Friday, June 24, 2016

Great Representation at TTRA

Dr. Meng and all of the Center’s all doctoral students (Pei Zhang, Hengyun Li, Rui Qi, and Jing Li) attended the 2016 Annual International Conference of Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) in Vail, Colorado.  Dr. Meng and Hengyun Li delivered a standup presentation, which was recognized as one of the top three finalists for the Best Paper Award. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Social Media a Hot Topic!

Simon Hudson’s journal article on the use of social media by music festivals (written with his son Rupert in 2013) was the most downloaded paper published in the International Journal of Events and Festival Management in 2015. The paper called ‘Engaging with consumers using social media: a case study of music festivals’ has been downloaded nearly 9,000 times since 2013. The Hudsons used a case study methodology with a multi-method approach to analyze the use of social media at three major music festivals. In general, they found that the music festivals profiled were proactive in their use of social media, engaging with consumers throughout the consumer decision journey. In particular, social media is making the “evaluate” and “advocate” stages of the decision journey more relevant for festival marketers. The paper can be found at:

Friday, June 3, 2016

USA eShop named South Carolina Small Business Exporter of the Year

An incubator company supported by our SmartState Center was recently awarded the Small Business Exporter of the Year for South Carolina. USA eShop is a global e-commerce website led by Jerry Smith and John Wilkinson (above).  Since it’s inception in 2012, it has carved out a niche market in the e-commerce business, selling quality American-made goods to European consumers. “Like all entrepreneurs, you have to be willing to take a risk," Smith stated in a feature for Cola Daily. That risk has paid off tremendously. USA eShop now operates a warehouse in Europe, out of which it sells products from over 125 small to mid-sized US manufacturers. USA eShop handles everything from export logistics and fulfillment operations to sales and customer service, simplifying the process for manufacturers that want to penetrate international markets. The SmartState Center partners with the USC/Columbia incubator to support the development and growth of innovative companies that show promise for creating jobs and economic benefits to the state of South Carolina. Wilkinson mentions how support from the Incubator has helped their company get to this point. “In terms of the physical space, the IT and all the support and programs they offer, they have been key to our success,” said Wilkinson. Read the full summary of the SBA awards from Cola Daily for more information about USA eShop and other awardees. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Check out the new publications from the SmartState team!

CardenĂ¡s, D., Hudson, S., Meng, F., & Zhang, P. (2016) “Understanding the benefits of school travel: An educator’s perspective”, Tourism Review International, 20(1), 29-40.

Using a theoretical framework that incorporates Aristotle's three intellectual competencies (epistme, techne, and phronesis), this article examines the perceptions of educational travel from the administrators' perspective. A total of 336 elementary, middle, and high school principals from around the US participated in the study and thematic responses were analyzed from open-ended questions. Results indicate that educational field trips can have positive impacts on all three of Aristotle's intellectual competencies (practical knowledge, skills, and attitude/experience), and that the effects of educational travel are far reaching with substantive benefits for students of all grades.

Hudson, S., CardenĂ¡s, D., Meng, F., & Thal, K. (2016) "Building a place brand from the bottom up: A case study from the U.S.”, Journal of Vacation Marketing. Online first, doi: 10.1177/1356766716649228

In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the need for towns and cities to create a unique identity, to differentiate themselves from competitors, has become critical. Many places promote spectacular scenery, good quality of life, friendly people, and a sound business infrastructure. However, these factors are no longer differentiators, so places need a strong brand identity to stand out in order to attract people to live, work and play. But brand development is often driven by short-term top-down approaches with limited community participation, where the primary tool of brand expression becomes the final marketing campaign. This paper reports on a qualitative approach to build a place brand from the bottom up, with wide participation from all members of the community. With a methodology based on place brand building theory, charettes and in-depth interviews were conducted with local stakeholders, resulting in a positioning statement that was used to develop brand communications materials. Based on the research process and results of the case study, the authors present a community-based place brand development model.
Hudson, S., & Hudson, L.J. (2016). “Designing ski resorts – from theory to practice.”
 In Harold Richins & John Hull (Eds.) Mountain Tourism: Experiences, Communities, Environments and Sustainable Futures, CABI: Wallingford OX, pp. 331-340.


This chapter takes a look at the design and planning process for ski resorts, which involves the 
following key stages: gaining development approval; analyzing site feasibility; deciding on design 
guidelines; and choosing development styles. Included is a case study about arguably the world's most successful ski resort designer, Paul Mathews, and his company, Ecosign, based in Whistler, British