The 17th International Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference Switzerland was held over a two-day period on 17th and 18th November 2016. The conference addressed the main theme of “Making a difference in hospitality and tourism practice”, which focussed on contributions of managers and leaders to an ever-changing landscape within the hospitality and tourism industry and a tapestry of issues they might need to face in the future.

Over the course of two days, the conference brought together leading researchers from across Europe, HTMi faculty and HTMi students, to discuss issues facing the future of the hospitality and tourism. The conference had over thirty nationalities of young researchers in addition to internationally renowned academics and practitioners.

On the first day,  five presentations and a series of poster sessions were delivered by invited keynotes, guest presenters and Masters students. The conference keynote speaker Professor Steven Engelking (Steinbeis University, Berlin) contended that making a difference in contemporary hospitality and tourism management should adopt a holistic framework not restricted to only a theoretical paradigm, but rather should incorporate, the individual, group, organisational and societal perspective.

Next, Dr Peter Lugosi from Oxford Brookes University presented a paper on co-creation as an intrinsic part of hospitality experiences and its management, and that it brings a range of opportunities and risks for consumers and organisations. It is therefore important for students, researchers and practitioners to understand its forms and dimensions.

Dr Timothy Jung (Manchester Metropolitan University) highlighted current applications and impact of augmented reality and virtual reality in tourism, with examples of how his research has advised and made contributions to numerous tourism operations.  

Dr Emma Wood (Leeds Beckett University)  presented her research on the role of emotions in recalling collective experiences at events and lastly, Mr Maksim Ryshkov from MENU Technologies AG: Zug, spoke of the value in owning a hospitality degree and how this shaped his career. He also presented a new menu application that is currently being integrated into restaurants and hotels worldwide.

The latter part of the first day, shifted to poster sessions in the Mariental Campus. These sessions were presented by a HTMi Research Assistant and Masters students who were in the advanced stages of their dissertations. Their contributions confirmed the quality of contemporary hospitality and tourism research conducted at the HTMi. Furthermore, their presentations were found valuable to all young aspiring researchers and provided thoughts and ideas to making difference in hospitality and tourism practice through research.

On the second day of the conference, the focus initially returned to the paper presentations from our invited guests. The first contribution was from Nikki McQuillan (Ulster University) who considered the disruptive nature of the future workplace in hospitality and tourism and challenges in developing leaders to do more than adapt to change. We also heard from Dr Hania Janta of Surrey University on an analysis of the experiences and practices of hosting guests from homeland, by focusing on highly-skilled migrant women living in Switzerland

The rest of the second day was devoted to HTMi student presentations, covering such diverse topics as recruitment, employee motivation, e-gaming as a form of tourism,  inter-cultural communication, service quality, just to mention a few. These papers reflected an increasing quality and diversity of hospitality, leadership, change management and tourism and educational research, which contributed to a vast body of knowledge for the industry.

Overall, the conference was an exciting and stimulating event and presented many opportunities for discussion and networking amongst delegates, HTMi faculty and HTMi students. The 18th IHTRC Conference will take place in April 2017.

Martin Jost

Head of Research | Editor IHTSJ & CIHSJ
International Hospitality and Tourism Research Centre
HTMi | Hotel and Tourism Management Institute | Switzerland |