Success in Hosted Accommodation: Does Owner Age Matter?
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Recent studies of mature entrepreneurs in Europe, the UK, and North America suggest that, contrary to popular perception, the growing number of small businesses created and operated by mature entrepreneurs have a longer life span and are generally more successful. The literature primarily attributes this perceived success to various age-related advantages, such as the ability to accrue greater commercial experience, more personal networks and experience, and greater personal financial resources that can be used to fund the venture. In order to investigate the age-related success of small tourism businesses, this study analyzes 167 responses from a survey of 655 hosted accommodation owner-operators in Western Australia. The relative success of each business venture was evaluated using a number of criteria: longevity of the enterprise, consumer demand (measured via occupancy rate), and two measures of self-perceived levels of success. The results show that while businesses operated by mature entrepreneurs have a longer life span, every other indicator of success—both objective and subjective—suggests that these owner-operators are actually less successful than expected. These results contradict the emerging body of evidence elsewhere, and suggest that firms run by older entrepreneurs may in fact be more marginal than has previously been supposed.
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