The owner-operator split in the hotel industry: sustainability challenges and opportunities

Rob van Ginnken, Frans Melissen, Roy Christopher Wood

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The hotel industry is often thought of as something of a laggard in the implementation of sustainability initiatives. In this conceptual paper, we examine this assertion in a new context: models of hotel ownership and operation. We focus on current trends in the latter toward ‘asset light’ ownership/operation configurations, materializing in so-called hotel management contracts. It is established that whereas hotel management contracts usually favor the control and manage paradigm, add additional stakeholders and encompass stakeholder detachment, these characteristics of a separation of ownership and operation actually hinder instatement and application of the values-driven collaborative learning processes needed to further sustainable development. Finally, the need to follow up this conceptual discussion with empirical research – focusing on validating, refining and/or adding to the three key issues identified here – is highlighted and key issues for future research are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Early online date23 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Sustainability
  • Hotels
  • Hotel management contracts
  • Owner-operator split


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