Publication Date

2-2012

Abstract

A survey of corporate-level senior research and development managers in twenty-seven of Spain’s largest hotel chains found a general bias toward innovation, as the majority have formal R&D departments and offer rewards for innovative concepts. Considering a framework that includes four types of innovation (i.e., product innovations, process innovations, enhanced knowledge of market, and management innovations), the survey found that the chains focused the greatest innovation efforts on improving management. However, the innovations most frequently mentioned involve enhanced knowledge of the market, including the use of new sales channels and communication improvements. Case studies of four hotel concepts depict innovations intended to be singular, that is, hard to duplicate. NH Hoteles uses its customer data center to segment customers and create targeted communications and special offers; Hoteles Hesperia has allied with Michelin-rated chefs to upgrade its hotel restaurants both in terms of menu and image; Chic&Basic has installed modest-price but high-quality inns in center-city locations that usually host luxury hotels or poor quality guest accommodations; and Marqués de Riscal has developed City of Wine, in the Rioja region of Spain, complete with a Frank Gehry–designed hotel operated by the Starwood Luxury Collection.

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