applied to a hotel context
Bond University, Robina, Australia, and
Service Industry Research Centre, Department of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel and
Sport Management, Grifﬁth University, Gold Coast, Australia
Purpose – To explore the nature and potential of competitor-focused accounting practice (CFA) in a
Design/methodology/approach – Unstructured tape-recorded interviews ranging from one to
one-and-a-half hours’ duration were conducted with 21 senior managers representing ﬁnance,
marketing, hotel operations, casino, and human resource management in a large hotel.
Findings – Levels of CFA formalised application appear limited, especially when compared with a
widely held managerial perception that signiﬁcant beneﬁts could derive from applying CFA. The CFA
practices noted were conducted in an unstructured and ad hoc manner. The main generic use of CFA is
in connection with sensitising staff with respect to competitors’ strengths and also strategy
development. The hotel shared occupancy level information with competing hotels.
Research limitations/implications – The study suffers from all the limitations generally
associated with a single company qualitative ﬁeld study. These limitations include the degree of
subjectivity that is invoked when researchers interpret qualitative ﬁeld study data.
Practical implications – The paper clariﬁes the notion of “CFA” and provides an outline of CFA
management issues arising in the context of a hotel. An outline is provided of those parts of a hotel
operation that are most likely to be more active in CFA, together with empirically informed
suggestions with respect to CFA uses in a hotel.
Originality/value – The paper is highly original. Despite the generally accepted importance of
strategy development being informed by appropriately conducted competitor analysis, there has been
a paucity of research concerned with competitor analysis in the hotel industry.
Keywords Hotels, Competitive analysis, Hotel and catering industry, Accounting
Paper type Research paper
The search for competitive advantage in turbulent economic times has resulted in
many researchers suggesting competitor analysis as a fundamental component of
competitive strategic management (Subramanian and Ishak, 1998; Zimmerer and
Scarborough, 1998). This view appears to lie behind a burgeoning interest in
competitor analysis amongst strategy commentators and management practitioners
(Guilding, 1999). This interest is exempliﬁed by Porter’s (1980, 1985) inﬂuential work,
which promotes competitor analysis as a key precursor to informed competitor
strategy formation. In light of the importance imputed to competitive analysis by
Porter, the ﬁeld study described herein was undertaken to initiate some understanding
of the form it can assume in the context of hotel management.
In addition to Porter’s seminal work, the study draws signiﬁcantly on Ghoshal and
Westney’s (1991) investigation of the ways that organisations use competitor analysis
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