Scelte strategiche e pratiche ambientali nelle Pmi alberghiere. Verso un nuovo modello di business sostenibile (Strategic choices and environmental management practices of SMHEs. Toward a new sustainable business model)

  • Federica Buffa
  • Mariangela Franch
  • Umberto Martini
  • Alessio Tamanini
Keywords: environmental management practices; hotel enterprises; environmental commitment; Trentino


Purpose of the paper: Analysis of the environmental sustainability strategies of small and medium hotel enterprises (SMHEs) in community destinations. The goal is to investigate whether and how the adoption of environmental management practices (EMPs) have changed, and whether and how local key stakeholders have influenced eco-friendly behaviour.

Methodology: The research carried out in 2015 in joint with the Statistical Office of Province of Trento involved all the hotels of Trentino (N=1,514) though a CAWI survey (redemption rate 88.9%). The data analysis followed two steps: 1) frequencies analysis addressed to identify the EMPs adopted and to compare the data with the survey conducted in 2005; 2) Multiple Correspondence Analysis and hierarchical ascendant cluster analysis to identify hotel profiles with different environmental commitment.

Findings: Increase of EMPs investments. The adoption of EMPs depends on the “proactive” and “reactive” clusters sustainability awareness, on the acknowledged ethical value and on the stakeholders’ power and pressure on the DMO.

Research limits: Focus on a single community destination.

Practical implications: Small hotels can also adopt EMPs but that would require in primis a change in the traditional business model adding environmental sustainability aims. Stakeholder pressure supports the enterprise strategies.

Originality of the paper: The research contributes to the scientific debate on EMPs adoption and stakeholder power and pressure on environmental sustainability strategies of SMHEs.


ÁLVAREZ GIL M.J., BURGOS JIMÉNEZ J., CÉSPEDES LORENTE J.J. (2001), “An analysis of environmental management, organizational context and performance of Spanish hotels”, Omega, vol. 29, n. 6, pp. 457-471.

ANDREINI D., BETTINELLI C. (2017), Business Model Innovation. From Systematic Literature Review to Future Research Directions, Springer, Berlin

AYUSO S. (2006), “Adoption of Voluntary Environmental Tools for sustainable tourism”, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, vol. 13, n. 4, pp. 207-220.

BEETON S. (2006), Community development through tourism, Landlinks Press, Collingwood.

BLANCO E., REY-MAQUIEIRA J., LOZANO J. (2009), “Economic incentives for tourism firms to undertake voluntary environmental management”, Tourism Management, vol. 30, n. 1, pp. 112-122.

BOHDANOWICZ P. (2005), “European hoteliers’ environmental attitudes. Greening the Business”, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, vol. 46, n. 2, pp. 188-204.

BOONS F., LÜDEKE-FREUND F. (2013), “Business models for sustainable innovation”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 45, pp. 9-19.

BOONS F., MONTALVO C., QUIST J., WAGNER M. (2013), “Sustainable innovation, business models and economic performance”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 45, pp. 1-8.

BRAMWELL B., LANE B. (1993), “Sustainable tourism: An evolving global approach”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 1, n. 1, pp. 1-5.

BUFFA F. (2013), Struttura e dinamiche di relazione tra Pmi. approcci di metodo nelle destinazioni turistiche di tipo community, Cedam, Padova.

BUHALIS D., MAIN H. (1998), “Information technology in peripheral small and medium hospitality enterprises”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 10, n. 5, pp. 198-202.

BUTLER R.W. (1999), “Sustainable Tourism: A state-of-the-art review”, Tourism Geographies, vol. 1, n.1, pp. 7-25.

CARIDÀ A., COLURCIO M., MELIA. M. (2015), “Designing a collaborative business model for SMEs”, Sinergie, vol. 33, n. 98, pp. 233-253.

CARNEIRO M.J., LIMA J., SILVA A.L. (2015), “Landscape and the rural tourism experience: identifying key elements, addressing potential, and implications for the future”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 23, n. 8-9, pp. 1217-1235.

CASARIN F. (2007), Il marketing dei prodotti turistici. Specificità e varietà. Vol. I, Giappichelli, Torino.

CÉSPEDES-LORENTE J., DE BURGOS-JIMÉNEZ J., ÁLVAREZ-GIL M. (2003), “Stakeholders’ environmental influence. An empirical analysis in the Spanish hotel industry”, Scandinavian Journal of Management, vol. 19, n. 3, pp. 333-358.

CASPRINI E. (2015), “Business model innovation: a typology”, Sinergie, vol. 33, n. 97, pp. 181-197.

CHAN E.S.W., HAWKINS R. (2010), “Attitude towards EMSs in an international hotel”, International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 29, n. 4, pp. 641-651.

CROUCH G.I. (2007), “Modelling destination competitiveness: A survey and analysis of the impact of competitiveness”, Report of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism.

DWYER L., EDWARDS D., MISTILIS N., ROMAN C. SCOTT, N. (2009), “Destination and enterprise management for a tourism future”, Tourism Management, vol. 30, n. 1, pp. 63-74.

EL DIEF M., FONT X. (2010), “Determinants of Environmental Management in the Red Sea hotels”, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, vol. 36, n. 1, pp. 115-137.

FARRELL B.H., RUNYAN D. (1991), “Ecology and tourism”, Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 18, n. 1, pp. 26-40.

FERRERO G. (2001), “Nuove tendenze negli studi sulla piccola impresa”, Piccola Impresa/Small Business, n. 1, pp. 3-7.

FONT X., MCCABE S. (2017), “Sustainability and marketing in tourism”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 25, n. 7, pp. 869-883.

FRAJ E., MATUTE J., MELERO I. (2015), “Environmental strategies and organizational competitiveness in the hotel industry”, Tourism Management, vol. 46, February, pp. 30-42.

GOLINELLI G.M. (1992), “I problemi strategici delle imprese minori”, Sinergie, n. 27, pp. 25-31.

GONZÁLEZ-BENITO J., GONZÁLEZ-BENITO Ó. (2006), “A review of determinant factors of environmental proactivity”, Business Strategy and the Environment, vol. 15, n. 2, pp. 87-102.

GÖSSLING S., HALL, C.M., WEAVER D.B. (2009), Sustainable tourism futures, Routledge, New York.

GÖSSLING S., PEETERS P., HALL C.M., CERON J.P., DUBOIS G., LEHMANN L.V., SCOTT D. (2012), “Tourism and water use: Supply, demand, and security. An international review”, Tourism Management, vol. 33, n.1, pp. 1-15.

HARDY A., BEETON R.J.S., PEARSON L. (2002), “Sustainable tourism: An overview of the concept and its position in relation to conceptualisations of tourism”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 10, n. 6, pp. 475-496.

HUNTER C. (1997), “Sustainable tourism as an adaptive paradigm”, Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 24, n. 4, pp. 850-867.

INSKEEP E. (1997), Tourism Planning;,Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.

ISPAT - SERVIZIO STATISTICA DELLA PROVINCIA AUTONOMA DI TRENTO (2006), L’imprenditoria alberghiera nella Provincia di Trento 2004, Servizio Statistica, Trento.

ISTAT (2017), Annuario statistico italiano 2017, Istat, Roma.

KASPAR C. (1995), Management im Tourismus, Verlag Paul Haupt, Bern.

KELLER P., BIEGER T. (Eds.) (2004), The Future of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Tourism, 54th Aiest Congress (Petra, Jordan), Editions AIEST, St. Gallen, CH.

KIRK D. (1995), “Environmental management in hotels”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 7, n.6, pp. 3-8.

KOZAK M., RIMMINGTON M. (1998), “Benchmarking: destination attractiveness and small hospitality business performance”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 10, n. 5, pp. 184-191.

LÓPEZ-GAMERO M.D., MOLINA-AZORÍN J.F., CLAVER-CORTÉS E. (2009), “The whole relationship between environmental variables and firm performance”, Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 90, n. 10, pp. 3110-3121.

MACKAY K.J., FESENMAIER D.R. (1997), “Pictorial element of destination in image formation”, Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 24, n. 3, pp. 537-565.

MARCHINI I. (1997), “Il difficile rapporto tra piccola impresa e marketing: lo stato delle conoscenze”, Piccola Impresa/Small Business, n. 1, pp. 3-12.

MARTINI U. (2013), “Introduzione. Approccio alla sostenibilità, governance e competitività delle destinazioni turistiche: stato dell’arte e prospettive”, in Franch M., Martini U. (a cura di) Management per la sostenibilità dello sviluppo turistico e la competitività delle destinazioni, Il Mulino, Bologna.

MATTIACCI A., CECCOTTI F. (2005), “Lo sviluppo del marketing nella Pmi: riflessioni a margine di un’esperienza d’impresa”, Micro & Macro Marketing, n. 1, pp. 65-92.

MAZANEC J.A., WOEBER K., ZINS A.H. (2007), “Tourism destination competitiveness: From definition to explanation?”, Journal of Travel Research, vol. 46, n. 1, August, pp. 86-95.

MCKERCHER B. (1993), “Some Fundamental Truths about Tourism”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 1, n. 1, pp. 6-16.

MIDDLETON V.T.C, HAWKINS R. (1998), Sustainable tourism: A marketing perspective, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

MIHALIC T. (2000), “Environmental management of a tourist destination. A factor of tourism competitiveness”, Tourism Management, vol. 21, n. 1, pp. 65-78.

MOLINA-AZORÍN J.F., CLAVER-CORTÉS E., PEREIRA-MOLINER J., TARÍ J.J. (2009), “Environmental practices and firm performance”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 17, n. 5, pp. 516-524.

MURPHY P.E. (1985), Tourism: A community approach, Methuen, New York.

MURPHY P.E., MURPHY A.E. (2004), Strategic Management for Tourism Communities: Bridging the Gaps, Channel View Books, Clevedon.

PENCARELLI T. (1992), “Riflessioni sulle possibili linee di sviluppo delle PMI negli anni ’90”, Sinergie, n. 27, pp. 153-178.

PENCARELLI T., CIOPPI M. (2009), “La comunicazione di marketing nelle piccole imprese: alcune evidenze empiriche”, Piccola Impresa/Small Business, n. 1, pp. 71-98.

PORTER M.E., KRAMER M.R. (2011), “Creating Shared Value”, Harvard Business Review, vol. 89, pp. 62-77.

RITCHIE J.R.B., CROUCH G.I. (2005), The competitive destination: A sustainable tourism perspective, CABI Publishing, Oxon.

RIZIO D. (2016), A multicriteria perspective to integrate environmental management and environmental accounting in the tourism industry. The case of Small and Medium-sized Hotel Enterprises (SMHEs) in the Alpine Province of Trento, PhD thesis, University of Trento.

RYAN C. (2002), “Equity, management, power sharing and sustainability. Issues of the ‘new tourism’”, Tourism Management, vol. 23, n. 1, pp. 17-26.

SÁNCHEZ-MEDINA P.S., DÍAZ-PICHARDO R., CRUZ-BAUTISTA M. (2016), “Stakeholder Influence on the Implementation of Environmental management practices in the Hotel Industry”, International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 18, n. 4, pp. 387-398.

SWARBROOKE J. (1999), Sustainable Tourism Management, CABI, Wallingford (UK).

TANG Y.H., AMRAN A., GOH Y.N. (2014), “Environmental management practices of hotels in Malaysia”, International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 16, n. 6, pp. 586-595.

TARÍ J.J., CLAVER-CORTÉS E., PEREIRA-MOLINER J., MOLINA-AZORÍN J.F. (2010), “Levels of quality and environmental management in the hotel industry”, International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 29, n. 3, pp. 500-510.

WEAVER D.B (2011), “Organic, incremental and induced paths to sustainable mass tourism convergence”, Tourism Management, vol. 30, n. 1, pp. 1-8.