Tuesday, April 28, 2015

HTMT 488 Sping 15 Advice - Leadership

One of my favorite traditions that we have in our department is our capstone class' pizza party.  As part of that experience, each professor in the department gets to stand up and say a few words of advice for our graduates.  I have posted all of mine in the past few years and I really wanted to keep that tradition alive as well.

As my transition into becoming the new Chair of the Department comes closer, I have been thinking a lot about leadership lately.  For those of you who have taken one of my classes, you know how important I feel that each of you take on a leadership role in some part of your life.  One of the biggest lessons that I have learned over the years, is that leadership requires first and foremost to understand and appreciate your team.  Over the past few years, while this team has taught you theoretical foundations, statistical analyses and financial statements.  While this information is indeed important, what was more so, is the way in which they imparted it to you.  Each of these individuals has their own approach and style that is unique unto them and uses it for their and your advantage.  If you have watched real closely over the last few years, you will see that this mix of ingredients bring a recipe for success...  

For instance, Professor Clement brings a desire to innovate. He looks at problems not as insurmountable blockages but rather as challenges for growth.  

Dr. McLeod creates real and lasting relationships.  If you have ever seen him 'work a room' it would be the first time.  He doesn't 'work a room' but rather hosts gatherings of friends and colleagues.  He is genuine and likable.  People come to trust and respect him because of it. 

Dr. Crotts is a master strategist.  He knows how to take his ideas, break them down into components and convince you that they are correct.  He achieves his goals by understanding the system and knowing where to implement his strategies where they will work to their greatest effectiveness.  

Ms. Green, I have to admit she frightened me a little at first.  I have come however to love and respect her.  What is impressive about Ms. Green is that she has a level of determination that is incredible to see. When she gets an idea in her head that she feels is right, she will run through walls to see it get done.            

Dr. Pan is a man of tremendous wisdom.  In an hour meeting, everyone will have had plenty to say but the five words stated by Dr. Pan will usually be the most memorable and insightful.  He is the best example of quality over quantity, I have ever met.

Melinda.  Her ability to keep order and organization is incredible.  She has become an indispensable member of our team because she bring order to the chaos that is academia.  She is often the voice of reason and brings a earthbound perspective to any discussion.  

Dr. Litvin, who is a man who my admiration knows no end, has gained such respect and loyalty from me because he is an individual who stands for love and compassion.  Everything he does comes directly from the heart.  He has taught me that what we do here is more than a mere profession but rather as a chance to constantly build and grow not only ourselves but to make a positive impact around us.  

We finally come to Dr. Frash.  I have to say my first few years here, I didn't really get a chance to know Dr. Frash all that well.  Over the past three years or so, I feel that we have become close and he has taught me so much.  One of his greatest gifts of leadership is that he is willing to tell the truth even if it is not to his own personal advantage.  He tells the truth even when people do not want to hear it not because he is being cruel but rather because he believes you need to hear it to become a better person.  I have witnessed him many of time be heartbroken and left feeling isolated because of what he said but knowing that he did what needed to be done in order to lead people to success.  I only hope I can be half the leader that he is.

So my leadership lessons that I hope you picked up from this little talk are innovation, relationships, strategy, determination, organization, wisdom, love and truth.  If you ensure you are working towards these ends in your life, you will be successful.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tracking Destination Image Across Trip Experience with Smartphone Technology.


The purpose of this study is to examine changes to tourists’ image of a destination throughout a trip experience.  Using Blackberry technology, a group of Canadian student travelers to Peru were asked to record images and experience about their trip during several key moments (pre-trip, upon arrival, half-way, departure, and post-trip).  The results of this mixed methods study indicate that tourists’ destination image is dynamic and continuously evolving throughout their trip, and various incidents during the trip could impact it. Of particular importance are the impressions made upon arrival and departure, as they are powerful determinants of post-trip images.  Affective image appear to be rather haphazard during the trip whereas most respondents’ cognitive image follows a specific pattern where the subjects go through an adjustment period at the beginning of the trip (resulting in lowered scores) but then rebound in a positive direction from that point.  Further, post-trip cognitive scores tend to continue to rise significantly while affective scores tend to return to pre-trip levels.

For those that want to cite this...

Smith, W.W., Li, R., Pan, B., Witte, M., & Doherty, S.  (2014). Tracking Destination Image Across Trip Experience with Smartphone Technology.  Tourism Management.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

WestJet Makes the Nice List

I am not big on promoting commercial entities however, I must give kudos where they are indeed due.  Congratulations to West Jet on their annual Christmas miracle promotion.

They have been doing this for several years now and it has gotten even more fabulous with each and every iteration.  I love when my industry decides to truly give back. It is important for us to remember that when we bring our guests to communities that those places are not just commodities. We need to be doing more of this as an industry in order to really create true partnerships with communities.  Tourism can be a great thing when done correctly.   Congrats once again to WestJet for demonstrating leadership in this regards!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Six Word Saturday

Being thankful for - white blood cells??? 

With three kids in three different schools and me teaching at a university, viruses come around our house often and I am guessing most of family has built up a pretty good immunity.  This week however, that immunity didn't work out so well as a cold ripped through the household.  During this week of thankfulness, add white blood cells to the list.  So yeah to biological sciences...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Advice for Choosing a Dissertation/ Thesis Topic

I have gotten a series of requests lately for advice on choosing a dissertation topic. So while I am writing to specific people, I thought I would share these ideas broadly too.

4F Rules for Choosing a Dissertation/Thesis Topic

  1. Fun - You are going to spend a considerable amount of time doing this topic, you better at least be somewhat interested in it.  
  2. Fund-able - There are very few projects that can be done for free. Make sure you have the resources to be able to complete the project.  
  3. Feasible - The clock is ticking, make sure it is a project you get can done in the time available. 
  4. Future - Will completing this project help your job prospects after completing it? 
I have been approached to add more F's over the years (though for me all F's should be four letters). Two others which have been suggested are:
  • Foundation: Do I have the skills and abilities to get this done?   
  • Faction: Does my adviser have the skills and abilities help me through this? Can they help me put together the right committee to make this project all it should be?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Question For the Future of Hospitality and Tourism.

The question I was posed by Leslie for the coffee chat was,

"How full is your cup?"

As usual I am going to answer such a question in my own unusual way.  

One of the great traditions of the program I work at is that we have a capstone class event at the end of term.  During this event, each professor stands up and gives the graduating class a piece of advice for the future.  While some of my colleagues share the same story year in and year out (and they are great pieces of advice); I like to tailor mine to the class.  Here is my talk that I am going to give later this after noon (and you decide if it is cup half full or not).

"There has been a question that has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks.  I thought of the question when preparing a talk for the global tourism class and I think it is valuable thought as you venture out into the workforce.  I want to pose a question to you all.  How much hospitality should we trade  for the business?  The origins of the word hospitality comes from the Greek 'philoxenos' which means 'love of strangers.'   The root of 'travel' comes from the French, 'travailler' meaning 'to work.'  Combined the original intent of hospitality was to give comfort to guests because of the hardships it took to travel. Now, the question is, have we gotten away from that original intent?

Today, as you have sat in business school classes, we have taught you about profit margins, cost-benefit analysis and return on investment.  In such, we taught you as a good business school should.  In the current world you will be asked as managers to maximize revenue and minimize costs. Even in the hospitality world we are focused on revenue management and providing streamlined service.  In that vein, we now have businesses in our industry where one can rent a car, check into a hotel or order from a restaurant and not have to interact with a person.  Heck, one hotel has a program that if you do not want maid service, that you stick a sign on your door and that they will give you reward points in exchange.  So one could purchase their room online, check in with their phone and not have maid service meaning that they could stay in a hotel and not have to interact with a single staff person.  While this may be excellent business; is it hospitality?   That is your question for the future.  How much humanity are we willing to give up in the face of business? 

On one side, we can argue that is the way of the world.  Heck, when was the last time you actually talked to a bank teller?  We have been automating every industry in America one way or another for decades.  What makes hospitality immune to this?  On the other side, isn't the core of hospitality to create a sense of 'love of strangers' and how do one do that through a smart device?   Over the next ten years, I sense we are going to see the next evolution of our industry.  How that evolution is shaped will be based on your decisions.     How much hospitality are we going to choose relative to the business?   The future of this industry is based upon your shoulders. My advice to you is this day; is to choose wisely."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Memory Monday - Mom Theme

The theme this week is Mom.  

Retired Not Tired Memory MondayLike most people, I love my mom but how I do write about her without sounding cliche?  The fundamentals of my mom is that she is an intelligent, well spoken women.  If she was born 20-25 years later, she probably would have been a CEO.  She reads constantly.  She reads a variety and a plethora of literature.  She has carried a desire to learn and grow throughout her life.  She actually thinks about things and has informed opinions.  While she is introverted, she forces herself to become a customer service expert. She is willing to stretch herself as an individual.   She is a great example of how life long learning, growth and development leads to a happy life.