Tuesday, December 17, 2013

USC Tourism Experts Represented at the 2nd World Research Summit for Tourism and Hospitality

Dr. Fang Meng and PhD student Pei (Allison) Zhang attended the 2nd World Research Summit for Tourism and Hospitality and presented their paper.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Simon Hudson has just been appointed by Mayor Steve Benjamin to the Board of Directors for the Columbia Metropolitan Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism. The mission of the Authority includes: directing and managing the activities and mission of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Columbia Regional Sports Council and the Columbia Regional Visitors Center, and overseeing the development and operation of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Congratulations to the Center's Dr. Fang Meng!

Dr. Meng has been named as an Expert Committee Member to the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF). The distinguished honor is given to only 15 individuals who serve a 5 year term each. For more information please click on the link below: 

Speaking at the Ministry of Truth!

On August 8th, Simon Hudson presented a paper in Senate House at the University of London. The buildings use by the Ministry of Information during the Second World War inspired George Orwell's description of the Ministry of Truth in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Dr. Hudson was speaking at the 2013 International Conference on Business Tourism and Applied Sciences, and the title of his paper was Knowledge Transfer in Tourism.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Simon Hudson presenting at the 6th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress yesterday in Las Vegas. Dr. Hudson gave two talks: one called "Health and Wellness Tourism: What Do Consumers Want?"; and the other titled "Understanding Domestic Medical Travel". The conference was attended by over 2,000 delegates from all over the world and was held in Caesars Palace.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Great Professor on the Great Wall!

Dr. David Cardenas, Assistant Professor with the SmartState Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic development is representing the Center, the college and USC in China. Dr. Cardenas is a visiting scholar at Shandong University in the city of Jinan.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guest Scholar Visits Center

Dr. Rhodri Thomas, professor of tourism and events at  Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, visited the Center from September 16th-27th, 2013. During his visit, Dr. Thomas offered valuable consultation  and provided  guest lectures at several classes.  It was a delight to host such a wonderful and impressive visiting scholar!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When Work Resembles Play!

Dr. Simon Hudson’s work responsibilities include a boat ride on Lake Russell

In an effort to revitalize and expose some of South Carolina’s hidden gems, Dr. Simon Hudson was contacted by the SC Great Outdoors project to evaluate the tourism/ hospitality needs of  both Calhoun Falls (see pic)  and Gaffney, SC.  Dr. Hudson has lent his time and expertise to the this project by evaluating the immediate needs of these communities and proving feedback to the coordinators on next steps.

Monday, September 30, 2013

New Award!

The Center has just won a $45,000 grant from the Department of Commerce.  The team will be establishing a brand identity and tourism marketing strategy for the 10-county region of the Pee Dee, a region of South Carolina plagued by high poverty and unemployment, low educational levels, and a high number of dislocated workers. The team will undertake a brand-building exercise, create a strong unified tourism brand for the Pee Dee region, and provide a strategy for promoting this brand through innovative digital marketing strategies, whilst creating economic indices to measure the effectiveness of these initiatives. The ultimate goal is job creation.
Simon Hudson will be speaking at the 5th Annual Ignite! Event in November. Speakers names were released by the Free Times on September 18. Sponsored by the public-private collaborative effort EngenuitySC, Ignite! is described as an “annual celebration of the Midlands’ knowledge economy.” Pictured above is USC President Harris Pastides and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin at the 2012 Ignite! event. The Free Times article can be seen at:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Study finds music festivals increasingly engaging with consumers using social media

A study just published in the International Journal of Event and Festival Management, found a high degree of sophistication in the implementation of social media by music festival marketers. For example, the Bonnaroo festival in the U.S. uses radio frequency identification (R.F.I.D) technology to foster engagement with visitors, creating millions of impressions (see picture above). They also successfully employ geo-location software, using Foursquare to reward fans with a unique festival experience. When the festival ends they encouraged visitors to continue the conversation, asking them to tag themselves in the picture where they camped. The paper, written by Dr. Hudson and his son Rupert, a student in the Moore School of Business, can be accessed at:  http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17093140&show=html

Friday, September 6, 2013

Congratulations to Simon Hudson!

It was just announced today that Simon Hudson is an inaugural recipient of the Breakthrough Leadership in Research Award presented by the Office of the Vice President for Research.  This new award seeks to honor those faculty members who are not only outstanding researchers, but also go above and beyond their normal academic responsibilities to have a significant impact on USC and the community. Dr. Hudson will be featured in the fall Breakthrough special publication, and featured on the USC home page to be recognized for his service and accomplishments.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

China’s ‘Hawaii’: Climbing the Curve of Customer Service

Ritz-Carlton is known worldwide as a leader in customer service. Its quaintly old-fashioned credo is 'we are ladies and gentleman serving ladies and gentlemen'. But how does this translate to a remote island in the South China Sea? This article just published in Hotel Business Review looks at the Ritz-Carlton Sanya on Hainan Island and focuses on General Manager Michel Goget’s efforts to keep the hotel at the number one position on the island. Training is key, but the hotel’s policy is to do considerable groundwork before the guests’ arrival – even to the extent of providing a ‘romanceologist’ to orchestrate romantic evenings, proposals and engagements to create the perfect environment for couples.
To read the article, click here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

More reasons to encourage youth travel!

The Center is excited to announce that it has recently been awarded funds from the US Travel Association to study the educational impact of  travel on youth. Check out the links below that support the hypothesis that travel has a positive impact on educational outcomes for young people:


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Banner month for Dr. Hudson!

Congratulations are in order! Dr. Hudson celebrated an extra special birthday this year because his 50th peer-reviewed article was accepted for publication this month. Look for "Knowledge Exchange: A Destination Perspective" to be published in the Journal of Destination Marketing and Management , Vol 2 No. 3. This article details Dr. Hudson's experiences in South Carolina managing a research center and emphasizing the importance of transferring knowledge from academia to industry.  Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Dr. Hudson!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Speaking at the Ministry of Truth!

 On August 8, Dr. Simon Hudson presented a paper in Senate House at the University of London. The building's use by the Ministry of Information during the Second World War inspired George Orwell's description of the Ministry of Truth in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Hudson’s was speaking at the 2013 International Conference on Business Tourism and Applied Sciences, and the title of his paper was Knowledge Transfer in Tourism.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jah Roots using Hydroponics to Promote Agri-Tourism

HRSM student, Scott Harriford IV, is using an innovative idea and hard work to build agri-tourism in South Carolina. See full article below:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Watch Dr. Hudson's Interview to learn more about the Bluffton Branding Project

Simon Hudson being interviewed by WHHI TV on Hilton Head Island about the Bluffton Branding project. See the full interview at:


Dr. Hudson presents at the Making Waves International Conference on Events 2013

Simon Hudson presenting at the Making Waves International Conference on Events 2013 in Bournemouth, U.K. 3-5 July. The paper he presented was co-written with Fang Meng and David Cardenas, and was called “Gauging potential demand for new events.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Governor's School Intern Contributes to the Center and the Bluffton Branding Project

“During the internship I shadowed my mentors during research meetings with students, researchers, and entrepreneurs. This summer gave me a unique chance to observe the career of scientific researchers and see how the scientific method is being applied to grow South Carolina’s economy. This summer’s research experience could never have been recreated in a typical school setting.”-Joe Marazzo

During his summer internship at USC’s SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development, Joe Marazzo, rising senior from the SC Governor's School,  had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most renowned tourism experts in the world. Under the direction of Dr. Simon Hudson, Dr. David C├írdenas, Dr. Fang Meng, Joe assisted with the implementation of a research project aimed at the rebranding of Bluffton, SC. The aim of the project was to reach out to local community members, leaders and business owners to develop a brand for Bluffton, South Carolina that would attract businesses, tourists and new residents to the city without dismantling the core values of the community. During this six-week internship, Joe had the opportunity to learn about qualitative and quantitative research methodologies that have contributed to this branding research. He gained valuable experience in project implementation, community-based research methodologies, interviewing techniques, charrette methodology and data analysis.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

USC Partnering with USCB and Rawl Murday on Branding Charrettes

Dr. Fang Meng facilitates branding exercise on July 9th, 2013 in Bluffton, SC.

In conjunction with Rawle Murdy, and USC-B our Center is conducting research in Bluffton, SC to help them develop and identify their town unique brand/image. The first stage of the research consists of administering 4 Charrettes and conducting over 35 key stakeholder interviews. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

USC SmartSate Center of Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development well represented at the Travel and Tourism Research Association's annual meeting held in Kansas City

Dr. Cardenas and Dr. Meng traveled to Kansas City, Mo, to attend and present at the Travel and Tourism Research Association's Annual Meeting. The duo was invited to present two papers “Resident Attitudes Toward Future Tourism Development: The Application of Trustworthiness” and “ Tourism Use History: Market Segmentation to Measure Resident Support for Future Tourism Development”.  The data used for both presentations was part of the Aiken-Equine grant our Center received last summer. More on this presentation and the conference can be found at http://www.ttra.com/events/ttra-annual-conference/.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dr. Simon Hudson leads a team of researchers in developing an identity brand for the the town of Bluffton, SC.

Town of Bluffton


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Simon Hudson, Director of the Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development with the University of South Carolina, speaks with Cherod Webber, left, president and CEO of Innovative Global Supply, LLC, at InnoVenture 2013 on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. / Heidi Heilbrun
For full article:http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20130509/BUSINESS/305090014/InnoVenture-10-years-old-still-putting-startups-front-investors?nclick_check=1

Simon Hudson was in Greenville yesterday at the 2013 Innoventure conference, and was honored to accept the 2013 Chris Przirembel Award on behalf of the Smart State Program. The Przirembel Prize recognizes collaborations in the southeastern United States which are recognized as significant by those outside the region.  More details about the prize are at http://innoventureconference.com/2013/przirembel-prize-2013/

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Service Recovery Paradox. Does It Really Exist?

In an article just published in Hotelexecutive.com, Simon Hudson discusses the service recovery paradox. Some researchers have suggested that customers who are dissatisfied, but experience a high level of excellent service recovery, may ultimately be even more satisfied and more likely to repurchase than those who were satisfied in the first place. This idea has become known as the service recovery paradox. Simon’s article discusses the paradox and reports on a research study conducted in Spain, where he (in partnership with researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) found that hotel customers who had experienced a recovery encounter, did indeed perceive a higher level of service quality. But given the mixed opinions on the extent to which the recovery paradox exists, Simon suggests that ‘doing it right the first time’ is still the best and safest strategy in the long run. See the full article at:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Due South

Simon Hudson pictured with a Canadian Mountie in New York. Simon was attending the Canadian Media Marketplace in New York this week trying to persuade Canadians to travel 'due south'. Canadian travelers are important to South Carolina – nearly a million Canadians visit South Carolina every year with over half spending one night or more in our state.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Simon Hudson in the Badlands

Simon Hudson was in the Badlands of Canada this week, speaking at a tourism industry conference. For more about Simon’s trip read the article: “Tourism expert talks about bringing Badlands to the centre stage.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Take a vacation: it’s good for your health!

In an article just published in Medical Tourism Magazine, Simon Hudson discusses how vacations can make a significant contribution to quality of life.  Even the simple act of planning a holiday can lead to increased happiness. Read more at: http://www.medicaltourismmag.com/article/travel-the-new-prescription.html

Friday, March 1, 2013

Simon Hudson, pictured with Bill Boineau, Mayor of Aspen Snowmass, and former student at the University of South Carolina. Boineau attended USC back in the late 70s, and has been a popular mayor of this beautiful Colorado ski resort since 2008. Simon was in Aspen to attend the 40th Anniversary of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, a gathering of some 2,000 African American skiers. One of Simon’s research interests is minority participation in sport tourism, and he is looking at the ways destinations are appealing to minority groups. His team has just submitted a grant proposal to explore the ways of attracting African American tourists to South Carolina. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Simon discussed the keys to tourism growth in South Carolina on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at Delaney's Speakeasy at the monthly EngenuitySC Science Cafe.  The article can be seen at:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Center in the news

February 9, 2013

Simon was interviewed by Andy Burns of ABC News Columbia on Monday February 9th.  In the interview, Simon discusses the potential for tourism growth in South Carolina, particularly the opportunities for cultural and historic tourism.  The interview can be seen at:
February 8, 2013

Simon was interviewed for a detailed article in the Business Section of The State on Sunday, February 8th. In the article called 'Love Away from Home' Simon discusses the health benefits of travel, and the initiatives that the US Travel Association are undertaking to persuade more Americans to travel in their own country. The full article can be seen at:

February 7, 2013

Simon was interviewed by Andrea Mock from WLTX News on Friday, February 7th.  In the interview, Simon recommended three 'one-tank' romantic trips that viewers could take in South Carolina.  His Valentine suggestions were The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, The Wilcox in Aiken, and The Vendue Inn in Charleston.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Simon’s new book – Customer Service for Hospitality and Tourism – is now out and available for purchase. The new book explains the theory behind the importance of customer service, and acts as a guidebook for those wishing to put this theory into practice. Collected from all over the world, numerous case studies throughout the book look at customer service in practice. The book is available online at Goodfellowpublishers.com
Simon Hudson has been asked to be a contributing editor to Hotel Business Review, an online journal for hotel executives (http://hotelexecutive.com). Over the next 12 months, Simon will write 6 articles on various topics for the journal, which is viewed weekly by thousands of industry practitioners. His first article, to appear in February, is about the service recovery paradox.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Center's Graduate Assistant, Karen Irene Thal, presented at the 18th Annual Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism, held January 3-5, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The presentation, based on the paper entitled "In Word and Deed: The Processes and Promises of Corporate Greening" was a collaborative effort with the Center's Dr. Cardenas and fellow doctoral student Tarik Dogru.  The session was well attended and topic well received.