0.7133. This indicates that Hotel X’s overall level of strategic planning appears rather poor. This is borne out by the fact that Hotel X scored below its peer group for five out of six factors. Interestingly, Hotel X did not make use of benchmarking or any invest- ment appraisal techniques. As a consequence of its poor design parameters, Hotel X’s past performance is 7 per cent below average, while its performance over the next two years is expected to deteriorate to 20 per cent. The SPS of Hotel X is obviously failing and this could be a symptom of two problems. First, there may be a lack of belief for strategic planning throughout the hotel group, or that the HGM does not see the need to change the planning system. Second, the HGM may not possess the knowledge or skills to develop an effective SPS. For example, it is interesting to see that the HGM places no importance on the use of benchmarking and investment appraisal techniques. Moreover, Table VI shows that although there is a great deal of staff planning assistance from HQ, the HGM makes little attempt to involve other senior staff members of his/her hotel unit. This indicates that the hotel unit would appear to be suffering from cultural, politi- cal, and cognitive problems. These observa- tions alone suggests that Hotel X should take immediate steps to improve its SPS by focusing upon planning implementation, functional coverage, and reliance on analy- tical techniques paying particular attention to the attribute that each factor possesses. In addition, the SPI for peer group of 0.7133, indicates that the level of effectiveness is at best moderate with plenty of scope for improvement. This observation, although in conflict with Athiyaman and Robertson (1995), tends to support Medlik (1989, p. 14), who stated: only a limited progress has been made in the translation of business and management theory from manufacturing to service indus- tries generally and to hotels in particular. Conclusions This article has concentrated on assessing strategic planning effectiveness in hotels. However, the methodology could also be applied to a range of business and opera- tional issues in any hospitality organization. The SPI is a simple but powerful managerial tool that helps develop the diagnostic infor- mation needed to generate corporate and business level initiatives designed to improve the strategic planning process. Given the renewed vitality in the hotel sector, together with the fact that a good Table V Mean scores of the 15 strategic planning attributes Attributes Peer group Hotel X Factor 1: Planning implementation a1 Setting explicit goals 5.32 6.00 a2 Assigning implementation responsibilities to specified individuals/groups 5.14 2.00 a3 Seeking commitment to the long-range plan 4.78 5.00 a4 Involvement of hotel senior managers 6.25 7.00 a5 Involvement of hotel middle managers 4.88 2.00 Factor 2: Future performance b1 Adaptability 4.56 4.00 b2 Effectiveness 5.13 3.60 b3 Efficiency 3.46 3.00 Factor 3: Past performance c1 Effectiveness 4.93 4.00 c2 Efficiency 3.41 4.00 Factor 4: Functional coverage d1
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