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 Cornell Hotel School Roundtable Examines Integrating Technology with Service
Ithaca, NY, July 10, 2006 -- Leading hospitality marketing executives and marketing professors at the Cornell Hotel School's second annual Hospitality Marketing Roundtable recently examined how to use technology to improve service and how strategic alliances can boost a hotel brand.

In one session, led by Professor Lisa Klein Pearo, participants addressed the impact of self-service technologies on guest satisfaction. Attendees agreed that one key to successful integration of self-service technology is segmenting the marketplace. One attendee held that some hotel customers might prefer an automated experience, while others, particularly in the luxury segment, would opt for a personal interaction.

In a bid to satisfy all segments, some hotels are trying to blend technology with personal service. Starwood, for example, has introduced what it calls the “universal service provider,” a wired individual who attends to guest needs in a lobby with check-in kiosks. The panel agreed that as technology advances, companies must educate consumers on how to have a positive experience with the self-service technologies they offer.

Left to right: Oral Muir, Director of Global eCommerce Channels, Marriot International; Bill Carroll, Senior Lecturer, Cornell School of Hotel Administration; Victoria Starr, President, Starr Map Company LLC; and Donald Smith, Vice President Hotels, SideStep, Inc. 
A second session focused on the growing practice of co-branding in hospitality. Citing as examples the alliances between Renaissance Hotels and Starbucks, Hilton and Neutrogena, and W Hotels and Bliss, Professor Robert Kwortnik described how co-branding is becoming a common practice, especially on the high end. Kwortnik stressed that one way to grow a brand is to differentiate it, which is what companies hope to achieve through co-branding. The key to a successful co-branding strategy, says Kwortnik, is for companies to link up with partners whose consumers are a natural fit for their brand. Once the partnership is established, he says, partners need to create a co-branding strategy and aggressively market to those consumers.

In another session, Professor Bill Carroll evaluated the benefits of dynamic packaging on the Internet. While research shows that few travelers make dining or shopping decisions before they arrive at their destination, the Internet may lead to a higher degree of pre-trip planning. In fact, it may be that when travelers book their hotel online, they will also book their meals, show tickets, spa packages and tee times. Carroll said hotels could use such a tool to generate more revenue and enhance the guest experience. 

The event was sponsored by the School’s Center for Hospitality Research. For more information about future roundtables at the Cornell Hotel School, please visit

About The Center for Hospitality Research 

A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the Center’s 48 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The Center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. To learn more about CHR and its projects, visit 


Jennifer Macera

Also See: Hotel and Resort Leaders Discuss the Future of Design at Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Roundtable / July 2004
Discussions on Union Mergers, Sexual Harassment highlight Cornell’s Third Annual Legal Roundtable / July 2004


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