Feiertag HTM students awarded at ENTER2020 competition
January 31, 2020
A pair of Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management doctoral students received honors for their research at the Expedia Group X ENTER2020 Data Science Competition. The inaugural competition, sponsored by Expedia Group and held during the ENTER2020 eTourism Conference in Guildford, United Kingdom, featured 15 different teams from around the world.
According to International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT), the governing body of the conference, the competition is designed to gain a better understanding of how technologies and platforms play a role in promoting more socially responsible and inclusive travel and tourism industry. Competitors were challenged to use Expedia-provided datasets to “identify clusters of accommodation that bring the most positive impact to the community, allowing a wider range of actors to participate in travel and tourism as consumers and/or providers,” according to a press release.
Hyoeun “Rosa” Kim and teammate, University of Iowa Ph.D. student Junho Yoon, working under the supervision of Feiertag HTM Associate Professor Zheng “Phil” Xiang, won the Best Use of AI and Machine Learning Tools category, receiving $4,000 in prize money. Xiang presented the award-winning solution titled “Designing a Composite SRT Index and Discovery of Communities with Positive Impacts” during the conference. “The subject of the competition was ‘Development of Indicators for Socially Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism,’” explained Kim. “By using Expedia Group's accommodation data and the U.S. Census Bureau's Data, as well as other secondary open-sourced data, we were able to support our recommendations.”
Seunghun Shin’s paper, titled “Social Media-Induced Tourism: A Conceptual Framework,” received second place for the Best Research Note Award. The paper, co-authored by his advisor, Xiang, “focuses on an emerging phenomenon in the tourism field: travelers visiting destinations based on what they see on social media,” according to Shin. “In the paper, we call this trend ‘social media-induced tourism (SMIT)’ and try to explain its mechanism by developing a conceptual framework,” Shin continued. “As one of the early studies of SMIT, we attempt to start a formal discussion about the new and important phenomenon in the tourism field.”
During the conference, members of IFITT appointed Xiang president. As president, Xiang will be tasked with overseeing the ENTER conference, which will be hosted by Nankai University in the city of Tianjin, China, in 2021. Xiang will lead the IFITT board to work with the host to organize the conference.
Visit the Feiertag HTM website for more information about this or other research being conducted by researchers and graduate students in the broad field of hospitality and tourism management.
- Written by Jeremy Norman