Oscillating hotel business-to-business (B2b) sales: A hegelian dialectic approach to understanding the post-covid-19 next normal

Richard McNeill, Hester Nienaber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Over the last 20 years, total global hotel sales – both B2B and B2C – oscillated. Total hotel sales experienced highs in the 1990s, collapsed on 9/11/2001 and recovered, and collapsed again with a global financial crisis in 2008 and recovered. For approximately the last 12 recovery years, the ascendancy of go-to-market technological sophistication and domination by USA based mega-hotel corporation mergers suggested an ebullient, but ultimately deceptive, permanent era. Then the global Covid-19 devastation struck in early 2020. Given these changes, the purpose of our study is to investigate changes in a specific segment of total hotel sales: B2B corporate group meeting sales (i.e. hotel B2B sales). Our research question is: “What is the next oscillating change in hotel B2B sales?” One approach in understanding cataclysmic changes in the fortunes of corporate hotel B2B sales may be addressed by the Hegelian dialectic: Thesis assailed by antithesis and stabilizing into synthesis. This resultant synthesis becomes the (new) thesis and the process repeats itself with a, hopefully, improving spiraling oscillation through successive cycles. The findings of our study can be summarized as: (1) Thesis (Stasis) – Pre-Covid-19, hotel B2B sales boomed and had become a highly evolved collaborating and partnering process which linked primary supply and demand including complementary services. Major hotel corporations facilitated these partnerships with relatively high-paid Strategic Account Sales Executives (SASE) and their teams who managed a select key 20% of buyer accounts. The remaining targeted 80% of potential customers were addressed by a less expensive and disaggregated salesforce who were augmented by digital technologies; (2) Antithesis (Disruption) – Covid-19 fears and subsequent governmental responses forced hotel occupancies below break-even 50% while virtual meeting technologies became accepted as an economical substitute for face-to-face engagements; and (3) Synthesis (Next Normal/Regeneration of a New Thesis) – We predict a shrinking quantity of hotel B2B sales that focus on content-purposed meetings. On the other hand, we predict an ascendancy of hotel B2B sales networking-purposed meetings that emphasize quality relationship-building experiences. The value/contribution of this study is that it provides a better understanding of changing hotel B2B sales, in view of the evolving body of knowledge, which is the foundation for continued rigorous research. The limitation of the study is that it focuses on USA based hotel corporations selected by the authors due to their global dominance. This study provides a potential guide for future empirical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th International Conference on Tourism Research, ICTR 2021
EditorsCândida Silva, Mónica Oliveira, Susana Silva
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781912764938
StatePublished - 2021
Event4th International Conference on Tourism Research, ICTR 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: May 20 2021May 21 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Tourism Research
ISSN (Electronic)2516-3612


Conference4th International Conference on Tourism Research, ICTR 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Hegelian dialectic
  • Hotel B2B sales
  • Strategic account sales; relational exchange; co-opetition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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