A Reveiw of the 15th International Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference Switzerland

The 15th International Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference Switzerland was held over a two-day period in November 2015. The conference had two main themes. The first, “Making a difference in hospitality and tourism practice” focussed on contributions of managers and leaders to an ever-changing landscape within the hospitality industry and a tapestry of issues they might need to face in the future. The second was “Quality in contemporary hospitality education and research” which centred on how the research process could contribute to enriching the lives of individuals, business and communities. Over the course of two days, the conference brought together leading researchers from across Europe, HTMi faculty and HTMi senior students, to discuss issues facing the future of the hospitality and tourism. The conference had over thirty nationalities of young researchers in addition to internationally renowned academics and practitioners.

In total, three presentations and a series of workshops were delivered by invited keynotes and guest presenters. The conference keynote speaker Joris Merks-Benjaminen, examined how can travel companies stay relevant in all stages of the consumer journey through jointly crafting their future-ready brand strategy. Next, Dr. Nadzeya Kalbaska from USI Lugano, highlighted the use of Information and Communication Technologies for the provision of education and training within the hospitality and tourism field. She looked at the eLearning courses provided by academic institutions, tourism corporations and Destination Management Organizations. Additionally, she presented a new opportunity arising on the arena of tourism education: MOOCS – Massive Open Online Courses. Our final presentation of the morning was by Dr Peter Bolan from Ulster University which focussed on Gold Tourism and how this form of tourism can bring job creation, new business development, urban and coastal regeneration, improved quality of hotel/restaurant provision and improve the image of a tourist destination.

The second part of the first day, shifted to workshops on the Mariental Campus. These workshops provided thoughts and ideas which our researchers took with them as they prepare to enter the industry. The first of three workshops was delivered by Professor Hadyn Ingram who focussed on developing managerial skills through focussed observations. The second parallel session for our post-graduate researchers was held by Dr Alan Reeves who reinforced key outcomes of Masters’ programmes and highlighted issues and obstacles on the way to achieving this award. Finally, our last workshop by Mrs Stephanie Jameson from Leeds Beckett University contained insights into hopes, dreams and fears for your career in the international hospitality industry”.
The rest of the second day was devoted to HTMi student presentations, covering such diverse topics as communication, employee perceptions, experiential learning and events, CSR, customer loyalty, service quality and work-life balance , just to mention a few. These papers reflected an increasing quality and diversity of hospitality, tourism and educational research and additionally contributed to a vast body of knowledge for the industry.

The conference was closed by Professor Joe Goldblatt who summarised impressions from all of the outstanding presentations and delivered powerful messages on the value of research in events and how this promotes a sense of “communitas”. Overall, the conference was an exciting and stimulating event and presented many opportunities for discussion and networking amongst delegates, HTMi faculty and HTMi students. The 16th IHTRC Conference will take place in April 2016.

Martin Jost
Head of Research | Editor IHTSJ & CIHSJ
International Hospitality and Tourism Research Centre
HTMi | Hotel and Tourism Management Institute | Switzerland
mjost@htmi.ch | www.htmi.ch