BU Artificial Intelligence for Tourism and Hospitality – IFITTtalk Wednesday 28 November 2018 – 09:00-17:00 FG06, Fusion, Bournemouth University, BH12 5BB, UK
Chairs: Professor Dimitrios Buhalis and Dr Nigel Williams eTourismLab, Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Bournemouth University –
Supported by IFITT talks #BUeTourism #IFITT https://tinyurl.com/BU-IFITT-AI
The (re) emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a service automation approach leveraging low cost computing and large datasets is impacting consumer experiences and is set to revolutionize tourism experiences. The ubiquitous and prevailing use of mobile devices for communication assures that stakeholders of such ‘consumer experiences’ are required to provide rapid responses to contextual queries made at any time, including within an experience encounter or activity at a destination level. AI tools that can make sense of real-time questions posed by consumers in context can provide significant value and increase engagement as well as reducing costs to destination organizations. The use of AI by tourism organizations is still low and this workshop will explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging AI as a customer co-creation toolset for industry and economic benefits. It will conclude with a scenario development exercise to identify possible futures for AI and Tourism along with a roadmap for the next 3 years of AI/Tourism development.
14:00-15:30 Workshops Designing the future of Artificial Intelligence in Tourism
15:30-16:00 Break and Networking
16:00-17:00 Conclusions Research and Innovation agendas for the future
Chairs: Professor Dimitrios Buhalis and Dr Nigel Williams
AI Fusion: Future research – Projects – Publications – Best Practice Excellence – Education Innovations
Tourist decision to visit attractions is a complex process influenced by multiple factors of individual context. This study investigates how the accuracy of tourism demand forecasting can be improved at the micro level. The number of visits to five London museums is forecast and the predictive powers of Naïve I, seasonal Naïve, seasonal autoregressive moving average, seasonal autoregressive moving average with explanatory variables, SARMAX-mixed frequency data sampling and artificial neural network models are compared. The empirical findings extend understanding of different types of data and forecasting algorithms to the level of specific attractions. Introducing the Google Trends index on pure time-series models enhances the forecasts of the volume of arrivals to attractions. However, none of the applied models outperforms the others in all situations. Different models’ forecasting accuracy varies for short- and long-term demand predictions. The application of higher frequency search query data allows for the generation of weekly predictions, which are essential for attraction- and destination-level planning.
In a meeting at Bournemouth University, the BoHo Awards teams engaged postgraduate hospitality and tourism students who will be doing the analysis of the assessment. Following a guest lecture on the importance of Trust in Marketing and how reviews determine hospitality competitiveness, students were invited to be part of the awards assessment and the conference in London.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department of Tourism and Hospitality at Bournemouth University said “we are delighted to work with the leading Hospitality Industry Publisher and to support the BoHo awards. Following the Fusion BU2025 strategy of Bournemouth University we are bringing our students to work closely with industry and technology innovations partners and we disseminate our cutting edge research to society. This partnership will bring multiple benefits to all stakeholders and will help identify best practice in Boutique Hotels around the world.”
Time is running out to register for ABTA’s third annual Over 50s Holiday Market conference.
This year will focus on key trends, travel insights and innovations for the over 50s. Learn how to connect and engage with this market, and understand what the over 50s want so you can shape your product and marketing strategy.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis is preparing for China to contribute to Smart Tourism : Emerging Global Digital Ecosystem at the 12th UNWTO / PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook Guilin, China Conference The future of Tourism : Road to 2030
25-27 October 2018. People’s Government of Guilin of China, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
Professor Heather Hartwell research into large scale nutrition interventions to improve public health
Good nutrition and eating well is an important part of public health and can help stave off a number of age-related illnesses. Over the last twenty years, Bournemouth University’s Professor Heather Hartwell has been carrying out research into nutrition in the context of developing large scale interventions to improve public health. Her work has taken her from prisons to hospitals to workplace canteens. When Professor Hartwell began her research career in nutrition, much of the health policy focus was on one-to-one support for people who were struggling with associated health conditions. The idea that large scale interventions might be successful was only beginning to be recognised.
“One of the first projects I was involved in at Bournemouth University was a commission from the National Audit Office, exploring nutrition in prisons,” says Professor Hartwell, “We found that while prisoners did have healthy eating options, the catering on offer tended to over-rely on processed foods – bread, sausages and pasties, for example. This meant they were eating more salt than the general population, which can lead to high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Among other things, we recommended that they used the prison gardens to grow fresh produce, as it was a low-cost way of adding more vegetables to the food on offer. Around the same time, we were also looking at nutrition in hospital catering. In this setting, we found that there were much fewer healthy food options on offer and that meal production and delivery were overseen by a number of different teams – caterers, porters and ward staff. This meant that there was no real consistency and making it easier for miscommunication to take place.”
“It was quite eye-opening working in two very different public sector contexts,” continues Professor Hartwell, “As researchers, it’s important to go into every situation with humility because until you’re fully immersed in the context in which you’re working, you can’t fully appreciate the barriers that staff might be facing. In the NHS, for example, catering managers are often providing three meals per day, drinks and snacks on a very low budget, which limits what they’re able to do. You can’t achieve perfection in any situation, but co-created research can significantly improve what was there before.”
Working in public sector settings and seeing the difference that larger scale interventions could make on people’s health then led Professor Hartwell to consider the difference that healthier eating options could make in workplace canteen environments. “These settings are really important because they’re where people eat on a regular basis, not just one-off celebratory meals. If people are continually being offered unhealthy food choices, then it can have long-term implications for their health. We’re offered very little information about what’s in our food when we eat out, so my starting point was to improve that.”
Over the last few years, Professor Hartwell has been working on a major European grant, FoodSMART, which has been addressing exactly that issue. The grant enabled Professor Hartwell and her team to develop an App, which uses data provided by catering companies to help consumers to make more informed choices about their meals. “We wanted to create an IT solution for the contract catering industry which would both better inform their consumers and also give the companies an edge when competing for new contracts,” explains Professor Hartwell, “It was slightly ahead of its time when we first created it, but is getting much more interest now as workplaces are increasingly concerned about employee wellbeing. Nutrition can help contribute to better health, which helps to reduce sickness rates and can improve productivity too.”
Alongside FoodSMART, Professor Hartwell and her team were also leading on another European grant, which was looking at increasing our protein intake through vegetables. In the context of an increasing global population, it is important for the agricultural and catering sectors to consider more sustainable sources of food. “The project was about encouraging people to get their protein through vegetables, rather than meat, which uses far more resources than arable farming,” says Professor Hartwell, “It’s a healthier way of meeting our protein requirements as vegetables contain less fat and are much more sustainable in the long run.” Partly inspired by the issues of sustainability raised in this project, Professor Hartwell and her team have recently started working on a new research grant with partners in Brazil to consider how to improve our long term food security.
More information about VeggiEAT can be found here: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/veggieat/
More information about FoodSMART can be found here: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/foodsmart/
Of the 2.3m students starting courses at UK universities each autumn, well over 400,000 are international students from non-UK countries. The scale and importance of international students to the UK higher education sector is now well established. Yet we know very little about how students from non-UK countries experience and interact with the heavy drinking culture that predominates on and near many universities. Many international students often come from cultures marked by moderation or abstinence around alcohol. And concerns have been raised that activities centred on alcohol may exclude international students. We’ve conducted new research to reveal the perceptions of British drinking cultures held by international students studying on postgraduate courses at a UK university. In focus groups and interviews, students from countries including Nigeria, the US, China, Turkey, Poland, Germany and Greece told us of their experiences of drinking culture at university.
The British ‘like to drink’
The British Council, and many city and university marketing teams, often promote the British pub as a safe and friendly leisure space in their bid to market studying in the UK to international students. The students we spoke to were aware of the iconic image of the British pub. They spoke of their desire to participate in what they saw as being an important part of British culture. Others spoke with excitement of being able to try British real ale and craft beer as a part of their experience of living and studying in Britain. Having seen depictions of British pubs in television, film and, increasingly, social media, most international students were aware of alcohol consumption being important to British culture before they came to the UK. This prior perception was confirmed by their initial experiences on arrival. Our interviewees felt that getting drunk was an important part of British cultural life and reported being initially surprised that drinking to excess was an expected part of university life. Despite these concerns, drinking alcohol was an important part of the social lives of many international students. Many had enjoyed their experiences of socialising in bars and pubs. For others, whose degree programme cohorts were predominantly fellow international students, the pub was a space in which they could view and interact with British culture and British people – such as non-student locals.
Drinking cultures in contrast
International students made ready comparisons with the drinking habits and attitudes of their own cultures. Many told us about how people drink alcohol and get drunk in their own cultures. But they contrasted this with the tendency of “going too far” and of “not knowing when to stop” that was perceived to be a major characteristic of British drinking culture. That said, many interviewees had enjoyed learning about the practice of buying “rounds” of drinks, using “cheers” before drinking and the lack of table service in Britain. They saw this as a fun and a pleasurable part of getting to know local culture.
As identified in other research, gender is an important feature of how students view drinking and drunkenness. Concern was expressed in our study about a perceived lack of control among some British women when drinking alcohol. Words such as embarrassment and shame were used by both male and female interviewees to define the boundary between fun, sociable drinking and excessive drunkenness. Interviewees expressed surprise that public vomiting and urination or collapsing in the street were so widely tolerated and even in some cases expected and celebrated by British students.
Finding the balance
Most students felt capable of negotiating their involvement with student drinking culture by choosing times, spaces and styles of drinking that suited their own tastes. This involved a clear preference for drinking as part of other events such as eating a meal out with friends or watching televised sport in pubs. At social events where heavy drinking was the main activity, some would try to enjoy “one or two” drinks but leave once other people became noticeably drunk.
But while many students spoke of the pub as a welcoming and relaxed space for socialising with friends, bars and nightclubs were said to be intimidating places where they felt at risk of violence or harassment. Many students witnessed fights. Female international students had particular concerns – several spoke of their strategies to stay safe when out at night. The avoidance of the streets at night due to a fear of potential violence or aggression was also highlighted in a previous study that looked at levels of racism experienced by international students. That said, UK drinking culture is changing. More than a quarter of young adults in the UK do not drink alcohol. “Sober campuses” during fresher’s week are becoming more prevalent, as are teetotal university halls. And many students are eager for advice on avoiding or moderating the pressure to drink heavily while at university. But only time will tell whether this is a trend that is set to remain.
Deepam Ramchurn returns to Uni after a Communications and Marketing Internship, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Bangkok, Thailand
A picture of me at PATA’s HQ in Bangkok with the published report “Travel & Tourism- A Force for Good in the World’
Why did you come to BU? I chose the BA (Hons)Tourism ManagementBournemouth University because the course offered a sandwich option and I was impressed by the connection the university has with some of the companies in the industry.
Why did you choose to do a sandwich placement year? I knew I wanted to go to a university that offered the sandwich option as it would give me the upper hand when I graduate due to the skills I would gain. I couldn’t be more right now that I think of all the experiences I’ve gained whilst on placement. This puts you ahead of the game as you’ll have more to showcase on your CV to employers.
Describe your job role: My role as aCommunications andMarketing Intern, at Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Bangkok has varied. When I first started, I was given the responsibility of posting PATA’s member’s press releases on our website using WordPress as well on our social media account. This was a great opportunity to stay up to date with what was going on within the Tourism industry as the company works with Aviation, Tourism Boards, Hospitality, Travel Agents, Technological firms and more! I also had to update the Global Event Calendar which provides our members all the information they need to know about events occurring within the Travel industry globally. I had the chance to attend one of PATA’s event, Asia Pacific Youth & Sustainable Tourism Workshop and my director had given me the task to take photographs, highlight some of the key points and interviewed some key speakers for a press release.
I managed to work within an interest of mine which is digital media. I had to create and schedule content for the social media accounts using Hootsuite (for Twitter and Linkedin) and Facebook. Furthermore, I became familiar with the software Mailchimp to create EDM (Electronic Direct Mail) for PATA to send to members. I was given the chance to create an EDM on MailChimp to send to subscribers regarding some complimentary tours for an upcoming annual event. We needed to promote them for delegates to attend during the PATA Annual Summit in South Korea. This was a rewarding task for me as I absolutely enjoy doing creative writing and I got to use this skill. My manager praised my writing skills as it’s a different style to how the company usually use. She sent the EDM as I wrote it and didn’t change anything which I was very proud of.
At United Nations in Bangkok for PATA’s event, Asia Pacific Youth & Sustainable Tourism Workshop
What have been some of the highlights so far? One of the main highlights for me was when I was involved in a project with Uniting Travel, a member of PATA. I never expected this opportunity before commencing my internship and it was very daunting when I thought of the responsibilities I would have. Uniting Travel is a strategic action group and chaired by Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The project was writing and researching statistics for a report entitled as “Travel & Tourism- A Force for Good in the World’ which presents the benefits that Travel & Tourism brings to the economy and society. This was a very challenging yet fulfilling task mainly because I was working alone under the supervision of a manager and I had a very tight deadline to meet. I had to ensure that all the statistics were the same as other organisations or report stated. This was the association’s first publication and was presented at the 18th WTTC 2018 Global Summit in Argentina.
What has been the greatest challenge this year?
I was never good at my time management and organisational skills, it was always a struggle during the exam period. However, working at PATA has enabled me to structure my work according to a checklist as workload increased. I could definitely see the benefit of checking tasks off my checklist as I was more productive and efficient. I have bought that skill with me during my final year at university as I organise myself with my studies.
I was based in Bangkok for the duration of the placement and it was a challenge as it was my first time travelling alone in Asia. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to adapt to the environment however the local people are so lovely I felt at comfort. I also made some life-long friends who come from different backgrounds and countries and we had the chance to discover Thailand!
For International Women’s Day, we had the chance to get our photos taken at a studio
Has the experience so far helped you to learn more about what you want to do in the future?
Yes, I’m more certain of what type of job I would like to do after I graduate which is Digital Content Marketing within the tourism industry. This experience has taught me what marketing in general consist of, however, I know what I need to learn now in order to secure the job I want.
Any regrets in taking a placement year?
Absolutely not! It has changed me personally and professionally and I couldn’t be more ready for the working world.