SHA Latin Honors Theses

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The Latin Honors program was established to promote the school’s mission to create and disseminate knowledge about hospitality management to the global hospitality industry by encouraging student research. Students leverage theories acquired from coursework to create new knowledge, to develop meaningful relationships with a faculty thesis advisor, and to demonstrate mastery of research skills to graduate schools and future employers. In the final year of their matriculation, students engage in two semesters and 6 credits of research directed by the school’s professorial faculty and are recognized upon completion with a Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude designation commensurate with the quality of their completed theses and academic qualifications.

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Now showing 1 - 11 of 11
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    Analysis of Walkability Estimates and Hotel Real Estate Values in New York City
    Lee, Hyun Ho (2019-04-01)
    This study examines the relationship between walkability estimates including Walkscore and a 10-year sample of hotel transactions in New York City. Using a Hedonic pricing model, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression applied citywide initially produced significant positive relationships between walkability estimates and transaction value. However, the associations became more obscure once submarket fixed effects were introduced to control for unobserved differences between neighborhoods. More granular analysis of walking accessible destinations revealed that accessibility to certain destination categories like entertainment can have a negative impact on hotel value. The results suggest that builtenvironment pedestrian friendliness more consistently benefits hotel value compared to accessibility-based walking potential. This study also finds that while high value hotels are often found in areas with high walkability, hotel value premiums in these areas may not be attributable to walkability and can arise from other unobserved neighborhood characteristics. The study concludes by questioning the ability of current walkability estimates to accurately measure walking behavior of travelers.
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    Employee Perceptions of the Work Environment and Customer Perceptions of Service Quality
    Vaswani, Vikki Vijay (2018-05-01)
    While research has shown there is a significant relationship between strong human resource (HR) practices and enhanced firm performance (e.g., Tracey, 2014), there is much to be learned about the processes by which this relationship is established and sustained over time. In the hospitality industry, one of the most important indicators of firm performance is customer perceptions and reactions to their service experiences. And while there is some evidence which shows that employee perceptions are significantly related to customer perceptions (e.g., Schneider and Bowen, 1995; Schneider, White, and Paul, 1998), additional inquiry is needed to examine the specific types of employee perceptions that may be most relevant to customer perceptions of their service experiences. Based on the research that has examined “high performance work systems” (e.g., Huselid, 1995; Tracey, 2014), I considered five specific types of employee perceptions that may have particular relevance in hospitality work settings: firm culture, work life balance, pay and benefits, job security and advancement, and management. Based on a sample of N=(197) from five major cities in the U.S., the results from an analysis of data gathered from two social media sites - Indeed.com for employee perceptions, and Expedia.com for customer perceptions - showed that firm culture was consistently and significantly related to customer perceptions of service quality. I also found that some of the other employee perception dimensions appeared to be relevant in some markets but not others. The results demonstrate the need to consider specific types of work-related influences, especially for prioritizing opportunities for improvement. In addition, the findings suggest that some types of employee perceptions may be more generally relevant (e.g., organizational culture), where other types of employee perceptions may be more locally relevant (e.g., pay and benefits).
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    The Evolving Relationship Between Ship Attributes and Expert Ratings of the Overall Cruise Experience from 1999 to 2019
    Leff, Justin H. (2019-04-01)
    Consumers of hospitality products are faced with an array of choices from a variety of information sources. As a result, they can feel overwhelmed and try to simplify their purchase decisions effectively and efficiently. This is often the case in the cruise industry. Leisure cruise consumers frequently use expert reviews for guidance when comparing ships, accommodations, food, service, and entertainment. This study utilizes expert review data to analyze the relationships between ship attributes and ratings of the overall cruise experience. A novel contribution of this paper is the examination of these relationships across three different points in time (1999, 2009, and 2019) to explore the influences of product changes on expert reviews. The results show that certain ship characteristics are related to experience ratings, but their effects have changed over time. The findings allow cruise operators to focus their efforts on the ship attributes that experts deem most important for success and help cruisers better identify the “perfect” ship for their vacations.
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    Characterizing Generation Z and its Implications to Booking Practices in the Hotel Industry
    Kishore, Sitara (2019-04-01)
    In an evaluation of preceding research, this study explores the characterization of Generation Z and, through a carefully designed questionnaire, its impact on consumer booking practices to prepare the hotel industry to better adapt to the incoming generation of travelers. Informed by the literature evaluated, the survey asks questions to (1) characterize the travel behavior of each participant, (2) ascertain the relative importance of multiple identified factors to their booking decision, and (3) characterize their individual profile. The results of this study illustrate the importance of price to the booking decision, over location, brand, online ratings, and amenities, reinforcing a concept recently introduced to the hospitality industry as “affordable luxury”.
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    An Investigation of the Natural Vacancy Rate in the Hong Kong Lodging Market
    Wai, Jonathan (2017-01-01)
    Knowing the natural vacancy rate of a real estate market can yield highly useful information regarding future price movements. Past studies have been conducted to predict natural vacancy rates for office properties, but little research has delved into natural vacancy rates for the lodging market, and even less so within Hong Kong. This study aims to provide an estimate for the natural vacancy rate in the Hong Kong lodging market from 2008 to 2016 by using previous rent adjustment models, and also to predict whether the structural rate has changed over time.
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    Airbnb Regulations and Hotel Stock Prices
    Yan, Shaun Guanghui (2017-12-01)
    Using a hand-collected dataset of articles from Business Source Complete, I test the effects of news related to Airbnb regulations on hotel stock prices. Interestingly, the positivity of the article content and titles have little effect on the weekly hotel stock prices. Rather, it is the presence of any articles in a week that negatively affects hotel stock prices. Additionally, the number of articles in a week does not intensify the effect on stock prices. Articles from low-profile publications are a much stronger predictor of returns than high-profile publication articles, and newspaper articles are a stronger predictor than non-newspaper articles.
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    Consumer Perception of Hotel Competitive Sets
    Perrucci, Alexa Angelica (2018-05-01)
    This research explores consumer perception of hotel competitive sets by analyzing TripAdvisor data collected from 11 cities internationally. The study included running regressions, generating visual displays (scatter plots and histograms), and performing K-means clustering. The results were encouraging, as the outcomes demonstrated that there is an ability to generalize consumer preference when it comes to hotel competitive sets. The research identifies a strong need for industry executives to begin focusing their attention on consumer perception when conducting competitive analysis.
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    Sex Trafficking: The Hospitality Industry’s Role and Responsibility
    Cavagnaro, Giovanna L. C. (2017-01-01)
    This research explores the issue of sex trafficking in hotels within the United States. Research was conducted regarding the prevalence of the issue, legal implications for hotels, resources available and current initiatives taken by companies. Surveys and interviews were conducted to identify the overall sentiments of hoteliers on the issue and potential solutions suggested by agencies that work against trafficking. The research identifies a strong need for training and increased awareness among hotels.
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    The Implications of Bank Loyalty Card Programs for Hotel Owners
    Huan, Bethany (2017-01-01)
    This thesis looks into hotel loyalty programs and the relationships between the involved players: hotel brands, hotels, guests, and financial institutions (co-branded credit card partners). Past studies have been conducted around loyalty programs structures and their associated value to guests. To better understand the intricacies of loyalty programs, phone interviews were conducted with industry professionals. This thesis examines the business relationships of the industry players and the flow of loyalty points. Hotel owners emerge as the net losers from the expansion and growth of these loyalty programs.
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    Intercultural Communication in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry: A Study of Message Design Logic Across Two Cultures
    Ng, Rachelle (2017-12-01)
    This research explores the relationship between cultural background and communication to increase understanding of intercultural workplaces in the hospitality and tourism industry. Questionnaires were given to industry workers in the United States and Singapore to survey their communication styles and communication preferences. This study reveals that industry workers in the United States and in Singapore differed in the messages they sent but shared similar perception of messages. Results also show a modification in communication strategies used by the Singaporean group when the message recipient’s power status changed from a supervisor to subordinate while the American group remained consistent. The research identifies benefits of offering training focused on communication differences between cultures to better equip and prepare workers in the hospitality and tourism industry for intercultural interactions in the workplace.
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    An Examination of LEED Certification’s Utility as Evidence for Superior On-Property Environmental Sustainability in Hotels
    Behnke, Grant Michael (2017-05-01)
    This study explores the potential misalignment between LEED certification's prescriptive scorecard and hotel real estate's operationally complex nature. This study revealed that LEED hotels generally outperform their non-LEED counterparts on a per square foot basis for carbon footprint, energy use, and water use metrics, but perform worse on a per occupied room basis. However, the large amount of variance in the data sample that is inherent in hotel industry data renders definitive conclusions about the utility of LEED as evidence for superior on-property environmental sustainability in hotels difficult to make. Any variance between LEED and non-LEED data groupings was generally not found to be statistically significant. These results demonstrate that further analysis is needed before LEED certification can be tied to levels of environmental sustainability between hotels in a meaningful way. Also, the true impact of hotel LEED certification is extremely difficult to find with any method besides direct comparison of hotel metrics before and after LEED certification.