Cornell Study Explains Why Listening Is Undervalued, but Critical in Service Excellence

Apr 08, 2009

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Cornell Study Explains Why Listening Is Undervalued, but Critical in Service Excellence

Ithaca, NY, April 7, 2009 – The commotion of a busy hotel—whether at the front desk, in the dining room, or by the pool—makes listening difficult for service staff. Taking note of this noise, a survey conducted by Cornell professor Judi Brownell makes clear that hospitality managers believe effective listening is critical to service excellence and to a hotel's success. Brownell outlines the critical connection between effective listening and service excellence in a new report from Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research. The hotel management report, “Fostering Service Excellence through Listening: What Hospitality Managers Need to Know,” is available at no charge from the center at

“Managers in the survey did not think that members of their organization listen all that well,” said Brownell. “While listening training would improve employees' skills, our survey identified two challenges. First, most people overestimate their ability to listen effectively and, second, the managers in this survey were unsure exactly how to go about developing the listening skills of their service staff. Fortunately, listening competence can be significantly improved by implementing the strategies in this report.”

Brownell is able to offer specific guidelines for improving skills at each point in the listening process due to her analysis and creation of a framework for effective listening. As presented in the Cornell report, the HURIER model outlines six steps of effective listening: Hearing, Understanding, Remembering, Interpreting, Evaluating, and Responding to messages. In addition to strategies related to this practical model, the report summarizes the best listening competency practices offered by the managers in the survey.

Thanks to the support of the Center for Hospitality Research partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at
About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 77 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit
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