SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2016) Travelers with long layovers never had it so good, with greater restaurant choices, expanded retail areas and now, in some cases, movie theaters to help while away the hours between flights.
All this diversionary activity, which may also include hotel spas, chic pubs and specialty airline clubs, is producing an upward trend on satisfaction surveys while helping reimagine airline travel for millions of tourists and business passengers, according to Dr. Faizan Ali, an assistant professor of hospitality management at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.
Dr. Ali has released a study examining how airport amenities impact the travel experience.
In many ways, he says, large U.S. airports lag behind their counterparts elsewhere around the world, especially in Asia where for years passengers between flights have caught the latest Hollywood blockbuster while waiting to board. Further, a recent J.D. Power and Associates survey indicates U.S. airports trailing hotels and car rental companies in general satisfaction.
Dr. Ali’s study, “The effect of physical environment on passenger delight and satisfaction: Moderating effect of national identity,” was published this summer. It takes a wide-angle view of the evolving amenities trend, looking not only at U.S. airports but also those in trendsetting Asia where last year he surveyed 271 passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.
It concludes that not only are passengers reporting greater satisfaction because of the expanded amenities, but their spending has increased, too. “Our results support using the physical environment in a strategy that increases revenues of international airports because happy passengers are more likely to spend in the terminals,” he said.
Commenting further on consumer behavior, the study reports airports can benefit from displaying “national identity” in their design and decor. While most terminals worldwide exhibit similar features, passengers indicate greater approval of those that reflect the local culture.
Dr. Ali suggested greeting guests in a traditional way and adding local colors, art and cuisine to the physical environment to enhance passengers’ travel experiences. “Our results highlight national identity as a part of that uniqueness, so a design inherent to the culture of the country should result in a higher level of passenger delight.”
Dr. Ali’s study took a year to conduct and received the “Best Research Paper Award” at the World Hospitality & Tourism Forum 2014 in South Korea. It has recently been published in “Tourism Management,” a top-tier tourism journal.
Hospitality students bound for Vegas
Hard work is paying off for a group of hospitality students who manage the USFSM chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP).
The chapter has been named HFTP’s Student Chapter of the Year and now the USFSM students are mulling who to send to Las Vegas when the trade organization holds its annual convention and awards ceremony Oct. 19-21.
“I was very excited, so excited,” said Aida Ganiche, the chapter’s HR and Social Media director, who was among those who learned of the decision this week during a chapter meeting.
About five students plan to make the trip, but that number could change depending on how much travel money the group raises between now and then.
As part of its application, the group submitted an online presentation, https://www.powtoon.com/online-presentation/c1NNBf3mJVT/hftp-usfsm-student-club/?mode=movie#/, to summarize its HFTP activities over the past year, including dinners, fundraisers and networking events, trips to professional conferences and discussions with hospitality professionals.
“It is evident that a lot of time and energy went into planning your chapter’s events for the 2015-2016 fiscal year,” HFTP Chapter Relations Coordinator Victoria Schaefer wrote in an email to the USFSM chapter. “Congratulations!”
Ganiche credited the group’s members for their dedication, as well as the Manasota chapter of HFTP for offering assistance. The HFTP student chapter was started seven years ago. Currently, it’s comprised of 21 hospitality students.
Dr. Osborn to serve as keynote speaker
Kudos to Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Terry Osborn, who has been asked to deliver the keynote address during a conference of the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina set for Oct. 7-8 in Durham, N.C.
Dr. Osborn, who is an internationally recognized scholar of critical language studies, is the author of Teaching World Languages for Social Justice: A Sourcebook of Principles and Practices, in addition to dozens of other books and articles.
“It is gratifying that my research into critical approaches to foreign language education is still influencing thinking and practice in the field,” Dr. Osborn said. “I am honored to be recognized in this way by my professional peers.”
After delivering the keynote address during the Friday lunch session, Dr. Osborn will address a follow-up session, also on Friday.
Local business leaders to address USFSM students
Local executives are set to meet with USFSM business students next week to talk about entrepreneurship.
The panel discussion, organized by adjunct Instructor Jon Stuart, is set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at USF Sarasota-Manatee. Representatives from the Gulf Coast CEO Forum and BIG – Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast will address the students. Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business, will be on hand as well.
The speakers include: Kevin Logan of Omega Office Systems, Anand Pallegar of atLarge Inc., Marina Schmidt of the Kiddie Academy, Brian Long of Aroma Coffee, Paul Hoffman of SouthTech Solutions, Teddy Matheu of Clear Idea Labs, Brian Ellerson of BDE Florida and Dean Eisner, a retired executive.