The relationship among environmental performance, economic results and Social media presence A study of voluntary eco-certified hotels in Florida
Chmura, N. (2016) The relationship among environmental performance, economic results and Social media presence A study of voluntary eco-certified hotels in Florida, no. 419.
This study sought to investigate whether there was a relationship among environmental performance, economic results and social media presence that contributed to the competitive advantage of Florida Green Lodging Program eco-certified hotels. While eco-certifications were not specifically cultivated for marketing on social media websites, the two-dimensional logos were developed as a meaningful marketing tool that can also be used in an online environment to convey a firm's commitment to environmental standards. Therefore, gaining an understanding of what connects the added marketing benefit of an eco-certification and the utility usage of an environmentally conscious hotel holds the possibility to garner positive economic results for firms that commit to specific eco-certification standards. Built on a literature foundation of sustainable tourism, social media and theories that unite both subject matters, the study adopted a mixed-methods, sequential explanatory research design with an emphasis on the quantitative findings. The investigation was organized in two phases. The initial phase analyzed data from the FGLP to determine if relationships existed. The second phase provided supportive qualitative data to better comprehend the statistical findings discovered in the first phase. The study utilized both primary data collected from web-based surveys and dialogue paired with secondary data garnered from government forms and social media websites. The pragmatic underpinning of the study permitted the collection, analysis and interpretation of the statistical results combined with supportive qualitative findings structured by six hypotheses that addressed the study's aim and objectives. The findings revealed 15 statistically significant relationships. Only four relationships contributed a positive economic result and 11 provided negative economic consequences to the eco-certified hotel. The statistical results were paired with qualitative concerns about the program's commitment to marketing and communication efforts. In addition, the study revealed a management factor may be limiting the relationship among environmental performance, economic results and social media presence, which could be addressed if a more holistic and cross-functional management approach was implemented at an eco-certified property. This work contributes to the growing research between sustainability and marketing, and the use of social media within the hospitality industry, which extended the theoretical foundation of the resource-based theory for future research. The study made an original contribution of knowledge with its use of the resource-based theory to determine the statistical relationships of the physical and fiscal operations of eco-certified hotels in relation to their social media presence. It also extended the definition of marketing 'resources' to include seven social media web sites. Future research could continue the investigation among environmental performance, economic results and social media presence to include larger samples, different regions, non-certified hotels and even a contextual review of social media participation. Such findings hold the potential to understand if complementary relationships exist and if hotels could employ the findings to increase its return on investment in both environmental and marketing initiatives.