Sustainability, Competitive Advantages and Performance in the Hotel Industry: A Synergistic Relationship

Reference: Pereira-Moliner, J., López-Gamero, M.D., Font, X., Molina-Azorín, J.F., Tarí, J.J. & Pertusa-Ortega, E.M. (2021). Sustainability, Competitive Advantages and Performance in the Hotel Industry: A Synergistic Relationship. Journal of Tourism and Services, 23(12), 132-149. doi: 10.29036/jots.v12i23.282




sustainability, competitive advantage, synergy theory, performance, PLS-SEM, hospitality


The relationship between sustainability, competitive advantages, and performance is a topic with no conclusive results in the tourism industry. To contribute to the debate, the purpose of this study is i) to analyze the influence of sustainability on cost and differentiation competitive advantages and ii) to examine the possible synergistic relationship between sustainability and performance. Perceptual as well as hotel-specific objective performance measurements are used, such as occupancy rate, average daily rate (ADR), and revenues per available room (RevPAR), to examine all the relationships. Structural equation models based on Partial Least Squares (PLS-SEM) are applied to test all the hypotheses. Data is collected from 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels in Spain. The results show that sustainability positively and significantly influences cost and differentiation advantages, perceptual performance, ADR, and RevPAR. In addition, those hotels with these three performance variables whose values are above the median obtain a significant relationship between sustainability and performance. Consequently, there is evidence of a synergistic sustainability-performance relationship in the hotel industry. Therefore, this study offers academic evidence on the strong relationships that exist between these variables in the hotel industry. This research work analyses all three sustainability pillars (economic, environmental, and social sustainability), and the practices that best explain each of the three sustainability pillars are indicated so that hotel managers can optimize their sustainable management.

Author Biographies

Jorge Pereira-Moliner, Business Management Department, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain


Research topics: Strategic management of the company, strategic groups, quality management, environmental management, quantitative research techniques. Application to the tourism sector.

Publications in the following international journals: Tourism Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Cleaner Production, Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Tourism Economics, Industrial Management and Data Systems, Journal of Small Business Management, Organization & Environment, Service Business, Service Industries Journal, Journal of Tourism Research and Hospitality, Business Research Quarterly, Universia Business Review, Current Issues in Tourism, e-Review of Tourism Research.


María D. López-Gamero, Business Management Department, Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Professor. Her Ph. D. dissertation was an analysis of the relationship between environmental management and firm performance. Her current research includes strategic management, sustainable tourism, environmental management, and its relationship with quality management and organizational design.

Xavier Font, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, UK; and School of Business and Economics, UiT. The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Professor. He researches and develops methods of sustainable tourism production and consumption.

José F. Molina-Azorín, Business Management Department, Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Professor. His research focuses on strategic management and environmental management, specifically the determinants of firm performance, the competitive effects of environmental management and the relationship between competitive strategy and organizational design. His current research interests are also focused on mixed methods research.

Juan José Tarí, Business Management Department, Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Professor. His Ph. D. dissertation was an analysis of quality management. His current research includes Total Quality Management and its relationship with sustainability, environmental management, organization design, innovation and higher education.

Eva M. Pertusa-Ortega, Business Management Department, Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Associated Professor. Her Ph. D. dissertation was an analysis of the relationship between organizational design and competitiveness. Her current research includes organizational design and its relationship with environmental and quality management, and the study of organizational and individual ambidexterity.