Strategy tools are a common element of tourism and hotel management courses, journal articles and textbooks. In this paper we explore why practitioners do not find tools useful and hence reject their use as a strategy practice. Drawing on a cross-case analysis of qualitative data from three hotel companies, key findings suggest that strategy tools may restrict the deployment of experience-based knowledge, strategy practices are legitimised by top managers' perceptions and the lack of strategizing activities inhibits the potential for tool use. The industry context, including the unique ownership-management structure and institutionalised practices, also significantly influences the use and perceived value of tools. Practitioners are recommended to reconsider the ability of strategy tools to facilitate debate and act as boundary spanning objects and tourism researchers are encouraged to further study how practitioners use and value tools in order to create new ones based on practice rather than only on theory.