Archive for the ‘hospitality and tourism’ Category

Discovering Regions of Different Functions in a City Using Human Mobility and POIs

August 22, 2012 Comments off

Discovering Regions of Different Functions in a City Using Human Mobility and POIs
Source: Microsoft Research

The development of a city gradually fosters different functional regions, such as educational areas and business districts. In this paper, we propose a framework (titled DRoF) that discovers Regions of different Functions in a city using both human mobility among regions and points of interests (POIs) located in a region. Specifically, we segment a city into disjointed regions according to major roads, such as highways and urban express ways. We infer the functions of each region using a topic-based inference model, which regards a region as a document, a function as a topic, categories of POIs (e.g., restaurants and shopping malls) as metadata (like authors, affiliations, and key words), and human mobility patterns (when people reach/leave a region and where people come from and leave for) as words. As a result, a region is represented by a distribution of functions, and a function is featured by a distribution of mobility patterns. We further identify the intensity of each function in different locations. The results generated by our framework can benefit a variety of applications, including urban planning, location choosing for a business, and social recommendations. We evaluated our method using large-scale and real-world datasets, consisting of two POI datasets of Beijing (in 2010 and 2011) and two 3-month GPS trajectory datasets (representing human mobility) generated by over 12,000 taxicabs in Beijing in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The results justify the advantages of our approach over baseline methods solely using POIs or human mobility.

Saving the Bed from the Fed

July 29, 2012 Comments off

Saving the Bed from the Fed
Source: Center for Hospitality Research, Cornell school of Hotel Administration

We estimate the reaction of the United States hotel and restaurant industries to the monetary policy actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve. We find that a portfolio of hotel industry stocks react strongly to unexpected changes in the federal funds target rate. Specifically, for a hypothetical surprise 25-basis-point rate cut, the value-weighted hotel industry stock portfolio registers a one-day gain of 245 basis points (or 2.45 percent). This response is 78-percent stronger than that of the overall equity market in the U.S. In addition, the price impact is stronger at times of policy reversals. On the other hand, the restaurant industry is not as responsive to unexpected changes in the monetary policy. To “save the bed from the Fed,” investors should first recognize the sensitivity of hotel stocks to changes in Fed policy and then engage in appropriate risk management activities, including hedging portfolio risk in the futures market.

Ethnic Reunion and Cultural Affinity

June 28, 2012 Comments off

Ethnic Reunion and Cultural Affinity (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

Ethnic reunion is the propensity of tourists to travel to regions where their ancestors originate from, while cultural affinity is the propensity of tourists to travel to regions with a shared cultural identity. This paper uses a “world migration matrix”, which records the year-1500 origins of the current populations of 159 countries, in a standard tourism gravity equation to provide the first empirical evidence of the existence of both these tourism traits at the global level. Our results remain robust even when controlling for other historical links, such as colonial legacy and regional trade agreements. By controlling for trade flows, we also show that this impact is unique to tourism. Ethnic reunion and cultural affinity are thus important — and neglected — constituents of tourism patterns (and of research), with important policy implications.

Branding Hospitality: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices

June 28, 2012 Comments off

Branding Hospitality: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Participants in the second annual Cornell Brand Management Roundtable examined both the elements of a strong brand and the place of social media in helping hospitality brands survive and thrive. While brand management fundamentals remain unchanged in the digital age, the widespread expansion of social media and smart phones, along with ever vigilant (and vigilante) guests creates a round-the-clock environment for all brands.

Excellent brands will continue to shine in this environment, but weak or defective brands may be swept away by the tsunami of digital information. One participant’s definition of a brand is “business strategy brought to life.” Under that rubric, everyone in the company should understand and be able to articulate their brand’s key differentiating points. Whether one is developing a new brand or upgrading an existing brand, innovating a brand involves a disciplined process that begins with recognizing a need and then taking the steps to determine how to fill that need in a way that resonates with customers. As an example, InterContinental Hotels Group has developed the new Even Hotels brand to fulfill an identified market gap for frequent travelers who wish to maintain their healthful balance and routines on the road.

The rise of social media has altered the relationship of brand and customer from a theoretical partnership to a continuous interaction. In particular, social media strongly influence consumers’ purchase processes. For example, brands in the original decision set may all be dropped by the time a purchase occurs and an entirely different brand—perhaps one suggested by strangers via social media—may be the final choice. Moreover, flash deals spur purchases that may be based on price rather than brand. To remain a strong brand in the presence of social media, a hospitality firm needs horizontal integration so that guests receive a consistent experience at all levels of brand contact.

Free registration required to download report.

Designing Ranking Systems for Hotels on Travel Search Engines by Mining User-Generated and Crowd-Sourced Content

May 27, 2012 Comments off

Designing Ranking Systems for Hotels on Travel Search Engines by Mining User-Generated and Crowd-Sourced Content
Source: Social Science Research Network

User-Generated Content (UGC) on social media platforms and product search engines is changing the way consumers shop for goods online. However, current product search engines fail to effectively leverage information created across diverse social media platforms. Moreover, current ranking algorithms in these product search engines tend to induce consumers to focus on one single product characteristic dimension (e.g., price, star rating). This approach largely ignores consumers’ multi-dimensional preferences for products. In this paper, we propose to generate a ranking system that recommends products that provide on average the best value for the consumer’s money. The key idea is that products that provide a higher surplus should be ranked higher on the screen in response to consumer queries. We use a unique dataset of U.S. hotel reservations made over a three-month period through Travelocity, which we supplement with data from various social media sources using techniques from text mining, image classification, social geo-tagging, human annotations, and geo-mapping. We propose a random coefficient hybrid structural model, taking into consideration the two sources of consumer heterogeneity the different travel occasions and different hotel characteristics introduce. Based on the estimates from the model, we infer the economic impact of various location and service characteristics of hotels. We then propose a new hotel ranking system based on the average utility gain a consumer receives from staying in a particular hotel. By doing so, we can provide customers with the “best-value” hotels early on. Our user studies, using ranking comparisons from several thousand users, validates the superiority of our ranking system relative to existing systems on several travel search engines. On a broader note, this paper illustrates how social media can be mined and incorporated into a demand-estimation model in order to generate a new ranking system in product search engines. We thus highlight the tight linkages between user behavior on social media and search engines. Our inter-disciplinary approach provides several insights for using machine learning techniques in economics and marketing research.

Benefits from Agglomeration Within and Between Hotel Segments

April 1, 2012 Comments off

Benefits from Agglomeration Within and Between Hotel Segments
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Research Question: How does product heterogeneity interact with geographic agglomeration?, or How do the net benefits of agglomeration vary across differentiated firms?

Findings: Agglomeration patterns among U.S. hotels are characterized by a high degree of product heterogeneity. The benefits from agglomeration do not merely accrue to lower scale hotels locating near upper-scale hotels, but also vice versa.

Free registration required to download full report.

U.S. Commerce Department Releases Data Showing Tourism Spending Increased 8.1 percent in 2011, Supporting an Additional 103,000 Tourism-Related Jobs

March 24, 2012 Comments off

U.S. Commerce Department Releases Data Showing Tourism Spending Increased 8.1 percent in 2011, Supporting an Additional 103,000 Tourism-Related Jobs
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce today released tourism data revealing that international and domestic tourism spending increased 8.1 percent in 2011, supporting an additional 103,000 jobs for a total of 7.6 million. A big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors to our country: in 2011, 62 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 2.5 million from the year before. These international visitors spent an all time record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services. The large volume of international visitors makes travel and tourism our number-one service export. These figures come on the heels of President Obama’s announcement of new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the U.S.

+ 2011 Release on International Visitation to the United States

Emerging Marketing Channels in Hospitality: A Global Study of Internet-Enabled Flash Sales and Private Sales

February 24, 2012 Comments off

Emerging Marketing Channels in Hospitality: A Global Study of Internet-Enabled Flash Sales and Private Sales
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

The potential uses of flash deals or daily deals have caught the attention of many restaurant and hotel firms, as well as third-party distributors, such as Expedia. A survey of nearly 200 international hospitality practitioners found that a remarkable 42 percent had tested a flash deal promotion, and some of those firms had offered numerous flash deals. At the same time, 46 percent of the responding hospitality firms had no intention of offering a flash deal, with some citing concerns about the potential damage of group discounts to brand integrity. Individual hotels that had offered flash deals tended to be on the large side, averaging more than 150 rooms. Discounts offered in the deals ranged widely, from 15 to over 75 percent off rack rates. Likewise, commissions paid to deal vendors saw a wide range, as the most typical commission was 15 to 20 percent, but some hotels paid as much as a 40-percent commission. Most of the deals reported in this survey had been offered through Groupon or LivingSocial, but Jetsetter unexpectedly appeared as the number-three flash-deal channel for these respondents. Deal structures also varied widely, although many deals were offered for mid-week. Although most offers involve a non-refundable purchase, deal vendors are increasingly offering their customers opportunities to obtain refunds in certain circumstances. Respondents’ general assessment of the deals’ success was moderate. They agreed that their deals brought in new customers, but repeat business was more tenuous. One favorable outcome was that the respondents saw little evidence of cannibalization of existing business, particularly when they packaged their deal carefully. On balance, hoteliers who were most pleased with the outcome of their deals were also the ones who managed the cost of the deal most assertively.

Free registration required to download full report.

Tipped Over the Edge — Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry

February 16, 2012 Comments off

Tipped Over the Edge — Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry (PDF)

Source:  Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Our new report, “Tipped Over the Edge” was released today on Capitol Hill by , U.S. Representative Donna Edwards and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and other major research and advocacy organizations, including Family Values @ Work, HERVotes Coalition, the Institute For Women’s Policy Research, MomsRising, National Coalition On Black Civic Participation’s Black Women’s Roundtable,  National Council For Research On Women, National Organization For Women, National Partnership For Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Wider Opportunities For Women, Women Of Color Policy Network (NYU Wagner), and 9to5 National Association for Working Women.
The report shows that women who work in the industry face systematic discrimination, poverty wages, a lack of sick days, and five times more harassment than the general female workforce. One major cause of poverty for these working women is that restaurant lobbyists have succeeded in keeping the federal minimum wage for servers and other tipped workers frozen at only $2.13 per hour for the past 20 years.

Executive Summary (PDF)

Full Report (PDF)

UK — Guidance for tour operators: disruption of package holidays by unusual and unforeseeable circumstances

February 9, 2012 Comments off

Guidance for tour operators: disruption of package holidays by unusual and unforeseeable circumstances (PDF)
Source: Department for Business Innovation & Skills

Advice for tour operators that applies to package travel and holidays which fall within the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. Summarises the Government’s views on how to apply these Regulations when unusual and unforeseeable circumstances, such as the volcanic eruption in Iceland, occur and disrupt the package.

Cornell Studies Examine Hotel Operating Results in Spain and the U.K.

December 21, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Two reports from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, provide new perspectives on hotel operating results. One report analyzes the first two years of operating results for hotels in the United Kingdom. The other examines the effects of ISO 14001 certification for hotels in Spain. Although the reports are unrelated and deal with two different studies in two countries, both seek to help hotel operators determine the most effective way to improve their revenue picture.

Deloitte’s 2011 Annual Business Traveler Survey

December 19, 2011 Comments off

Deloitte’s 2011 Annual Business Traveler Survey
Source: Deloitte

Deloitte’s annual Business Traveler Survey gauges corporate travel plans for the upcoming year. With a broad range of data, the survey offers key findings for travel industry executives, and media.

The survey has uncovered important travel trends. For instance, corporate travel will likely fuel the travel, hospitality and leisure industry in 2012 as many Millennials and Generation X professionals expect to take to the road more often.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Restaurant Daily Deals: Customers’ Responses to Social Couponing

November 19, 2011 Comments off

Restaurant Daily Deals: Customers’ Responses to Social Couponing
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

A survey of 931 U.S. consumers finds that those who have purchased daily deals from a casual dining, fast-casual, or quick-service restaurant are not noticeably different in behavior or attitudes from those who have not done so. One difference in attitudes provides insight into those who purchase social coupons: they like to be “market mavens,” who stay on the cusp of market trend and price information. Those who purchased daily deals were significantly more likely to be younger, be married, and have a higher income than non-purchasers. On balance, the study indicated that the benefits of offering a social coupon seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Many of the potential concerns about offering a social coupon, including poor tipping, overwhelming the staff, and customer disloyalty, are not substantiated. There was some evidence of cannibalization, as 44 percent of those using a social coupon reported being frequent customers, but the coupons also brought back infrequent customers and attracted a substantial percentage of new customers. Most critically, many of the new and infrequent customers said they would return to the restaurant and pay regular prices, as well as recommend the restaurant to friends. New customers in particular would not have tried the restaurant without the daily deal offer. All customer groups said they considered the restaurant to be a good value, even without the discount offer.

Free registration required to download full report.

See also: To Groupon or Not To Groupon: A Tour Operator’s Dilemma

Policing licensed premises in the Australian Capital Territory

October 30, 2011 Comments off

Policing licensed premises in the Australian Capital Territory
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

There is an old joke that says that an Australian’s definition of a drinking problem is being in a situation where you can’t get a drink. This reflects Australia’s well-established reputation for being a community where the consumption of alcohol, frequently at excessive and harmful levels, is associated with many forms of entertainment and participation in social events. In other words, the association between alcohol consumption and the enjoyment of social activity is a deeply embedded cultural phenomenon.

However, the evidence relating to the range of individual and social harms associated with alcohol misuse is strong. In 2007, one in four Australians were a victim of alcohol-related verbal abuse, 13 percent were put in fear and 4.5 percent of Australians aged 14 years or older had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol (AIHW 2008). The rates of physical and verbal abuse by a person affected by alcohol are more than twice the rate for other drug types. Alcohol-related crime and disorder also has a significant adverse impact upon the perceptions of safety among the broader community.

At the same time, Australia also has a substantial reputation for developing and implementing innovative policy approaches to trying to reduce the harms associated with excessive alcohol use and violence in particular. Many of these initiatives have been focused on regulatory responses that target licensed premises and liquor outlets. Licensed premises are a high-risk setting for alcohol-related violence, with a large proportion of assaults occurring in or within very close proximity to hotels and nightclubs. Furthermore, both patrons and staff of licensed premises are at a heightened risk of becoming involved in a violent incident compared with other locations.

Over the years, police and liquor regulatory authorities, often in partnership with liquor licensees, have committed significant effort and resources to efforts to improve the overall safety of drinking venues and the overall amenity of the nearby community. Unfortunately, often what has been missing from such efforts has been any systematic assessment of their relative effectiveness and methods for sharing the lessons learned.

This report is part of an attempt to redress this knowledge deficit. Undertaken in close partnership with Australian Capital Territory Policing (ACTP), the project was a detailed study of the effectiveness of a series of policing measures implemented by the ACTP over several months to reduce and prevent alcohol-related violence in and around licensed premises and entertainment precincts in the ACT.

As with similar studies previously conducted here and overseas, the project found mixed results in relation to effectiveness. However, the project was able to help identify and explain what things were working and why, thereby providing a series of evidence-based recommendations for future policing in this area, many of which it is pleasing to note have already been adopted by ACTP.

The Current State of Online Food Ordering in the U.S. Restaurant Industry

September 29, 2011 Comments off

The Current State of Online Food Ordering in the U.S. Restaurant Industry
Source: Center for Hospitality Research, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration

A study of 372 U.S. restaurant operators (of all sizes) that accept takeout orders found that about one-quarter of those surveyed have adopted online ordering. Just over one-fourth of those surveyed use some form of online ordering. These restaurateurs have been pleased with the technology, and all of them indicated that online ordering has met or exceeded their expectations on ROI. Although convenience and control are both drivers of the move toward online ordering, this study found that consumers and operators differed on the ranking of those two factors. Operators thought that consumers like online ordering for its convenience, but an earlier study of consumers found that what they like is control over the ordering process. Contrary to some reports, the restaurants in this study did not find substantial increases in average check, but they did report considerable increase in order frequency. For this sample, the top benefit of online ordering was a savings in labor, since employees are not tied up on the phone or at the counter. Order accuracy was another benefit cited by these restaurant operators.

Free registration required to access full report.

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places, 2010

September 5, 2011 Comments off

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places, 2010
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Labor productivity – defined as output per hour – rose in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services and drinking places, in 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Productivity increased as follows:

  • 9.0 percent in wholesale trade,
  • 3.9 percent in retail trade, and
  • 1.9 percent in food services and drinking places.

Productivity was higher in all three sectors in 2010 compared to 2009. Output grew in all three sectors, after declining in each sector in 2009. Hours fell in wholesale trade and in food services and drinking places but rose in retail trade, after declining in each of the sectors in 2009.

Unscrambling the Puzzling Matter of Online Consumer Ratings: An Exploratory Analysis

August 26, 2011 Comments off

Unscrambling the Puzzling Matter of Online Consumer Ratings: An Exploratory Analysis
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

This study explores the patterns of online reviews of vacation homes from a community-based travel advisory website with a goal of understanding the biases inherent in online word of mouth (WOM) related to tourism and hospitality services. An analysis of nearly 3,200 reviews from “,” (a pseudonym) which posts reviews of vacation rental properties across the USA, finds an overwhelming preponderance of favorable reviews. More to the point, relatively few “moderate” reviews are posted, and the second-highest category is extremely negative comments. Using semantic processing techniques on the aggregate review text, the study identifies the nuanced opinions and concerns of the travelers who write reviews. Negative reviews tend to be lengthy and argumentative, often detailing disappointment over expectations not met. Positive reviews, on the other hand, tend to be relatively brief and confirm the overall rating. Consumers who wrote “high” reviews placed greater importance on value for money, cleanliness, and comfort than did those who wrote negative reviews. Those who wrote “low” reviews placed their emphasis on the service provided by the property staff and management. Negative reviews were more likely to involve a higher price accommodation. This analysis indicates that the overall numerical ratings typically used in review systems may not be the ideal indicator of perceived service quality. The results suggest that review sites should develop better methods to aggregate, synthesize, and publish the review contents, particularly the numerical ratings. This and other review sites show the average of all the point-scale ratings, but such simple means do not take into account the biases that are inherent in the rating systems. Instead, the sites should provide more information and heuristics to help the consumers navigate through the clutter and get the information they desire.

Free registration required to download full paper.

Importance of E-services for Cultural Tourism

August 24, 2011 Comments off

Importance of E-services for Cultural Tourism (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

Despite a busy lifestyle – or perhaps as a result of a stressful lifestyle – more people than ever before make leisure trips, sometimes for a long time but in many cases just for short periods. Modern telecommunication technology brings attractive tourist destinations directly into the living rooms of potential travellers, also destinations that would otherwise have been difficult to find, such as certain cultural heritage objects. In this contribution, we will address the relevance of e-services in urban cultural tourism. Its aim is to map out the relative drivers of cultural visitors to cities with a particular view on the importance of modern e-services in the tourist sector. We focus on three case-study cities: Amsterdam, Leipzig and Genoa. We use discrete choice models and factor analysis to analyse the preferences of tourists for cultural heritage and e-services. Interestingly, in all three cities, the most important group of tourists, the cultural heritage enthusiasts, are often international tourists. This stresses the importance of multilingual e-services in order to maximise their impact on cultural heritage visitors and the tourism sector in general. In addition, it is also important to note that certain e-services become more important for tourists from further away, such as online booking systems.

Food Environments Near Home and School Related to Consumption of Soda and Fast Food

July 29, 2011 Comments off

Food Environments Near Home and School Related to Consumption of Soda and Fast Food
Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

In California, more than 2 million adolescents (58%) drink soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages every day, and more than 1.6 million adolescents (46%) eat fast food at least twice a week. Adolescents who live and go to school in areas with more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than healthier food outlets such as grocery stores are more likely to consume soda and fast food than teens who live and go to school in areas with healthier food environments. State and local policy efforts to improve the retail food environment may be effective in improving adolescents’ dietary behaviors.

What Matters Most? The Perceived Importance of Ability and Personality for Hiring Decisions

July 16, 2011 Comments off

What Matters Most? The Perceived Importance of Ability and Personality for Hiring Decisions
Source: Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (Cornell School of Hotel Administration)

This study examined the emphasis hiring managers placed on general mental ability (GMA) and personality—agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and extraversion—when evaluating applicant profiles for servers for a national restaurant chain. GMA was framed as either “intelligence” or the “ability to learn and solve problems.” Under both conditions, GMA was valued, but less than agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability, even though GMA has been demonstrated to be the strongest predictor of employee performance. Framed as the “ability to learn and solve problems,” GMA was more highly valued, but still less than personality.

Free registration required to access full paper.


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