Title: Small and family businesses as service brands: an empirical analysis in the hotel industry

Authors: Mike Peters, Joerg Frehse

Addresses: Department for Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Universitatsstrasse 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria. ' Managing Partner, Frehse Hotel Corporate Finance GmbH & Co. Kg, Nikolaistrasse 15, D-80802 Munchen, Austria

Abstract: The authors hypothesise that small and family businesses can create a powerful branding with an emotional-added value which serves as a competitive advantage. In the first phase of a long-term research project, it was analysed as to whether small and family-managed hotels especially located in the Alpine region display typical brand characteristics. The purpose of the first empirical step is to examine whether hotel guests perceive entrepreneurial families and family firms as service brands. Qualitative in-depth interviews with hotels guests have been carried out in Tyrolean small and family businesses. The results show that tourists do perceive individual managed hotels as a brand particularly because of the personal relationship between entrepreneurial family and employees on one side and the customer on the other side.

Keywords: family businesses; hotels; Austria; hospitality industry; service brands; branding; emotional-added value; competitive advantage; Alpine region; Alps; brand characteristics; hotel guests; entrepreneurial families; Tyrol; tourists; tourism; personal relationships; employees; customer perceptions; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.037338

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.12 No.1, pp.28 - 43

Available online: 03 Dec 2010 *

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