TOURISM INNOVATION – A LITERATURE REVIEW COMPLEMENTED BY CASE STUDY RESEARCH
Luísa Carvalho, Teresa Costa
Innovation is nowadays an essential factor for economic competitiveness of firms. The study of innovation in services is still in its infancy seeing that the first studies only appeared in the late 1990s and it is difficult to find a robust theoretical framework for the study of innovation in this sector. It becomes even harder to find when applied to hospitality and tourism firms. Tourism is currently one of the most promising industries in the world and there is urgent need to better understand innovation in this sector. This study aims to address a general question: how to explain innovation in the tourism sector. In seeking an answer to this, the paper has two objectives: 1) to discuss what innovation in services is, taking into account the study of innovation in hospitality and tourism firms along with the presentation of a literature review; 2) to develop case study research as applied to an international hospitality group. The results corroborate all the hypotheses that the implementation of a Hotel Integrated Management System is an important innovation in that it contributes mainly to organizational innovation and firms use politics of sustainability as a strategy for innovation and differentiation from competition. Finally, we present a set of conclusions that enables a better understanding of innovation in tourism and aims at increasing theoretical discussion as well as furthering knowledge on the subject.