Service quality and operational performance of Tour operators in Kenya
Service quality is one of the key elements that enable tourism enterprises to gain competitive advantage over others in the industry. The aim of this was to explore the relative significance of service quality components and how these affect operational performance of firms in tourism industry. Empirical data for this study was drawn from 86 service operations managers of tourism enterprises in Kenya, giving a response rate of 88 per cent. Several analytical techniques were used to assess the relationships among the variables under investigation and these included the mean scores, standard deviations, and correlations. The findings of this study prove that there are significant relationships among the variables under study. The results suggest that both technical quality and functional quality need to be enhanced, with functional quality demanding high priority. Corporate image falls into areas that require more improvement. Furthermore, this study analyzes the views of service qualit y among micro, small and medium-size firms and their affiliations. The findings show that although both micro-and-small enterprises managed independently generally place a similar level of importance on service quality components as medium-internationally affiliated firms, these firms are still unsuccessful in attaining high operational performance. This study contribute useful information needed for service quality improvement in tourism sector and offers a practical help to service operations managers, tourism planners, and experts to understand the concept of service quality and its effectiveness in improving operational performance of firms. The findings could help firms identify the particular service quality components that are effectively-resourced, under-resourced or over-resourced and provide guidance on where to improve. This paper also contributes to knowledge by identifying the crucial service quality components important in tourism enterprises and their effectiveness in improving business operational performance in Kenya.