Business and Management Research News

The business and management department’s own Dr. Pernille Eskerod’s research on the hospitality sector, “Motivations for and Comparisons of Green Certificates within the Hotel Industry”, was recently published in the Universal Journal of Management. We sat down with her to discuss her latest article and her passion for eco-friendliness in the hospitality sector.
 
WVPU: Could you please tell us about your most recent article publication?  

Dr. Eskerod: A blooming hotel industry has the downside of an increased negative environmental impact. At the same time, many hotel guests and employees have become conscious of eco-friendliness and green practices. A hotel that has obtained one or more green certificates promises green services, products, and operations, and possesses thereby (potentially) important strategic assets, when it comes to attracting customers and employees. As more than 100 different certifications are offered within the hotel industry, including Green Globe and Green Key, the choice of certificate(s) is a strategic choice for hotel management.

Both strategy and implementation are topics which are close to my heart, and I have done considerable research on both during my academic career. In this paper, we tried to determine similarities and differences among green certifications as well as analyze the presence of green certificates in different regions, such as southeast Europe. Even though many of the certifications are offered internationally, we identified clear differences in dissemination across regions. In addition to region, our analysis showed that belonging to a hotel chain/brand seems to be highly influential on the choice of certificate(s).

WVPU: You have involved other members of the Webster Vienna community in this research. Could you tell us about that?

Dr. Eskerod: The article was a collaboration with a Webster Vienna MBA student, Ms. Jovana Djuric, whose merit-based trainee scholarship allowed her to support me in data collection and writing up the text. We went to Serbia and Denmark to do interviews with hotel representatives, and this was very interesting and a lot of fun. In addition, we presented a former version of the article at a conference in Belgrade, Serbia, in Fall 2017.


 

In addition, an adjunct professor in the Business and Management Department, Mr. Peter Sunley, made two interviews on behalf of us at hotels in Thailand and in the Maldives. We exchanged ideas with him on the interview guide; this added value to our research, and it was a pleasure to work with him.

I am happy with and thankful for both Jovana and Peter’s cooperation - and will definitely aim to involve students and adjunct faculty in my future research as well.

WVPU: You seem to return to this topic often. What about the hospitality and hotel industries in particular do you find so interesting?

Dr. Eskerod: The hospitality industry is one of the world’s largest and most important industries – as well as an industry that is still developing rapidly. It's more than evident that the extent of travels, international conferences and overnight stays have increased significantly and will continue to rise. At the same time, it is a global industry. I think this fits well to Webster. I therefore not only benefit from my research in publications, but also as inputs for my teaching as all students can relate to this industry.

WVPU: Where do you think your research on this topic will go next? Which questions are you working on?

Dr. Eskerod: I am currently writing a conference paper with an MBA alumni, Ms. Viktoriya Onopriyenko, for an upcoming conference in Budapest. Viktoriya wrote about impacts of green certifications on brand image, operational efficiency and customer attraction capabilities in her master thesis, and at an interview where I also participated we came across a new trend within hotels, i.e. beekeeping in hotel backyards and rooftops. We thought that this was a nice, symbolic and heart-touching activity and decided to investigate it further. Therefore we are working on a paper called The Flowers and the Bees – Engaging Hotel Guests in Sustainable Tourism. I am looking forward to present it for the Webster Community at a later stage.