Ecolodge Performance Goals and Evaluations

Gregory E. Osland, Butler University
Robert Mackoy, Butler University


The success of ecotourism depends in part on the performance of ecolodges, an infrequently researched component of this field. On-site, in-depth interviews were conducted with owners and managers of 21 ecolodges in Costa Rica and Mexico to discover their performance goals and to assess the performance of the lodges. The ecolodges were sampled from a range of ecolodge types: casual, dedicated, scientific, and agri-ecolodges. A total of 84 performance goals were identified and classified using a new framework, partially derived from organisational strategy and management literatures. Sustainable economic development goals were mentioned most frequently. Performance goals varied by ecolodge type, with, for example, managers of scientific ecolodges expressing the goal of education of ecotourists more consistently than the other types. While individual ecolodges have multiple types of performance goals, managers and owners actually used objective, financial goals to evaluate the overall success of their ecolodges. About two-thirds of the interviewees evaluated their ecolodge as successful overall.