The Future Of Innovation In The Tourism Sector

Dr Ester Martínez-Ros

The future of innovation in tourism sector is a challenge fFor whatever economy. The changing and increasing competitive tourism environment force enterprises to look for ways of improving quality and efficiency. The development of innovations has become a strategic driver to achieve competitiveness and productivity in tourism. Specifically, innovation is important in the change to a new consumer demand consisting in the growing importance of cultural factors, new habits involving the use of communication and information technologies, a shift in the value placed on environmental resources and changes in families’ socio-demographic and cultural characteristics.

The necessity to examine the main innovation drivers in the accommodation services constitutes a better understanding of this area and it will lead to ways to improve and create a set of positive externalities applicable to the rest of the economy by contributing to the destination’s competitiveness and aggregate growth and employment. The considerable change in the structure of the European tourism offer in recent years is an unmistakable sign of dynamism in this destination. The initiatives taken by some economies improving quality respond to the changing patterns in origin markets and the destination has reoriented its offer towards a wider variety of better quality tourism services, which one could argue is the way to achieve competitive tourism.

In line with the theory of innovation in services, the analysis of innovation in the accommodations sector have relevance in terms of reconsideration the services provided to customers and the satisfaction and loyalty achieved in the market by business units. The results of researching innovation in every tourism sector could be integrated for a better understanding of the tourism innovation that can foster productivity and competitiveness. Therefore, the definition of innovation herein will refer specifically to improvements or changes that affect hotels. Furthermore, innovation requires changes in human resources to overcome the lack of skills. In the context of innovation employee skills are highly significant, and the lack of them as the single major obstacle to innovation. Speed and adaptability are largely derived from a company’s human resources. Innovation’s dependence on human capital may be even more important in the hotel industry, in which competitiveness largely depends on human resources. Among a set of hotel’s characteristics, employee skills upgrading through training and other important variables such as managerial attributes are considered to explain the different levels of innovation between firms, since knowledge management promotes competitiveness.

Recently, the main findings for Spain indicate that more highly-trained employees are better prepared to introduce more innovations. Therefore, the use of training programs helps to improve a firm’s competitive edge. The non experience of manager in doing innovation can be compensated by the capabilities and skills of his employees. Furthermore, an agency-relationship effect may exist: hotel managers investing in innovation must report a certain expense that will be profitable in the future when they may not be working in that establishment. More experienced directors may possibly consider this as a deterrent. Moreover, managers are strongly confident about their own skills and capacities and are somewhat reluctant to assume the risks associated with innovation, yet owner-managers are more innovative. As a conclusion, I claim for the consideration of employment skills in those labor intensive sectors as a key determinants of the competitive advantage.

Article © 2009 Dr Ester Martínez-Ros. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Dr Ester Martínez-Ros

Dr Ester Martínez-Ros

affiliation:   Universidad Carlos Iii De Madrid

position:  Associate Professor

country:  Spain

area of interest:  Innovation Management

contact author

keywords for “The Future Of Innovation In The Tourism Sector ”