QUALITEST: Evaluating and measuring quality performance in the tourism industry
For a lively and ever-changing industry in terms of product and service offers such as tourism industry, the general term of “quality” stands for the very cornerstone of each business run in this segment. A variety of tools have been developed so far in this respect, all of them directed to evaluating and measuring customer satisfaction by direct or indirect methods, such as surveys.
Some other measuring tools emerged from the need of receiving more accurate customer satisfaction feedback, but, in the same time, addressing the same standards of measuring and appraisal.What is QUALITEST?
Such a tool named “QUALITEST” has been detailed within a manual developed and managed by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry and it has already been used for several years since it has been issued. According to manual specifications, the fundamentals of this tool consist of a set of 16 headline indicators which are used for Quality Performance Evaluation of tourist destinations and services applied to 10 tourist destinations. As stated in the EU manual, the study was developed in partnership with different subcontractors, representing the tourist destinations, as specified in the diagram below (Diagram Source: EU Enterprise DG Publication):
How it’s sued
The test submits for analysis 16 quality themes structured into two main groups, Quality of destination and Quality of the tourist product. If the first group takes into account more general information regarding the destination itself, the second group analyzes the personal experience of a tourist, throughout a lifecycle typical holiday. Also, each theme triggers a set of 3 interlinked indicators: Quality Perception Condition Indicators (QPCI), Quality Management Indicators (QMI) and Quality Performance Indicators (QPI). If the first two are qualitative indicators, the QPI is a quantitative indicator and stands for an objective counterpart to the QPCI.
All themes presented in the QUALITEST are represented within a specific questionnaire addressed to each group of interest, both tourism company and tourists. Regarding the Quality of destination, a wide range of business aspects, such as: the venue’s offer in terms of tourist products and services, awards, licenses, certifications, besides the current operational indicators such as the number of bedrooms or bed spaces, number of employees or business performance, as showed on the below questionnaire (Questionnaire Source: EU Enterprise DG Publication):How it’s run in 8 steps
1. Define the destination
2. Carry out the Tourist Satisfaction Survey
3. Develop the Quality Perception Condition Indicators
4. Develop the Quality Management Indicators
5. Carry out the Tourism Industry Survey
6. Develop the Quality Performance Indicators
7. Monitor results internally over time
8. Benchmark results against those from similar destinationsRoom for improvement
Though it runs a 360 degree approach on the lifecycle of a typical holiday experience as stated in the EU manual, the test itself has some limitations. Even if the selection of tourism destinations comprised in this measuring tool reflects the wide spectrum of European tourism offer, however, this does not necessarily translate into their representativeness for this segment. Also, given its generic structure, it is highly recommended to be customized according to specific needs in order to develop relevant benchmarks for EU tourist destinations.
- EU Enterprise DG Publication, Tourism Unit, A Manual for Evaluating the Quality Performance of Tourist Destinations and Services (2013)