Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Tourism & Hospitality

First Advisor

Dr. Aisling Ward


This research sets out to examine the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in the context of the hotel industry, with a specific focus on Ireland and the South West Region. The study looked at the level of importance placed on CSR by both the hotel consumer and the hotel industry. The study also sought to determine the relevance of CSR as a source of competitive advantage

Interest in the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly prominent in recent years. There has been a shift in practice from companies doing good to be seen to be doing good, towards a more mutually beneficial position where CSR activity allows a company to do good and do well. In recent decades the theory of the triple bottom line was also introduced. This is where a company operates with consideration given to the social, environmental and economic impact of the business.

The primary research was carried out in the South West region of Ireland. On site questionnaires were used to gather consumer data and semi-structured interviews were used to gather industry data from hotel managers.

A number of key findings have resulted from this study. CSR has been widely researched in the context of industry in general. There is, however, a dearth of research from the hotel industry’s perspective, especially in Ireland. It is evident that the hotel consumer is becoming more conscious of social and environmental activities, however, price location and quality of service remain the most important factors when choosing a hotel to use. This research also found that there is a lack of communication by hotels of their social and environmental activities to their customers. This information would influence the customers’ perception of the hotel if it was known to them, and perhaps alter purchase behaviour.

The main areas identified for gaining competitive advantage were the improvement of the businesses’ reputation, the attraction of a higher quality workforce and the reduction in the cost base.

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