Hospitality faculty and graduate students from around the world descended upon Hilton College and Hilton University of Houston on Jan. 5-7 for the 22nd Annual Graduate Education & Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism. There was no shortage of networking over the course of three days, as more than 350 guests attended stand-up and poster presentations, a Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) program, a career fair, and two general sessions devoted to the development of young professionals.
This year marked the ninth time Hilton College has hosted the event in partnership with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management. Founded in 1996 by Dr. Kaye Chon when he was the graduate program director at Hilton College, the conference provides a platform for the exchange of cutting-edge industry research, fosters networking and a healthy research culture, and serves as a career mart for graduate students completing their terminal degrees.
At the opening reception, Dean Dennis Reynolds recalled how that first conference – a kick-off with 70 people from various hospitality programs – has become one of the industry’s largest research and networking forums. And now, thanks to the College’s graduate program leadership, this international conference will once again be held here every other year as it was during its founding years.
One of the highlights of the conference was the awards dinner. Among the night’s winners was our very own Dr. Yoon Koh, who served as planning committee co-chair along with Dr. Ki-Joon Back, associate dean for Research & Graduate Studies. Dr. Koh (second from left) and her Virginia Tech co-authors, Yinyoung Rhou, (third from left) a former student of Hilton College, and Dr. Manisha Singal, received the Best Conference Paper Award sponsored by Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research for their paper titled, “What Does Financial Distress Imply for Employee Relations in Hospitality Companies?” Dr. Koh is also pictured with Dr. Dan Wang, paper review committee chair, and Dr. Chon.
Kudos to Drs. Back and Koh for their hard work and months of planning, and to the many graduate students, faculty and staff who helped to make this conference such a momentous success! The lessons learned will make this event even better in 2019! (Photo: Pearl Cajoles)