The Internationalisation of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Hotel Industry: The case Adler Spa Resorts

Franziska Sanoner

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose: The dissertation investigates the possibility of the Italian hotel company Adler Spa Resorts to internationalize in order to further accomplish its growth strategy. The dissertation provides managerial recommendations for a successful internationalization. Additionally it adds more depth to the issue of internationalization of SMEs in the hotel industry, since little research has been done about this topic. Methodology and Design: To provide the necessary data for the analysis, four in-depth interviews with decision makers of Adler Spa Resorts were conducted. The first part of the analysis addresses the business model and the managerial, organizational and dynamic capabilities of Adler Spa Resorts to address the ability and feasibility of the company to go international. The second part addresses the location choice of a potential internationalization of Adler Spa Resorts by analysing the impact of location, situation and firm specific factors. The third part addresses the entry mode choice of a potential internationalization of the company. Findings: Adler Spa Resorts offers a unique vacation experience to its customers, has a solid financial position, and has developed the necessary capabilities to cope with the challenges of internationalization. The business model of the company can be successfully transferred to foreign markets. The most suited locations are characterized by a stable and secure environment, low competition, but spectacular landscape. The most suited entry mode is a greenfield investment, since this entry mode allows realizing the concept of the company from the beginning on, strengthening the brand and protecting the company’s competitive advantage. Implications and Recommendations: The main challenge when internationalizing is the physical separation and therefore the coordination issues for the family owned company. To reduce the impact of coordination issues, Adler Spa Resorts should choose locations that are geographically and culturally close and about which the owners of the company have some previous knowledge. This would allow a similar organization and coordination as in the present hotels of the company. Limitations: The dissertation shows several limitations. First, interviews were conducted only with informants from Adler Spa Resorts, which can lead to biases. Second, a more detailed business plan, including budget, marketing strategies and market research, needs to be developed, in order to address the internationalization strategies more in detail.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages127