The Role of Internationalization in Hospitality Management

Previous Trends and New Directions

Authored by: Markus Schuckert

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:

10.4324/9780429426834-5

 

Abstract

This book chapter is based on a literature review of 74 related articles, published between 1996 and 2019, in tourism, hospitality, and service management journals, focusing on aspects of international hospitality management, and internationalization. Based on a keyword search in the most popular online databases, a content analysis of the relevant articles revealed three major directions of research over 12 topical clusters. Taking the 21 selected academic journals of the related domains into account, the majority of publications concentrate on the top three hospitality journals. The most published topics are found in the areas of the mode of expansion and market entry abroad, issues surrounding international human resource management, questions on hotel operations and performance, as well as research on financial performance. This chapter gives a detailed breakdown of contributions, authors, and topics in the timeline. In addition, implications for further research are given. This contribution closes with the extrapolation and updating of Litteljohn’s (1997) work on the aspect, and development of the internationalization of hotels.

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The Role of Internationalization in Hospitality Management

Introduction

The hospitality industry can be seen as a synonym for internationalization in a highly dynamic and competitive industry environment (Brookes et al., 2011). This internationalization took off when the central European paradigm of hospitality was standardized; the mass-market was proven by American hospitality pioneers; and the globalizing effects of trade, travel, and tourism turned into the drivers for hotel companies, and the hospitality business to become international (Dwyer, 2015). This international growth can be divided into two aspects as Brookes and Becket (2011) put it: (1) internationalization at home in a domestic market environment and (2) internationalization abroad and across borders. The first aspect is about the push of domestic hospitality providers by its international customers to provide hospitality services for a global base of guests. The second aspect is the push by owners and shareholders to go for international growth as well as a pull by international demand abroad to expand businesses and brands beyond domestic operations.

Consequently, this book chapter focuses on the role of academic research regarding the topic of international hospitality management by analyzing published journal articles and research reports. It takes up the discussion from Litteljohn (1997) about the internationalization in hotels with its current aspects and developments (p. 187). Considering the last 24 years, since 1996, in the development of the hospitality business, researchers and practitioners have witnessed a tremendous shift in the traditions, procedures, dynamics, and functionality of this industry (Zervas et al., 2017). This includes the expansion from Western markets (Europe and North America) into the developing Eastern markets (e.g., Thailand, Indonesia, China, and India), structural corrections and strategic moves by merger and acquisitions (e.g., Marriott and Starwood), as well as the entrance of new business formulas and disruptors of the traditional hospitality business from the sharing economy (e.g., Airbnb or Tujia). Subsequently, this chapter goes after the questions of (1) what have been the dominating topics in scientific discussion regarding international hospitality management from 1996 to 2019, and (2) which topics indicate existing gaps, beginning contemporary trends and future new directions?

The objectives of this chapter are clearly to close the gap of the last 24 years as well as to continue writing and documenting the story of research in the context of international hospitality management. Methodologically, the book chapter is based on a contemporary application of constructivist-oriented literature review, sourcing from a data mining in electronic online libraries a content analysis of 74 related articles in the discussion and projection of further research based on Litteljohn (1997).

Methodology

This systematic review of relevant literature follows a constructivist tradition. In opposition to narrative literature reviews, a systematic approach places specific questions in the center of inquiry and follows a generalizable and replicable structure, guiding the researcher in funneling and integrating relevant results (Briner and Walshe, 2014). In the field of tourism and hospitality, systematic literature reviews support the research community into new topical areas or reflect intermediately or conclusively on past research activities like Kwok et al. (2017), Fong et al. (2016), Schuckert et al. (2015), Law et al. (2014), Leung et al. (2013), and Line and Runyan (2012).

According to the structure of Kwok et al. (2017), the subject of research has been identified as internationally renowned hospitality, tourism, and service management journals, exceeding the list of Gursoy and Sandstrom (2016). As a result, the literature research is based on the following journals: Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, International Journal of Hospitality Management, International Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management, and Hospitality and Society for the domain of hospitality. Journals merging the domain of hospitality and tourism are represented by the International Journal of Culture, Tourism, Hospitality Research, International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Administration, and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research. The Service Industries Journal represents broader service industry studies. Annals of Tourism Research, Current Issues in Tourism, European Journal of Tourism Research, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, Tourism Economics, Tourism Management, Tourism Management Perspectives, Tourism Recreation Research, Tourism Review, and Tourism are journals published studies in tourism.

The methodology for data collection and data analysis adopts Schuckert et al. (2015). Data collection was performed between January and February 2019 and a repeated, confirmatory review took place in May and June 2019, accessing the three largest and most common online databases EBSCOHOST, Google Scholar, and Scopus online. Cross citations have been used to follow back already identified relevant references and in order to discover additional relevant sources. As relevant keywords for the keyword search, the terms “internationalization” in American English as well as in British English spelling, “hotel,” “hospitality,” and “international” have been identified. 74 journal articles published between 1996 and 2019 have been identified as relevant after three cycles of data collection and subsequent screening. The identification process went through an initial screening of the headline, the keywords given by the author, and an analysis of the abstract. Passing this identification process, relevant publications have been reviewed, analyzed and discussed in-depth, and coded accordingly. The documentation of the intermediate selection results as well as the final list of articles has been cross-checked by an experienced, associated researcher to minimize a potential bias by the author.

The following analyses have been performed: descriptive analysis and topical review, management context used in current literature, synthesizing themes, thematic frameworks, and future research opportunities. The current results have been compared and discussed with the findings of Litteljohn (1997), and a summary of suggested directions for further research has been developed based on the results of this study.

Analysis and Results

Published between 1996 and June of 2019, 74 studies have been identified. Regarding the publications per year over the analyzed outlets, the analysis shows fluctuations between 1996 and 2019 (see Figure 3.1). It seems that the topic of internationalization regarding the hospitality industry has been peaking roughly every third year, while since 2014 the industry gained currently additional attention to global events such as the acquisition of Starwood by Marriott or the sharp rise of Airbnb.

Figure 3.1   Trends of publications of review-related articles.

Regarding the quantity per journal, 21 journals have been analyzed. Out of the 21 journals, 5 (24%) have a pure hospitality focus, 3 (14%) journals cater to both domains, tourism and hospitality, while 12 (57%) journals are tourism centric. One journal is in the wider service industry context. From the 74 as relevant identified papers, 37 (50%) of the relevant publications have been published in pure hospitality journals, followed by 30 (41%) in tourism-centric outlets. Four (5%) of the publications come from the Service Industries Journal and three (4%) from the mixed-domains journals. Table 3.1 illustrates the distribution of outlets. Results show that the focus is on internationally renowned, high-impact outlets. Tourism-centric journals as well as mixed mode or low-impact outlets each publish only a fraction of the overall volume. The top three hospitality journals account for 35 (47%) of the relevant publications.

After performing the content analysis of the 74 publications and aggregation of the related codes, 12 topical clusters regarding the internationalization of hospitality management have been found. The clusters and the related number of publications are listed in Table 3.2.

The cluster Mode of Expansion Market Entry count is 17 (23%) and the most of the overall number of publications. Research in this area focuses on strategies and entry modes into foreign markets or globally (Andreu et al., 2017; García de Soto-Camacho and Vargas-Sánchez, 2015; Martorell et al., 2013; León-Darder et al. 2011; Rodríguez, 2002; Villar et al., 2012), the expansion of brands across borders or in a global context is also a focus (Dev et al., 2007; Han and Hyun, 2014), as is on location strategies (Johnson and Vanetti, 2005; Puciato, 2016; Marco-Lajara et al., 2017), as well as internationalization by franchising in particular (Alon et al., 2012; Dev et al., 2002; Klonowski et al., 2008; Lee, 2008a; Lee et al., 2018; Miller, 2008).

International Human Resources was identified as the second most active cluster with 11 contributions (15%). Here, skills and training demands and procedures for internationalization are a focus (Burgess, 1996; Jones and McCleary, 2005; Kontogeorgopoulos, 1998; Kriegl 2000; Nickson, 1997; Plog and Sturman, 2005; Velo and Mittaz, 2006), as are changes and challenges in hotel management contracts (Deroos, 2010; Gannon et al., 2010), as well as the challenges of human resource management with internationalization (Chen et al., 2016; Enz, 2009).

Table 3.1   Titles of journals, related domain, and numbers (n) of publications

Journal

Domain

n

Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

Hospitality

14

Int’l Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

Hospitality

12

International Journal of Hospitality Management

Hospitality

9

Tourism Management

Tourism

6

Service Industries Journal

Service

4

Tourism Economics

Tourism

4

Tourism Review

Tourism

3

Annals of Tourism Research

Tourism

2

Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing

Tourism

2

Current Issues in Tourism

Tourism

2

European Journal of Tourism Research

Tourism

2

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Tourism

2

Tourism

Tourism

2

Tourism Management Perspectives

Tourism

2

Tourism Recreation Research

Tourism

2

Hospitality & Society

Hospitality

1

Int’l Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research

Hospitality/Tourism

1

Int’l Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Administration

Hospitality/Tourism

1

Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research

Hospitality/Tourism

1

Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management

Hospitality

1

Journal of Travel Research

Tourism

1

Sum

74

Table 3.2   Overview topical clusters and related numbers (n)

Topical cluster

n

Mode of Expansion and Market Entry

17

International Human Resources

11

Hotel Operation and Performance in an international context

8

Financial Performance in an international context

7

Growing from Domestic to International

6

Internationalization of the Industry in general

6

Internationalization: West to East

6

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

4

International Strategic Management

3

Demand Side of Internationalization

2

International Marketing Management

2

Internationalization: East to West

2

Sum

74

The Operation and Performance of hotels in an international context accounts for eight (11%) contributions. Internationalization and hotel performance (Assaf et al., 2016; Brida et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2014; Sainaghi, 2010; Woo et al., 2019) as well as efficiency indicators and management methods (Golembski, 2007; Parte-Esteban and Alberca-Oliver, 2015; Rushmore and Goldhoff, 1997) have been of interest. Financial performance in an international context attracted the attention of seven (9%) contributors, ranging from the influence of the firm on financial characteristics (Devesa et al., 2009; Menicucci, 2018; Parte-Esteban and Ferrer García, 2014), the growth of accounting (Smeral, 2009) and transaction costs (Lee et al., 2011), as well as the return of investment regarding internationalization (Lee et al., 2014; Hua and Upneja, 2011).

The topic of Internationalization of the Industry in general attracted six contributions (8%) by analyzing the internationalization of the hotel industry by the sector (Alexander and Lockwood, 1996), on the regional level (Spain: Brida et al., 2015; China: Gu et al., 2012; Europe: Peters and Frehse, 2005), from an entrepreneurial point of view (de Correia et al., 2019), or from a single-brand perspective (Hilton International: Strand, 1996).

Going from Domestic to International accounts for six papers (8%), focusing on selected questions of going international by leaving the domestic base from a restaurant perspective (Lee et al., 2016), from a hotel perspective (Gross and Huang, 2011; Rogerson, 2016), or regarding for instance knowledge transfer (García-Almeida and Yu, 2015), family involvement (Andreu et al., 2019), or reasons for going international (Rodtook and Altinay, 2013).

The internationalization and expansion from Western hotel companies into European and/or Asian markets attracted six papers 8%, while the focus on China is the most important (Harrison et al., 2005; Kivela and Leung, 2005; Niñerola et al., 2016). Lee (2008b) compares Asian versus European expansion from a US perspective, while McVey and King (2000) analyze India. Czyzewska and Roper (2017) analyze the steps of Hilton in the London market. In the opposite direction, expanding from the Eastern Hemisphere into Western markets (Internationalization: East to West) has drawn attention from Gross et al. (2017) and Lam et al. (2015). These two contributions account for 3%. The topic of Sustainability and Environmental Impact accounts for four different contributions (5%). De Grosbois and Fennell (2011) look into the carbon footprint of global hotel companies and Bohdanowicz et al. (2011) into the business we care! program. The process of sustainability reporting is analyzed by Guix et al. (2018), while Spenceley (2019) looks into the sustainable tourism certification process of the African hotel industry.

Hwang and Chang (2003), Olsen and Roper (1998), as well as Jansen-Verbeke (1996) analyze issues of strategic management within an international hospitality context (3; 4%). The clusters of Demand Side of Internationalization and International Marketing Management account for two papers (3%) each. However, the cluster of international marketing management has a strong technological bias with its two papers focusing on e-marketing on the new upcoming Internet in 1996 by Harris, as well as email marketing by international hotel chains, 14 years later by O’Connor (2008). The Demand Side of Internationalization is research by the authors de la Peña et al. (2016) and Tirados (2011).

Of the 74 papers, 23 (31%) take the perspective of the value chain with the segments of human resources, finance, marketing, and strategic management. Fourteen contributions (19%) take operations, performance, and sustainability into account. However, 50% of the papers (37) focus on growth and expansion within the context of international hospitality.

Implications and Further Research

The research is published across the available journals, creating a fragmented overview on the topic of international development and hospitality management, when most of the publications are with the top hospitality journals. Probably a wider range of research output would contribute to the topic but cannot be identified based on nonmatching or not indicated keywords.

The research results indicate that most publications take a supply-side perspective along the value chain of hotel management or are output-oriented, looking into selected areas like operations, performance, and sustainability. Most of the research questions are influenced by the philosophy of economic growth, where increasing and extending the capacity abroad prevails. The detected focus of past research can be described as rather narrow and leaves a lot of space for further research.

  • The aspects of international growth regarding strategic management and new business models which resonated with diversity of markets and economies remain an important research area. This results from an increasing globalization, growing competition, and new market entrants into the traditional accommodation sector as well as from dynamics coming from non-traditional entrants.
  • Airbnb and other accommodation suppliers are disrupting the traditional hospitality formula. Topics around internationalization and sharing economy regarding non-traditional hospitality formulas seem under-researched. Different business models do exist in Western countries, India, or China, where comparative studies may benefit the industry. Topics around trust, reputation, and reviews of such foreign platforms or experiences with competition between international hospitality companies and its sharing economy competitors could contribute as well.
  • The aspects of internationalization regarding new information and communication technologies (ICT) and their impact on the hospitality industry were not visible in the pre-1997 and 1997 stage. However, since the last two decades, technology has made huge advances. Reflecting that, different online ecosystems, social media, chat applications, or mobile payment solutions, as well as automatization and robots indicate further research possibilities.
  • From a value chain perspective, the aspects of intercultural management and international human relations management are important because the task and requirements for international talents are growing as well as the increasing demand. Generation Y and generation Z are new cohorts of employees entering and sharpening the industry. In addition, aspects of internationalization and organizational behavior, motivation, positive psychology, and performance seem underrepresented in an international context.
  • Since the opening of China and the increasing demand by Chinese outbound tourism, Chinese hospitality companies are expanding beyond the domestic territory of the mainland, Hong Kong, and Macau. Here, comparative studies between the mode and management of expansion, the preferred business models, and diverse ownership and operation models can be of interest as well as questions about experiences with the market entry in foreign markets, the coping with cultural differences, as well as studies on management and working culture.
  • Regarding the aspects of an experience economy, no papers have been retrieved targeting topics like the development of new market segments, market gaps in niche markets, as well as demand integration on the international level. It seems that related studies may focus on single source markets. Perhaps researchers do not regard their research as influential regarding international growth.
  • Similar with experiences, questions regarding the shift towards value creation, customer co-creation, and customer experiences are of increasing importance not only in the hospitality industry.
  • In terms of revenue management and related topics, it has been difficult for the current study to identify related papers. This may indicate a need for further studies regarding the international perspectives on revenue management and value drivers in hotels and restaurants. A further array of potential topics and the contribution of F&B outlets to the overall revenue are the duration of hotels across markets and across hotel categories.
  • Further keywords may indicate a need for future research regarding international merger and acquisition case studies, a review of experiences regarding international operations and growth, issues on legal and organizational aspects in international hospitality, as well as sustainability and innovation. Especially the fields of corporate social responsibility (CSR), CSR reporting, the implementation and acceptance of sustainability initiatives, as well as coping with different sustainability standards lack attention.
Transcription and extension from 1997 to 2019 based on Litteljohn (

Figure 3.2   Transcription and extension from 1997 to 2019 based on Litteljohn (1997, p. 191).

The results of this literature review extend Litteljohn’s (1997) emphasis on international hospitality. He compared “Old emphasis” versus “New emphasis” (p. 191). Figure 3.2 extends this comparison by transcribing the results of the analysis between 1996 and 2019 into a contemporary view regarding international hospitality management. For this purpose, the column of “Old emphasis” has been designated as “Pre 1997” because it is based on research prior to the publication date of 1997. The column of “New emphasis” has been correlated with “1997” as a result of Litteljohn’s analysis. The column of “Post 1997” is the contemporary and consecutive extrapolation of the former columns based on the current literature review.

Conclusion

By reviewing and analyzing the content of 74 related contributions, this book chapter contributes with its analysis and recommendations to the further development of research in the field of international hospitality management and its body of literature. Spanning 24 years and summarizing the document and published research from 1996 to 2019, this contribution is able to advance Litteljohn’s (1997) analysis and close the gap since the work has been published.

With the benefits of bibliometric studies and literature reviews, some limitations are coming with this methodical approach chosen, too (Schuckert et al., 2015). Even if the topic of international hospitality management and internationalization of the industry seems relatively broad, the retrieved number of 74 papers can be regarded as a small number for analysis and classification. Regarding the search algorithm, focusing on title, abstract, and keywords may lead to a small number of results if articles focus on the subject of internationalization, but do not use related keywords used in the search. In addition, this analysis focuses on (a) international journals published in English as well as (b) a justified but still selected number of journals from the domains service hospitality and tourism. This automatically limits the number of results regarding other languages as well as the possibility of being published in other outlets than the chosen one. Especially the topic of internationalization from the East to the West with a strong emphasis on China may indicate, that for further studies the examination of articles published in Chinese might be of importance and relevance.

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