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Dynamics of internationalisation of the hotel industry: the case of Spain

Juan Gabriel Brida (Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay and Free University of Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy)
Oana Madalina Driha (Department of Applied Economic Analysis, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Ana B. Ramón-Rodríguez (Department of Applied Economics, University Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Raffaele Scuderi (University of Enna “Kore”, Enna, Italy)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 13 July 2015




This paper aims provides an empirical analysis of the development of the internationalisation process in the Spanish hotel industry, which has experienced major changes during the past decade. The degree of internationalisation between 2000 and 2010 is used as a proxy variable with the aim of mapping the development of international strategies.


A longitudinal dataset measuring the internationalisation of Spanish hotel chains is used. Cluster analysis identifies the different behaviour of groups of firms during the analysed period.


Two different clusters are detected, which can be attributed to different internationalisation strategies over time. Small and medium (SME) hotel companies seem to follow a different path of development than more established multinational companies. Over time, the entire group tends to be more compact, whereas the distance between the clusters is shown to diverge in final years. The groups’ composition suggests that business-networking relationships can be a strategy of particular importance for SMEs pursuing international expansion.

Practical implications

This paper develops a better understanding of the changes of the internationalisation patterns of Spanish hotel chains. Findings could address managers in strategic decisions about how to improve competitive position. In particular, they recommend accounting for size, international experience and business network relationships when expanded abroad.


This paper introduces a new approach based on studying clusters of Spanish hotels according to their internationalisation strategies over the time. Further analysis revealed the role of business network on internationalisation patterns.



This research was supported by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano project “Le attrazioni culturali e naturali come motore dello sviluppo turistico. Un’analisi del loro impatto economico, sociale e culturale”, by the Free University of Bolzano project “Tourism and Economic Growth: the Role of Transportations and Spatial Contiguity” and “The museums’ visitors: a comparative socio-economic analysis” and by the University Institute for Tourism Research of the University of Alicante through the project CSO2011-26396. Juan G. Brida was supported by the assistance program for stays of visiting researchers of the Vice-Rector Office of Research, Development and Innovation at the University of Alicante during the period 16-22 December 2012.


Brida, J.G., Driha, O.M., Ramón-Rodríguez, A.B. and Scuderi, R. (2015), "Dynamics of internationalisation of the hotel industry: the case of Spain", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 1024-1047.



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