Social Network Analysis in Hospitality and Tourism

Abstracts submissions: 30 November 2021
Guest editors

Marcella De Martino

Alfonso Morvillo

Giuseppe Giordano


Social Network Analysis (SNA) has been the subject of specific interest in management and organizational studies. Areas of increasing concern are represented by the study of open innovation networks (Van Der Valk and Gijsbers, 2010), sustainable development (Kang and Park, 2013) and value co-creation processes within and among service networks (Ojuri et al., 2018). Social interaction is the primary interface between parties involved in co-creation networks (Ranjan and Read, 2016) as it enables an actor to enter into value creation processes of other parties, supporting them, and benefitting from them. Interaction processes can be favored by technologies and digital platform (Song, 2018) and, with an increasing level of trust and mutual dependence, by partnerships among network actors (Choi et al., 2020). Furthermore, knowledge is an important resource for exchange in value co-creation (Meynhardt et al., 2016) because it can be shared, developed and learned in social interactions among actors in a network.

Social Network Analysis has rapidly grown in hospitality and tourism given the interdependences among socio-economic actors in tourism products, services, and experiences. Tourism is a network-based industry and scholars have increasingly adopted network science in the last 15 years (Mariani and Baggio, 2020). Networks are beneficial for hospitality and tourism organizations as well as for destinations. This is because they enable creation of value-adding relationships and fostering innovation by accessing to external resources and knowledge, extending their offerings through new or improved services, reducing costs, and satisfying tourism stakeholders needs (Denicolai et al., 2010; Novelli et al., 2006). Previous studies addressed the collaborative networks at the destination level by focusing on their organizational structures in terms of nodes and ties, edges, or links (Marasco et al., 2018). In this regard, the analysis of network’s density (Farsani et al., 2014; Prats et al., 2008; Sørensen, 2007) and the role of centrality performed by a network/broker actor (Aarstad et al, 2015; Booyens and Rogerson, 2017; Prats et al., 2008; Romeiro and Costa, 2010) have attracted attention with respect to destination competitiveness. In their literature review on SNA studies in tourism and hospitality, Casanueva et al. (2016) highlighted that destination should be approached from a relational and geographic perspectives. Relational studies have analyzed cooperative ties between the stakeholders (firms from different tourism sectors, non-business organizations, government agencies, etc.) while the second group focused on ties in physical space, such as distances and flows between destination and tourism attractions. However, there is a notable absence of longitudinal analysis that could explain the evolution of these ties over the time. Finally, there is increasing number of studies that have applied SNA in bibliometric analysis of scientific production (Casanueva et al. 2016; Chiang, 2020; Okumus et al., 2019; Köseoglu and King, 2019; Mariani and Baggio, 2020).

Respect to other disciplines such as management, with a consolidated tradition in Social Network Analysis, its application in hospitality and tourism is still in an early stage (Casanueva et al. 2016). Research should address more in depth the nature, intensity, and direction of inter-organizational ties (formal and informal; horizontal, vertical, and cross-sectional; power vs trust) among actors and the impact of these network structural properties on destination competitiveness. Dense and strong networks are considered structures that can sustain stability, the transfer of specialist knowledge and incremental innovations, whereas less dense and weaker networks allow for more dynamism, the transfer of broad and general information and radical changes, introducing new products and services (Håkansson and Ford, 2002). Furthermore, the understanding of knowledge generation and transfer as well as the development of social capital, resources complementarity and adaptive capabilities generated through collaborative networks can be effectively approached using SNA. With the extraordinary rise of web applications and digitalization, virtual and social media platforms are exerting crucial roles on destination branding and marketing. SNA measurement, such as centrality, betweenness, closeness can offer useful insights on multi-actor engagement and value co-creation processes in online community. At micro level, the analysis of ties internal to the firm - between employers, managers, suppliers, and clients - can enhance the understanding of social interactions that affect motivation and leadership, client engagement and satisfaction. At the policy level, SNA can also contribute to decision making processes for sustainable development of cities and destinations through the analysis of tourist routes and flows, urban mobility, linkages between tourism attractions and peripherical areas.


This special issue welcomes conceptual and empirical research, employing quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods, as well as ego-net analysis drawing on different data. The guest editors are especially interested in submissions which will explore the application of Social Network Analysis to the study of Hospitality and Tourism, with strong theoretical, methodological, and empirically relevant, contributions.

Submissions related to the following topics are particularly welcome:

  • Inter-organizational ties and network properties of destination governance structure
  • Collaborative networks and destination competitiveness
  • Social capital and resources complementarity in collaborative networks
  • Adaptive capabilities and resilience of tourism organizations
  • Value co-creation in customers-suppliers’ interactions
  • Knowledge transfer and innovation in service co-design processes
  • Knowledge mapping in tourism and hospitality
  • Gender, diversity, heterogeneity, and inclusion in hospitality
  • Innovation and productivity in destination and tourism cluster
  • Sustainable development of cultural cities and destinations
  • Social networks transformation into value networks
  • Multi-actor engagement and value co-creation processes in online community
  • Social media platforms and destination branding and marketing
  • Social interactions, motivation and leadership
  • Client engagement and satisfaction in tourism experience design  
  • Political networks: Governance and sustainable development goals
  • Ethical challenges in social and digital platforms
  • Social media and tourists’ travel choices
  • Electronic Word-of-Mouth and destination competitiveness
  • Open Innovation Communities and Smart destination
  • Spatial patterns of accessibility and tourism
  • Tourist attractiveness and peripheral areas

General information for prospective authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. We welcome both conceptual and empirical papers. We welcome research embedded in context and which adopts sound theoretical foundations and different SNA methods. We are also interested in research that is based on compelling case studies of single or multiple destinations and organizations, as well as on developing conceptual frameworks. We highly welcome longitudinal social network data using RSiena as well as the analysis of multilayer and multidimensional networks. For more details and manuscript guidelines, please visit the official website at:

Submission procedure

Prospective authors are strongly encouraged to contact the special issue editors regarding potential topics of interest or any questions/suggestions regarding the special issue. Abstracts (up to 750 words) can be submitted directly to the guest editors via email ([email protected]) by 30 November 2021. Abstracts must be concise and to the point, with appropriate references. Full papers must be submitted by 15th March 2022 through ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system.

Registration and access are available at:

Please select the correct issue to submit to: “Social Network Analysis in Hospitality and Tourism”. Author guidelines for IJCHM can be found at:

Guest Editors:

Marcella De Martino, National Research Council (CNR) - IRISS, Italy

Alfonso Morvillo, National Research Council (CNR) - IRISS, Italy

Giuseppe Giordano, University of Salerno, Italy


Fevzi Okumus, University of Central Florida, USA

Review process

Each paper submitted to this special issue will be subject to the following review procedures:

  • It will be reviewed by the guest editors for general suitability for this special issue.
  • If it is judged suitable, three reviewers will be selected for a rigorous double-blind review process.
  • Based on the recommendation of the reviewers, the guest editors and the Editor-in-Chief will decide whether the particular paper should be accepted as it is, revised and re-submitted, or rejected.


Abstracts submissions: 30 November 2021 (email to: [email protected])

Abstract decisions: 15 December 2021

FULL paper submissions: 15 March 2022

Revisions and decisions: September 2022 

Publication: Early 2023


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