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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Faculty and Staff

Kevin Kam Fung So, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor
Research Associate, Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development
Department: School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
E-mail: kevinso@hrsm.sc.edu
Phone: 803-777-7620
Fax: 803-777-1224
Office:

Carolina Coliseum, Room 1011 C

Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Kevin So, Ph.D.

Background

Ph.D., Tourism and Hospitality Marketing, Griffith University, December 2013
Graduate Certificate of Mathematical Science in Statistics and Statistical Modeling, Queensland University of Technology, December 2010
Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management (First Class Honors), Griffith University, December 2009

Kevin Kam Fung So, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and a research associate in the SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development at the University of South Carolina. So's research interests focus on services marketing and service management, with a special emphasis on customer engagement, service brand management, electronic word of mouth, internal branding, and the sharing economy in the tourism and hospitality industry. He also has a strong expertise in advanced quantitative methods and latent variable analytical techniques, such as structural equation modeling (SEM), partial least squares path modeling (PLS-PM), finite mixture partial least squares (FIMIX-PLS), latent class analysis (LCA), and latent profile analysis (LPA). To date, So has published 27 peer-reviewed journal articles (24 in SSCI journals), 3 book chapters, and 22 refereed national and international conference papers. He has 6 manuscripts presently under review and 10 manuscripts in progress.

So’s work has appeared in many top-tier academic journals including the Journal of Service Management, Journal of Travel Research, Tourism Management, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, International Journal of Hospitality Management, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, and Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing. He serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Tourism Economics, Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, and Tourism Analysis, as well as a reviewer for 13 academic journals, including Tourism Management, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Service Management, and European Journal of Marketing.

Recognition of So’s academic achievements includes the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence: Highly Commended Paper Award from the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management; the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing Martin Oppermann Best Article of the Year 2013 Award; the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research Article of the Year Award 2014; and three postgraduate scholarships for his doctoral studies. His doctoral research, “An Investigation of the Role of Customer Engagement in Strengthening Service Brand Loyalty,” won the internationally prestigious Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in the Hospitality Management category in 2014.

To date, So has participated in 12 funded research projects with a total award of approximately $400,000. Many of these projects were funded by national and state government agencies including the United States Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, and the City of Columbia, S.C., as well as peer institutions from Australia, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

So earned his doctorate in tourism and hospitality marketing from the Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia, where he also obtained a Bachelor of Business in hotel management with first class honors. While completing his doctoral studies, So pursued graduate studies in mathematical science and statistical modeling at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and served as a lecturer and instructor in the tourism and hospitality program at Griffith University. Before entering academia, he gained extensive industry experience in various hotel areas including food and beverage, concierge, and housekeeping at the Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa Gold Coast, Sheraton Perth Hotel, Perth Ambassador Hotel, and Perth Comfort Inn Wentworth Plaza Hotel. Outside of work, So is a photography enthusiast.

Honors and awards

  • 2016 Finalist, the Patricia G. Moody Researcher of the Year Award 2016, College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management, University of South Carolina
  • 2015 Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research Article of the Year Award 
  • 2015 The 2014 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in the Hospitality Management category
  • 2014 Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing Martin Oppermann Best Article of the Year Award
  • 2011 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011: Highly Commended Paper Award from International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
  • 2011 Second Prize, Griffith Business School Higher Degree Research (HDR) Poster Competition
  • 2010-2013 Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship (GUPRS)
  • 2010-2013 International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (GUPRS)
  • 2010-2013 Griffith Business School Top-Up Scholarship (IPRS)
  • 2009 Griffith University Medal. Two of approximately 5000 graduates received the award
  • 2009 Griffith Business School Honors Scholarship (AUD 5,000)
  • 2009 Department of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel and Sport Management Honors Scholarship (AUD 2,500)
  • 2009 Full Tuition Scholarship for Honors Degree (Full year tuition equivalent to AUD 18,000)
  • 2009 Griffith Award for Academic Excellence, 2008 – 2009
  • 2008 Griffith Award for Academic Excellence, 2007 – 2008
  • 2007 Griffith Award for Academic Excellence, 2006 – 2007
  • 2007 Scholarship for Griffith-Pukyong National University (Korea) Cultural Exchange Program (Winter)
  • 2007 Golden Key Honor Society Award, 2007

Teaching

  • HRTM 280–Foundations of Tourism
  • HRTM 388–Resort Development and Management
  • HRTM 450–Hospitality and Tourism Marketing
  • HRSM 700–Doctoral Course: Quantitative Methods for Research in Hospitality, Tourism, and Sport Management

Select refereed journal publications

*Student publication
 
So, K. K. F.
, Oh, H., & Min, S. (2018). "Motivations and constraints of Airbnb customers: Findings from a mixed methods approach." Tourism Management, 67, 224-236. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
*Taylor, S., DiPietro, R. & So, K. K. F. (2018). "Pop-up dining experiences: Increasing experiential value and relationship quality." International Journal of Hospitality Management, 74, 45-56. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
Xie, K., & So, K. K. F. (2017). "The effects of expert reviews on future reputation, popularity, and financial performance of hotels: Insights from data analytics." Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research. (The authors contributed equally to the research) (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A)
 
So, K. K. F.
, Wu, L., Xiong, L., & King, C. (2017). "Brand management in the era of social media: Social visibility of consumption and customer brand identification." Journal of Travel Research. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
Zhu, G., So, K. K. F., & Hudson, S. (2017). "Inside the sharing economy: Understanding consumer motivations behind the adoption of mobile applications." International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2218-2239. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A)
 
So, K. K. F.
, King, C., Hudson, S., & Meng, F. (2017). "The missing link in building customer brand identification: The role of brand attractiveness." Tourism Management, 59, 640-651. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
Xie, K., So, K. K. F., & Wang, W. (2017). "Joint effects of management responses and online reviews on hotel financial performance: A data-analytics approach." International Journal of Hospitality Management, 62, 101-110. (The first and second authors contributed equally to the research) (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
Wang, Y., So, K. K. F., & Sparks, B. A. (2017). "Technology readiness and customer satisfaction with travel technologies: A cross-country investigation." Journal of Travel Research. 56(5), 563-577.  (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
So, K. K. F.
, King, C., Sparks, B. A., & Wang, Y. (2016). "Enhancing customers’ relationships with the retail service brand: The role of customer engagement." Journal of Service Management, 27(2), 170-193. (SSCI) (ABDC: A). This article was downloaded over 1300 times in 2016, making it the second most downloaded article published in the journal in 2016.
 
Nunkoo, R., & So, K. K. F. (2016). "Residents’ support for tourism: Testing alternative structural models." Journal of Travel Research. 55(7), 847-861.  (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)

Wang, Y., So, K. K. F., & Sparks, B. A. (In-press). "What technology-enabled services do travelers value? Investigating the role of technology readiness." Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A)
 
Sparks, B. A., So, K. K. F., & Bradley, G. L. (2016). "Responding to negative online reviews: The effects of hotel responses on customer inferences of trust and concern." Tourism Management, 53, 74-85. (Lead author in drafting the manuscript.) (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
So, K. K. F.
, King, C., Sparks, B. A., & Wang, Y. (2016). "The role of customer engagement in building consumer loyalty to tourism brands." Journal of Travel Research, 55(1), 64-78. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*) This article was downloaded over 5000 times in 2017, making it the most downloaded article published in the journal in 2017.
 
King, C., & So, K. K. F. (2015). "Enhancing hotel employees' brand understanding and brand building behavior in China." Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 39(4), 492-516. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)

So, K. K. F., King, C., & Sparks, B. A. (2014). "Customer engagement with tourism brands: Scale development and validation." Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 28(3), 304-329. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A). Awarded the 2014 Article of the Year Award. The second most cited JHTR article published in 2014-2015.
 
McLennan, C. J., Becken, S., Battye, R., & So, K. K. F. (2014). "Voluntary carbon offsetting: Who does it?" Tourism Management, 45, 194-198. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
King, C., So, K. K. F., & Grace, D. (2013). "The influence of service brand orientation on hotel employees' attitudes and behavior in China." International Journal of Hospitality Management. 34, 172-180. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
So, K. K. F.
, King, C., Sparks, B. A., & Wang, Y. (2013). "The influence of customer brand identification on hotel brand evaluation and loyalty development." International Journal of Hospitality Management, 34, 31-41. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A*)
 
Browning, V., So, K. K. F., & Sparks, B. A. (2013). "The influence of online reviews on consumers’ attributions of service quality and control for service standards in hotels." Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 30(1-2), 23-40. (Authors listed alphabetically.) (Lead author in drafting the manuscript.) (USC’s HRTM A) (SSCI) (ABDC: A). Awarded the “Martin Oppermann Best Article of the Year 2013” Award.
 
So, K. K. F.
, & King, C. (2010). “'When experience matters': building and measuring hotel brand equity: The customers' perspective." International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(5), 589-608. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A). Awarded the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011: Highly Commended Paper Award.

Book chapters

Hudson, S., Meng, F., Cardenas, D., and So, K. K. F. (2016). "Knowledge transfer: Can research centers make a difference?" In N. Scott, M. Van Niekerk, and M. De Martino (Eds.), Knowledge Transfer to and within Tourism: Academic, industry and Government Bridges, Emerald.

So, K. K. F., Liu, W., Wang, Y., and Sparks, B. A. (2015). "Service expectations of Chinese outbound tourists." In X.R. Li (Ed.), Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0., Apple Academic Press.

So, K. K. F., King, C., and Sparks, B. A. (2015). "Extending the tourism experience: The role of customer engagement." In R. J. Brodie, L. Hollebeek, and J. Conduit (Eds.), Customer Engagement: Contemporary Issues and Challenges, Routledge.

Research grants

  • “Attracting 'Hot' Asian Tourist Markets to the Real Southern Hotspot." Funded by the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. June 2017. Role: Co-PI. PI: Rich Harrill. Other Co-PI: Fang Meng. Amount awarded: $25,000. 
  • “A Longitudinal Investigation of the Role of Sensory Brand Experiences in Building Customer Engagement." Funded by College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management Interdisciplinary Faculty Grant Program, University of South Carolina. May 2017. Role: PI. Co-PIs: Khalid Ballouli and Bob Heere. Amount awarded: $9758.33.
  • “Why do People Choose Airbnb? An Examination of Emotional Motivations behind the Sharing Economy." Funded by The Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of South Carolina. May 2017. Role: PI. Co-PI: Simon Hudson. Amount awarded: $9542.00.
  • “Increasing African American Tourism in South Carolina”, funded by South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, February 2016. Role: Co-PI. PI: Simon Hudson. Other Co-PIs: David Cárdenas and Fang Meng. Amount awarded: $60,840.
  • “Examining the Priorities, Practices, and Effectiveness of Multi-National Hotel Groups Brand Internalization and Delivery in China”, funded by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, December 2015. Role: Co-I. PI: Alice Hon. Other Co-I: Ceridwyn King. Amount awarded: $41,118.
  • “Brand Associations of the Commonwealth Games: Perceptions of the Chinese Market”, funded by Griffith Business School, Griffith University, December 2015. Role: Co-PI. PI: Xin Jin. Other Co-PIs: Karin Weber and Xiang (Robert) Li. Amount awarded: $5,840.
  • “Attracting Retirees and Pre-retirees to Rural South Carolina”, funded by The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, July 2015. Role: Co-PI. PI: Simon Hudson. Other Co-PIs: David Cárdenas and Fang Meng. Amount awarded: $72,690.
  • “The Columbia Hospitality Tax-An Evaluation of Effectiveness”, funded by City of Columbia, March 2015. Role: Co-PI. PI: Simon Hudson. Other Co-PIs: Fang Meng and David Cárdenas. Amount awarded: $38,200.
  • “A triangulated Investigation of Online Customer Engagement”, funded by the Internal Research Grant (IRG), Griffith Business School, Griffith University, November 2014. Role: Co-PI. PI: Ying Wang. Other Co-PIs: Beverley Sparks and Xiang (Robert) Li. Amount awarded: $9,988.
  • “Beaufort North Carolina Development Evaluation: Front Street Village”, funded by the Front Street Village, Beaufort, October 2014. Role: Co-PI. PI: Simon Hudson. Other Co-PIs: Fang Meng and David Cárdenas. Amount awarded: $9,425.
  • “Establishing a China U.S.-Travel Monitor Program: Gap Analysis”, funded by the National Tour Association, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center, Hawaii Tourism Authority, NYC & Company, California Tourism Commission, and Visit Orlando, September 2014. Role: Collaborator (survey design). PI: Xiang (Robert) Li. Co-PI: Rich Harrill. Amount awarded: $68,000.
  • “Firm-led Strategies to Counter Negative Consumer Generated Reviews”, funded by the Caesars Hospitality Research Centre Grant Award Program, June 2012. Role: Project Manager (survey design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript drafting for the quantitative phase). PI: Beverley Sparks. Co-PI: Sarah Gardiner. Amount awarded: $45,200.

Professional membership

  • International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE)
  • The Council for Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE)
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)

Editorial board member

  • Journal of Travel Research
  • Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research
  • International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
  • Journal of Destination Marketing & Management
  • Journal of Global Scholars of Marketing Science

Ad Hoc reviewer

  • International Journal of Hospitality Management
  • Cornell Hospitality Quarterly
  • Tourism Management
  • Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management
  • Journal of Vacation Marketing
  • Tourism Management Perspectives
  • Journal of Leisure Research
  • Tourism Analysis
  • Journal of China Tourism Research
  • Journal of Marketing Management
  • Journal of Service Management
  • Journal of Service Theory and Practice