The Role of Relations with Customers in the Innovative Activities of Hotel Companies


  • Barbara Kowalczyk Ośrodek Przetwarzania Informacji – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy Laboratorium Analiz Statystycznych i Ewaluacji
  • Marcin Olszewski Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu Wydział Gospodarki Międzynarodowej Katedra Turystyki



hotel companies, open innovations, relations, user-driven innovation


Nowadays enterprises, including the smallest ones, are facing strong pressure of implementing innovative solutions, which are regarded as one of the key factors of the companies’ performance and development. Due to the immanent characteristics of hotel enterprises, knowledge derived from customers’ relations can play an important role in their innovation activities. The purpose of the article is to identify the importance of relations with customers in the innovative activities of hotel enterprises in Poland. The article presents the concept of User-Driven Innovation, as well as the current state of research on this issue in the tourism industry, particularly in hotel enterprises. The results of an empirical study conducted among 400 randomly selected hotels in Poland, are the key part of the article. According to the survey, customers’ relations play great role in the innovative activities of hotel enterprises. In addition, the main sources of innovations, as well as the scope of customer engagement in innovative activities are presented. Employees who directly contact the guests have a key role in acquiring and utilising knowledge coming from customers. The survey shows that Polish hotels are still at an early stage of adapting the concept of user-driven innovations. Moreover, the utilisation of knowledge from the clients for innovations requires intensification of the activities in the field of knowledge, as well as human resources management.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Barbara Kowalczyk, Ośrodek Przetwarzania Informacji – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy Laboratorium Analiz Statystycznych i Ewaluacji

Barbara Kowalczyk, Ph.D., is Chief Researcher at the Laboratory of Statistical Analysis and Evaluation of the National Information Processing Institute. She has finished her Ph.D. studies in 2017 with a doctoral thesis on the influence of relationship with the users on innovativeness of hotel companies. She has graduated from the Poznań University of Economics and Business. Her interests are focused on innovativeness, R&D actions, higher education sector. She has participated in several research and commercial projects, financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, The National Center for Research and Development, European Commission. She is an author or co-author of several books and articles on innovation, entrepreneurship, R&D sector.

Marcin Olszewski, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu Wydział Gospodarki Międzynarodowej Katedra Turystyki

Marcin Olszewski, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Tourism, Faculty of International Business and Economics at the Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland. He has finished his Ph.D. studies in 2011 with a doctoral thesis on knowledge management in hospitality industry. His areas of research include university-industry collaboration in tourism industry, knowledge management, tourism industry competitiveness, economics of tourism enterprise. He has participated in several research projects on tourism and hospitality industry (including those financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the National Science Center). He is an author or co-author of more than 50 papers (chapters in monographs, articles in journals and conference papers).


Agarwal, S., Erramilli, M.K., Dev, S.C. (2003). Market orientation and performance in service firms: role of innovation. Journal of Services Marketing, 17(1), 68–82.

Baldwin, C., Hienerth, C., Von Hippel, E. (2006). How User Innovations Become Commercial Products: A Theoretical Investigation and Case Study. Research Policy, 35(9), 1291–1313.

Christiansson, P, Sørensen, K.B., Rødtness, M., Abrahamsen, M., Riemnann, L.O., Alsdorf, M. (2008). User-Driven Innovation in the Building Process. Tsinghua& Technology, 13(1), 248–254.

Feng, T., Sun, L., Zhang, Y. (2010). The effects of customer and supplier involvement on competitive advantage: An empirical study in China. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(8), 1384–1394.

Flowers, S., Von Hippel, E., De Jong, J., Sinozic, T. (2010). Measuring user innovation in the UK. The importance of product creation by users. NESTA.

Fuller, J., Matzler, K. (2007). Virtual product experience and customer participation – A chance for customer-centered, really new products. Technovation, 27(6–7), 378–387.

Grissemann, U., Plank, A., Brunner-Sperdin, A. (2013). Enhancing business performance of hotels: the role of innovation and customer orientation. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 33, 347–356.

Hall, C.M., Williams, A.M. (2008). Tourism and innovation. London: Routledge.

Harhoff, D., Henkel, J., Von Hippel, E. (2003). Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: How users benefit by freely revealing their innovations. Research Policy, 32, 1753–1769.

Hjalager, A.M. (2010). A review of innovation research in tourism. Tourism Management, 31(1), 1–12.

Hjalager, A.M., Nordin, S. (2011). User-Driven Innovation in Tourism – A Review of Methodologies. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 12(4), 289–315.

Nieves, J., Quintana, A., Osorio, J. (2014). Knowledge-based resources and innovation in the hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 38, 65–73.

OECD (1996) (2017, 30 listopada). The Knowledge-Based Economy. Paris: OECD. Pozyskano z

O’Hern, M., Rindfleisch, A. (2008). Customer Co-creation: A Typology and Research Agenda. Innovation Thoughts on Innovation from the Wisconsin School of Business, Working Paper, 4.

Orfila-Sintes, F., Mattsson, J. (2009). Innovation behavior in the hotel industry. Omega, 37(2), 380–394.

Ottenbacher, M. (2007). Innovation Management in the Hospitality Industry: Different Strategies for Achieving Success. Journal of hospitality and Tourism Research, 31(4), 431–454.

Piller, F., Ihl, Ch. (2009). Open Innovation with Customers. Foundations, Competences and International Trends. Technology and Innovation Management Group. Germany: RWTH Aachen University.

Salter, A., Laursen, K. (2006). Open for innovation: The role of openness in explaining innovation performance among UK manufacturing firms. Strategic Management Journal, 27(2), 131–150.

Sørensen, F. (2007). The geographies of social networks and innovation in tourism. Tourism Geographies, 9(1), 22–48.

Sundbo, J., Orfila-Sintes, F., Sørensen, F. (2007). The innovative behavior of tourism firms – Comparative studies of Denmark and Spain. Research Policy, 36(1), 88–106.

Szymańska, E. (2017). User-Driven Innovation – the Concept and Research Results. Procedia Engineering, 182, 694–700.

Tajeddini, K. (2010). Effect of customer orientation and entrepreneurial orientation on innovativeness: Evidence from the hotel industry in Switzerland. Tourism Management, 31(2), 221–231.

Tajeddini, K., Trueman, M. (2012). Managing Swiss hospitality: how cultural antecedents of innovation and customer – oriented value systems can influence performance in the hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31, 1119–1129.

Tether, B.S. (2002). Who co-operates for innovation, and why. An empirical analysis. Research Policy, 31, 947–967.

Trigo, A., Vence, X. (2012). Scope and patterns of innovation cooperation in Spanish service enterprises. Research Policy, 41(3), 602–613.

Von Hippel, E. (1976). The Dominant Role of Users in the Scientific Instrument Innovation Process. Research Policy, 5(3), 212–239.

Von Hippel, E. (1988). The Sources of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Von Hippel, E. (1990). Predicting the Source of Commercially Valuable User Innovation Via Lead Users. Advances in Telecommunication Management, 1(1), 131–145.

Von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Wise, E., Høgenhaven, C. (2008). User-Driven Innovation. Context and Cases in the Nordic Region. Oslo: Nordic Innovation Centre.



How to Cite

Kowalczyk, B., & Olszewski, M. (2018). The Role of Relations with Customers in the Innovative Activities of Hotel Companies. Studies of the Industrial Geography Commission of the Polish Geographical Society, 32(2), 299–310.