This paper analyzes the dynamic efficiency of the hospitality sector in the province of Bolzano (Italy) to identify similar behavior of firms across the period 2002–2008. A data envelopment analysis is run as a basis to analyze the efficiency evolution of the firms by employing two complementary measures of distance (i.e. correlation and average distances). Via a hierarchical clustering approach, results show the existence of homogeneous groups with similar dynamical characteristics. Structural factors (e.g. size, number of stars and sub-sector of activity) are found to affect the evolution of hotel efficiency over time. Policy and management implications are drawn from the present analysis. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.