Hospitality and Global Tourism

Subject: Business
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 14
Word count: 3717
Topics: Tourism, Health

Medical Tourism & Competition (25 points)

Choose an international tourism destination city or country.  Discuss the role the government plays in promoting medical tourism.  Name and explain 4 elements in the external environment (specific influencing factors within the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and/or environmental realms) that are supporting this growth.  In what ways do local hospitality businesses (hotels, restaurants, spas, etc) capitalize on the medical tourism trend?  Please give specific examples

Tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industry in the global commerce. This is an indication that tourism is a money generating industry that is growing at a very high rate. There are many reasons that prompt people to travel one factor being travel for medical care. Medical tourism is the travel from ones country of residence to another in search of medical care, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Medical tourism is one of the latest trends in the tourism sector that is growing at a very high rate, Gill et al. (2011). Due to the increasing demand of medical tourism, this field has attracted a growing body of literature. According to John et al (2016), many factors acts as the push and pull motivating factors of medical tourism. 

Since medical tourism is one factor that is promoting the attractiveness of a destination in terms of tourism activities, many governments have directed their resources towards improving medical facilities in order to attract more medical tourists. According to Patients beyond Borders (2017), the factors that promote the attractiveness of a destination for medical tourism include government and private sector investment in medical infrastructures, affordability of medical care, quality assurance of medical care, accessibility of medical care, excellent tourism infrastructures, political transparency, and social stability. According to Sultana et al. (2014), medical tourism is not only limited to medical care but also to recreational activities that promote wellness. Japan is one of the destinations that have received a great deal of growth in terms of medical tourism. The government is responsible for controlling political and legal factors in favor of medical tourism. The policies set by the government can act as pull factors to attract medical tourists. The government has a responsibility to establish policies that favor medical tourism, facilitate a conducive environment for travel, provide essential facilities that support tourism activities and market medical tourism to international markets. According to Pocock et al. (2011), government regulations have a great impact on the success of medical tourism. The government of Japan has been in the frontline in promoting medical tourism. The government has established legal frameworks that favor growth and development of medical tourism. The 2015 Japan revitalization strategy that has facilitated the deregulation of the tourism sector is one policy set by the government to promote medical tourism. According to medical tourism magazine (2014), the government of Japan introduced a medical visa that allows medical tourist to stay for as long as six months for medical care. The easier accessibility of medical care in Japan has promoted many tourists to flock in the country in search of medical care. To help market medical tourism in the global market, the Japanese government listed 28 hospitals that are friendly to international visitors, Japan times (2017). The Japan government through the ministry of tourism has created websites, brochures and pamphlets that promote Japan as a medical tourism destination. This is an indication that the government has set policies and regulations that promote medical tourism.

Availability of high tech medical infrastructures in Japan is another factor that has promoted medical tourism. Japan enjoys the longest life expectancy rate and the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, Medical Tourism Magazine (2012). Availability of high quality medical care is one factor that has promoted good health status of the country. Technological factors are considered as a contributing factor towards attractiveness of a destination for tourism activities. Japan utilizes high end, sophisticated ultra-modern medical infrastructures hence positioning itself as the most preferred medical destination. Carbon Ion Radiotherapy, one of the new technology in cancer treatment is only found in six locations globally three of which are in Japan, MedHalt (2015). The Japanese government has also promoted medical tourism through provision of quality medical care at a low cost in comparison to many other competing destinations. Economic stability of a country have a great influence on the cost of medical care. The stable economic situation of Japan has promoted low medical cost. The healthcare expenditure per capita in Japan is about 30 % lower than Germany and 63 % lower than US, medical tourism magazine (2012). 

The hotel industry can take advantage of the growing niche of medical tourism through promotion of bleisure trips. Bleisure are trips taken for both business and leisure purposes. Almost 43% of the tourism travels are bleisure, Ziemba (2018). This can be done through offering dental check-ups in hotels for the business travelers during their leisure time. Most tourists who travel for medical checkups are accompanied by their loved ones, hotels should provide tourism facilities near hospitals in order to capitalize on medical tourism. Since medical tourism promotes wellness, offering thermal spa holidays is a good way to promote wellness. High class restaurants should be located near hospitals in order to provide services for the visitors who flock in the hospitals to check on their loved ones.

Timeshare and Airbnb (25 points)

Suppose a friend of yours who is a Disney fanatic came to your for advice about either buying a timeshare at Disneyworld or a property that could be rented on Airbnb near to Disney when he was not using it himself.  What would you advise him to do?  

Please structure your answer in this manner:

Paragraph 1:  Describe what is a time share and what are the pros and cons of owning one

Paragraph 2:  Describe what is an Airbnb rental and what are the pros and cons of owning one.

Paragraph 3:  Your advice and reasons for your choice.

Timeshare is a holiday accommodation that is shared by several owners. Timeshares help the owners to enjoy luxurious accommodation facilities for less money since they only pay for the specific period that they will use the facility. Timeshares are of different sizes, shapes and forms, Kelemen (2014). There are three main types of timeshares. The fixed week timeshare, floating timeshare, and points club timeshare. 

The fixed week timeshare gives the owner the right to occupy a given space or the whole of the facility for a given week (s) in a year. The floating timeshare gives the owner the right to occupy the facility for a given period of time but the owner is not restricted to the specific dates. The points club timeshare awards the owner a given number of points every year in which the owner can trade them for a stay in any resort or accommodation facility that is an affiliate of the contracting body. 

Timeshares are considered the best way to manage ones holiday because you pay for only what you consume. Timeshares help owners to rent they space, gift it or even exchange with friends for a different facility. Timeshares reduce the hassle of searching for an accommodation facility every time one travels for holiday. Ownership of timeshares assures the owner availability of accommodation space at the specified time of the year.

Despite the pros of timeshares, several cons exists that can discourage vacationers from purchasing timeshares. Though time shares eliminate maintenance cost, they demand an annual fee that sometimes is very high. The owner has no control over the increases in the annual fee of the timeshare and this becomes a hindrance in purchasing a timeshare. Timeshares are not good for investments purposes. Unlike real estate, with time timeshare depreciate in value.

Airbnb is an online platform that allows people to rent spare rooms or accommodation facilities to potential customers. Airbnb connects people who are searching for accommodation facilities with people willing to rent their property, Folger, (2016). It is an online platform that serves as a booking site but the available facilities are not professionally ran but belong to ordinary citizens who want to make an extra coin from their residential facility. 

Airbnb platform provides an opportunity for potential traveler to secure an accommodation space for less cost while the host gets a chance to make an extra coin from their residential property. According to Ting (2016), Airbnb joined the World Tourism Organization as an affiliate member hence boosting its credibility. Airbnb offers travelers an opportunity to stay and experience the personalized service of the host family unlike in the hotels where people are treated professionally. Airbnb helps the traveler and the host to connect creating a unique experience for both parties. It helps to promote sustainable tourism through allowing a guest to live like a local and experience local culture first hand. 

However, Airbnb has its negative side that makes it unattractive to both travelers and the host. The biggest challenge for the host is the possibility of the property being damaged by the traveler. Despite the fact that there is a host guarantee program that provides protection for the hosts property, the process of compensation is long and not all damages are compensated.  The guest may be faced with the challenge of the property not matching their desire. Some hosts offer exaggerated descriptions of their property hence disappointing the guest. 

Tourism industry is a dynamic industry that is influenced greatly by advances in technology and the issues of sustainability. For the players in the tourism industry to remain competitive, they must ensure sustainability of their products and services and factor in the issue of technological advances. Airbnb is a new phenomenon in the tourism industry that applies the online networking to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to interact. Airbnb enables travelers to not only meet with the host community but have a chance to encounter and share in the life of the host family. According to Oskam (2016), Airbnb is the most competitive business in the hospitality industry since it promotes sustainable tourism. The low cost of stay on the part of the traveler increase the attractiveness of Airbnb properties as compared to timeshare. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in a property that can be rented out in Airbnb instead of purchasing a timeshare that depreciates in value with time. A property that can be rented in Airbnb has an advantage of appreciating in value since it is in increasing demand by most travelers. 

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Cultural Issues (25 points)

Why is cross cultural training so important for today’s hospitality manager?  What are the most important things that hospitality managers should know in order to: 

  1.  provide excellent service to international guests and 
  2.  manage a culturally diverse group of employees? 

Please list 4 things that a hospitality manager should know for each of points a and b above, providing specific examples.

Hospitality organizations are increasingly operating international organizations therefore the need for managers to manage employees and customers from diverse cultural backgrounds. According to Cuocci (2015), people from new developed countries are traveling in large numbers to the US. This is an indication that hospitality industry should be in a position to offer excellent services to employees and customers from diverse cultural backgrounds. Ability to understand the behaviors of employees and customers from diverse cultural backgrounds helps to promote the competitiveness of a destination since the customers will be satisfied with the services offered and this may lead to loyal customers and increased referrals, Grobelna (2016). There is a need for the hospitality managers to have cross cultural training so that they can be able to manage a business that is comprised of clients and employees from diverse cultures.

To manage international guests, a hospitality manager should know the following four dimensions of cross cultural intelligence. The meta-cognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioral dimensions, Ersoy (2014). The meta-cognitive dimension is the ability of an individual to have cross cultural consciousness and awareness. This helps to create profitable interactions with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The cognitive dimension is the individual’s knowledge on the values, norms and practices of diverse cultural backgrounds, Van Dyne et al. (2008). This helps a manager to have an open mind when interacting with international guests. The motivational dimension is the ability of an individual to direct his/her energy towards achieving cross cultural intelligence. The behavioral dimension is the ability of an individual to express cross cultural intelligence when interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The four dimensions of cross cultural intelligence will help a hospitality manager to satisfy international guests through always having an open mind when interacting with guests, having basic knowledge about cultural background of the guests, maintaining a personal touch with the guests and having good listening skills.

To manage employees from diverse cultural backgrounds, hospitality managers should know and manage the following four areas, communication barriers among employees, hierarchy issues, team building issues, and important calendar days for different people. Communication barriers among employees can reduce the morale of the employees hence affecting the employee performance. Ability to communicate effectively and efficiently enhance team work and promote cohesion among employees. Ability to understand the cultural expectation of the employees will help to promote employee performance, transparency and team work. 

In some cultures, only those people at the top of the hierarchy can make decisions in an organization while other cultures have a flexibility in what level decisions can be made. In places like France, Italy and Greece decisions are made by the people at the top of the hierarchy. Therefore, when managing employees from these cultures, it will be challenging for them to work autonomously while making personal decisions that influence the performance of the organization positively. This is because such employees expect decisions to be made by the superiors only. In countries like Netherland and Norway, status counts less and employees feel free to make decisions even if they are at a lower level. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the hospitality manager to understand the diverse cultures of the employees and manage them effectively hence exploiting the full potential of every employee. Some of these cultural indifferences can cause poor response during meetings simply because some cultures forbid employees from making decisions or even offering a different opinion from that given by a senior.

Cultural diversity among employees can promote discrimination. Some cultures are individualistic whereby people prefer to work on their own without integrating with others. Such cultures kill the spirit of team work. Other cultures promote team work through collective decision making. Hospitality managers should promote cross cultural team building activities so that employees from diverse cultural backgrounds can learn from each other hence benefiting from cultural diversity. Different people view different days of the calendar different. Basically, businesses use the western calendar to run businesses whereby the year states on January 1st and ends on Decembers 31st. Some people however use a different calendar according to the country and culture. For example the Chinese view the New Year day as a very important day while the Muslims view Fridays as a prayer day. Therefore, some people may prefer to go for holidays during particular days of the year. A manager should understand the cultural needs of the employees so that the needs of all the employees are taken care off. It is very important for hospitality managers to have cross cultural skills since they will help to know and understand important religious holidays and cultural events for different cultures.

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Personalization, Guest Service and F&B Options (25 points)

Do you think that excellent guest service must provide opportunities for customization or personalization?  Why or why not?  How may this pose a particular challenge in a restaurant and/or other food and beverage outlet?  Do you think customization/personalization in restaurant F&B offerings is a fad or something that is here to stay?  Provide reasons for your answer.

Tourists are demanding different products and services that are different to every individual tourists. Increased competition in the global market has made many businesses to focus on customer service. Ability to deliver excellent customer service helps to maintain current customers while at the same time attracting new customers. In the hospitality industry, customer service is very essential. Personalized service delivery is becoming a new trend of meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Ability to offer personalized customer service ensures repeat business and promotes brand loyalty. Increased demand for personalized products and services have led to many restaurants and food and beverage facilities to provide tailor made services for the customers. Due to technological advances and cultural diversity different customers demand different tourism products and services. To increase competitive advantage restaurants are focusing on providing customized hotel experiences that are tailored to meet the needs and desires of an individual customer hence meeting and exceeding customer expectations. According to Kressman (2016), most employees are willing to provide personal information so that hoteliers can provide personalized services.

Personalization gives the service provide an opportunity to impress the customer by adding value to the service. This is achieved when a services provider provides services that are tailored to a specific guest. Personalized services have unique elements that are in line with the taste and preferences of an individual customer. Ability to personalize services gives the service provider an opportunity to delight the customer hence creating loyal customers. The Airbnb one service provider that has been able to apply personalization effectively. This is because a client can provide details of what he/she expects and the service provider provides a list of the possible matches. The Airbnb offers a client an opportunity to choose the services that meet and satisfy his /her personal needs. Ability to factor in the personal desires of every customers is the best strategy to satisfy customer needs and achieve competitive advantage

Personalization of tourism products and services has become a marketing strategy. According to Gilliland (2017), tourism consumers are more demanding of personalized services and they are more satisfied with tailor made services. Therefore, for restaurants and food and beverage outlets to remain competitive they must offer personalized services. Technological advances have not only what restaurants can offer but has also increased the demand for consumers to seek more personalized services. According to Murphy (2014), personalization of services help a customer to feel appreciated and recognized hence promoting customer satisfaction. Customers tend to seek services from places where they feel delighted and appreciated, hence those service providers that adopt the concept of personalization have an added advantage of creating loyal customers and even creating an opportunity for referrals. Every business adventure has an objective of making profits, therefore, if personalization is a catalyst for increased revenues, restaurants and F&B outlets should implement the concept.

Despite the benefits accrued from personalized service delivery, most restaurants and F&B outlets are not embracing this concept. This is because the initial cost of personalization is very high. Most customers are techno savvy, they search for information from the internet. They make their orders online and even give feedback online. Therefore, in order to implement personalization in the guest service, the management need to tailor their online sites in a way that allows customers to express themselves and provide details of the services their prefer. Upgrading the systems to make them customer friendly is very expensive and some service providers cannot afford the cost. Personalization will also require a change in the organization culture. Employees need to develop the mentality of offering unique services to individual customers. This is because every customer have different tastes and preferences. According to Page (2017), personalization in the restaurant sector will require a cultural change in how service providers manage and deliver services. Organizational culture is needed in order to cope up with the current trends in the guest service market. 

Personalization in the guest service is not a fad since dynamism of customer demands is created by cultural diversity, personality trait and technological advancement. These factors will not change and therefore customers will always demand different services hence the need for personalization of guest services. Personalization requires that the service provider have personalized information about a customer. Advanced technological devices have enabled most information about customers to be acquired online, Sena (2015). Restaurants and F&B outlets should focus on implementing personalization concept in their service delivery strategy and this will boost their revenues through attracting many customers.

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  1. Gilliland, N. (2017). How Six Travel & Hospitality Brands use Personalization to enhance the Customer Experience
  2. Kressman, J. (2016). Hotel Loyalty and the Next Generation of Guest Personalization. Skift
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  24. Ziemba, E. (2018). When will Medical Travel Capitalize on the Bleisure. Expedia Media Solutions.
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