Owner-Managers’ Interpretations of Digitalization in SME Management Processes

A Qualitative Study of the Hospitality Industry

Authored by: Robert Eller , Mike Peters , Tatijana Pantovic

The Routledge Companion To International Hospitality Management

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138386372
eBook ISBN: 9780429426834
Adobe ISBN:


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Digitalization changed the competitive environment for micro and small and medium-sized enterprises in the hospitality industry. This study conducted 15 face-to-face interviews of owner-managers in the hospitality industry examining the interpretation and utilization of digital technologies in the management process. The results highlight that social media platforms and newsletters are used to communicate with customers to promote events, interact with customers, and to receive and review feedback. Furthermore, findings show that owner-managers perceive social media benefits such as the ease-of-use, speed, and existing knowledge as a result of previously using social media in their private life. Perceived hurdles of digitalization are time constraints, missing technical skills, and financial barriers. Finally, social media is used by owner-managers to increase customer loyalty. Managerial and academic implications are discussed. Digitalization of SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) impacts process and product/service innovation as well as other business functions such as human resource management, knowledge management, or logistics.

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