Hospitality research includes many studies that combine and revisit the quantitative-qualitative debate, and review the arguments for and against using mixed-methods. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the application of qualitative methodologies based on the combination of techniques which also include quantitative elements in addition to those pertaining to qualitative techniques. The research aims to specifically identify the most important managerial factors which, from the point of view of hotel chain executives, serve to improve the quality of the service they provide. The techniques used are concept mapping and qualitative optimization, both of which are qualitative methodologies though they include quantitative elements to overcome the subjectivity deficits typically found in qualitative methodologies. In addition, the combination of both techniques leads to greater precision of the results obtained. Our methodological proposal combines concept mapping with qualitative optimisation, thereby improving the prioritisation and hierarchical ordering of the ideas obtained and structured. Instead of working with each cluster's average score in terms of importance (as defined within the concept mapping model), our contribution is based on prioritising these based on their distance to the optimal reference. This allows for experts' evaluations of each idea in terms of its importance to not be strictly quantitative, that is, the experts are not obligated to assign numbers to their evaluations; rather, they can assess ideas based on qualitative labels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-812
Number of pages18
JournalQuality and Quantity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Mixed-methodology
  • Concept-mapping
  • Qualitative optimization
  • Hospitality
  • Quantitative-qualitative methodologies
  • Quality service


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