Archive for the ‘hospitality and tourism’ Category

Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Best Practices, Guest Participation, and Customer Satisfaction

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Best Practices, Guest Participation, and Customer Satisfaction
Source: Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Certain sustainability practices could be considered nearly universal in the lodging industry, based on a study of 100 resorts in the United States. Among the common green practices are water conserving fixtures and linen-reuse programs. A separate survey of 120,000 hotel customers finds that guests are generally willing to participate in sustainability programs, but the presence of green operations still do not override considerations of price and convenience in selecting a hotel. Additionally, the study finds an increased willingness to participate when hotels offer incentives, such as loyalty program points, for participating in environmental programs. Although the link between environmentally sustainable programs and improved customer satisfaction is weak compared to standard drivers like facilities, room, and food and beverage quality, hotels are increasingly expected to maintain sustainability programs as a regular feature of their business. At the same time, the study did find that environmental sustainability programs do not diminish guest satisfaction. Consequently, the decision regarding which programs to implement should rest on cost-benefit analysis and other operating considerations.

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Balancing Tourism against Terrorism: The Visa Waiver Program, CRS Insights (March 13, 2015)

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Balancing Tourism against Terrorism: The Visa Waiver Program, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In recent months, Congress has expressed concern that some foreign fighters might exploit the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enter the United States and commit acts of terrorism. The VWP allows eligible visitors from 38 European nations and a few prosperous Asia-Pacific countries (Figure 1) to enter the United States for short business or leisure stays without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. consulate abroad. Recent attacks by domestic terrorists in Europe and reports of European countries’ citizens fighting with armed groups in the Middle East have raised concerns that potential terrorists could travel to the United States with little scrutiny under the VWP.

Balancing national security interests against efforts to facilitate international travel through the VWP presents challenges to legislators. The United States has a large travel and tourism industry. In 2013, travel and tourism accounted for 2.6% of U.S. gross domestic product and directly employed nearly 5.4 million Americans. Foreign visitors in the United States account for a disproportionate amount of U.S. travel and tourism spending. International travelers spent about $215 billion in 2013 on passenger fares and travel-related goods and services, which makes tourism the United States’ single-largest services sector export.

Cyborg Service: The Unexpected Effect of Technology in the Employee-Guest Exchange

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Cyborg Service: The Unexpected Effect of Technology in the Employee-Guest Exchange
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality industry operations are experimenting with self-service kiosks, tablet devices, and other technologies intended to augment or replace interactions between guests and front-line employees. While the combination of technology and people is designed to improve service, research suggests that service technologies can impede development of employee-guest rapport and lead to lower service evaluations. The studies presented in this report apply social equity theory to determine when (and why) technology can improve guests’ satisfaction with the service process and when it diminishes the guest experience. Equity theory suggests that when the use of technology prevents guests from responding to an employee’s friendly advances, guests experience psychological tension and decrease their evaluations of the service experience. The reverse situation also applies, so that when employees are less than friendly the barrier created by technology increases service evaluations by reducing guest anger. However, it is not always the case that friendly frontline staff and technology don’t mix. In a follow up field experiment, guests who used a Monscierge touchscreen system located not far from a bell stand preferred interacting with the technology when a hotel employee was nearby though not directly engaging guests. Thus, frontline employees should still develop a rapport with guests, but when technology acts as an “equity barrier,” the employees should provide guests with “social space,” without abandoning them entirely.

2012 Economic Census Geographic Area Series: Accommodation and Food Services

February 18, 2015 Comments off

2012 Economic Census Geographic Area Series: Accommodation and Food Services
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

This is a series of national-, state-, county-, place- and metro area-level data files that include statistics for traveler accommodation, rooming and boarding houses, full-service restaurants and drinking places. The files provide statistics on the number of establishments, receipts or revenue, payroll, number of employees and other data items by industry. This release is the first for the accommodation and food services sector and covers Colorado and Hawaii and geographic entities within and will be followed by data for Montana and geographic entities in that state. Statistics for the other states and geographic entities within them for this sector will be released on a flow basis over the coming months.

Cultural Heritage Policy in the European Union

February 10, 2015 Comments off

Cultural Heritage Policy in the European Union
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The European Commission defines cultural heritage as including “natural, built and archaeological sites; museums; monuments, artworks; historic cities; literary, musical, and audiovisual works, and the knowledge, practices and traditions of European citizens”.

Whilst the Member States are principally responsible for their own cultural heritage policy, European cultural heritage benefits from a range of supportive measures (policies, programmes and funding) aimed at preserving (art. 3 TEU) and promoting it (art 167 TFEU).

European cultural heritage is of exceptional economic importance for the tourism industry, generating an estimated annual revenue of EUR 335 billion, and many of the 9 million jobs in the tourism sector are linked to it directly or indirectly.

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress

January 23, 2015 Comments off

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress (PDF)
Source: World Bank

Cultural activities are increasingly noted as drivers of meaningful development. But they have yet to gain a prominent place in the architecture of development strategy. The performing arts, discussed here, exhibit direct effects on social progress and economic growth through trade in music, movies, and temporary work permits for artists, for example. Indirect contributions may also include environmental stewardship, tourism, nation branding, social inclusion, cultural democracy, and shifting cultural behaviors. These direct and indirect contributions are not well documented. As such, how is the creative or cultural sector a crucial part of the wealth of nations, and how could the World Bank Group better leverage the performing arts in its development strategy? This discussion provides a broad snapshot, from arts education, to social inclusion, to international trade in services. Key constraints include: the paucity of data and the difficulty of measuring cultural activities, the challenge of intellectual property, and the unclear benefits of cultural tourism. Part I sets the stage. Part II then provides policy options to foster the performing arts as a promising engine for development. Suggestions include: 1. expanding direct involvement in artistic projects, 2. increa sing the use of performing arts to address social issues, 3. collecting data, 4. promoting intellectual property training programs, 5. supporting digital platforms in the developing world that advance indigenous music, and 6. funding studies on such areas as cultural tourism. Progress still needs to be made in the discussion of the diverse ways that the performing arts can contribute to meaningful development.

A $15 U.S. Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs

January 23, 2015 Comments off

A $15 U.S. Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs
Source: Political Economy Research Institute

This paper considers the extent to which U.S. fast-food businesses could adjust to an increase in the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 per hour to $15 an hour without having to resort to reducing their workforces. We consider this issue through a set of simple illustrative exercises, whereby the U.S. raises the federal minimum wage in two steps over four years, first to $10.50 within one year, then to $15 after three more years. We conclude that the fast-food industry could absorb the increase in its overall wage bill without resorting to cuts in their employment levels at any point over this four-year adjustment period. Rather, we find that the fast-food industry could fully absorb these wage bill increases through a combination of turnover reductions; trend increases in sales growth; and modest annual price increases over the four-year period. Working from the relevant existing literature, our results are based on a set of reasonable assumptions on fast-food turnover rates; the price elasticity of demand within the fast-food industry; and the underlying trend for sales growth in the industry. We also show that fast-food firms would not need to lower their average profit rate during this adjustment period. Nor would the fast-food firms need to reallocate funds generated by revenues away from any other area of their overall operations, such as marketing.


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