A country’s hospitality industry is more or less a window into the country’s “soul” or image. Every country, including Nigeria, wants to uphold a good image of itself especially to outsiders. In the hospitality industry, good customer relations is pivotal to its success. The impression of customers upon their visit to any hospitality outfit, the way they were received by the front officers, and the overall attitude of staff all through their stay, are critical to the success of the business. Consequently, there is need to reposition Nigeria’s hospitality industry so as to portray a good image of the country both from within and without. These would enable them explore and exploit the favourable opportunities that are available to the industry.
Many hotel users have complained and continue to complain about poor service delivery in Nigeria. In her article titled “Courtesy and the Nigerian Hospitality Industry” Funke Adetutu (2010), argued that “customers are not placed at the core of service provision… there are cases where a customer walks into a hotel and the receptionist promptly asks “yes what do you want?” or “can I help you?” in a very patronizing yet rude tone suggesting the customer is there at the wrong time. Studies have revealed that a larger percentage of customers that visit Nigerian hotels are dissatisfied with the quality of service they receive.
The Hotels in Nsukka fall basically under the bronze class rating of international “2 star” category. These hotels include old Carolina hotel, New Carolina hotels, Fen park hotel, Conis hotel, Ikenga hotel, and El-Rina Guest house. Except for CEC, Jerry Marriot and Grace Manor Hotel which exceed the room capacity average of 50 to 76 rooms, after a reasonable consideration of the facilities available in the Hotel could be tag “3 Star” as result of the number of rooms available in these hotels and the price attached to each accommodation.
There have been complaints about the non-chalant and unwelcoming attitude of the customer service staff/employees. As Akparata (2011) puts it … some receptionists see nothing wrong in chewing bubble gum while attending to customers…. Some other do not even show decorum in the way they speak to customers. The implication is that staff lack proper orientation and training that are required to enhance good customer relations in the industry. The above and other emerging issues have posed and continued to pose problems resulting in diminished image for the industry and country at large, particularly if we remember that the image of the country is mirrored by the kind of treatment they receive in the hotels. This becomes pertinent when it is realized that hotels constitute a second home, sometimes referred to as home away from home, for visitors. They also expect comfort, admiration, hospitality and care. Any denial of these attributes creates an ugly image and impression before the customers. What then must be done by hospitality industry to redress the above issues? It is in attempt to answer these questions that this study has been conceived. The essential aim is to determine the state of customer satisfaction among users of Golden Valley Hotel in Nsukka, Enugu State with the intent of finding the way forward.
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