ABCC 2008

Case Title: Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings: Competitive Strategy and Sustainable Tourism


Author(s): Wee Beng Geok & Ivy Buche


Abstract: By 2008, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC (ASHH), a leading Sri Lanka hotel group had established a reputation for operating iconic resorts, in particular, its resort at Kandalama in the central highlands region of the country. Heritance Kandalama, the resort, had evolved after a troubled beginning to gain international recognition for its social, ecological and environmental best practices. In large measure, this was due to the emergence of a set of people management practices that had evolved an organisational culture with values that supported these best practices and enabled the resort to survive, notwithstanding ongoing civil conflict in Sri Lanka. In 2007, ASHH launched a strategic drive into hotel management services in India. A major element of the group’s brand equity was its core competency in sustainable and community–sensitive development, much of which it had acquired through the Heritance Kandalama resort experience. A key challenge for ASHH: Can the group’s philosophy of sustainable development be successfully implemented in India’s hospitality industry? How could ASHH use the Kandalama experience to manage hotels in the culturally and socially diverse towns and cities of India?