Article Highlight | 13-May-2024

Hotels need agile and resilient managers to weather hard times, study finds

University of Sharjah

A joint study by the University of Sharjah, and Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, has found agility and resilience to be “a necessary intervening step” for firms in the midst of a crisis like the pandemic.

The authors’ target has been to empirically assess the impact of Dynamic Capabilities (DCs) on the agility and resilience of hotel Supply Chains (SCs) at the time of the pandemic.

DCs are factors that impact performance of firms and their ability to rearrange their resources to respond to market shifts and rapid and unexpected changes in a firm’s business environment.

To examine the rapidly evolving hotel business milieu in the wake of Covid-19, the authors’ survey examines data collected from 268 respondents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to over 1200 hotels, more than 600 of which are in the country’s cosmopolitan city of Dubai.

The authors say their focus on dynamic capabilities stems from the crucial role they play in rendering hotel supply chains resilient and agile, particularly during disruptions caused by challenges induced by crises like the Covid-19.

At the height of the pandemic, occupancy rates had slumped almost by half in the UAE and Dubai saw a drop of nearly 60% in revenue per available room.

The results of the authors’ survey show that lack of agility and resilience to face a challenge of the magnitude of the pandemic prevented the hotels from adapting.

“Results showed complete mediation of SC agility for the relationship between seizing, transformation, and resilience,” they write. “Besides, the moderation of Digital Orientation (DO) for the relationship between SC agility and resilience is also an interesting finding.”

If firms are agile, it means their managers have practical plans to quickly respond to challenges and market shifts. The ability to be resilient endows firms with the capacity to recover and thrive regardless of adverse conditions.

“Our conceptualization that SC agility is a necessary intervening step between the DCs sensing and seizing processes and the firm’s resilience is a novel contribution,” the authors note.

The study’s lead author Dr. Matloub Hussain, Sharjah University’s professor of operations and supply chain management, says the model presented in the study responds to the findings by recent literature, and the conceptualization it provides adds significance to agility and resilience as vital factors which hotels should take into account during hard times.

Prof. Hussain describes the finding as “a novel contribution to the literature,” suggesting a paradigm shift on how to go about the processes meant to breathe life into supply chains and dynamic capabilities if hit by a crisis.

Prof. Hussain says the study has attracted interest from UAE hotels and their supply chains whose managers, he adds, are keen to have strategies in place on how to respond to future challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prof. Hussain advises hotels to “carefully unpack” their digital technologies to be able to identify ways in which these technologies can interact with other organizational processes in order to boost the pursuit of being more agile and resilient if a crisis strikes.


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