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Going up

Posted on: August 16, 2018
By: Bryony Wardell,

The world is taking notice of the University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. The school recently jumped eight spots in the ShanghaiRanking’s Global Rankings of Academic Subjects 2018 — placing No. 24 in the world and No. 11 in the United States in the subject of hospitality and tourism management.

“Seeing our ranking improve is great news, but the department is on a trajectory to climb even higher over the next couple of years,” says Chair Drew Martin. “From our undergraduates, to our graduate students, to our faculty and research centers — we have a lot of great people working hard to advance our fields and prepare the next generation of leaders.”

With outstanding faculty, research productivity and strong reputation for alumni career success, the school is continuing to attract top students and scholars. Martin says the school is also expanding scholarship opportunities for hospitality and tourism students, adding new faculty, and forming exciting new corporate partnerships to ensure students are learning at the forefront of the industry.
“This is going to be a big year for us,” says Martin.

From our undergraduates, to our graduate students, to our faculty and research centers — we have a lot of great people working hard to advance our fields and prepare the next generation of leaders.

—Department Chair Drew Martin,
    Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

The recent rankings jump and a string of research awards this summer are a testament to the school’s position as a thought leader on transformative industry trends such as technology’s role in customer engagement and new economies.

At the 2018 International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) Conference in July, a faculty and graduate student team won the 2018 William Bradford Wiley Memorial Best Research Paper of the Year Award for their article, “Motivations and constraints of Airbnb consumers: Findings from a mixed-methods approach” published in Tourism Management. This prestigious award is given to a superior research publication on a topic relevant to the field of hospitality or tourism management. The paper was authored by assistant professor Kevin So along with UofSC College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management Dean Haemoon Oh and hospitality management Ph.D. student Somang Min as co-authors of the paper.

In another recent collaboration, the school brought home two Highly Commended Paper Awards at the 2018 Emerald Literati Awards. Dean Oh and assistant professor Kawon (Kathy) Kim were recognized for their paper, “Customer satisfaction, service quality, and customer value: years 2000-2015,” which was published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. So and Simon Hudson, UofSC endowed chair and director of the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development, were also recognized with the award for their work, "Inside the sharing economy: Understanding consumer motivations behind the adoption of mobile applications,” published in the same journal. This timely research area is gaining more attention in the hospitality and tourism industries.

"The sharing economy is an economic process where consumers or participants jointly share underutilized resources such as cars and rooms," So says. "It's growing, and if you look at recent industry discussions and research trends, it's attracting a lot of attention from academics as well as the industry."

Ridesharing operations like Uber and short-term lodging services such as Airbnb have gained the most attention in the sharing economy, but So says the concept has also moved into the financial industry with peer-to-peer loan services, and is having a distinct effect on older businesses as well as on lawmakers.

"Traditional businesses are heavily influenced by Airbnb, especially the budget category of the hotel sector. They are dealing with new competition," So says. “Governments want to regulate this kind of nontraditional economic transaction."

The question of how the sharing economy will coexist with traditional businesses is one of the leading issues in the hospitality industry. With the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management helping lead the way on tackling these types of questions, UofSC will continue to help shape the evolution of a global hospitality industry.

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