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This study of hotels representing thirty-seven brands from fifty-six countries uncovers the market conditions under which investing resources in specific market strategies leads to higher performance. Specifically, the authors identified, for the first time in an international context, the circumstances under which customer orientation (acquisition, satisfaction, and retention of customers) alone has a higher payoff or when simply investing resources on competitor orientation (monitoring, managing, and outflanking competitors) alone is the better strategy. An additional interesting twist, not shown before to the authors’ knowledge, is that in the cases where a customer-based strategy has a higher payoff, focusing on competitors diminishes performance. Similarly, in a market where competitor-based strategy has a higher payoff, a customer focus lowers performance.


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