Mark Ashton

Mark Ashton

Senior Teaching Fellow; Deputy Director of Teaching and Learning
MRes BSc (Hons) AUS FIH
+44 (0)1483 682118
12 AP 02
Monday 11am-1pm and Tuesday 9am-11am

Academic and research departments

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.


Areas of specialism

Hospitality Operations Management; Service Design/Management; Artifical Intelligence in Service Design; Food and Beverage Management

University roles and responsibilities

  • Deputy Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Programme Leader BSc (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Masters Business Plan Dissertation Lead

    My qualifications

    BSc (Hons) Hotel and Catering Management - First Class
    University of Surrey
    Master's by Research
    Bournemouth University
    Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning
    University of Surrey

    Affiliations and memberships

    Institute of Hospitality

    Indicators of esteem

    • I was recognised as the Early Career Teacher of the Year for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2020

      My teaching

      My publications


      Aarni Tuomi, IIS PATIMAH TUSSYADIAH, MARK THOMAS ASHTON (2021)Covid-19 and Instagram: Digital Service Innovation in Top Restaurants, In: Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2021: Proceedings of the ENTER 2021 eTourism Conference, January 19–22, 2021pp. 464-475 Springer Nature Switzerland AG
      Governments across the world have imposed strict rules on social distancing to curb the spread of Covid-19. In particular, restaurants have been impacted by government-mandated lockdowns. This study adopts a mixed methods approach to explore how Finnish high-profile restaurants used Instagram as a means for service innovation and diffusion during nine weeks of government-mandated lockdown. Comparatively analysing 1,119 Instagram posts across two time-stamps (2019 and 2020) and across 45 restaurants, as well as conducting five semi-structured interviews with restaurant managers, it is found that while the overall number of Instagram posts and likes on posts stayed relatively similar to the year prior, the number of comments increased significantly, suggesting a move towards a more didactic and dyadic form of Instagram communication. In addition, four digital service innovation strategies are identified: launching new service offerings and introducing new elements to existing service offerings, fostering social relationship with customers, exploring novel streams of revenue, and reinvigorating the brand’s image. Implications to service innovation theory and practice are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.
      Tracy Xu, J. Steinmetz, M. Ashton How Will Service Robots Redefine Leadership in Hotel Management? A Delphi Approach, In: International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management Emerald
      Purpose – Using the Delphi technique, this paper aims to investigate how human resource experts perceive service robots will impact leadership and human resource management in the hospitality industry. Design/methodology/approach – A three-stage Delphi study with hotel industry human resource experts was conducted to identify the key trends and major challenges that will emerge in the next ten years and how leaders should deal with the challenges brought about by service robot technologies. Findings – Results show that while service robots are anticipated to increase efficiency and productivity of hotel activities, they may also pose challenges such as high costs, skill deficits, and significant changes to the organizational structure and culture of hotels. Therefore, the anticipated applications and integration of robotic technology will require leaders of the future to carefully consider the balance between the roles of service robots and human employees in the guest experience, and to nurture a work environment that embraces open-mindedness and change. Originality/value – This is the first type of study to examine hospitality leadership and human resource management in the context of robotized hotels. This study has taken an important step to understand the leadership role in robotized hotels from a human resource perspective, and brings clarity as to how robotic technology can influence leadership in the future workplace.

      Additional publications