management
& marketing
Challenges for the Knowledge Society
ISSN 2069–8887
ISSN-L 1842-0206
The official journal of the
Society for Business Excellence
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Management & Marketing no. 4/2013

Innovation in rural tourism: a model for Hungarian accommodation providers
Abstract. While unspoiled natural landscapes remain a clear attraction for the guests of rural tourism, the motivation behind travel is shifting from seeking pleasure towards acquiring new experiences and knowledge. In the market of rural accommodation services this shift in demand improves the market position of those unique hosts who can provide high quality services. It also implies that accommodation providers can only improve their chances of success via continuous innovation. Based on the review of the academic literature, we constructed a model that describes the innovation capability maturity of rural accommodation service providers. We first adapted Essmann’s (2009) innovation capability maturity model to identify five main capability areas relevant to tourism services and classified the indicators into these capability areas. We then applied these indicators to compile a survey questionnaire for rural accommodation service providers in one of Hungary’s outstanding rural tourism destinations, Veszprém County, and used the findings of the survey to refine our model through principal component analysis. Finally, we identified the indicators that drive the five relevant innovation capability areas and explain the innovation capability maturity of rural accommodation service providers in Veszprém County, Hungary. Based on the above we make the following statement: The innovation capability maturity of rural accommodation service providers in Veszprém county, Hungary, can be described by the following capability areas: market knowledge, training, managing possibilities, guest orientation and rationality. The result of our analysis helps rural accommodation providers understand more about innovation and be able to better satisfy the needs of their customers.
Keyword: innovation capability, maturity, rural tourism, accommodation service providers, Veszprém County, Hungary.
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