Co-opetition: The morphology of evolving USA corporate hotel B2B sales

Richard McNeill, Hester Nienaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As part of an iterative series of research, the purpose of this paper is to recalibrate and update a theoretical corporate hotel B2B sales model previously developed by the authors. Given the paucity of published secondary literature on the subject, the authors have again researched the B2B hotel sales industry to expand their understanding and detail current industry practices. The research questions guiding this study are: (a) What is the state-of-the-art of hotel B2B sales architecture and (b) How can we design a practical and rigorous descriptive model? The authors reviewed the current literature and followed this up with a qualitative case study. Data were collected in 2019 by interviewing 10 purposefully selected participants, based on snowball sampling, which is the norm for qualitative studies. These participants had extensive experience with B2B collaborative relational exchange in the hotel ecological community. We focused on the top few hotel corporation market leaders in the hotel industry as these corporations were perceived to be at the cutting edge of designing the most sophisticated go-tomarket B2B selling architectures. Further, we focused on accessible USA based hotel industry leaders. The data were content analysed according to concept and data driven principles. The findings show that the selected top few, globally deployed, and USA based hotel corporations that participated in this study, have in the past and currently are, reinventing their go-to-market models. As hotel industry “Leaders,” they are exemplars and models of effectiveness and efficiency to industry Challengers, Followers, and Nichers. Their exemplar power is especially important in the new normal catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic that has been devastating global tourism in the first few quarters of 2020. These Leaders are co-creating and exchanging value with exchange partners by creating networks of allied and partnered firms. In these value networks, they are collaborating in integrated ecosystems instead of competing as self-contained entities. These large and generally resource-rich hotel industry market leaders utilize multiple relational exchanges (selling) modes that are specifically customized to various B2B market segments. This permits cost effectiveness as the acquisition of small B2B group meeting business can be addressed with a combination of lower cost salespeople and electronic means as opposed to addressing large B2B group business which may be part of long-term contracted key accounts and which requires well-trained key account teams. Smaller and less resource-rich corporate and individual hotels are at a disadvantage compared to industry market leaders. Our study results in a recalibrated model which describes the state-of-the-art of today’s evolved corporate hotel B2B sales architecture while providing guidance to resource-poor organizations, namely market challengers, followers and nichers which compete with the market leaders. Practical implications include that this model is actionable since it is derived from hotel practitioner use. A theoretical implication is that this model is rigorous as it is anchored in theory. Policy implications relate the hotel industry leaders that serve as a model to the rest of the industry actors and prescribe how to adapt to short-term/long-term Covid-19 alterations and continuously changing global business environments. The main limitation of this study is that it reflects views and practices from resource-rich hotel industry market leaders and USA based hotel corporation leaders only. It is recommended that the concept “co-opetition” be further explored in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-44
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Global Business and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • B2B hotel sales model
  • Co-opetition
  • Hotel ecological community
  • Intra- and interorganizational exchange
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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