The latest insights in Hospitality Education and Research

4 June, 2019
  • 7 min read

Hotelschool The Hague was well represented at one of the most established international Hospitality and Tourism (education) conferences in the world hosted biannually by School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (STHM) at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. This year, the conference teamed up with CHRIE and organized the first joint Asia Pacific CHRIE – EuroCHRIE conference ever, with over 700 delegates.

The conference featured a great deal of international research presentations and various keynote speeches. The research presentations delivered by Anna de Visser-Amundson on Food Rescue, by Huub Ruël on Hospitality and Diplomacy and by Jeroen Oskam on Airbnb were very well received by the audience and led to interesting discussions. Our dean, Arend Hardorff, also attended the conference.

From a content and hospitality education perspective, we made observed and learned several things. To start with, we saw that while AirBnB is still a ‘hot topic’ in the academic debate, we saw an increasing amount of research (in comparison to previous years) being conducted in the areas of:

  1. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Robotics. The research is specifically focused on how these technologies (will) influence and/or change the service delivery, customer experiences and the hospitality industry at large. For example, what is the effect of ordering a takeout meal via a chatbot (e.g., Amazon Alexa) on consumer choice and preference in comparison when the order is placed via the website or a telephone call?
  2. Ethical dilemmas and Sustainability in the work place such as emotional labor and gender issues.
  3. CSR and sustainability in tourism development and hotel and restaurant operations.

From the keynote speakers, it particularly became clear that concepts like service design and design thinking have reached a level of maturity in the hospitality industry. An important challenge remains to take a multi-stakeholder perspective rather than the traditional approach to specifically focus on the customer only. Recent developments in service design in hospitality show that while it is important to map out the customer journey, it is equally important to understand (at least also) the employee journey to fully grasp the root cause of the problem to be able to design a solution that will solve the ‘real’ problem.

Another important take away emphasized by professor Cathy Hsu at SHTM, is that to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world, higher education in Hospitality and Tourism need to develop:

  • A multidisciplinary and broad based curriculum
  • Focus on entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Make use of MOOCs because if the content is already there, why teach it again?
  • Offer 'fluid degrees’ meaning that different students have different needs and that students can design their own curriculum and own degree i.e., the degree is co-created like at Minerva university in San Francisco.
  • A learner's perspective and apply 'edutainment', relevance and meaning to keep learners engaged
  • Lecturers that can embrace online educational models and that are not afraid to let go of content delivery in the classical way. In fact, Hsu emphasized that teaching staff is usually the problem in the online vs offline debate as the students are already used to learning and ‘living’ online! More and more universities understand this and now only 1/3 of all universities offering tourism and hospitality oriented programs, do NOT offer courses online (like HTH).

Considering the take away’s from both service design and the future of successful tourism & hospitality curricula (e.g., importance of online, personalized learning, real life cases), it is clear that HTH, with its Design Orientated approach operationalized through Play, Personal and Real, is on a good path to develop and deliver a curriculum suitable for the 21st century.

From a more general perspective, the conference was a good opportunity to further explore partnership possibilities with SHTM of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, ranked 5th worldwide where we are number 6. It also gave us the opportunity to evaluate our successful research symposium with the board of EuroCHRIE. We agreed with them to cooperate for the next edition of the research symposium in 2020 and were given the privilege to start one of the first EuroChrie’s Small Group Meetings which, in our case, will be focused on the topics of food waste and rescued food.

Overall, the visit and the attendance of the conference was a very positive experience that has helped to position The Hague as a top ranked international school.

If you have any questions or would like any more information, please feel free to contact the HTH Research Centre (research@hotelschool.nl).

About the author

Anna de Visser-Amundson

Anna de Visser-Amundson, Research Fellow in Consumer Choice Behaviour, obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Switzerland and her Masters Degree in Marketing from the VU University in the Netherlands. Before embarking on an academic career, Mrs. De Visser-Amundson held management positions in both multinational hotel companies and in independent operators in France, United States, Ireland and the Dutch Caribbean. Triggered by the motivation, self confidence and eagerness to learn of many of her Hotelschool interns during her time as Sales and Marketing Director, Mrs. De Visser-Amundson was delighted to accept a position as Senior Marketing Lecturer at the Hotelschool The Hague when she relocated with her family to the Netherlands in 2008.

In summer of 2013, she became a Research Fellow in the research group Strategic Pricing & Revenue Management. She finds great strength in being able to combine her commercial hospitality background with academic insights both when it comes to working with students but also in research. Understanding the challenges and the opportunities in running a hospitality business by 'having been there', gives her a perspective to the research that is difficult to apply if you have not experienced it yourself. Driven by her sales background to get "heads in beds", where understanding the consumer choice process is key to make the deal, Mrs. de Visser-Amundson is particularly interested in how hospitality companies can differentiate their offerings by means of customization, its effect on consumer choice, consumer experiences, perceived value and willingness to pay.

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