An Expectation-Experience Analysis of Service Quality of Business Travelers in Low-Cost Airlines
A number of low-cost airlines (LCA) are repositioning their brand strategy to attract business travelers. This requires first understanding and then meeting business traveler's service quality expectations. Unfortunately, most studies on service quality attributes of LCAs have focused on leisure travelers. This formed the motivation of this study, which aims to examine the gap that exists between expectations and (actual) experience with the services received across the various dimensions of service quality (SERVQUAL) among international business travelers. A total of 142 responses from business travelers were collected using a structured questionnaire comprising 23 SERVQUAL items. An expectation-experience analysis (EEA) was then performed on the survey data to categorize each item in the EEA grid as 1) High priority (high expectation but low experience) 2) Keep up the good work (high expectation and high experience) 3) Low priority (low expectation and low experience) and 4) Possible overkill (low expectation but high experience). The results show that the LCAs should focus more on the 'reliability' factor as most of its items emerged in the high priority grid while low priority should be given to 'empathy'. Overall, an all-around improvement is required to narrow the service quality gap, given that none of the service quality attributes have met or exceeded business travelers' expectations. The results are useful for practitioners to prioritize service quality improvements and develop tailor-made marketing and branding strategies.
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