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Quality Audit and Assurance:

a case study of Robinson Crusoe Island Resort.

Name: Sheik Rehman

Course: TS302
Mode: Blended


Understanding quality is important for any hospitality business. Quality is not easy to put into
words as it means different things to different people. On a basic level it tries to meet the needs
and standards of the customer and is something that tries to reach or overwhelm expectations.
The defining factor of service quality is dependent on the how the service was delivered and
what the customer felt. Service quality is the difference between the service expectation &
service actually received by the customer (Deoskar, 2011, p.13) and where the features of the
product and service meets their set requirements and needs. Wagen is of the idea that quality
service is service, delivered by competent personnel which meets or exceeds expectations (1994,
p.17). It should be able to add value, designed with flawless possibilities and reasonable in price
and delivery. It is also situational- based and depends on a persons mood at that particular time
or moment. Quality of services are more through word-of-mouth recommendation where
customers can try to use the services, compare them to previous performance and then try to
match it with their expectations. In terms of costs and benefits, quality gives the opportunity for
the business venture to continuously improve their product and service delivery and in the long
run gain advantage over their competitors and build on sales. Appropriate budget would be
allocated for developing innovative products and services that would prove beneficial to the
customers and those ways set a standard of efficiency and production and enhance customer
experience. Staff would also be motivated to improve their ways and knowledge of doing work.
There is also less chance of error and defects occurring. Most research on hotels has used the
qualitative methodology of SERVQUAL survey which was developed by Parasuraman et al.
(1988) as a customer assessment of service quality. Firms devise a questionnaire to measure
customer expectations on service quality. They measure five dimensions and their perceptions of

service they receive. When customer expectations are greater than their perceptions of received
delivery, service quality is deemed low. The SERVQUAL authors identified five Gaps that may
cause customers to experience poor service quality. An important objective of studying any
business environment is identifying opportunities and threats (Hanson et al., 2002, p.43) where
assessment and analysis is in recognizing the benefits and taking advantage of conditions so as to
take appropriate action to protect against situations that would prove unfavourable for an
organization and eventually help it to achieve strategic competitiveness. Strengths of a firm are
based on their availability of resources that are difficult to copy that add value and put them on
the competitive edge. A firm that is unable to meet its objectives is showing signs of weakness.
The objective of this report is to analyze a tourism property in Fiji, namely Robinson Crusoe
Island Resort by using the SERQUAL model, reflect on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats that they may face in the competitive landscape and support it with related literature.
Subsequently, offer strategies on addressing its critical issues by developing an action plan in a
given timeline and with an appropriate budget.
Theoretical perspectives

Service Quality
Tourism is a highly competitive industry and no enterprise can compete on cost alone. It needs
quality to sustain intense competition and amidst a whole array of other environmental factors.
Service quality has become a cornerstone of marketing strategy for companies. This shows
how much important it is for organizations to improve service quality in order to survive and
grow and be able to meet challenges in the marketplace. Hence, service companies are made to
change their perspective on providing excellent services to their customers. However,
organizations need to understand what service quality is.

Service quality is from where the customer starts to perceive on how a service is delivered. The
definitions are quite difficult to understand or describe as it is intangible and subjective in nature
that it is dependent on perception and mood of a person and in any given time. Different
management gurus (thinkers) have defined it in different ways. It is meeting the needs of the
customer. Service quality is nothing but the difference between the service expectation and
service actually received by the customer (Ahmed & Tahir, 2006) or as Parasuraman et al.
(1985) describes it as degree of inconsistency between the normal expectations of the customer
and their ability to understand the service being carried out (p.41). Perception of the customer
maybe based on many factors such as age, demographics, technology and competition. Service
quality is the foundation on which any organization can survive and also able to have more and
retain customers. The idea of service quality is for all consumers and is based on their
perceptions and results in service quality achieved if customer expectations are satisfied or
exceeded (Grubor et al. n.d. p.2) and becomes an important indicator for business performance.
Consecutively, the corporate culture of a service organization determines the kind of marketing
strategies that they will put in place so as to create a better image of themselves in the
marketplace that would be counted as unique. These are usually the management style;
confidence, loyalty and working environment. Aside from this the organization would also have
to consider the moment-of-truth or service encounter and service design as key focus areas for
improving quality. The quality of service is seen as a way to manage business processes so as to
ensure the total satisfaction of all customers and is viewed as an approach to increasing
competitiveness and flexibility in the organization. This also acts as an enabler for staff to
increase their performance levels and earn more. Their commitment would replicate in greater
profit returns for the tourism enterprise who then can invest and expand on bringing about
innovation and growth. The management is required to be committed to the service culture and
quality and provide appropriate resources so that the specifications are met. The payoff of quality
is higher in terms of costs but is a plus from the customers perspective. In the short term,
superior quality generates increased profits through premium prices whilst in the long term
initiatives, improving quality is the more effective way to grow the business and valuable market
share. Quality creates true customers who are glad to have selected the firm and to use it again
(Zeithaml, et al., 1990, p. 9). Quality leads to efficiencies as in increased investment in
technology, market research, training performance measurements and reward systems.

Quality measurement concerns primarily the physical attributes of tourism areas and specific
sites, encompasses the service provided, employees of a specific tourism development and
character and atmosphere of development that will determine quality of tourism product (Witt &
Moutinho, 1994, p.266). Customer expectations are the standards against which the perceived
services are checked in order to assess the quality of a service on what is expected and what is
received. Essentially the delivery of quality service entails the development of and adherence to
policies and procedures (Wagen, 1994 p.16) and where the final decisions on the part of the
customer as to whether their expectations were met or exceeded. If any difference exists
between the expected service and the service actually received then the difference is a gap that
needs to be reduced. The analysis of the gaps allows for activities to take place so as to remove
the obstacles or barriers that are preventing an efficient service delivery and for management to
look for ways to enhancing it. The first gap is the difference between consumer expectations and
the managements viewpoint. The failure of the management to understand consumer
expectations. Lack of market research and lack of communication between management and
customers. The second gap is the difference between managements viewpoints and the
presumed views of the delivery of services i.e. quality standards. Mgmt. is focused on other
company objectives such as reducing costs and making quick profits. The third gap is the
difference between identifying the nature of the services with the actual production and delivery.
So there is no standardization of work; the roles of the staff are not clearly defined in job
descriptions, lack of teamwork and lack of resources. The fourth gap is the difference between
delivery of services and the incentives made to the consumer through communication channels
which may prove inconsistent. Advertising is void and doesnt match the operations of the firm
and where the propensity to overpromise due to increasing pressure and to gain new customers
(Zeithaml et al., 1990, p.117).
Consequently, to fill the gaps, Parasuraman et al. (1988) developed a multiple-item scale
(SERVQUAL) for measuring service quality and simplified the 10 dimensions of service quality
to five dimensions as tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy (Shahin, 2010,
p.41). This measurement tool is focused on the difference between consumers expectations and
perceptions of service by using a scale composed of 22 questionnaires designed to describe the
dimensions reflecting service quality. The dimensions are: assurance, empathy, reliability,
responsiveness, and tangibles. Each item is used twice: first, to determine customers

expectations about firms in general, within the service category being investigated; second, to
measure perceptions of performance of a particular firm and where the service quality is then
the difference between customers perceptions and expectations (Hudson, et al. n.d., p.6).
Reliability means that the service promised is delivered accordingly. Responsiveness is the
timely delivery of services to customer. Assurance refers to the knowledge of staff in delivering
the services. Empathy is the customer care. Tangible is the physical surroundings such as
buildings, dcor and equipment. The data collected usually describes information on assessing
the service quality of the service provide with the 5 elements and identify and analyze the
different customer segments. Other ways to assess quality is finding rom cleanliness,
convenience of location, value for money and friendliness of staff. Advertising and pricing also
give off valuable information. Price and quality are positively correlated. Both increase
simultaneously. Lower quality services sell for a lower price than higher quality services. In
addition, planning such as flow charts and diagrams used to design the physical layout and the
process which help to analyze how operations should be carried out that question techniques and
examine the where, why and whom and how should be used to analyze the present situation and
develop an improved system. The design of product/service should be an ongoing affair and need
to reexamine the current demand and supply. Some firms may tend to deceive the consumers and
offer a service of low quality at higher price.
The main reasons for measuring quality in tourism could be due to:

Continuous growth and demand in the tourism industry

Lack of skilled labour for jobs in the destination which may not be innovative.
Development of transport networks; adoption of ICTs, environmental protection and

location and place of activity of tourist businesses.

Diverse tourism product and service in terms of natural and cultural resources tourist
facilities, accommodation and communication.

Customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is a psychological factor and involves a sense of well-being. It is not a
universal concept as customers have different needs, objectives and past experiences that
influence their expectations. Customers not only evaluate service quality through the outcome of
a service but also consider the process of delivery. Only customers are able to judge quality.
Competent service should be good service and management should do it this way because
customers like it this way. Satisfaction is the consumers fulfillment response and is a judgment
of a product or service feature (Oliver, 2015, p. 2) and also where consumer expectancies play a
central role in understanding evaluations of service quality (Folkes, 1994, p.109). Services
should please the customer. Service providers aim for competitive satisfaction of consumer
needs, demands and expectations which gives strategic importance and enables the service
provider to build and improve its image; build consumer loyalty and enhance service value.
Since service quality is not tangible or seen they will find it difficult to have a learned view on
their experience of services rendered thus their perception is based on comparing expectations
with performance of the service. It is essential to make the staff more responsible and give them
incentives to recognize, care about, and attend to customer problems and complaints. Without
service quality companies may face customers and employee complaints. Dissatisfaction would
lead to bad word-of-mouth publicity and switch to competitors. Olivers (1989) framework
where satisfaction can be described as a process (Rust & Oliver, 1994, p.9) and describes high
arousal of satisfaction where the product/service adds pleasure and can be positive (delight) or
negative (shock). Moment of truth or service encounter is the period of interaction between
consumer and service firm and where each describes the need for commitment to customer
satisfaction. These encounters could be ordering, delivery or production. Usually customers have
already developed expectations prior to using the products/services. Market research and
resolving complaints are two such instances of trying to continuously makes the visitors/guests
responses more satisfactory. Knowledge of customer expectations and requirements, so as to
provide understanding of how the customer defines quality of service and products and facilitates
the development of customer satisfaction questionnaires (Pizam and Ellis, 1999, p.1).
Satisfaction, reinforces positive attitudes toward the brand that lead to it being bought again. To
measure customer satisfaction is to gauge and understand the customers needs and evaluate the
performance of the firm or organization.


Data was collected was through guided and semi-structured interviews where the researcher
came prepared with a list of questions but was also not restricted and asked open-ended
questions as a follow-up. The protocol of the question design was based on the literature
discussed earlier. Physical observation was also used as a device to get first-hand impressions.
The administrative clerk was only approached for a face-to-face interview as the other staff
declined and or were occupied in their duties.


An American couple Mr. & Mrs. Ryan own Robinson Crusoe Island and built a resort on it and
have shareholder - Captain Paul. They also own Plantation Island Resort.
The manager discussed that in terms of accommodation, presently there are dormitories (twin.
Double beds) and private rooms. (4 -couples, 2-singles). The front desk is responsible for
making bookings for day cruises. Day cruises are organized with buffet lunches and activities
which are unique and fun filled such as crab race and nature walks. Itinerary or the order of
organization could be changed or modified (to suit guests needs) but they are standard and lasts
throughout a season which is from April to May each year until the new rates are implemented.
There are two rates local and tourist and there are also special occasion events such as Fiji Day.
Guests/visitors expect 5-star experience and any issues aired or complaints lodged are dealt
with professionalism as management verifies and tries to come up with options. These are taken
as positive feedback. The manager is on call - 40hrs.wk. In terms of the staff on the island,
they work and live there 5 days a week. They are given a day off to have time for themselves.
Auxiliary staff are sought from the village next to the resort upon request if there is a large group
of guests to cater for. There is limited water supply so there are transported in boats in tanks from
the mainland courtesy of the Water Authority of Fiji so that fresh water is available for staff in
terms of hygiene and bathing. Bottled water is limited and there is one in each of the

accommodation unit upon check in. Laundry is carried out in the mainland. There is no system
for waste/sewage. At best the resort tries to use local produce with the exception of imported
materials used in salads and sauces. The leftover food from the buffet goes back to the village.
Training and development of staff of occupational and health safety (OHS); firefighting are done
by regulators who come from the mainland and host workshops. In reference to corporate social
responsibility, the island resort has set up a request or proposal for a marine reserve and then
train staff. School trips could be requested for guests to maybe speak on the resorts behalf.
Alcohol is not allowed on the island and needs to be bought there as well as bottled water. There
is no Wi-Fi access. Both Digicel and Vodafone were subscribers. Currently low level
connectivity so disconnected. Installation may be possible once network issues are sorted out.
Nature walk gave insight into exotic plant species with descriptions that are useful for building;
healing ailments and the find of a Lapita pottery.
Day Cruise Itinerary

Snorkeling/Cooking Lesson
Coconut Tree Climbing
Island Entertainment
Nature Walk
Turtle Viewing
Crab Race

SWOT Analysis

Pristine, untapped natural environment

Quiet, get-away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life


Poor infrastructure (in terms of accommodation, bures, bar, staff

and eatery shed). Prone to natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis.

The long distance from mainland. Access is only by boat.

Poor stewardship which made the ride slow.

The use of small boats that is risky for hauling passengers.

Laxity and laid back attitude of staff.

Lack of Wi-Fi internet access.

Poor security of luggage (no protection on boats could easily tip

overboard into the open sea and just left unattended near the
administration bure).

Lack of resources in terms of running water, not enough water tanks for

Lack of and poor quality safety and diving gear.

Not enough benches or seats.

Dirty, unkempt toilets and bathrooms.

No variety in activities for the guests. Unauthentic activities such as

turtle watching which was basically a prank.

Not enough staff to cater for large groups of guests.


Robinson Crusoe island has quite a large land mass that has not
been utilized to full potential where only the beachfront is occupied
while the rest of the area is untapped. Greater innovation would
help to produce new products and services such as providing for

more activities like childrens playground; professional spa sessions

for adults, water activities such as jet-skiing, hiking/nature walks
around the island not just focus on beach area and building of

more dormitories and/or bures for accommodation.

Tie-up with corporate institutions to carry out marketing campaigns
such as promotion and holiday giveaways. This would increase the
number of visitors.
New technology would help to better meet customers needs
and the competitive edge. There should be more effective use
of social media. Presently only website and email exists.
Need to set up Facebook and Instagram accounts to get
interactive and real-time feedback from guests and potential

visitors about the products and services.

The set-up of a handicraft store so that it generates income
for the locals living there, contribute to the resorts coffers
and provide memorabilia for guests who visit the island.


Other island resorts near the Coral Coast area and to the North-West of
Fiji namely Mamanuca and Yasawa group of islands who have better
facilities and integrated theme to attract visitors are potential rivals e.g.

Castaway Island resort and Yasawa Island Resort.

In the absence of continuous innovation, there is no incentive for second-

time visits.
Infrastructure is a major drawback with limited and primitive housing

set-ups that seems not ideal for overnight or long stay trips.
Bad weather or negative word of-mouth could affect future arrivals of

A customer service satisfaction model that identified 5 different dimensions used to
evaluate a product or service by a customer. SERVQUAL was designed to provide
managers with a tool that they could use to measure service quality within their
company and then develop ways to deal with any problems that arose.
These are (in reference to the resort):

Reliability whether the service was delivered on time or not.

Friendly and knowledgeable staff.

The guide was interacting with the guests in terms of making them feel at
ease by telling jokes.
The drawback was that the activities were not related and organized in adhoc basis. The nature walk was not interesting. It was different from what
reviewers had talked about in TripAdvisor website.
False advertising e.g. turtle watching which a prank was done by the resort
Programme of activities could be changed to suit the time and weather that
may prove inconvenient to the guests.
The boat trip from the mainland to the island and back was slow. The
captain aside from explaining the safety tips, had no other information to
say when the ride had begun. The small boats were overloaded and were a

Responsiveness willing to assist customers in a manner that is friendly and timely.

The staff were always more than eager to help guests in terms of giving
directions and walked around to ensure that everyone was satisfied with their

Empathy whether the staff providing the service, understood the needs of the customer
or not.

They seemed to be overwhelmed by the number of guests present on the

island and were reserved in their responses except for the guide.

Assurance whether the employees had the required knowledge about the service or not
and was dependent on their character, qualifications and skills.

The attitude present in all almost all staff and the activities they conducted
did show that they have been doing them for quite some time and were
skilled in them. Formal qualifications aside from the administration
personnel were not necessary.

Tangibles these are the physical surroundings i.e. buildings, furniture, equipment.

The cutlery and utensils used were adequate. The food was excellent
considering it was cooked in earth oven (natural).
There was a presence of foliage and bush that gave an impression of the
In terms of the boat transfers there was lack of communication from the
captain, there was overloading of passengers in the small boats and that the
ride was slow.
The facilities were unhygienic and not clean. These include the pool,
washrooms and the seats and tables, poor quality of swimming gear,
hammocks, lack of jetty.
The use of generator to power the operations and provide electricity to the
island and lack of water supply due to the distance in setting up
Lack of staff to cater for the activities.
Degrading and poor quality of accommodation as in bures and dormitories
with sub-standard signs of workmanship visible.
There doesnt seem to be activities organized for children
Lack of information on the activities being organized and no other options
were available to satisfy the guests.
Entertainment was in the form of fire dancing and multicultural dances
False advertising e.g. turtle watching that was a prank put on by the staff
Traditional i-Taukei food was served (lovo) with mixture of English
Drinks were expensive even water had to be purchased from the bar to
quench thirst. There were no complimentary beverages only espresso
coffee was served.

Action Plan
(To improve the level and quality of service the following proposal is designed according to areas most
in need of urgent attention. These are the physical environment, marketing, customer services and
food and drinks with entertainment. This is hoped to be effective by December 2017).




Improve and
enhance the
physical space

To provide ease
and comfort for

Upgrade and renovate the stay-in

bures and dormitories.
Construction of new types such as
villas. At least 20 units with
different range of room capacity
are needed.
Build and construct a jetty at pick
up and drop off points at the
mainland and the shores of the
island. Need a cruise ship to
transfer guests.
Upgrade pool, bar, administration
office, washrooms, bush trails for
hiking, more seats and benches to
be set up around the beachfront.
Establish subsidy schemes with
local service companies to provide
fuel at lower cost to power the
Establish renewable energy
technologies such as solar panels.
Establish sewage plant to treat
waste water and more water tanks
to provide efficient supply.



More overnight
Increase in
Repeat visits
star ratings
Competitive rates
Offer quality


9/2017 Manageme

Establish eco-tourism ventures

such as marine conservation parks.
Establish farms to service the
kitchen and promote local produce
in menu.
Establish a water park, kids
playground, Wi-Fi internet access


position the
resort to be
successful in the



Upgrade the website

Set up Facebook and other social
media sites.
Build relationships with 3rd party
online booking companies
Establish relationships with groups
for conferences
Build rapport with corporate
travellers for weekday stays.
Appeal to special needs of guests
To achieve international star ratings




Visits by
from all
over the




All staff

Maximize sales
and profits

Allow overbooking
Establish a franchise agreement
with a major hotel company.
Advertise rates on broadcast media
such as radio and TV.
Conduct holiday promotions. Tie- in
with corporations.

Increase in the
of guests


Salary and
increases for
the staff

All staff





Retain and
upskill staff

To have a core of
trained and
qualified staff
who have
standards and
who will remain
with the resort to
maintain a
lasting impact

Use TripAdvisor website reviews to Data readily

carry out customer survey
on website.
Carry out customer service
available to
social media
Recruit professional and qualified
staff in operations such as
High morale
housekeeping, kitchen and
and enthusiasm
of staff
Maintain a ratio of 60/40
professional vs. local
population for employment.
Provide fringe benefits such as
free shopping vouchers,
educational concession on
hospitality courses for the staff.


Low staff




All staff and





and improve the

Offer face-to-face
and interactive
sessions with the
Continue with
developing new

To promote Fijian

To ensure the use

of local produce



To provide more local content of

cultural songs and dances.
levels of
Change the activities itinerary to suit
the weather and guests moods and
interests. Flexibility
Repeat visits
Set up a handicraft centre
Set up a sports court
Construct a podium/stage to carry
out cultural items
Provide entertainment on the cruise

To provide more local and healthy

To provide local and complimentary





All staff and



All staff and


Proposed Budget
(Estimates to allow for inflation in labour and market costs)


Due to qualifications and based on merit. Currently there is one female staff who seem to be in
charge of administrative duties who has to ensure that the resort is operating smoothly and that all
necessary documentation is submitted accordingly.
Training and Development - $20,000

To boost morale, initiative and bring about professionalism in attitude and service delivery.

Staffing Fringe Benefits

Fringe Benefits - $5,000
10% of salaries = Fringe Benefits


Staff spend most of the working days of the year on the island which is quite distant from the
mainland and away from families and friends and that they need time off and keep their morale.
COST: $87

(construction of bures, dormitories, villas, facelift of beach, office upgrade, bar,
kids playground, water park (tentative), water tanks and fuel subsidy.

Method of selection, use of equipment, cost of construction supplies (cement,

timber, etc.), period of performance and scope of work and to have reliable supply
of power and water to meet operational needs of the resort. Build a jetty at pick
up and drop off points at the mainland and shores of the island. Need to purchase
or lease cruise ship that will be able to build capacity and increase the number of
guests/visitors to the island. Set up technological tools such as Wi-Fi- tower,
subscription to internet vendor, sewerage plant, marine conservation park, solar
panels and farm.
COST: $900,000

COST: $900,000

Materials for marketing campaigns


Printing of flyers, brochures, newspaper and magazine advertisements,

set up social media sites, upgrade and maintain website.
Buy props for cultural items/dances, construct podium/stage for
display, set up a handicraft centre upgrade bar, kitchen and seating
arrangements like chairs, benches, hammocks, diving and
swimming gear and sports court.
COST: $100,000

COST: $100,000





(drawbacks in compiling report and gathering data)

A varied and balanced data to compile the report was not carried out. The factors were:

Time constraints
Researcher bias
Unavailability of staff
Reluctance of guests/visitors

No questionnaires, customer surveys were collated.

The design of the SERVQUAL model was also not used to rate customer perceptions in
numerical values that could have been able to calculate the average rate of perceptions and
expectations. Also no data available on demographic analysis.


More physical space in terms of accommodation to increase

stays and repeat visits and increase guests/visitors satisfaction

More seats, set up Wi-Fi internet access, interactive activities

and sports facilities to increase the entertainment value.

Train the existing staff on customer services, assist in funding

for further studies in hospitality field and recruit professional
personnel. Need for competency- based.

Staff to be able to display professional standards and personality traits such as honesty and

Use of local produce in kitchen menu and availability of ready

water supply.

Ability to use technology such as computers

Sales and marketing expertise

Knowledge of guidelines and protocols such as OHS; food and hygiene, safety and security.

Quality is a complex term that is made up of different elements which are equally important to
bring about efficiency and where the products and services have to meet certain standards. This
would entail in the creation of customer satisfaction and the repeat value. Due to global
demands, stiff competition and increasing diverse needs of customers and the use of technology,
problems in service quality are bound to arise from lack of clear parameters in determining
quality. The use of SWOT analysis and SERVQUAL model which are based on the evaluation of
customers perceived notions so as to fill the gaps of obstacles or breakdowns that prevent
efficient service delivery. The case study of Robinson Crusoe Island resort did bring about a lot
of discrepancies that needed to be assessed immediately in terms of improvements done to the
physical space at an initial stage. An action plan of sorts if implemented can assist or provide an
immediate vision for the tourism venture to become competitive.


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