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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Faculty and Staff

Kevin Kam Fung So, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor / Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism
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. His research interests focus on services marketing and service management, with a special emphasis on customer engagement, service brand management, electronic word of mouth, and internal branding 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, Dr. So has published 22 peer-reviewed journal articles (19 in SSCI journals), three book chapters, and 18 refereed national and international conference papers. He has five manuscripts presently under review and twelve manuscripts in progress.

Dr. 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, and Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, 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, and Journal of Service Management.

Recognition of Dr. 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, Dr. 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.

Dr. So earned his Ph.D. 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, Dr. 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 he 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

Publications

Select Refereed Journal Publications

So, K. K. F., Wu, L., Xiong, L., & King, C. (In-press). "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. (In-press). "Inside the sharing economy: Understanding consumer motivations behind the adoption of mobile applications." International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. (USC’s HRTM A+) (SSCI) (ABDC: A)

Hwang, Y., Ballouli, K., So, K. K. F., & Heere, B. (In-press). "Effects of brand congruity and game difficulty on gamers’ response to advertising in sport video games." Journal of Sport Management. (USC’s SPTE 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. (Formerly International Journal of Service Industry Management (IJSIM), which is considered as one of the top two service management or services marketing journals in the marketing discipline according to both Rust and Huang (2014) and Moussa and Touzani (2010) (SSCI) (ABDC: A). This article was downloaded over 1,300 times in 2016, making it the No. 2 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*)

Xiao, H., So, K. K. F., & Wang, Y. (2016). "The university Student travel market: Motivations and preferences for activities." Tourism Analysis, 20(4), 399-412. (Authors listed alphabetically) (USC’s HRTM A+) (ABDC: A)

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.

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