Small firm network in tourism and hospitality : chalet firms and its owner-managers networks
Firms participate in network relationships with others to access resources that are not otherwise available. The resources may consist of goods, services, information, advice or support. This flow of resources into a firm has the potential to enhance the capability of a firm to react to the external competitive environment. Generally network relationships can be formal and/or informal. For a small firm, a network is more likely to be informal and have social links with individuals such as family, friends and acquaintances. This thesis investigates the network features and networking activities of small tourism and hospitality firms. The context of the research is that of owner-managers of chalet accommodation firms located at coastal and island destinations in the east of Peninsular Malaysia. Thirty-seven chalet owner-managers were interviewed face-to-face, using standardised interview questions and procedures, and case protocol. The research found that chalet firms were set-up mainly for economic motives rather that for lifestyle motives. The networks are composed of family and ethnic links and predominantly bounded by specific localities such as the 'village'. Informal ties are with those with a common interest in tourism products and services within a destination. The networks' contacts for business and social purposes consist of the same people. They represent less diverse, low cost and low maintenance networks. Chalet owner-managers became attached to family for financial reasons and to friends for other matters throughout their business life. This was due to the trust that was built up through the years of the relationship, which led to strong ties. The main reason for networking with the contacts was to exchange ideas, advice, and help. The local culture and religious believes have some influence in the selection of network members, network content and networking motivation as well as become guidelines in the networking activities.