Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Aluri

Ajay Aluri

Founding Director, Hospitality Innovation and Technology (HIT) Lab

Dr. Ajay Aluri is the Founding Director of the Hospitality Innovation and Technology (HIT) Lab, and an Associate Professor at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University. Dr. Aluri's academic and research expertise combines all areas of his education, research interests, and focus in the areas of hospitality information technology and management and information systems. His career has focused on how these areas impact international hospitality organizations, society, and education.

He is an internationally recognized scholar who has centered in on innovation and technology in the hospitality and tourism industry. He is currently concentrating on consumer behavior research about the use of emerging technologies such as augmented reality, datamining, Internet of Sound, Internet of Things, robotics, and virtual reality. His research has been published in several top academic journals and industry outlets.

Dr. Aluri also serves in the editorial board of top and cutting-edge hospitality and tourism journals. He initiated the HIT Lab at WVU, a platform to bridge the gaps between academic and industry research. Dr. Aluri has been invited to speak at several international and national shows and conferences. Dr. Aluri received the "Outstanding Paper of the Year" award from the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research in 2018, and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education in 2016.

He played a vital role in developing the Hospitality and Tourism Management program in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. Dr. Aluri is a recipient of numerous awards from international, national, and state-level organizations from academia and industry.

Please visit http://www.wvu.edu for more information.

Mr. Aluri can be contacted at +1 304-293-1048 or ajaluri@mail.wvu.edu

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.