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University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes

A Holistic Competitiveness Index for Hotels: A New Benchmark for Irish Hotels

   Graduate Research School Office

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  Dr J Ryan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The hotel industry is a basic foundation and significant antecedent of sustainable competitive advantage in today’s tourism industry. Improving a hotels competitive position requires an understanding of both the customer’s attraction to a hotel and the hotels retention strategies. Despite the fact that numerous practices have been employed to increase the productivity of service operations such as hotels, there have been less reported efforts directed into assessing the formula that creates competitiveness in these same service operations. Therefore this project will investigate the perception of hotel competitiveness using an exploratory study employing semi-structured interviews and surveys for both hotel management teams and customers. This study will reflect on the underlying constructs, factors and performance metrics used in hotels as well as those reported in the literature. The practice of using a hotels performance (e.g. Occupancy, Average Room Rate (ARR), average room Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), average cost per room, and room supply and demand) as the connotation of decisions is no longer seen as adequate in measuring competiveness.
This research project will attempt to show that a single index (competitiveness index) can postulate the holistic competitive position of a hotel in the hospitality market. The ultimate goal is to agree a national index that helps hotels to engage in an ongoing process of improvement. This competitiveness index formula will be a combination of Multi-criteria Decision Making (MCDM) techniques to consolidate assessment factors into a single reflective index. The index will work as a catalyst to benchmark a hotels performance and offer a means to improve Irish hotels. The framework used to develop this index will also examine the practices, challenges, and opportunities that can leverage the potential growth of this vital economic sector. Four sub-objectives are determined including;
1- Conduct an extensive literature to review the current models used to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of hotels in the context of competitiveness.
2- Survey the current factors and measures applied in the Irish Hotels to evaluate hotel competiveness (Customer perception and hotel management perception).
3- Develop a new competiveness index that encompasses the significant factors that influence hotel competiveness.
4- Share findings with professional bodies in the sector in order to set the framework as a new national initiative.

Student Requirements:

• Honours degree or higher award in Business, Management, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics / Statistics / Management Science or related fields.
• Research skills – Experience in academic research, such as project work during degree. In the context of the proposed research it is desired that the individual possesses the ability to identify areas of opportunity and select the correct methods and tools to exploit such opportunities.
• Project skills – experience working on projects as part of a team and individually.
• Software skills – knowledge of Microsoft applications particularly word and excel, experience in MS project and MS access would also be beneficial to project planning activities, and data management respectively. It is also desired that the candidate possess some basic knowledge or experience with statistical/operations analysis tools.
• Excellent communication and report writing skills.
• Experience of working in the hospitality/restaurant/food service industry would also be an advantage.

To make an application please follow the link below

Funding Notes

A scholarship of €11,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years subject to satisfactory annual progress. Tuition fees will be paid.

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