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ROI is MIA: why are hoteliers failing to demand the ROI of training?

Sheryl Kline (College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Kimberly Harris (Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 8 February 2008



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the approaches used by leading lodging properties to assess the costs and contributions of training. The study also investigates the barriers to collecting data required for the calculation of return on investment (ROI) and begs the question, “when are hotel companies going to design a system that tracks the value of employee development?” Design/methodology/approach – This study uses a purposeful sampling method and focuses on a small number of hotel companies rather than a large sample. The interview questions were developed through an extensive literature and are based upon Kirkpatrick and Phillips' framework. The qualitative method employed for this study uses Littrell and Dickson's adaptation of Marshall and Rossman's qualitative research cycle. Findings – The paper reveals the haphazard approach to corporate spending and tracking training, one of the major expenses in the lodging industry. It explores the failure of hoteliers to expect accountability for the investment into employee development. Research limitations/implications – This study is exploratory and therefore may not be generalized to the entire population of human resources and training departments within the hotel industry. Practical implications – This exploratory study identifies the barriers of calculating the ROI of training. It also suggests strategies human resource managers can use to develop ROI for training programs and access employee development programs and budgets. Originality/value – This paper explores the unique perspective held by lodging managers on the issue of ROI in training. Very little research has been done on this aspect of ROI in training in the hotel industry.



Kline, S. and Harris, K. (2008), "ROI is MIA: why are hoteliers failing to demand the ROI of training?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 45-59.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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