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The Holy Grail: Environmental management, competitive advantage and business performance in the Spanish hotel industry

Jorge Pereira-Moliner (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Xavier Font (International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH), Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK)
Juan José Tarí (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Jose F. Molina-Azorin (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Maria D. Lopez-Gamero (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Eva M. Pertusa-Ortega (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 13 July 2015

3706

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the influence of environmental proactivity on cost and differentiation competitive advantages, and to explore the double relationship between environmental proactivity and business performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The population consists of all three- to five-star hotels in Spain. A sample of 350 hotels was classified according to environmental proactivity and performance levels, employing a two-step cluster analysis. Significant differences between groups were examined.

Findings

The results show two types of environmental behaviour (reactive and proactive), with proactive hotels developing significantly better on both cost and differentiation competitive advantage and achieving significantly higher performance levels. Hotels which achieve above average business performance levels are significantly more environmentally proactive.

Research limitations/implications

The present paper demonstrates that environmental management is related to competitive advantages and business performance. Environmental management systems are more developed in higher category, chain-affiliated and larger hotels. This could be due to having more resources to develop their environmental capability. The environmental proactivity scale employed in this study is presented as a reference measure for hotel managers to benchmark their current practices and implement environmental improvements.

Originality/value

First, measuring environmental proactivity using four managerial systems (operative, information, strategic and technical) is innovative and provides a more detailed approach to measuring environmental proactivity. Second, demonstrating a double association between environmental proactivity and performance provides fresh insights into the relationship between these variables.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work has been carried out as part of the research project ECO2009-12231 funded by the Science and Innovation Ministry (Plan Nacional de I+D+i). The authors thank and acknowledge the support received.

Citation

Pereira-Moliner, J., Font, X., Tarí, J.J., Molina-Azorin, J.F., Lopez-Gamero, M.D. and Pertusa-Ortega, E.M. (2015), "The Holy Grail: Environmental management, competitive advantage and business performance in the Spanish hotel industry", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 714-738. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-12-2013-0559

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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