A-2/16 Food as attraction: connections between a hotel and suppliers of specialty food

Using a food award-winning hotel as starting point, this study investigates the supply of specialty food to the hotel and the connections between suppliers and the hotel. The study contributes insights by applying an industrial network approach to analyze connections between the tourism sector and the food sector and effects of such connections. Around 15 rural suppliers, most located in the same region as the hotel, supply specialty food to the hotel. The connections between suppliers and the hotel have various elements. First, the two are connected through dependencies of resources (resource ties), second, through supply chains (activity links), and third, through actor bonds, which is complementarities in capabilities and identities. The connections have various effects. First, the connections contribute to stable incomes for the rural suppliers and secure an essential input factor for the hotel (specialty food). Second, the connections trigger competence development in the companies, which is important for innovation. Third, the connections have positive consequences for the position and visibility of the enterprises in their respective markets and branches. Critically, there is a connection between product strategy and the type of connections, such that a product strategy building on food variety and quality takes advantage of several weak connections. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 16(3) (2016): 116-125

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