Identification of Influential Factors and Fuzzy Sets of Hotel Selection through the Evaluation of Resident Tourists’ Viewpoints in Tehran



Extended Abstract

The selection of residence location in different countries is of high priority and significance for tourists. The selection of hotel includes a decision-making process and its results can empower the hotel managers and the tourism industry authorities to provide the tourists with more effective services for a better rate of satisfaction. For achieving the aforementioned goal, the identification of most influential indicators and factors in the international literature would be of high importance. The identified indices should also be verified in the Iranian context based on domestic social, cultural and most importantly, economical issues. The fuzzy sets of hotel selection also provide an informative basis for the hotel comparison activity in a relatively more influential manner than normal statistical analyses. The aim of current research is to pervasively explore and investigate through the rich literature and identify the factors of hotel selection from the viewpoint of tourists in Tehran and also to provide the interested readers with useful fuzzy membership functions of hotel selection factors. The identification of such factors and their related indicators prepares a firm ground and a helpful guideline for the related hotel managers and responsible authorities of government to devise deeper plans and methods of customer satisfaction measurement and management.
In the study, the views and opinions of resident tourists in Tehran hotels have been gathered. The questionnaire instrument has been used for the data collection and assessment of viewpoints. Then, through a set of statistical tests and related analyses, the important factors have been identified and extracted. Utilizing the exploratory factor analysis or EFA, the underlying hotel selection factors which categorize the similar indicators together, have been identified and grouped. All of the required pre-tests of the factor analysis have shown a firm ground for further studies on the gathered data. For extracting the major factors which might be hidden within the results of the first round of factor analysis, a second round was attempted and the statistical test revealed major three factors from previously identified factors which are "cost", "calmness and recreation" and finally, "facilities and services". For each, a set of fuzzy sets and functions have been provided. In this way, an attempt has been made to identify the most important hotel selection criteria through a comprehensive set of related indicators and factors.

Results and Discussion
In the final results, there are a number of effective and useful opinions to be considered. A tourist who pays for an appropriate hotel, take two major topics into consideration. First, a suitable place for recreation, leisure and calmness and second, having the best gaining from the facilities and services of the selected hotel in the duration of residence. In other words, the tourist is interested in finding a proper and qualitative place which encompasses all of the required qualifications according to the level of payment and expectations. The three major identified factors illustrate the importance of taking the environmental controls into account and the hotel managers would not be able to fully satisfy the required prerequisites of tourist satisfaction without the proper attention of external authorities plus internal qualifications, services and facilities.

In this paper, the authors have attempted to pervasively and precisely identify the related major factors of hotel selection. This attempt has been directed toward an approach that comprises a set of fuzzy membership functions so as to provide the reader with a wider range of applicable instruments to decide through. The fuzzy sets assist the officials and hotel managers in relatively deciding on the factor which should be most concentrated on at initial attempts. In this way, a selection instrument has been designed with which an elaborative assessment of internal and environmental conditions in hotels of Tehran can be fully and practically become operationalized. The fuzzy decision making also aligns the mental expectations of tourists with the officials' viewpoints on policy making.
A very informative analysis using the currently provided factors and indicators, could be a deep and investigative attempt to prioritize the most important hotels according the score given through the utilization and scoring of confirmed indicators by the interested parties. The final results would be also applicable to an information system so as to fully realize the potentials of such a strong measurement and improvement instrument. The resulting software, which would become a Hotel Selection Expert System, empowers the tourists with an ideal instrument with the most optimized functionality in order to immediately provide them with the appropriate hotels according to their favorite criteria. Additionally, this study might be accompanied by similar studies in other provinces of Iran or other countries to compare the results and provide a very comprehensive framework to guide the domestic and international tourists of Iran in the same manner.