Building Multinationals in the Mediterranean: Balearic Island Hotels in the 1990s

Abstract: This paper analyzes the international expansion of five hotel companies based in the Balearic Islands that expanded their operations to the Caribbean and other tourist destinations throughout the last fifteen years of the twentieth century and successfully became multinational firms. The five companies, which were strictly family-run enterprises, went through an initial phase of rapid growth in the Balearic Islands market and the broader Spanish market. In this initial phase, they accumulated assets, skills and competences that laid the groundwork for their subsequent international expansion. This accumulation took place within a very specific environment: the tourism market of the Balearic Islands, which was governed by an institutional framework for business development and internationalization that was much more favorable than in the rest of Spain.