Think-tanks and conference output

A meeting of interdisciplinary minds making changes for the future.

Our team of academics have experience of teaching and research at dozens of top-level universities around the world. We aim to harness that experience and address problems faced by stakeholders, companies and organisations in the hospitality, tourism and events sector through our think-tanks, which bring together key people from industry, policy and academia to apply relevant research and discuss new ideas.

From 2013 to 2017 our think-tanks focused on:

  • Collaborative economy
  • Visiting friends and relatives
  • Tourism and technology
  • Productivity and competitiveness
  • Tourism and social entrepreneurship.

Others are in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond, including our main research event – our five-yearly international hospitality, tourism and events conference.

Our think-tanks in detail

IFITTtalk | Surrey Think Tank: Collaborative Economy

Together with the Surrey Business School, the Digital Visitor Economy Research Group in School of Hospitality and Tourism Management organise Surrey Think Tank on Collaborative Economy. The aim of the event is to discuss the state-of-the-art in research on the phenomenon of collaborative or sharing economy, collaborative consumption or access-based services and its implications for consumers, established busineses, our ecosystems, and society.

The event will set an agenda for future research in related fields.The event is sponsored by the International Federation for IT and Travel/Tourism (IFITT) for its IFITTtalk program; featuring 12 research presentations from various universities in 10 different countries and two panel discussions with experts.

Reconceptualising Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) Travel

Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) is a major component of travel and tourism flows and is being significantly reshaped by changes in migration and mobility patterns, transport and communication technologies. Despite its importance, it's a research topic that has received little attention. Our think-tank in 2013 brought together international scholars researching tourism and migration and addressed technological, political, socio-cultural and environmental aspects of VFR travel.

Tourism and Technology Research

This workshop held in 2014 explored research topics focused on finding innovative solutions for some of the technology challenges facing the industry. We brought together industry experts in destination management, hospitality and events with academics in the field of engineering, psychology, sociology and analytics.This interdisciplinary meeting of minds highlighted the value of expertise and technique from outside of the tourism sector.

Productivity and Competitiveness

Working on projects commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), our academics have been investigating the labour productivity of various groups of staff across the UK hotel sector. This research is informing current debates on the value of immigration to the UK, and contributes to our understanding of how to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of companies and destinations. Our think-tank in 2014 invited participants from academia and industry to consider productivity from a range of perspectives and to identify future research opportunities in this area.

Women as Vectors of Social Entrepreneurship in Hospitality and Tourism

Our staff work on projects focused on social entrepreneurship, which can act as a catalyst for innovation, value creation and social change, especially in niche markets often overlooked by traditional profit-maximizing commerce. If well executed, social entrepreneurship can be a key contributor to lifting disadvantaged groups out of poverty and lead to local economic development.

Our workshop in 2015 explored the role of women as social entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality industry, addressing the challenges involved, the structure and organisation of society and how that shapes the nature of female participation in social entrepreneurship.

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686300
  • Fax: +44 (0)1483 686346

Find us

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
University of Surrey