Mark Ashton

Senior Lecturer; Director of Teaching and Learning
+44 (0)1483 682118
44 AP 02
Semester 1: Monday 10am-12noon and Thursday 1pm-3pm

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; Restaurant Innovation; Hospitality Management Education

University roles and responsibilities

  • Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Masters Business Plan Dissertation Lead
  • Editor - SHTM Weekly Industry Digest
  • Faculty Representative - University Student Success Committee

    My qualifications

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

    Previous roles

    September 2018 - July 2021
    Programme Leader BSc (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management
    01 January 2021 - 31 August 2021
    Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching

    Affiliations and memberships

    Institute of Hospitality
    Higher Education Academy


    Research interests

    Research projects

    Indicators of esteem

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

    • With two colleagues, I led a module where we were recognised for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Collaborative Teaching Award in 2021

    • Emerald Literati Awards - Outstanding Paper - How will service robots redefine leadership in hotel management? A Delphi approach - International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 



    Tracy Xu, J. Steinmetz, M. Ashton (2020)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.

    Aarni Tuomi, IIS PATIMAH TUSSYADIAH, MARK THOMAS ASHTON (2021)Covid-19 and Instagram: Digital Service Innovation in Top Restaurants, In: Wolfgang Wörndl, Chulmo Koo, Jason L. Stienmetz (eds.), 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.

    Purpose – The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace is on the rise. To help advance research in this area, we synthesise the academic research and develop research propositions on the antecedents and consequences of AI adoption and application in the workplace to guide future research. We also present AI research in socio-technical system context to provide a springboard for new research to fill the knowledge gap of the adoption and application of AI in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach – This paper summarises the existing literature and builds a theoretically-grounded conceptual framework on socio-technical system theory that captures the essence of the impact of AI in the workplace. Findings – The antecedents of AI adoption and application include personnel subsystem, technical subsystem, organisational structure subsystem and environmental factors. The consequences of AI adoption and application include individual, organisational and employment related outcomes. Theoretical and Practical implications – A research agenda is provided to identify and discuss future research that comprises not only insightful theoretical contributions but also practical implications. A greater understanding of AI adoption from socio-technical system perspective will enable managers and practitioners to develop effective AI adoption strategies, enhance employees’ work experience and achieve competitive advantage for organisations. Originality – Drawing on the socio-technical system theory, our proposed conceptual framework provides a nuanced understanding of the antecedents and consequences of AI adoption and application in the work environment. We discuss the main contributions to theory and practice, along with potential future research directions of AI in the workplace related to three key themes at the individual, organisational and employment level.

    Additional publications