Hotel performance: state of the art

Ruggero Sainaghi (University IULM – Institute of Economy and Marketing, Milan, Italy)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 5 October 2010



How do we measure the success of a hotel business? What factors determine performances? This paper seeks to explore the responses which researchers and practitioners have given to these questions in the last 20 years.


The paper is based on the analysis of 152 contributions and uses the balanced scorecard as a model to rationalize the main streams of research.


The analysis of literature shows the gradually assumed importance of the balanced scorecard as a satisfactory performance measurement system. The findings related to the determinants of results are instead highly complex and far‐reaching. The determining factors are generally looked for within the enterprise. Four main functional research fields have been identified (strategy, production, marketing and organization) and for each one main research goals, findings and open questions are defined. The horizontal axis of the balanced scorecard (customer perspective, strategy and process perspective) is the area of greatest research (over half of the papers). This evidence appears in line with the structural features of the hotel business and with the importance held, respectively, by customer relations and the protection of the efficiency of management processes.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows the main weaknesses and strengths in previous research design in terms of: dependent and independent variables, sample and data sources. At theoretical level, the current research is strongly based on six countries (69 percent of the sample). Given the profound diversity of national contexts, researchers focusing on internal determinants should use external control variables more extensively. Furthermore, some recent subfields appear very fragmented especially in terms of independent variables used.


The paper identifies research streams and gaps in the field of hotel performance.



Sainaghi, R. (2010), "Hotel performance: state of the art", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 920-952.

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