Research Reports Co-Authored by Students Take Prestigious Awards in Annual Competition for...

Apr 27, 2011

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Research Reports Co-Authored by Students Take Prestigious Awards in Annual Competition for Industry Relevance, at Cornell Center for Hospitality Research
Ithaca, NY, April 27, 2011 – Two student research reports were acknowledged in the 2011 Industry Relevance Award competition conducted annually by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). A total of four recently issued CHR reports won awards, two of them conducted by student teams under direction of faculty members at the School of Hotel Administration. Two reports are named winners and two others are named as runners-up.

The winning reports are "How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions," by Laura McCarthy, Debra Stock, and Rohit Verma; and "Building Customer Loyalty: Ten Principles for Designing an Effective Customer Reward Program," by Michael McCall, Clay Voorhees, and Roger Calantone.

The reports that earned runner-up status were "The Future of Revenue Management," by Sheryl Kimes, and "Best Practices in Search Engine Marketing and Optimization: The Case of the St. James Hotel," by Greg Bodenlos, Victor Bogert, Dan Gordon, Carter Hearne, and Chris Anderson.

Nominations for this award are made by industry practitioners who have read and voted for the top research studies published within the last three years. The resulting studies are ranked in a survey sent to Center for Hospitality Research website registrants who have downloaded five or more publications. The resulting top ten reports and tools are reviewed by the CHR Advisory Board members, who vote on their two favorites. This ballot determines the two award winners and two runners-up.

For "How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions," McCarthy, Stock, and Verma conducted an online survey of 2,830 travelers to find out how they use electronic media to select a decision set of lodging options. They also analyzed how social media and other sources affected the respondents' purchase decisions. At the time of the research, McCarthy and Stock were seniors at the School of Hotel Administration, where Verma is professor and executive director of the CHR.

McCall, Voorhees, and Calantone analyzed hotel loyalty programs to determine how to improve these programs' effectiveness. McCall is a professor and chair of the department of marketing and law at the Ithaca College School of Business, and Voorhees is an assistant professor of marketing at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, where Calantone is the Eli Broad Professor of Business. Noting that many firms spend considerable money on loyalty programs for little measurable result, the authors developed the following ten principles: foster customer engagement, establish a two-way value proposition, capitalize on customer data, properly segment across and within tiers, develop strategic partnerships, develop dynamic tiers, cater to customers' desires for choice and fairness, avoid commoditization by differentiating, avoid the price sensitivity trap, and embrace new technologies.

Kimes's international study of 500 revenue managers determined that revenue management will become increasingly integral to hotel operations, and revenue management will be applied more to function space and perhaps other revenue sources (such as spas), in addition to rooms sales.

In "Best Practices in Search Engine Marketing and Optimization: The Case of the St. James Hotel," the student team of Bodenlos, Bogert, Gordon, and Hearne—who were then seniors at Cornell—conducted a detailed analysis of the St. James's website, under the leadership of Anderson, who is an assistant professor at the School of Hotel Administration. The group's recommendations for search engine optimization were implemented by the hotel, which improved its search results positioning so that it was at the top of listings for its market in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Previous winners of the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Industry Relevance award can be found at 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 81 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

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice,, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

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