Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED)


Core competence: Touristic cooperation

The Swiss tourism exhibits a structure of small business entities which causes challenges for competing in an increasingly globalized market. Cooperation can help to better meet these challenges and claim a strong position in this competitive market.

A cooperation is a voluntary collaboration among two or more economically independent entities. In tourism, where the touristic experience depends on an entire bundle of services provided by different companies, the cooperation beyond the borders of legal entities seems to be especially important and promising. Thereby, cooperations should always be based on win-win situations.

Our interest is in the potential of development of single cooperations, the conditions for successful cooperations, as well as scientific foundations for coorperations. The last serve as basis for our empirical projects.

Which understanding of inter-organizational cooperation in tourism does the literature have?

Interviews with Swiss tourism experts confirm that under certain circumstances cooperations can be a strategic option with lots of potential for the Swiss tourism business. Along come various barriers and challenges. Hence, we need to improve our knowledge of the phenomenon in the context of tourism. Therefore, we systematically investigate and categorize 63 studies on the topic in order to gather knowledge in the cooperation literature in general and identify research gaps with respect to the tourism sector.

CRED: Touristische Kooperationen / Touristic cooperation
Figure 1: Conditions for successful cooperations. Own presentation following Bieri & Niederberger (2017).

Cooperation in tourism is a heterogeneous phenomenon that can take many forms. Our literature analysis shows the manifoldness of factors leading to cooperation: Cooperative behavior depends on leading skills, resources, abilities, trust, etc., and environmental factors like networks in the market or technological progress. Moreover, our results show that the success depends mainly on managerial functions and processes and on mutual fit of characteristics. Research gaps were identified in the relationship between technological developments and cooperations and the general relationship of cooperative behavior and business strategies.

Current projects

Working title Research question
Benefiting from local resource sharing: Empirical investigation for hospitality firms
How do hotels profit from sharing ressources with other local actors? Which profit more and which less?
 Adrian Pfammatter, Monika Bandi Tanner, Arthur Baldauf
 Conflicting logics? The interplay between local cooperation and competition by hotels
What is the interrelation between cooperating behaviour and local competiteveness of local hotels?
 Adrian Pfammatter, Monika Bandi Tanner, Arthur Baldauf
Understanding the Phenomenon of Inter-Organizational Cooperation:
The Unique Case of Tourism – A Systematic Literature Review
Which potential do cooperations have for touristic companies?
Adrian Pfammatter, Monika Bandi Tanner, Arthur Baldauf