CHR Offers Strategic Decision-making Tool and Examines Sustainability Issues

Contact:  Jane Henion, 607.254.8987, jmh222@cornell.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Offers Strategic Decision-making Tool and Examines Sustainability Issues

Ithaca, NY, June 17, 2013 - New publications from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration provide a methodical, spreadsheet-based method for strategic decision making and outline ways for the industry to measure and report sustainability efforts. Both publications are available at no charge from the CHR.

Cornell Professors Develop a Tool for Strategic Decisions

Hospitality executives and managers often must make challenging strategic decisions in which they use their best judgment to weigh a series of alternatives against a set of decision criteria. A new tool from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) formalizes the process of determining the extent to which a particular alternative action will fulfill each criterion. "The Options Matrix Tool (OMT): A Strategic Decision-making Tool to Evaluate Decision Alternatives," by Cathy A. Enz and Gary M. Thompson, is available at no charge from the CHR.

"We designed the OMT to lead managers through the decision-making process in a systematic fashion," said Enz, who is the Lewis G. Schaeneman, Jr. Professor of Innovation and Dynamic Management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. "It requires managers to estimate the weighted value of each decision criterion, so that each possible course of action is given a full analysis."

"In particular, the OMT should be useful for decisions that require substantial judgment and for which numbers may not be available," added Thompson, a professor of service operations management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. "Once the manager has established and weighted the criteria, the spreadsheet will provide an evaluation of each option against each criterion. The most desirable option will have the highest score on the spreadsheet."

Enz and Thompson emphasize that the OMT is self-explanatory and designed for ease of use. The newly posted report that accompanies the tool offers a brief description and examples of how to use the tool.

Conference Proceedings Dig into Industry Sustainability Strategies

The international hotel and restaurant industry has been working toward sustainability in operations, and industry executives are making every effort to report their sustainability results. At the 2012 Cornell Hospitality Research Summit (CHRS), several presenters offered their analysis of both sustainability strategies and related reporting approaches. The sustainability presentations are summarized in a new conference proceedings, "Toward Sustainable Hotel and Restaurant Operations," by Glenn Withiam. The proceedings document is available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, where Withiam is director of publications.

Much of the research presented at the CHRS addressed the conflicting messages that customers send about sustainability. While it's clear that sustainability has become a business driver, guests' actions on sustainability remain difficult to predict. For example, one study found that the only sustainability-related element in the purchase decision is a "healthy room." In determining their hotel purchase, some guests take note of internationally recognized certifications, including LEED, ISO 14001, and Travelocity's Green Hotel directory.

A particular challenge in sustainability reporting is that benchmarks are difficult to determine. Carbon reporting seems to be one item of particular interest. SABRE, for instance, has developed a CO2 reporting standard that varies by country. For restaurants, one issue of particular interest is customers' reactions to the use of packaging for carryout and drive-through operations. Using recyclable materials influences guests' purchase behavior at the drive-through, for instance. Overall, such efforts as the Global Reporting Initiative are assisting hotel firms in developing sustainability standards.

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 72 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 www.chr.cornell.edu.

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