This dissertation is an exploratory research study of member perceptions of service provided in private clubs. Much research has been accomplished and many studies have been done on many components of the hospitality industry. Service encounters have been studied in hotels and restaurants and reasons for service failures have been addressed. The literature review showed that the perceptions of customers about the service received had been addressed by only a few academic researchers, but the perceptions of members of private clubs had not been addressed. A study of these individuals' perceptions will be of value to club managers in the USA, and can be used to improve not only the services provided in private clubs to their members, but to increase the value of the private club to members.
The research strategy focused on activities in the club where members directly interfaced with service staff. The primary question addressed perceptions of members about the services provided by their clubs. Subordinate questions included whether differences in age of members affected perceptions of service and whether the amount of training of staff was reflected in members' perceptions. The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was the basic methodology used in this research. The CIT provides managers with information about the thought processes of customers when an event occurs and can be used as an indicator of the need for improvements. In the hospitality industry, including the private club sector, the CIT can be easily utilized and its results readily implemented.
The results of this exploratory research show the overall perception of club members about their clubs' service is positive. Most members approve of their clubs' service. A result of the research was the indication that younger, female members were more demanding of good service than other demographic segments of the member population.
It was not possible to determine whether a relationship exists between training provided to staff and club members' perceptions of service quality because of the limited number of clubs involved in this exploratory study and because there were few, if any, discernable differences in training methods used by clubs.
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