The Competitive Market Structure of the U.S. Lodging Industry and its Impact on the Financial Performance of Hotel Brands
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The primary objective of this study was to explore the relationship among various market structure constructs (consisting of barriers to entry, competition, growth, and market share) and their potential impact on financial performance. By applying theoretical underpinnings from the disciplines of marketing, strategy and industrial organization economics, and adapting them to the unique characteristics of the U.S. lodging industry, the above constructs were linked to produce the Lodging Market Structure (LMS) Model. The study consisted of a cross-sectional analysis using a sample of 67 well-recognized hotel brands operating in the U.S. (representing 63 percent of the national guestroom inventory), covering a four-year period between 1996 and 1999. Correlation and multiple regression analysis were used to examine the hypothesized relationships within the LMS model. This study represented the first comprehensive investigation of the competitive market structure of the U.S. lodging industry. The key findings of the study indicate that the financial performance of hotel brands in the United States is strongly impacted by competitive market structure. Among the various market structure constructs studied, barriers to entry played the most dominant role in determining the level of financial performance of hotel brands. Based on a strong negative relationship, barriers to entry are very effective in reducing competition in the U.S. lodging industry. Also, of the constructs studied, barriers to entry had the greatest influence on enhancing the market share of incumbent hotel brands. The growth rate of those incumbent brands has a positive relationship with barriers to entry. As competition intensifies, the growth rate of hotel brands slows down. Increases in competition are negatively correlated with a brand's market share. Competition has a strong negative relationship with the financial performance of hotel brands. Market share improves as the growth rate of hotel brands increases. As the growth rate of brands increases, profitability also improves. Likewise, improvements in a hotel brand's market share are positively related to increases in profitability. Lastly, the U.S. lodging market is becoming more competitive, and the industry has reached the mature stage of its lifecycle.