Cornell Study Outlines Expanding Challenges of Electronic Communication Methods

Dec 15, 2009

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Cornell Study Outlines Expanding Challenges of Electronic Communication Methods

Ithaca, NY, December 15, 2009 – Hotel managers must find ways to handle email interruptions, but they also need to be responsive to customer emails. Based on a pilot study of hotel managers, Cornell faculty members Judi Brownell and Amy Newman have written a new report, "Hospitality Managers and Communication Technologies: Challenges and Solutions," that focuses on the potential value and probable challenges of electronic communication methods. The 100 study respondents, most of whom were hotel managers, reported that they use email regularly, but so far they have little experience with instant messaging, intranets, blogs, and wikis. The study findings and resulting recommendations are available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, at

"Hotel companies need to establish policies and training right now regarding IM, intranets, and other communication mechanisms," suggested Brownell, who is a professor of organizational communication at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. "I say that based on our findings relating to email. The managers in our survey struggled with the many anticipated challenges of email, and could increase effectiveness by better understanding both employee and customer expectations. For instance, while customers expected a response within 24 hours, many managers saw no need to respond so promptly."

Together, Brownell and Newman, who is a lecturer of management communication at the School of Hotel Administration, have developed a set of recommendations to assist hotel managers in making the best possible use of email, and to address the issues that arise in highly diverse hospitality organizations. One key recommendation is to make sure that email subject lines clearly indicate the message's content. To manage email interruptions, Brownell and Newman suggest turning off email alerts and establishing a specific time to read and respond to emails.

They also recommend that hospitality firms investigate instant messaging, intranets, and other communication technologies that have the potential to help managers accomplish their communication goals.

Thanks to the support of the CHR 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 78 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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