The role of capital structure management in maintaining the financial stability of hotel firms during the pandemic—A global investigation

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International Journal of Hospitality Management


Due to the detrimental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the hotel sector, pandemic crisis management research has received lots of academic attention, from studies in sales-marketing to human resource management. However, financial management has been largely overlooked in the agenda of pandemic crisis management and hotel resilience. Therefore, this paper aims to address the research gap by exploring the role of capital structure management in maintaining financial stability and resilience capacities of hotel firms during this evolving and unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic. Using a database of 1882 firm-quarter observations of 196 hotel firms in 30 countries from Quarter 3 2018 to Quarter 2 2021, it is found that low debt capital structure mitigates the adverse impact of the pandemic on hotel firms’ financial stability during this turbulent time; particularly the negative impacts caused by government restrictions on both domestic and international travel. The benefit of low debt levels is more pronounced for more vulnerable hotels such as small, less diversified, and slow growing hotel firms. Also, hotel firms that have less long-term debt are more financial stable and resilient during pandemic period. Research outcomes suggest that financial management, in particular capital structure policies should be a critical part of hotel resilience building and crisis management strategy for hotel firms.

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