Find out how our research and impact fits with the wider university.
We share the University of Surrey’s mission to drive positive technological, economic, social and environmental change in a world facing increasing challenges. We actively contribute to industry, commerce, government and civil society, and are committed to playing our part in solving society’s grand challenges.
Our contribution to the University’s research vision for impact is realised through knowledge exchange activities, and by making new connections and building upon established relationships with established partners to make real and noticeable changes in society.
The impact of our research
We've seen our research influence policy change, improve business tools in the tourism and hospitality industries and influence professional standards, guidelines and training. We pride ourselves in designing and delivering research in the School which impacts on culture and society; economy, commerce and organisations; practitioner and professional services, the environment; health and welfare; public policy, law and services; and the food sector.
The strength of our impact is evidenced in the outcome of the 2014 REF when the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management was recognised as having 100% internationally excellent research, with 60% of our impact considered world leading.
Who uses our research
We've built up long-term partnerships and collaborations with hugely influential organisations. We work with and for a number of organisations and the main end users of our research outcomes are industry, government bodies and various NGOs and Commissions falling largely within the tourism, hospitality and event sectors. We are committed to increase continuously the number and scope of such beneficiaries.
The School has a range of external partners that we engage with on a regular basis through research, teaching, industry engagement and dissemination.
- World Travel and Tourism Centre (WTTC)
- China National Tourist Office
- World Economic Forum (WEF)
- United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Hong Kong Tourism Board.
- Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA)
- Institute of Hospitality (IOH)
- Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)
- US Travel Association
- International Association of Place Branding
- International Federation for Information Technologies and Travel & Tourism
- International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
- University of Queensland (UQ)
- Griffith University (GU)
- Sun Yat Sen University
- Swedish Institute for Innovative Retailing (SIIR)
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Spain’s Society for Tourist Innovations and Technology (SEGITTUR)
- Tourism South East (TSE)
- Visit Britain
- Visit Wales
- Visit England
- Visit Surrey
- Watts Gallery
- TUI Travel
- Explore Worldwide
- The Travel Foundation
- Hampton Court Palace
How we are building our impact
Our impact strategy focuses on embedding a culture of long-term impact in academic thinkingwithin the School and producing high quality impact. We work closely with our partners, collaborators, Advisory Board, and Centre for Research and Enterprise to deliver this.
Our work on Impact is led by Dr Candice Howarth and is supported by the SHTM Impact Committee consisting of the Head of School (Professor Caroline Scarles), our Director of Research (Prof. Allan Williams), our REF Advisor (Prof. John Tribe), our Heads of Departments (Prof. Leo Jago, Dr Scott Cohen) and our Research Theme Leads (Prof. Xavier Font, Dr Iis Tussyadiah, Prof. Gang Li).
Our key areas of impact span our main research themes on Sustainability and Wellbeing, Competitiveness in the Visitor Economy, the Digital Economy. These include:
- Monitoring Sustainable Tourism (Professor Graham Miller)
- Work Flexibility and Productivity in Hotels (Professor Allan Williams, Professor Andrew Lockwood)
- Modelling and Forecasting International Tourism Demand (Professor Gang Li)
- Augmented reality (Professor Caroline Scarles)
- Innovation Policy (Dr Isabel Rodriguez)
- Hypermobility (Dr Scott Cohen)
- Gender and sustainability (Dr Albert Kimbu)
Forecasting tourism demand
An intelligent and interactive forecasting tool has benefited 370 tourism-related organisations in Asia. Imagine owning a hotel, theme park or an airline, and being able to forecast how many tourists will use your service in the upcoming busy season? Thanks to a research team at the University of Surrey, it turns out you can.
Commissioned by PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association), the University of Surrey, in collaboration with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, have developed a web-based tool that forecasts inbound tourist arrivals, expenditures, hotel room nights and occupancy rates. This interactive forecasting system is the first and only of its kind in the world and has greatly benefited tourism-related organisations' strategic decision making and policy making.
To date, over 370 tourism-related organisations have subscribed to the system, including Cathay Pacific who expanded their cabin crew, pilots and ground staff to meet demand forecasted for their most popular destinations, and Hong Kong Disneyland, who since using this innovative forecasting tool have improved their level of guest satisfaction and achieved their first annual profit since the resort's opening.
Reducing social exclusion through participation in tourism
Research conducted by the University of Surrey results in improved information and support for socially excluded groups on day-trips and holidays. 127 million: That's how many people require accessible tourism in Europe. Prior to research conducted by the University of Surrey, this substantial figure was unknown.
Surrey's research also unearthed that existing schemes for accessible and social tourism were falling way short of their informational requirements, which led to the development of the first Europe-wide accessibility scheme Europe For All, plus a network of 'travel shops' in Belgium to help socially excluded groups overcome barriers in tourism participation.
Schemes like this have helped many disabled people and low-income groups access the information and support they need for an enjoyable and stress-free time away.
Surrey was also the leading research partner in FETE (First European Travel Experience), which gave 14 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who'd never travelled before a chance to visit a non-neighbouring country for the first time.
On a wider level, Surrey's research has also contributed to the enhanced position of social tourism on the agenda of regional governments, while the Ministry of Tourism in Thailand is endeavouring to improve accessibility, starting with a pilot scheme in Bangkok.