Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Health inspection performance of restaurants

I came across this recent editorial regarding the health inspection performance of restaurants in Central Florida.

In states where this information is readily available, an interesting paper would look at the inspection rating as a function of the type of restaurant (independent v. chain, cuisine, etc.), location, and perhaps other property characteristics and see if there are systematic relationships between how a restaurant performs on health inspections and the characteristics of that restaurant.

The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Sep. 19--The details in a Sentinel report on state inspections of Central Florida restaurants are hard to stomach.

Almost one in three eateries in the past 14 months got cited for rodent- or roach-related violations.

Two in five employed poor hygienic practices, including workers not washing their hands.

And three of five restaurants scored at least 10 "critical violations" that can lead to a variety of foodborne illnesses.

Friday, September 14, 2007


globalization of the second home market

Spanish company announces first phase (valued at US$650 M) of scond home development project in the Americas.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


reputation management in hospitality and tourism

The Internet makes access to information easier. From the supplier's point of view this has both pros and cons. One of the cons is the issue of control--what information is available? Search engine results and comments about companies on social networking sites are but two examples of information that isn't under the control of the supplier. Recently two different takes on this issue have appeared in the press:

A number of research opportunities are suggested by these issues.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


top 10 hotel industry issues

"At the start of the Year, The International Society of Hospitality Consultants determined what would be the top 10 issues for the industry in 2007. They were, in order: labor and skills shortages; construction costs; technology; changing demographics and their impact on travel trends; future of hotel profits; branding; distribution revolution; travel restrictions; global emerging markets; and capital availability. Now that the year is halfway complete, let’s see how their predictions panned out. "


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


new semester

Welcome to the fall semester at Temple University. I've recently invited a number of people to join this blog. This post is directed to both new users and to continuing students.

How can we use this blog to improve the grad school experience? How can we use it to facilitate collaboration? It has mostly been a monologue rather than a conversation. How can we change that? How can we use this tool to encourage collaboration among all the actors in the program--faculty and students?

Please browse the old posts and ask yourself how this venue can be used to add value to your Temple experience. Don't be shy about sharing your thoughts on the blog.

I hope you have a successful semester.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


improving the MTHM

What can we do to improve the MTHM experience?

We know that we need to better mentor MTHM students.

We know that we need to find ways to integrate everyone--full time and part time, those on campus once a week and those around regularly--into the MTHM community. (Finding ways to do this, however, is a challenge. Any suggestions would be appreciated.)

We know that certain courses need to be revised.

I have two questions for you: how can we do these things and what else should we be doing?

Friday, April 13, 2007



I have been checking the grad school deadlines and the final submission date is April 30th?

Monday, April 02, 2007


hotels and business cycles

Hotel development and performance are highly cyclical. Both national business cycles and regional conditions lead to boom and bust cycles at different levels of geography and at different times. This is an important issue, it could be addressed using macro data, and good work in this topic would have consequences.


Current events

Ok, our blog is dead. Long live the blog!

Let's give this one more chance. If we can't generate a reasonable conversation then we can revive the blog in the fall perhaps targeted differently or more broadly. But let's see what momentum we can generate over the rest of this semester.

Some issues of interest in the media:

1. long time LV casino employee fired for going public with compliants about the tourists attracted to Vegas during the NBA All Star weeked,
2. the issue of publicly owned convention center hotels keeps appearing--it this a good, bad, or indifferent use of scare public resources?,
3. gambling continues to spread--the latest is today's opening of NJ's first OTB center in (of all places) Vineland. The model is clearly casino sports book / sports bar rather than grimey storefront. One might suggest that this represents the continued evolution of the gaming / hospitality / entertainment nexus.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


New article on the first 90 days of casinos in PA

Interesting article about revenues generated just in the existing casino facilities in Pennsylvania since slots gambling allowed.

Friday, December 15, 2006


add Olive Garden

160 become sick after eating at Indianapolis Olive Garden

Monday, December 11, 2006


Taco Bell, crisis management, and recovery

The future of the Taco Bell brand is being questioned following the recent food-borne illness issues. An interesting case study would look at other brands that have faced similar issues in the past (for example, Jack-in-the-Box and Chi-Chi's are two polar oposites in the consequences of dealing with this type of situation) in order to identify effective crisis management strategies.

Friday, December 08, 2006


public ownership / subsidy of hotels

Recently Baltimore's publically financed convention hotel has been in the news. A Google search suggests that quite a few cities in the past few years have used public funds to either sudsidize or completely fund the construction of hotels. This opens a number of questions regarding equity, competition, ROI, etc. A typical arguement in favor of this use of public funds is that these properties will result in more convention business. However, others question the equity and efficiency of using public funds in this manner.

I'm currently trying to pull together a study group to look at this issue since two nearby cities have made (Trenton) or are in the midst of making (Baltimore) this type of investment (additionally some of the hotels built here in Philly prior to the 2000 RNC received substantial public subsidy). If you're interested in working on this topic, drop me an email.


Hawaii residents ambivalent about tourism

A recent survey finds that residents of Hawaii understand the role tourism plays in the economy but hesitant to support more development.

76% of locals don't want more hotesl

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


the US Gov't vs. On-line gambling

No, it's not quite Godzilla vs. Mothra, but it's close. US law enforcement is continuing to press the on-line gaming industry. Here's today's headline on MSNBC, Criminal charges brought over online gambling,

It's been said that much of what we know about gambling is built on assumption and prejudice. I think that's especially true for on-line gaming. I think that there is a lot of potential for studies in this area to be both interesting and to make a contribution to the literature.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Studying the success of gambling-related ballot measures

In the USA, gambling may be legalized at the state or local level through two paths--legislative action or ballot initiative. There have been a few studies aimed at understanding who is likely to vote for or vote against these issues, mostly in the context of lottery legalization. Microdata studies look at reported intention to vote for or against an issue. Studies using aggregate data look at the voting behavior of geographical aggregations of votes (by district or county) as a function of the characteristics of those geographic areas.

In yesterday's election the voters of Ohio decided whether or not to legalize slot machines.

The Ohio slot machine ballot issue addressed a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would legalize the use of slot machines at nine different venues (seven at existing racetracks). Thirty percent of the revenue generated from the slot machines would be dedicated to new educational scholarship and grant programs. Another 8 percent would be dedicated to county and town level economic development. This proposal is named "Learn and Earn."

It lost 57% to 43% with 99% of precincts reporting

Off the CNN site, vote by county is available

An interesting project would be to look at the macro pattern of election results by county, using % for or against as the dependent variable and county descriptive variables (income distribution, ethnic distribution, rural vs. urban character, distance to competition, etc.) as the IV.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Changing economies of scale in hospitality and tourism

from Meetings & Convention's listserv . . .

"Closing today is the Stardust Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Boyd Gaming Corp., the property's owners, will demolish the building to make way for the $4 billion Echelon Place development that will open in 2010. When it debuted in 1958, the Stardust was the city's largest hotel but has since been dwarfed. The Stardust's 1,552 rooms will be replaced by Echelon's 5,300, while the former's 25,000 square feet of meeting space will be obliterated by Echelon's 650,000-square-foot ExpoPlace Convention Center."

Are there limits to these economies of scale? How big can hotel/resorts become? Little research has looked at these issues.


threat of coup in Fiji

Tensions are running high in Fiji between the government and the army. Tourism is a vital part of the Fijian economy and is currently on a growth spurt, after recovering from previous coups in '87 and '00.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Product innovation--indoor water parks

From a recent AH&LA listserv posting . . .

Indoor water parks attract families to hotels Families are being lured to hotels that offer indoor water parks, which typically include waterslides, water basketball courts and other attractions. The number of indoor water parks in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 2002, according to the Hotel Water Park Resorts Construction Report. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix)/USA TODAY

Somewhere I've seen some data on the geographic distribution of these facilities. If you're interested in new product issues that might serve as the basis for an interesting paper.


It's 1984 for the Philly hotel industry

A number of national news sources have featured the GPHA's call for hotels to remove a copy of Philadelphia magazine that includes a story about Philly's increasing murder rate.

Cover Story Cover-up: Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association Makes Plea to Hoteliers to Remove 6,000 Copies of Complimentary In Room Magazine go to

Saturday, October 28, 2006 - A Reliable Source?

While the linked article below is not specifically tourism-related, I thought it was worth taking a few moments to read.

This article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education asks questions as to why many academics have not embraced as reliable source of information in academic research. Specifically, the author asks why professors have not themselves in large numbers contributed to the articles on the website. He also discusses the varying degrees of accuracy across disciplines which may tend to decrease along the continuum from the more concrete subjects of science and history to the often more interpretive arts and humanities. The article also mentions the idea proposed by some of creating a system of peer review, similar to that of scholarly journals, to maximize accuracy in the articles.

Take a look and post your comments.

Article URL:

Friday, October 20, 2006


documentation and international travel

As you may know the US Gov't has implemented a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that will require secure ID for everyone entering (or re-entering) the country. Currently only about 23% of American's have passports, so the implementation of this policy will impact both foreign visitors and Americans traveling abroad. The domestic travel trade is quite concerned about how well this will work, as are authorities in Canada, Mexico, etc.

Here's an example of the current debate

Travelers' awareness of these regulations and the role they may play in discouraging travel abroad have not been well investigated.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Iceland, whaling, and destination image

Iceland announced that it will begin commercial whaling. That brings to three the number of nations that are taking whale--Japan, which harvests whales under the guise of "scientific study," Norway, which has refused to join in the international ban on commerical whaling, and now Iceland.,23739,20606419-953,00.html

In the linked story there is an interesting comment about the relative value of whale watching versus whale harvesting.

One may also wonder about the impact, if any, this event has on the image of Iceland as a tourist destination. They are positioning whaling as part of responsible, sustainable resource management--but how will that fit in their efforts to position Iceland as an eco-tourism destination?


new law cripples Internet gambling

See the article at this link regarding a new law aimed at ending internet gambling in the USA.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


sports and place image, part two

Do events such as the recent U of Miami football game effect place image?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


sports and place image

Does a successful sports team help make a destination more attractive? Many claim that there is a positive relationship but there's little documentation to support this claim.

For example Green, Costa, & Fitzgerald deconstructed almost 12 hours of NCAA Women's Final Four coverage to measure the image of the host city (San Antonio). San Antonio pictures or images appeard for a total of 3.5 minutes! Similarly, Steph Ritter's thesis looked at newspaper coverage of the Army-Navy game over the past 25+ years. Most coverage of the game was neutral towards Philly and the most intensive coverage came when the Vet's railing failed in '98. Hardly the type of event to create a positive image.

The latest claim for this relationship is that Rutgers football is helping to give Jersey a good image. See the attached link for an example.

Lots of potential for both consumer and media based studies on this topic!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


USA vs On-line gaming

Recent acts of law enforcement and actions in Congress have sent a chill into the (offshore) on-line gaming industry. For example, prices for stocks listed on the London exchange have taken a dive. This is a topic that begs more study--consumer-based, technology-related, legal interpretation, and/or predicting the future.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Gaming competition

The imminent opening racinos in PA should have some interesting impacts on the gaming industry in neighboring states. Understanding and predicting what will happen, both short term and longer term in equalibrium would make an important contribution to our field and to public policy in general.

PA gaming brings crunch time to W VA

De slots get closer competition


Budgeting for online marketing

Budgeting for a Robust Internet Marketing Strategy in 2007



From TIA . . .

"WINE AND CULINARY TOURISM STUDY TO BE RELEASED THIS MONTH"Seventeen percent of American leisure travelers (27.3 million) have participated in one or more culinary activities while traveling over the past three years", according to TIA's new Wine and Culinary Tourism Study. Learn more about wine and culinary tourists in this month's release of the study. Travel behaviors, preferences, and rankings of destinations are included in this comprehensive report of leisure travelers. Contact Valerie Hutchinson at 202-408-8422 to place your order for this report."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


political and economic impacts of gov't tourism support

If you're looking for a topic, and you are interested in destination marketing, government tourism policy, impacts of advertising, etc., the following story may be of interest.

Louisiana Receives $28.5 Million In Tourism Aid From Federal Government….The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved $28.5 million to be given to the Louisiana Tourism Marketing Program, with New Orleans area tourism agencies at the forefront of the aid.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


impact of $28 million on New Orleans tourism marketing

If you're looking for an interesting topic you may want to learn more about . . .

"Louisiana Receives $28.5 Million In Tourism Aid From Federal Government….The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved $28.5 million to be given to the Louisiana Tourism Marketing Program, with New Orleans area tourism agencies at the forefront of the aid."

Understanding how this money will be used, setting up a system to try to measure its impact, and / or running simulations to try and predict its impact would all be interesting studies.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Data collection and analysis workshop

I just received this post.

Are you planning to gather your own data? The Social Science Data Library (SSDL) presents its fall seminar series: How to Collect Your Own Data: Surveys, Interviews and Focus Groups. These hands-on seminars will take place on September 29, October 27, and November 17 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. On Friday, September 29th, we will discuss the practical issues of survey development and implementation, including:

sample selection,

data collection methods (paper surveys, web surveys, phone surveys, etc),

survey instrument development,


data collection,

hiring and training interviewers,

integration of data collection with planned analysis, and

analytical techniques and reporting results.

Peter Mulcahy, Manager of Institute Operations for Temples Institute for Survey Research will conduct these workshops together with SSDL staff. To register or to request more information, send an email to Those registering should include name and affiliation with Temple (educational status, department, college or school, email address, and phone number). Registrants planning to develop surveys should also include a short description of the topic of the survey. Once you register, we will let you know where the seminar will take place.Social Science Data LibraryTemple University(215) 204-5002

Saturday, September 02, 2006


return from summer hiatus

Welcome to a new semester at TU. I'm inviting a new crop of students to participate in our discussion. Please feel free to post your questions related to research and the broader graduate experience.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Anyone Else Out There?

Hi, I check this blog regularly, sometimes looking to see what everyone else is doing, sometimes looking for help, and sometimes just looking for inspiration. But the only posts I ever see besides mine, are Wes'. Please tell me I am not the only one that ever looks. I am doing work, ha, on my proposal, and have hit a huge roadblock. Probably the one in my head--namely fear. I have reread the chapters (6 & 7) in the Leedy & Ormrod book, to refresh my memory and find a format or template of sorts for the proposal itself. And, I feel like I need to do so much more research. Am I alone? Is anyone else experiencing this? Help. By the way, my husband hasn't been the best sounding board, so I really feel lost. Thanks for letting me get some of this off of my chest

Monday, April 24, 2006


Help, I am out of words!

How does one begin a proposal for a thesis when one's brain is fried, and there are no more words?

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Texas is busting people for "public intoxication" in bars.

This might be a topic of interest . . .
"Undercover agents have "infiltrated" 36 bars and arrested 30 drinkers. Explanations from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission: 1) We're doing it to stop drinkers before they get in a car. 2) Even if they're not going to get in a car, maybe they'll "walk out into traffic and get run over." 3) Or maybe they'll "jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss." 4) Anyway, bars aren't exempt from laws against public intoxication."

Thursday, March 16, 2006


business plan handbooks @ TU library

I recently received this email from Barbara Wright, business librarian at Paley Libraries.

"All eleven editions of the Business Plans Handbook have beenacquired in digital format and are available online. They canbe accessed directly from Diamond (the Online Catalog) from:http://diamond.temple.eduJust search for Business Plans Handbook, by title.Each edition contains real business plans for real companies,in a variety of industries. (The company names have beenchanged, but the business plans are real.)All eleven volumes can be searched at once from the "QuickSearch" option shown on the screen when a single volume ischosen from the Online Catalog. For instance, if you choosethe latest edition (2006) and search for the keyword"airline", the Quick Search will automatically search allvolumes of the set for a business plan with the keyword"airline" in it."

Monday, March 06, 2006


Research topic--Aruba boycott

If you recall, following the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway the governor of Alabama called for a boycott of Aruba. Georgia's governor, as well as many voices from Fox News, joined in the call to boycott.

An interesting research topic would be to examine the impact--in the media, in the perception of Aruba held by potential visitors, and in travel statistics--of these events.

A Destination Under Scrutiny - Aruba - One Happy Island – go to

Aruba Forging Ahead with a $230 million Investment in Tourism — the Island’s Largest Expansion and Renovation Campaign in Years; 720 New Rooms Being Added at Four Resorts – go to

Friday, February 24, 2006


natural disasters and tourism
lists natural disasters in the US that had an impact of $1B or more.

If we had a good data base of state-level tourism spending for that time period we could do a nice interrupted time series model to estimate the impact of natural disasters on tourism. With 1030 observations (50 states X 26 years) there would be enough degrees of freedom to include state and year dummies (as well as macro-economic trends).

If interested, let me know.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


tourism failure

Another topic that would be worthwhile to explore is tourism failure. Most models and case studies are based on, or assume, long term success. But most destinations don't become the next Las Vegas. While there is some literature on the failure of individual businesses there isn't much that systematically examines regions or destination areas that want tourism, take steps to develop tourism, yet fail in the mid to long run. If you're interested I can point you at a local destination that would make a great case study of tourism failure.

Monday, February 20, 2006


research topic--public funding of hotels

You may have seen the recent announcement that they have broken ground for a new Hilton in Baltimore. This development is being funded with $301 million in municiple bonds.

Needless to say, this is both controversial and not limited to Baltimore (see the $54 million hotel and conference center that opened in Trenton in 2002).

If you're interested in hotel development, the interface of tourism and public policy, etc. this would make a great research project.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Thesis Stress

Hello gang. This is for all of you that are in the process, or about to be, of writing the dreaded thesis. I have a topic, yet I have no idea how to start this process. I need to focus on this immediately so that I don't fall further behind. For all of you who are working on this, can you please let me know ASAP how I go about doing this?


tourism grad student network

tourism grad student network

Hey, can we talk about the deadlines for the thesis. I feel Gabriella's pain with Sandro's class and this thesis, and I need to focus more on the thesis, which, frankly I have no clue how to start, but don't want to miss any deadlines. Anyone have ANY suggestions? Please let me know ASAP. I have a topic, that's about it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006



Does anyone have any good suggestions for organizing research efforts? I am in the middle of several high caliber projects at the moment, and am drowning in papers. I have no assistant, and need some good suggestions for organizing what I already have. I am thinking index cards for now. At least I can carry those around without breaking my back, unlike carrying around much of the research I have amassed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Welcome back! (and fyi about some research tools)

It's the start of another exciting semester here in the Masters of Tourism & Hospitality Management program. I'm looking forward to increased traffic on our blog.

I wanted to share a piece of useful information. There are a number of new databases available on the TU library web site. One that looks especially useful is called Scopus. It has at least three features that caught my attention . . .

1 it searches both its own database as well as the web,
2 from the hits it returns it compiles lists of the journal titles and authors who appear most frequently, and
3 and once you find a citation, there are links to other items that cite the paper you've found.

We have it on extended trial until the end of '06. Use it, and if it seems like an improvement over other databases, let me (or somebody in the library) know.

Another search tool you might want to explore is Google Scholar.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


research opportunity

If you're looking for a topic (thesis/project/class paper) doing something on the impacts of the Paris riots and the on-going riots in Australia would be interesting. Are these unfortunate events changing the image of their destinations? This could be either a survey-based study of potential international travelers or a content analysis study examining media coverage of these events.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Hidden risks of franchising?

It's repeatedly claimed--especially in hospitality--that franchising reduces the risk of failure. That may not be true--see this url and follow-up on "Timothy Bates, a professor at Wayne State University, studied Census Bureau data on 20,000 new enterprises and found that 38 percent of franchises failed within four years of opening their doors, vs. 32 percent of independent start-ups that went belly-up. "

If you're looking for a research topic for a class paper or for your thesis / project, this would be a great place to start.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Project vs. Thesis

Okay, after class this evening, Dan Fesenmaier and I were having a discussion regarding the relative merits of a project vs. a thesis, and which we should undertake as Master's candidates. I would like some comments and thoughts about this.


Useful tools

Grad school offers a lot of challenges. But remember, there are often tools available to help you meet these challenges. One great tool that you might not know about is the TU Writing Center ( Among the great tools they offer are helpful handouts. They have a handout on doing APA format that is quite useful. They also offer live and e-mail tutoring.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Serious leisure

For anyone interested in the concept of serious leisure, here are a pair of old references to get you started. One way to follow how this concept has evolved is to search for papers that cite this work.

Stebbins, R. (1982) Serious leisure: a conceptual statement. Pacific Sociological Review 25(2),
Stebbins, R. (1997) Casual leisure: a conceptual statement. Leisure Studies 16(1), 17–25.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


new posts versus threaded comments

I wondered why new topics were appearing as threaded comments. It's simple--to create a new topic you need to go to the site. You can do this from our blog--just click the blog logo on the bottom of the page. Once signed-in, click on new post.

I said this would be a learning experience for us all!

Remember, you can initiate new topics (in fact I'd encourage you to do so).


Friday, September 30, 2005



Welcome to this blog. It's an experiment. I feel that students in our program are too isolated. Isolated from both each other and from interaction with faculty outside of the formal class experience. The purpose of this blog is to encourage interaction--the exchange of ideas, the discussion of problems, brainstorming solutions. Another goal is creating institutional memory. Each of us bring a unique set of experiences, abilities, and interests to the program. Yet, as things now exist, there is little capacity built into the system for people to learn from others' experiences in any meaningful way outside the classroom. I hope we can change that. This blog is a first attempt to do so. I'm a pragmatist, so if this doesn't work it's back to the drawing board. But I have high hopes that this will prove to be a great tool for all of us to use over the coming years.

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