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Hospitality to hostility: dealing with low response rates in postal surveys

Keegan, Shobana N. and Lucas, Rosemary E. (2005) Hospitality to hostility: dealing with low response rates in postal surveys. International journal of hospitality management, 24 (2). pp. 157-169. ISSN 1873-4693

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Abstract

Relatively low response rates are a major problem confronting researchers undertaking postal surveys in the hospitality industry. This paper evaluates the use of this method to investigate the impact of minimum wage policy on employers in small hospitality firms. The steps taken to increase the response rate are systematically analysed, finding that initiating personal direct contact with respondents during follow-ups more than doubled the response rate to 19%. The relatively low rate may reflect the sensitive nature of the research topic and the inherent structural characteristics of the industry. Undue emphasis on the ‘response rate figure’ may inhibit the enhancement of hospitality knowledge and perpetuate a skewed knowledge base that tends to be limited only to issues managers are willing to disclose, mainly in large hotel companies.

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