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Territories still to find – the business of hotel internationalisation

David Litteljohn (Cultural Business Group, Caledonian Business School, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
Angela Roper (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Levent Altinay (Department of HLTM, Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Article publication date: 1 May 2007



The purpose of this paper is to present directions for researching “new territories” by systematically reviewing contemporary research in the area of hotel internationalization.


Comprehensive analysis drawing on frameworks and debates in the international services management literature of research published over the period 1996‐2005 identifies approaches and results of hotel internationalization research. Work is organized into two broad categories: studies that relate hotel organizations to their external environments and those taking an internal perspective. This analysis is complemented by a short review of relevant demand and policy trends to ensure relevance of the critique.


Modal choice research has now reached a stage where it can provide greater depth of understanding in the relationships between this choice and organizational capabilities. Secondly, there has been a welcome increase in more internalised, qualitative research. Thirdly, while there have been some comparative industry studies more is encouraged as dialogue between researchers in different service (and manufacturing) industries will be of value as hotel internationalization meets new supply and demand conditions.

Research limitations/implications

Eclectic paradigms to be supplemented by more focused industry and comparative industry studies; internal, organization focused research must account for cultural diversity amongst new hotel developers, firms and customers to prevent parochialism or ethnocentrism; more specific work could explore policy dimensions.

Practical implications

The paper outlines some future trends which will affect the internationalization process and bases of competitiveness/competitive advantage of hotel companies.


Through a timely review of one of the first service businesses to internationalise the paper contributes to knowledge of hotel internationalization by a rigorous review of contemporary research and suggests a research compass for the future.



Litteljohn, D., Roper, A. and Altinay, L. (2007), "Territories still to find – the business of hotel internationalisation", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 167-183.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited