The hospitality industry is facing major challenges, among them the new competition from novel forms of supply in the sharing economy. Airbnb, Homeaway, and Niumba, among other websites offering accommodations, are having an important impact in the sector, changing existing conditions and the market for the traditional hospitality industry. In this context, a strategy based in differentiation can help to prevent drops in revenues and profitability. The main objective of this paper is analyse if commitment towards sustainability has a positive impact on financial performance and can be considered a positive strategy in this new environment. The empirical data refer to a sample of hotels in Barcelona, one of the most important tourist cities in Europe. Our results suggest that there is no clear relationship between sustainability and better financial performance; however, sustainability commitment is associated with a minimum size, which can also have positive effects in terms of economies of scale and finally affect profitability. Hotels more committed to environmental issues are located in areas with a lower density of Airbnb apartments, and this geographical distribution can be more positive than a situation of massive tourist concentration in specific areas with negative externalities for neighbours.
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