Business

Tourists in Singapore not quite as impressed this year

SINGAPORE, Nov 21 ― Tourists were less satisfied with service standards in Singapore this year than in previous years, driven by what they felt was unsatisfactory service at hotels.

In the latest customer satisfaction index conducted by the Singapore Management University’s Institute of Service Excellence (ISES), the score for the Republic’s tourism sector dipped from last year by 3.5 points to 70 points on a 100-point scale.

The scores were derived from drivers such as perceived quality, customer expectations and perceived value.

In its sixth year, the survey ― conducted between June and August ― received 8,968 responses for satisfaction levels in the food and beverage (F&B) and tourism sectors.

In the tourism sector, satisfaction levels for tourists fell to 72.6 points from 77.8 points last year. In contrast, locals’ satisfaction levels rose to 70.2 points from 68.4 points last year.

The hotel sub-sector registered the largest decline, dropping 4.4 points (5.9 per cent) to 70.1 points, despite the addition of the five-star hotel Marina Bay Sands to this year’s survey.

In particular, the clarity of directions in hotels, food quality, room amenities, ease of reservations and the check-in process received poorer ratings from tourists this year.

ISES academic director Marcus Lee said that tourists’ idea of what is considered “high quality service” may have changed. The key for businesses was not to over-deliver on service - a conventional strategy which companies tend to adopt or try to lower expectations, but to simply understand customers’ needs and wants.

“What the good or the high-performing companies did was they matched what customers were expecting,” said ISES director Caroline Lim.

Meanwhile, the F&B sector saw a slight overall increase of 0.3 points in customer satisfaction levels to 67.7, a change the ISES said was not “statistically significant”.

The survey found customers had different expectations from different types of dining establishments. In food courts and fast-food restaurants, consumers placed emphasis on the quality of food, while in restaurants, they focused on the order-taking process and responsiveness of service staff to additional requests.

As such, Lim suggested that improving these services to increase satisfaction can be an alternative to increasing productivity rather than re-training workers or investing in machinery.

“With the manpower controls, businesses are facing challenges in day-to-day operations or increasing generation of revenue,” she explained.

“They can work towards increasing satisfaction. Increased satisfaction leads to higher consumption and higher revenue, which in turn translates to higher productivity.” ― TODAY

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