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Research Seminars and Public Engagements

‘Exploring the Utilisation of Chatbots in Tourism’

Aditya Verma

11th May 2022


Abstract

The research aims to explore the impact of emerging chatbots in the tourism sector. A chatbot is gaining tremendous popularity in various sectors such as banking, energy, and telecommunication. Similarly, tourism companies also adopted chatbots as a primary communication medium through tourism websites and social networking websites. This research investigates the changing communication trends such as man and machine interaction and explores the adoption and implementation challenges of chatbots in tourism support services. Furthermore, the study investigates consumers' expectations from the emerging chatbots comparative to the traditional customer support methods such as email, phone and manual chat support. The research will also review the chatbot's adoption and its benefits after coronavirus pandemic customer support services. In tourism 4.0, productive utilisation of technology for the growth of tourism is a primary focus, and hence, chatbots have the potential for strengthening customer support services. However, understanding consumer insight about chatbots clarifies consumer expectations and adoption challenges which is a guideline in the future development of hybrid tourism chatbots using artificial intelligence and machine learning for higher consumer engagement, satisfaction, and personalised communication.

‘Academia, Ambition and Adventure: How Foucauldian diagnosis can contribute to criticality’

Richard Voase

30th March 2022


Abstract

The current climate for academics is challenging. Full fees engender a student-consumer mentality; smartphones give students ever-present access to the distractions of social media; institutions are relentless in digital innovation. Confronted with these challenges, how does an academic ensure that materials are adventurous as well as accessible, animating rather than inert, and meet the needs of humans rather than the demands of software? 

A Foucauldian diagnosis – Foucault’s choice of word - does not of itself solve the problem, if problem it be. However, Foucault’s methods enable us to view a circumstance in a new light. The results can be disarmingly revealing. Michel Foucault (1926-184), social theorist, was circumspect regarding the concept of ‘authorship’. For much of the time, says Foucault, human subjects recycle sets of messages and terms – ‘discourses’ – encountered elsewhere.

In this seminar, I set out to explain Foucault’s argument, and the conditions under which this recycling-of-the-familiar takes place. Foucault helps us to understand what we are and are not doing when we generate discourse. Foucault’s writing may appear opaque, but his methods are elegantly simple. To illustrate the utility of his approach, reference to some close-to-home examples will be made. References to Foucault’s work will be provided.

“This tour was an exceptional surprise”: slavery heritage tourism and the embodied absence of the past”

Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong

Assistant Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands, a co-Editor-in-Chief of the international peer-reviewed Tourism Planning and Development journal published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis) and a Research Associate at the School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

26th January 2022


Abstract

Across many European countries there is an ongoing struggle with telling the contentious stories of slavery and colonialisation. Tourism practices and performances can play a transformative role in this process of telling the stories of history and heritage. In this presentation I examine a slavery-related heritage tour: Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours (BHAT), using a framework that stresses the narrative power and transformative work of tourism in the politics of slavery heritage. BHAT is a guided walking, sightseeing and boat tour that explore Amsterdam to make visible the ‘hidden histories’ of the African Diaspora and colonial history of the Netherlands from the 17th-century history. The tour weaves around the Dam Square through to the historic De Wallen neighbourhood along some of Amsterdam’s oldest streets and buildings, and involves a stopover at the Rijksmuseum.

I start by developing the conceptual notion of the embodied absence of the past to refer to the physical presence but narrative absence of the shared history and role of people of African descent in European societies. I then focus on how tourism practices and performances such as the BHAT makes visible and challenges this embodied absence of the past. This study seeks to highlight the transformative work of tourism by exploring what visitors take away from their tour of slavery and colonial heritage in Amsterdam. Specifically, it examines visitors’ thoughts about the representation of Dutch slavery and colonial heritage during the tour and their views on the physical remnants of such heritage in the built environment. Data for this study comes from 147 visitor review comments posted on the travel website TripAdvisor under the BHAT page between April 2013 – August, 2020. A thematic analysis methodological approach is utilised in gaining an understanding of what visitors learn about Dutch slavery and colonial history during the tour. This study shows how the cultural imagination of slavery is negotiated in the context of the slavery heritage tourism practices seen as leisurely pursuit as well as seen as transformative memorial of the past.

Innovation in agricultural and county shows: conceptualising the e-eventscape.

Prof. Gary Bosworth (Northumbria University) and Dr Barry Ardley

10th December 2021


Abstract

In response to the cancellation of a host of events during the summer of 2020, the purpose of this paper is to examine the rapid innovation that created an online County Show. County Shows are traditionally associated with agriculture and the wider rural economy of a region and provide a range of visitor experiences alongside business networking and trading opportunities. The case of the online Lincolnshire Show sought to replicate many aspects of a physical show, and this paper evaluates its effectiveness by applying a newly developed e-eventscape model. A mixed-methods approach generated data from businesses, visitors and the show organiser. Surveys and social media feedback from attendees captured overall satisfaction levels and suggestions for improvements. Participation in the online Business Breakfast event along with an interview with the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Show provided deeper understanding of the innovation occurring. The nature of innovation was strongly rooted in place, despite creating a virtual product. Local networks and supporters were critical to staging the online Show. The proposed e-eventscape model allowed an effective appraisal of the online Show, identifying many strengths in terms of the user interface and aesthetics as well as opportunities for improvement, especially linked to greater interactive engagement. The impacts of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have accelerated digital innovation in a range of events and festivals. This provides an opportunity to examine the evolving role of Shows in the rural economy and the innovation processes that have emerged. As well as presenting original insights into rural innovation, the paper develops and tests a new e-eventscape model applicable to the growing field of online events and festivals. Findings indicate that there is considerable scope for organisers to embed online content into the future of many live Shows and festivals, far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Innovative methodologies: ‘Walking-with’ method

Dr. Connie Mak

6th October 2021


Abstract

The en-route consumer-practices have long been overlooked in consumer research, even though lifestyles, tastes and consumption practices are omnipresent on the street, on route to home and to places of work.  Applied to a study of impression management and construction of professional identity, the rather new ‘walking-with’ method seeks out inquisitive conversations with research participants while accompanying them to and from work. Capitalizing on the sense-stimulation effect and resonant validity generated from the physical surroundings and bodily movement, the new approach is found to be a desirable alternative or complement to the traditional sit-down narrative interviews and other research methods.

Exploring the relationship between tourism and poverty using the capability approach

Dr. Theres Winter

16th June 2021


Abstract

Tourism has been regarded as a tool for development and poverty alleviation over many decades. Yet tourism research on poverty to date largely focuses on the income-based poverty analysis and does not fully consider the multidimensional nature of poverty or the views of poor people. Applying the capability approach, this paper examines the opportunities provided by tourism development and their contribution to achieving well-being from the perspectives of people living in poverty. The study was undertaken in a small coastal tourist destination in the Northeast of Brazil using a mixed- methods approach that combined quantitative value chain analysis and qualitative interviews with photo-elicitation. The findings show that participants value opportunities associated with both monetary and non-monetary tourism resources and these opportunities help them achieve diverse aspects of well-being. This study demonstrates how the capability approach can help investigate the impacts of tourism development on poverty reduction and well-being of poor people in a more holistic and nuanced way by considering the plural and relative nature of poverty and well-being.

Pubs. Selling third places by the pound: Landlords, loyalty and a labour of love

Victoria Ellis-Vowles

26th March 2021


Abstract

Oldenburg (1989) proclaims the ‘great British pub’ is a third place which is described as a home away from home set in a commercial outlet where customers create an environment of belonging, restoration and rejuvenation. However, the landlord assumes a role that is one of participation and integration where they take on a social supportive and community role in addition to that of a commercial manager. While Oldenburg (1989) renders the role of management invisible, the landlord is considered socially significant.  This complete membership ethnography positioned the researcher backstage for 16 months to explore the role of the landlord through the lens of management to unpack the complexities and difficulties of managing a pub as a third place. The research introduces the Third Place Dependency Model which conceptualises third places as emerging from social stability which acts as a facilitator of business sustainability.  It re-conceptualises the third place as a fragile socio-spatial manifestation of a feeling or a sentiment within a given place and time where the landlord’s role at its most basic, is to introduce and maintain social stability.  The difficulty emerges when social stability is threatened by deviant customer behaviour further complicated by an embedded social servicescape.  It introduces Customer Equilibrium Management (CEM) as a framework promoting ongoing positive customer experiences in a service environment through the maintenance of social stability.

Making impact with your research

Prof. Heather Hughes

11th March 2021


Abstract

Impact is more than a REF exercise. Increasingly, funding bodies require evidence that impact planning has been embedded in funding applications. This session will look briefly at the visitor economy case study for the current REF but will also investigate what impact means in a broader research context, how to plan for it and how to make the most of impact that may happen by chance.

Consumers’ Responses to Brand Extensions: An Emotional Perspective

Tsunwai Wesley Yuen

2nd December 2020


Abstract

‘Brand extension (BE) strategy involves the use of an established brand to introduce similar (high fit) or dissimilar (low fit) new products in relation to the parent brand’s original offerings, such as product category or class. For example, Colgate’s electric toothbrush and Colgate’s ready meal represent high and low product category fit BEs, respectively. While this strategy can capitalise on the parent brand’s equity to grow market share, it does not always succeed. This research proposes that consumers’ emotional responses to BEs can hinder adoption. A growing number of marketing studies have indicated that product attributes can elicit consumers’ emotional responses, which influence their attitudinal and behavioural responses towards the product. While previous BE research has investigated how affective dimensions influence consumers’ evaluation of BEs, no research has been conducted on the effects of consumers’ emotional responses towards BEs. This research deploys the cognitive appraisal theory to understand how: (1) individual’s interpretation of a BE situation (appraisal dimensions) precedes their emotional response, and (2) consumers’ emotional responses affect behaviours. Hence, the current research proposes that the BEs product category fit is the BE appraisal situation, which influences the consumer’s cognitive appraisal process. Then, the research draws on the consumer’s emotional brand attachment as a personal factor and brand name structure as a branding factor in the BE appraisal situation. These factors interact with product category fit and influence consumers’ emotional responses to BEs. To address these hypotheses, this research developed a scale for measuring emotions in the BE context (n = 1617). This scale is used in subsequent studies. Study 1 (n = 353) confirms that appraisal dimensions can predict consumers’ emotional responses in BE consumption situations. Study 2 (n = 393) demonstrates that product category fit can affect consumers’ emotional responses through the cognitive appraisal process, and consumers’ emotional brand attachment positively moderates their emotional responses through appraisal dimensions. In Study 3 (n = 370), it is found that a sub-branding strategy can weaken the negative effect of product category fit on consumers’ negative emotional responses. Study 4 (n = 353) replicates all results from the previous studies. Each of these studies confirms that emotional responses can influence consumers’ attitudinal and behavioural responses to BEs. The practical implications of these findings are also discussed’

Gender, diversity and inclusion in the UK events industry

Dr. Kate Dashper (Leeds Beckett University)

28th October 2020


Abstract

The events industry provides approximately half a million full-time equivalent jobs in the UK across a range of sectors from MICE, to sports events, to arts and cultural events. Despite being female dominated in numerical terms, there is a clear ‘glass ceiling’ in the industry, with women and minority groups under-represented at senior levels. This presentation reports on survey research conducted just before the pandemic plunged the events industry into uncertainty and turmoil, and interviews from the first half of the lockdown. Results illustrate the lack of diversity in the events workforce, and show clear gender differences in career success (based on pay, promotions, level of seniority) and career satisfaction. Findings are discussed in the context of the COVID-19 crisis that risks pushing diversity and inclusion off the agenda and entrenching inequality in the UK events workforce.

"Nine iconic addresses, nine extraordinary hotels, one unique collection” – stylistic analysis of the language of luxury in the marketing materials of The Dorchester Collection

Dr. Malgorzata Drewniok

30th September 2020


Abstract

The Dorchester Collection (DC) is a group of 9 luxury hotels located across the globe. The hotels, the locations, and the particular buildings are chosen meticulously to create this unique collection. The word ‘collection’, an obvious borrowing from the language of fashion and design, has been chosen on purpose – to invoke carefully curated art rather than bring to mind a run-of-the-mill hotel chain. The Collection is consistent in how it presents itself, in general marketing materials, in the promotion of particular hotels, and in how its representatives speak about it. As a linguist with interest in branding and advertising, in this talk I will explore how this self-proclaimed language of luxury is employed to create a certain brand image for the Dorchester Collection. My data will be the DC booklet briefly presenting each of the hotels, the history of the specific hotels available on their websites (so-called media kits), as well as the websites themselves. I will apply stylistic analysis to these texts, with particular interest in the vocabulary and grammar choices. My aim is to find what exactly the language of luxury is – is it quantifiable at all? This area has been under-researched so far, but I will draw on the brand linguistics framework, the existing work on tourism discourse, and the examination of similar luxury hotels.

Contested heritage, colliding narratives: the visitor economy of NE Italy

Alessandro Pesaro

1st July 2020


Abstract

Located at the intersection of Latin, Germanic and Slavic cultures, this region has been deeply affected by war, shifting borders, totalitarian regimes and conflicting territorial claims. These events have shaped memories, narratives and an array of controversial memorials about dramatic events in the past. The presentation will explore this landscape and the implications for the local visitor economy

Can Being Dissimilar in Product Category be an Opportunity for Cross-gender Brand Extension?

Tsunwai Wesley Yuen

17th June 2020


Abstract

Leveraging cross-gender brand extensions (new product offerings under the same brand name to customers of the opposite sex) by gendered brands can present a way to meet the need for brand growth. However, how to implement such strategies remains a challenge. The most common approach is to launch a brand extension in the same or similar product category (high product category fit). However, in the context of cross-gender brand extension, the issue can be more complicated. Instead, using low product category fit strategy can have some advantages due to its ability to distance the extension from the parent brand. Two experimental studies confirm that introducing low (versus high) product category fit cross-gender brand extensions mitigate the parent brand’s brand personality dilution (i.e., masculinity or femininity), bringing more positive evaluations to the parent brand amongst existing customers and higher purchase intention amongst new target customers on the cross-gender brand extension.

Towards a theoretical framework on Internal Destination Brand Strength

Dr. Ilenia Bregoli

27th May 2020


Abstract

This seminar presents and discusses a theoretical framework on Internal Destination Branding developed on the basis of analysis of marketing and tourism literature, as well as data collected through semi-structured interviews with destination stakeholders working in four UK cities.

Reflections on eclecticism, applied and translational research in tourism studies

Dr Phil Long (Bournemouth University)

8th April 2020


Abstract

This seminar considers topics that connect tourism with substantive areas of academic research with critical policy implications. Examples from Phil's work, including alcohol and public health; 'soft power' and public diplomacy; creative industries and places and; active ageing and social prescribing will be outlined. Seminar participants will be invited to contribute their own research interests into the discussion.

'Nowt much to look at': How a Piece of Mediaeval Vellum Conquered the World

Richard Voase and Barry Ardley

22nd January 2020


Abstract

Drawing on the content of their 'highly inspiring' article (Medieval Histories online), the authors entertain you with the story of the Magna Carta, what it means to the people who come to see it, and how it gave them something to write about.

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