Focus on Customer Experiences to Build Your Brand, Say Cornell Conference Participants

May 10, 2011

Contact: Jane Henion, 607.255.9780, 

Focus on Customer Experiences to Build Your Brand, Say Cornell Conference Participants

The vast quantity of consumer information available on the internet can be used to help hospitality firms to manage their brands more effectively, according to presentations in the inaugural Cornell Hospitality Research Summit (CHRS). However, the challenge for brand and marketing managers is how to sort out the relevant information from all the internet noise. Complicating matters, social media do not represent all travelers or households, so brand managers must also use conventional research methods, although research questions must be updated for twenty-first-century consumers. These and other key issues in consumer research and brand management are covered in the newest CHRS proceedings, "Building Brands in the Internet Age: Analytics, Loyalty, and Communication," available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research at

As explained in the proceedings, a brand represents a promise of benefits and experiences that are based on well designed research about consumers' wants and needs. For today's consumers, a hospitality brand should provide experiences or create the framework that allows guests to have the experience they seek. Beyond that, a brand must connect with customers' emotions to generate true loyalty. In terms of customer loyalty, hospitality firms might do well to re-evaluate their loyalty programs and to segment program members according to their actual patronage, since so many loyalty program members are participating only for product discounts. Instead, the focus of loyalty programs and brand management in general should be customer contact and recognition.

Industry presenters included Laurence Bernstein, managing partner of Protean Strategies; Stephen Brandman, co-owner of Thompson Hotels; Jim Coyle, founder and president of Coyle Hospitality; Rick Garlick, senior director of consulting and strategic implementation for Maritz Hospitality Research Group; Chris Klauda, vice president of quality services at D.K. Shifflet Associates; Kelly McGuire, executive director, global hospitality and travel practice, SAS; Rob Rush, president and CEO, LRA Worldwide, Inc.; Sean Taggart, vice president of marketing at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International; Paolo Torchio, vice president of e-marketing services at Sabre Hospitality Solutions; and Cindy Whiteway, senior vice president of client services, TRG iSKY. Academic presenters included Professors Chekitan Dev and Robert Kwortnik, Cornell University, Professors Kathryn LaTour and Michael LaTour, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Professor Michael McCall, Ithaca College; and Professor Clay Voorhees, Michigan State University.

About CHRS
In the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit, the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) brings together faculty, corporate partners, and other industry leaders to develop new ideas, theories, and models that improve strategic, managerial, and operating practices. The next CHRS is scheduled for October 3–5, 2012.

The 2010 CHRS brought together 225 director level and above representatives of industry and academe to the beautiful campus of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. This "thought leadership" summit featured keynote addresses from industry and academe, in-depth presentations from scholars and practitioners, and the hospitality "research in practice" award ceremony. A total of four proceedings from this conference are posted for download at no charge from CHR at

The CHRS was made possible by the following sponsors: Avaya, Charlie's Grilled Subs, Hotel Business,,, (HNN),, and J.D. Power and Associates.

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

Center Friends: • American Tescor, LLC • Argyle Executive Forum • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cody Kramer Imports • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • The TravelCom Network • Travel + Hospitality Group • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM • Wyndham Green