Success factors for hospitality sector clusters

Charlotta Mellander, Professor of Economics, Jönköping International Business School

What is the research project about?
“We will be analysing clusters in the hospitality sector, their success or failure over time, in order to increase knowledge about where tourism works. Do regional conditions influence the success of a cluster venture or the establishment of a company, and is it possible to identify general factors and patterns that determine whether they are successful or not? In municipalities where there is a reduced population and extensive depopulation, it is sometimes believed that one solution to the problem might be to create a new Ullared, for example. I don’t believe that this would work for everyone.”

How will you proceed?
“By analysing statistics, for example, we will see whether there are links between economic development and travel. We hold data about every individual and company in Sweden at a municipal level for the period 1985-2011, from which we are ascertaining economic development by municipality as well as in smaller geographic units. We will combine this with data from TDB (the Travel and Tourism Database) regarding the population’s travel habits in Sweden, which Resurs has compiled continuously since 1989. We will be looking at professional groups that work with the hospitality sector, such as within hotel and restaurant operations and retail, as well as studying how the businesses have developed over time. Which companies have increased or decreased their turnover and their number of employees? What are the similarities and the differences between them?”

What do you hope that the project will result in?
“Hopefully increased knowledge about which type of tourism works where. We hope to be able to develop guidelines to assist those who work with national and regional development strategies, for example, as well as to provide guidance as to whether it is worth investing in a specific project.”

How can the hospitality sector benefit from this research?
“We hope that it will be of benefit for those who are going to start up or develop companies within the sector – an aid when taking decisions about investing and where this should be done. Is it in the right place? Are there any development opportunities there, or would the business work better somewhere else? The goal is to be able to influence locations and strategies so that the hospitality sector can manage even better in the future. We will maintain constant contact with the sector in order to ensure that it can benefit from what we are doing. And we will provide feedback on our results.”

What is the main challenge in the project?
“We have an enormous amount of data to work through. And it may be the case that we are unable to find and clear, general patterns, that there are exceptions when a venture is going well. And if this is the case, we have to say so. This in itself is knowledge.”

Describe yourself in brief:
“I am a Professor of Economics at Jönköping International Business School. I was awarded my Ph.D in 2008 on “Attractive cities”. My research related to why we want to live in certain places and not in others, and what the results of this are from a socio-economic perspective. I also work part-time at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. I work together with Richard Florida, who employed me there in 2008. Our starting point is that geography influences everything.”

Hospitality sector clusters: several different players who together share the ambition of creating a high level of attractiveness for a visitor destination.

Publications from the project

Title Year Image
Location of leisure: the New Economic Geography of leisure services 2016
BFUF Rapport #4
Var fungerar besöksnäringen?
2015
The Economic Geography of Leisure and Hospitality Destinations 2014
Charlotta_Mellander

Charlotta Mellander

Projektledare

Foto: Charlotta Mellander

Johan_Klaesson

Johan Klaesson

Medverkande

Foto: Johan Klasson

Ozge_Oner

Özge Öner

Doktorand

Foto: Özge Öner

Project facts

Projekt:
Success factors for hospitality sector clusters
Research organization:
Jönköping International Business School
Project Manager:
Charlotta Mellander, Professor of Economics
Members:
Johan Klaesson, Ph.D in Economics and Özge Öner, doctoral student studying regional economics, Jönköping International Business School
Period:
Mar 2013 – Febr 2015
Amount:
SEK 1,700,000