Handbook of Research on Innovation in Tourism Industries

Handbook of Research on Innovation in Tourism Industries

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Dorthe Eide and Einar Lier Madsen

The tourism sector – already one of the fastest growing industries in the world – is currently undergoing extensive change thanks to strong market growth and a transition to more experience-based products. The capacity for firms to innovate and adapt to market developments is crucial to their success, but research-based knowledge on innovation strategies in tourism remains scarce. This pioneering Handbook offers timely, original research on innovation within the tourism industry from a number of interdisciplinary and global perspectives.

Chapter 10: Tourism and business model innovation: the case of US wine makers

David L. Brannon and Johan Wiklund

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, development studies, tourism, environment, research methods in the environment, geography, human geography, tourism


This chapter focuses on innovation in business models. Specifically, we examine how entrepreneurs in the well-established wine industry develop new, innovative business models, many of which incorporate tourism. The majority of research on business models has focused on high technology. Work is needed that explores business models in other industries, such as those with a tourism component. Business model research has been criticized for lacking a coherent theoretical basis (George & Bock, 2011). In order to overcome this challenge, we build on evolutionary theory and the concepts of organizational routines and configurations to construct a framework for examining innovation in business models. Several definitions of the business model concept have been proposed and a consensus has not been achieved (cf. George & Bock, 2011). These authors provide the broad definition: ëthe design of organizational structures to enact a commercial opportunityí (p. 99), which we utilize in our research. Building on evolutionary theory, we posit that these organizational structures that make up the business model consist of clusters of organizational routines used by firms. Individual flowers in a field can mutate, displaying variations that give them different features from the other flowers. If this mutation has a competitive advantage over the other flowers, the mutation will gradually spread throughout the population of flowers (if not, the mutated flower will die and generate no offspring). Similarly, firms can exhibit variation in their clusters of organizational routines that can potentially spread throughout the industry.

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