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Individual research Project

Accuracy of hotel star rating in United Kingdom

Word count:3241

Tables of Contents
Introduction 1
Research Aims and Objectives 2
Research philosophy 3-4
Literature review 5-7
Research design 8-9
Sampling strategy 10-11
Limitations 12
Ethical considerations 13
References 14

The research topic is on the accuracy of hotel star ratings in United Kingdom. The
grading of hotel standards are often taken for granted by the industry itself as well as
the guests. However, they are actually any prospective customers first indicator or
the travel agent of the service level as well as playing a role on a customers comfort
expectations during their stay in the hotel.
For most parts in Europe hotel grading is either implemented or legislated by the
appointed official of the government or directed by the national hotel associations
which is the case in Northern as well as Central Europe.
In United Kingdom, a special case is directed as the Regional Tourists boards and
also two motoring organisations which are (AAA and RAC) are also part of the hotel
grading(VisitBritain, VisitScotland and VisitWales).
Certainly, given the importance of hotel classification as a marketing tool, it still has
received inadequate attention. A lack of consistency in standards within various
countries and also across the borders can usually lead to disappointment and
confusion on the clients part. The clients expectations may be obtained from
various past experiences. Understanding the accuracy of the star ratings is crucial
for hotels to improve or maintain their services in order to keep up with their star
rating as well consistency of their clients.

Research Aims
This research will explore and focus on how accurate the current hotel star ratings
are at the present moment and also based on the reviews from customers varying
from 1*,3* as well as 5* hotels. In addition the research will also use a proposition
theoretically based on the testing as Saunders et al (2009) describes it. The
research will also focus on the effectiveness of the grading standards and how they
can be improved relating to Maslows theory which is directly to the satisfaction of
the customers needs with regards to their hotel experience.
A combination of primary and secondary data of the research should conclude based
on the results and information gathered as well as various research limitations which
will be discussed later in the proposal.
Research Objectives:
According to Maylor and Blackmon (2005), objectives set must follow the SMART
test at the same time accoding to Sekaran &Bougie (2009) explain tally with the
overall purpose or research topic.
Objectives for the research include:
To find out how the UK official grading system works
To find out more on the main organisations involved in the management and
enforcement of the ratings
To find out the standards of each hotel based on its star rate (1,3,5*) and who
made the decision of their star rate.
To find out if the standards are maintained to keep up with hotels star rate.
To evaluate current measures in the system as well as the actual customer
review star rates.

Research philosophy
A research philosophy is an over-arching term relating to development of knowledge
and the nature of knowledge (Saunders and Thornhill 2007).The philosophy adopted
will contain important assumption about the way the world is viewed according to the
According to Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000), research paradigm can be
defined as a frame with is broader, which includes perception, several theories
understanding as well as beliefs of various theories and practices which can be used
when a research is being conducted.
In addition according to Gliner and Morgan (2000), paradigm is a way of thinking
about and conducting a research with a concept that will influence the researchers
beliefs and values in order to provide arguments which are valid and terminology for
results which are reliable. Therefore the philosophy will be based on how the author
views and beliefs on how to undertake the study taking into account the research
objectives and aims.
Easter-by-Smith et al, (2006) discusses three various components of research
paradigm for the research philosophy and these include:
Epistemology This involves the researchers view based on the nature of
reality. This is also an excellent way to explore as well as investigate the real
Ontology The researchers view of the nature of reality. Our assumptions on
the way the world works.
Axiology philosophy that studies judgements about the role of values
(Saunders et al, 2009).
Pillars of research philosophy:
Positivism: this approach mainly focuses on quantitative research and Trochim
(2006) suggests that this is a perspective which is philosophical that actually aims to
explain various experiences. The philosophy aims to uncover the truth about how
things are in order to control and predict which can be used in the research as one of
the main objectives is to find out the current ratings, their accuracy and if they are
being maintained depending on the star rate of each hotel.
Interpretivism: Advocates the necessity for the researchers to be able to
understand social actors as a role played by humans and understanding the
differences. Emphasis is mainly drawn to the difference between researches
conducted amongst people instead of objects such as computers.
This can also be considered part of the research since research done will be based
on the customer reviews as well which is also part of the objectives.

Due to one of the researchers objective to find out and test customers expectations
of the star of hotels deductive approach will be used.

Literature review
According to (Boswell &Cannon 2009), literature review analyses, explore and
exercise the actual area of the research as well as showing the gap which is
between the knowledge and curiosity of the researcher of the subject area. The
purpose of the literature review is to avoid duplication of the work and to enable the
researcher for development of an awareness of various data and useful sources.
Conducting literature review has its advantages for the researcher which can
The discovery of relevant ideas to the proposed research
Find out or recognise any relevant methods which could be related to the
Identifying of any opposing views e.g. customers against the rate the hotel
was given etc.
Locating of similar works of the research
Help in increasing the knowledge of that particular area (Hotel industry)
Hel in discovering relevant ideas and information to the research proposed
Avoiding various mistakes which other authors may have made
As well as recognising a gap which literature can be added to
It is the best in helping with the studys establishment. (Houser 2007)
(Greenfield 196)
Reviewing the literature will also help the researcher improve their understanding of
research approaches as well as knowing when, where and why it might be used.
The skills important during the literature review are:
Being able to evaluate the information read
And relating it to various other information obtained.
According to Saunders et al (2009) they are 3 literature sources which can be used
for the research and below is an overview.

(Saunders et al 2009 pg69)
The research will have the use of Primary literature will be in the form of hotel reports
as well as emails back and forth from various hotels which will take part. However
secondary literature will be the main sources since primary sources are usually
difficult to trace and also because they can be accessed easily through the use of:
Journal articles: These sources will be accessed through the university
banner subscription on Athens database for free with use of both academic
and professional journals websites such as (
Books: Wider range or various topics are often pulled together in a book
therefore an important theoretical element in assisting with the research
methods and clarifying some of the research objectives. For this research
well known experienced authors will form a theoretical base during the study
such as (Timothy L. G Lockyer and Buttler).
In addition tertiary sources will be used to help the researcher find secondary and
also primary research which includes e.g. abstracts or indexes (Saunders et al
The literature review used will firstly establish key words and the internet will b used
as a literature source to gain vast information from the World Wide Web.
Initial dictionaries, handbooks, reading, thesaurus (saunders et al 2009)
In order to produce keywords which will be the most relevant for the research, the
researcher will have brainstorm sessions with material support that includes:
dictionaries, handbooks, thesauruses as well as encyclopaedias in general as well
as for subjects which are specific when carrying out objectives in the study.

For specific information or a specific site the search engines such as Google and
the Google scholar and relevant information will be filtered to obtain up to date
information. Dictionaries will also be used to help the researcher understand various
An evaluation of the literature attained will be conducted with the use of sufficiency
and relevance during the study.
The research will also use appropriate standard Harvard referencing to acknowledge
all authors and information obtained to avoid plagiarism.

Research design and strategies
According to (Blumberg, Cooper and Schindler, 2005) they are various methods of
research design which differ in detail, however altogether they give the following
essentials of a research design:
A design is time-based and actively planned
A design directs its source selection as well as the types of information
It outlines each research activity procedures
Always bases on its question of the research
According to Saunders et al (2003), research strategy is a methodology used to
assist the researcher so that they will be able to investigate their issue for their
research. The strategy will be used as a plan generally to help the researcher
answer questions of the research in a way that is systematic.
A strategy which is effective includes: the objectives of the research which are
already set, questions of the research as well as data collection resources to assist
the researcher when conducting the study of the research in a manner that is
According to (Houser 2007), an effective strategy during the study of research
includes a clear analysis of the literature review which has been discussed,
interviews, case studies, experiments, surveys as well as observations which will
also be included in this research. The research will use the strategies above based
on the nature of the study.
Case study: According to Robson (2002:178) a case study is defined as
A strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a
particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple
sources of evidence
This is a useful way when conducting the research as a rich understanding on the
hotel industry will be gained. Triangulation will be used as different collecting of data
techniques can be used since various star rate hotels will be involved in the research
within the study of the hotel industry and its accuracy.
This will be based on at least 12 hotels all varying from 1*, 3* and 5* hotels therefore
case studies from all hotels will be useful as well as organisations that manage and
enforces hotel star rates.
Surveys: This is one of the popular methods of gathering data for any
business. This method allows the researcher to obtain quantitative data which
can be used analyse quantitatively with the use of descriptive as well as
inferential statistics. This is one of the main methods which will be used to
analyse and tackle the following objectives:

To find out if the standards are maintained to keep up with hotels star rate.
To evaluate current measures in the system as well as the actual customer
review star rates.
Surveys: will be used with a semi-structure to allow guests to add any comments
although the majority of the surveys will be structured with the use of likert scale. The
researcher can conduct this online as well as through postal addresses from hotels
guests for feedback.
Experiment: The purpose of an experiment is to as assess whether a change in a
particular independent variable has an effect on another depended variable Hakim
2000). This is also an appropriate way of tackling ways to find out is the hotel is still
maintaining its standards of star rate as consistency is important. This can be done
through classic experiments of various visits at the same hotel and results from
different days visited by various guests as well as the same star rate hotels
Interviews: If possible interviews with the organisations that enforce star rates like
AA can be conducted with one of their colleagues involved in star rating in order to
obtain first hand information from the organisations and find out more of their criteria
in hotel grading through the use of qualitative information which will be used to
evaluate the current measures.
The two methods qualitative and quantitative will be used to collect data and they will
be combined together.
(Saunders et al 2009) explains quantitative research as a predominantly used as a
synonym for the collection of data such as (graphs or statistics) that are used which
generates numerical data. This is also used in the research through the surveys
results and graphs and statistics will be used to support the study and explain
results. Qualitative on the other hand generates or uses non numerical data which
can be collected through the interviews and also analysed through various surveys
undertaken with comments added which will help in the process of concluding the
research of Hotel accuracy.
Questionnaires and surveys will be carried out on all 12 hotels to be assessed as
well as telephone interviews with other guests if possible to find out feedback on
each hotel star rate.
All the surveys and questionnaire will include a covering letter which states the
purpose of the survey and maintain anonymity and a box to post the feedback will be
placed on each hotels front desk for guests leaving to post their feedback before
they leave the hotel.

Sampling Strategy
The purpose of sampling according to (Blumberg, Cooper and Schindler, 2005) is to
select some of the populations elements in order to draw up conclusions which will
be based on the entire population. They are various reasons for sampling and these
A greater speed of the collection of data
Offers an economic advantage as is it lower in cost unlike conducting a
census which may be expensive and timely.
Accuracy of results obtained is greater
Populations elements availability
They are two main sampling methods which include:
Probability sampling
And Non probability sampling
Probability sampling is based on random selection concept- this method ensures that
each population element has a known chance of selection that is non-zero.
Cluster sampling will be used in the research as it has a combination of stratifies and
also which collects elements of the population in this case of the guests.
For this research multi-stage area sampling will be used through the use of surveys
in this case in the hotel industry (Gliner & Morgan, 2000) due to the Clumster being
of equal size as the hotels assessed on are the same but in 4 different categories 1*,
2*, 3* as well as 5*.
Non-Probability Methods: Non-probability method differs as probability of the
chosen specific population members if unknown. This means that the it is often
judgement used instead of probability. The method is often used for interview
surveys which will also be used in this research. It is also a type of stratified sample
where cases selection is purely non random (Barnet 1991). Advantages of using this
sample include:
A frame of sampling is not required.
And It is of great use for large population which will be used in various hotels
Purposive sampling: This will also be used as it enables the researcher to be able to
select cases which will answer any research questions. Data obtained will vary and
be categorised with the use of gender and age range when conducting the surveys.
Maximum variable sampling will also be used to collect data explaining and
describing key themes for observation and (Patton 2002) argues that this is therefore
strength. He argues that this should be done by identifying characteristics before

selecting the sample and this will be done in the research for various hotels feedback
from the customers.

Research Limitations
Following this research, they are various limitations which can affect this study and
this includes:
The cost of travelling up and down to various hotels which will be chosen and
to ensure all questionnaires are collected on time therefore help from close
people can be used to help around during the research.
They may not be enough responses from other guests in order to help
evaluate the accuracy of each and every hotel therefore in the process if this
is happening more hotels will need to be asked for each star rate to take part
in the research.
The managers and enforcers of the star rates may not be able to allow me to
interview them therefore other options like emailing them back and forth or
asking for a telephone interview may be helpful.
The time required to carry out research effectively may be limited as delays
can occur as dealing with the organisations that set the hotel star rates may
take longer than anticipated and if this occurs secondary data from their
websites will have to be used to find out the standards as well as online
academic journals.
Some hotels mainly chosen in the first place may not be willing to participate
therefore trying again until all 12 hotels agree will be essential.
However this can be taken into account therefore plans on how to overcome these
limitations will be considered and dealt with as well as adapting to situations if they
occur in order to reach the goal of finding out the accuracy of hotel star ratings in the

Ethical Considerations
When carrying out the research they are ethical considerations which the research
must take into account
Ethical treatment of participants: In general research conducted by the researcher
must be design for it not to cause discomfort, harm, pain or loss of privacy therefore
it is important during the research to safeguard against issues like that by following
the following guidelines during this study:
1. Explain the benefits of the study
Understand and clearly explain the participates protection and rights
Ensure informed research is obtained
Informed consent: Informed consent is just a matter of disclosing the procedures
which will be carried out for the proposed survey which will be conducted during the
study fully before requesting permission with the research.
Debriefing participants during the study: debriefing involves various activities
which actually follows a data of collection:
clarification of any deception
explanation of hypothesis goal and purpose of the study
results sharing post study
Post- study up of any medical attention as well as physical attention.
(Blumberg, Cooper and Schindler, 2005)
Rights of privacy: once confidentiality is guaranteed by the participant to the
researcher, it is then important to protect the participants confidentiality in several
ways during this study which include:
Ensuring that documents obtained are signed non-disclosure
Restricting any access to the participants identification
Ensuring that revealed information of the participant has a written consent.
Restring any access to various data instruments where participants are
Not disclosing data from sub-sets.

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