Understanding the Current State and Future Directions of Hotel Sector Knowledge Management: A Literature Review

Christoph Voegeli


This review highlights the huge opportunity provided by leveraging knowledge management principles across the hotel industry. By way of context, the author has over 20 years of international experience in the hotel industry (at executive level, including managing privately-owned and single hotels, some as part of a medium-sized brand, with others as part of a very large [global] hotel brand). When he transitioned from a hotel company of medium size to one of the largest (about 10 years ago), he observed significant differences in business processes, structure, resources, and culture. Wondering about these differences, he examined them more closely and started to read broadly about strategy, competitive advantages, and capabilities. Gaining a deeper understanding, he realized that the observed differences were related to knowledge management.

In his research, many organizations were found to have used knowledge management to extract, recycle, harness, share, and leverage knowledge for improved performance and competitive advantage. In some cases, millions of US dollars were saved. Furthermore, from knowledge management practices in consultancy, healthcare, and manufacturing, the expectation was that rich, in-depth research would be found on hotel-(specific) knowledge management. Logically, it was expected that top executives (and other stakeholders holding hotel portfolios, such as real estate/investment funds/investment bankers and hotel operators) would be extremely keen to learn about and use knowledge management to leverage their companies’ performance. Surprisingly, the opposite seems to be the case. This thorough review demonstrates that little research has been conducted on hotel knowledge management, and that even in hotel-(specific) knowledge management, “secrecy” (operating in a vacuum) can be experienced. The premise is that top executives (C-level executives) constantly search for the latest insights (knowledge) and best practices to find implementable concepts so their organizations can remain ahead of the competition. This paper reviews and establishes the current state of the existing body of hotel-(specific) knowledge management literature and highlights gaps and possible opportunities for the future. Through adding to the depth of hotel-(specific) knowledge management research, refreshed interest can be generated in this field, possibly stimulating a better understanding of how hotel-(specific) knowledge management can be used to maximize its benefits.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ber.v9i2.14778


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