Innovative "People and Technology Programs" Win CHRS Exemplary Practice Award

Oct 14, 2014

Contact: Melissa Carlisle, 607.255.1078,

Innovative "People and Technology Programs" Win Cornell Hospitality Research Summit Exemplary Practice Award
Ithaca, NY, October 14, 2014 – A company-wide inclusion program and a system to connect guests and hotel employees have won the 2014 Hospitality Exemplary Practice Award, as announced October 13, at the 2014 Cornell Hospitality Research Summit (#CHRS14). The two winning practices, by The Lemon Tree Hotel Company and VOC Systems, were selected from over 100 nominations by a vote of the #CHRS14 advisory board. Held every other year at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, #CHRS14 brings together industry and academe to develop new knowledge and ideas to improve the industry and inspire new research threads.

The Exemplary Practice Award, supported by IDeaS, a SAS company, is part of IDeaS' efforts to improve industry knowledge and practices. Vivek Bhogaraju, who leads global alliances for IDeaS, explained the purpose of the award: "The challenges we face as an industry are multi-faceted and the opportunities to innovate are abundant. Our ability to learn from each other and work together will ensure that collectively we are best positioned to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. IDeaS is delighted to support the Hospitality Exemplary Practice Award again this year to recognize best practices and propel the industry forward by encouraging sharing and collaboration."

"This was a remarkably competitive field, and it came down to five finalists," said CHRS co-chair Rohit Verma, Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor in Asian Hospitality Management. "In addition to Lemon Tree and VOC Systems, the finalists included a 'big data' application by Duetto, a massive brand expansion by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, and corporate overhaul intended to align all aspects of operations by Which Wich. All five of these demonstrate the innovation themes of CHRS, which include the new science of data, organizations, people, and technology."
"One of the reasons we have these four tracks for innovation is that the hospitality industry is pressing ahead in all four of these areas, as demonstrated by the practices highlighted in this competition," said CHRS co-chair Cathy Enz, the Lewis G. Schaeneman, Jr. Professor of Innovation and Dynamic Management. "Lemon Tree, for example, represents the people track. They have worked diligently to include a diverse work force—with the important innovation of defining diversity as broadly as possible. Thus, 10 percent of their total employee base includes people with disabilities. In addition, Lemon Tree has opened hotels in which the entire staff comprises opportunity impaired people, both those with disabilities and those who live in locations where employment opportunities are slim."

Looking at the VOC Systems effort, Verma noted the critical importance of giving customers a voice that management can hear. "As a professor of service operations management, I see the challenge of maintaining a direct connection between guests and management. The hotel operators who nominated VOC Systems explained that this software gives the customer the chance to instantly message management regarding either service problems or successes. This practice combines two of our CHRS innovation tracks, people and technology. In fact, all four tracks are completely intertwined."

About CHRS 2014
Scheduled for October 12–14, 2014, at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, New York, the theme of the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit 2014 is "The Future of Service Innovation: The New Science of People, Organizations, Data, and Technology." As the premier event of its kind, CHRS 2014 brings together industry and academe in a forum that promotes open dialogue aimed at developing and applying new knowledge to the hospitality and tourism industry.