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Business models in tourism: a review and research agenda

Stephan Reinhold (Research Centre for Tourism and Transport, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland)
Florian J. Zach (Carson College of Business, Washington State University, Washington, USA)
Dejan Krizaj (Faculty of Tourism Studies, University of Primorska, Portoroz, Slovenia)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 20 November 2017




Business models and the business model concept have become a fixture of scholarly and managerial attention. With a focus on how actors create, capture and disseminate value, business model research holds the promise to inform the tourism sector’s search for ways to innovate and change outdated business practices. Yet, the concept has inspired little research tackling the contingencies of the tourism context. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap in this review and research agenda on business models in tourism.


In this paper, the authors review and synthesize contributions from publications in EBSCO, Emerald Insight, ProQuest and Science Direct databases, that make explicit use of the business model concept in tourism (anytime up to September 2016). We conceptualize the identified articles as a coherent body of knowledge on business models in tourism with the objective of identifying common themes that characterize existing contributions.


From the review of 28 qualified articles, the authors identify four emergent themes: sector-specific configurations, the role of different value types, design themes for consistency and regulatory contingencies. These themes inform three domains in which the authors present avenues for tourism-specific studies on business models, as well as their management and innovation that the authors position in relation to the general business model literature.


This review details how researchers across disciplines conceptualize the business model. Together with the identified directions for further research, this literature review thus establishes a common conceptual basis and stock of knowledge for the study of business models in tourism research.



Reinhold, S., Zach, F.J. and Krizaj, D. (2017), "Business models in tourism: a review and research agenda", Tourism Review, Vol. 72 No. 4, pp. 462-482.



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