotel industry have not reached yet a general conclusion for defining and measuring the service quality, but there are some research studies that underline the significance of cultural background, segmentation in hotel market, the type of service industry that should be taken in consideration in research (Akbaba, 2006). Although SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman et el., 1988, 1991, 1994) proposed five universal dimensions, this has not been empirical demonstrated by subsequent studies. In hotel industry, SERVQUAL was very frequently used, but the results always significantly differ from the basic proposal.

Authors such as, Carman (1990), Babakus and Boller (1992), Asubonteng et al. (1996), Butte (1996) addressed critical issues on measuring service quality, with reference to the methodology used, the coherence of proposed solutions and theoretical and operational aspects. Some of these issues will be reviewed in this paper in order to suggest some recommendation that may improve the quality of future research in this field.


Evaluation of service quality is more complex than the products quality due to the intrinsic nature of services. Most of the time the service was characterized by four dominant features: intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and perishable. These characteristics lead to different customer perceptions than those formed in the manufacturing industry and require greater attention on customer satisfaction and quality services strategies. The "product" of the service is essentially an activity governed by people, for people and with people. [11] A brief description of the four main features of service concept will be underlined above.

Intangibility is the critical feature of the service which involves a global approach to service quality. Even if the service needs also tangible items to be realized, in the hospitality industry clients are interested in the outcome and service, and intangible components are the key of customer’ expectations.

Inseparability requires production and consumption of service, simultaneous (Kurtz & Clow, 1998). This means that contact staff and the interaction between client and service provider are very important for the client and that the staff members have to be prepared to handle being simultaneously involved in producing, marketing and quality control service. Client role and the extent to which he is involved in making service is critically important in providing quality services.[11]

Heterogeneity of service in the hospitality industry is determined more by the fact that industry relies on people, and they are heterogeneous by nature. That is why standardization and uniformity of results or outputs is difficult to achieve. Thus, the performance variability occurs in the service at different levels [11], therefore the quality of service performance varies from one organization to another, from a producer of service to another within the same organization and for the same service provider on various occasions and contexts.

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Perishable is another feature of the service which influences service quality, because if the service is not consumed brings losses that are almost impossible to recover. If a hotel room will not be occupied in one night, the loss can not be recovered later, because the service is no longer valid. In the hotel industry, also other attributes, such as imprecise standards, short distribution channel, reliability and consistency, face to face interaction and information exchange, and fluctuating demand have been identified and further complicate the task of defining, delivering and measuring service quality. Moreover, demand for service in the hotel industry ...

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