Drs. Fesenmaier and Schmitt joined by advisory board members to present research at FADMO   April 23, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     From April 18th to April 20, 2018, Dr. Craig Schmitt and Dr. Dan Fesenmaier traveled to Palm Coast, Florida to present in the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations’ 2018 Marketing Summit. The FADMO 2018 Marketing Summit is a program of education designed for tourism specialties to share information and help destination marketers attract more customers to their communities.  Joined by Advisory Board members, Patrick Harrison and Howard Tietjen, the group presented their collaboration on “The Science Behind the Art of Storytelling.” EFTI has been collaborating with Madden Media and Visit Tampa Bay to analyze the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and how storytelling can increase interactivity.  Through the utilization of eye tracking devices, EFTI has been able to determine what type of stories garner more attention than others. This presentation is the first of many collaboration presentations EFTI plans to complete.  This conference, which addressed the trends and technologies that will disrupt destination marketing in the next five years, aligned with EFTI’s vision to become the leading voice in the future of tourism in Florida and the United States.

Drs. Fesenmaier and Schmitt joined by advisory board members to present research at FADMO

Dr. Craig Schmitt and Dr. Dan Fesenmaier traveled to Palm Coast, Florida to present in the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations’ 2018 Marketing Summit.

      Faculty and graduate students travel to AAG Annual Meeting for research presentations  April 20, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     From April 10-14, 2018, six graduate students and three faculty members traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Drs. Andrei Kirilenko, Svetlana Stepchenkova, and Jin-Won Kim presented on a variety of topics spanning a series of sessions.  The first session was presented by Dr. Kirilenko and graduate students, Shihan Ma and Jihee Park. They spoke about their research on the multi-platform social media analysis conducted of the visitors to Lake Texoma, located at the Oklahoma–Texas border. They discussed the differences in data streams collected from four popular SNS: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.  The next session, titled “Exploring the Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Visitor Flows in Seoraksan National Park using GPS-based Smart Phone Application,” was presented by Dr. Jin-Won Kim, Dr. Brijesh Thapa, and graduate student Eunjun Yang. In this study, they explore the spatio-temporal patterns of visitor flows at Seoraksan National Park in South Korea. GIS mapping in combination with spatial data analysis were employed to explore the spatial and temporal patterns of visitor flows within the park.  The next presentation in this session, titled “Moderating Role of Geospatial Proximity on Public Crisis Involvement: A Case Study of “Women Attacked in Yitel” on Sina Weibo,” was from Dr. Svetlana Stepchenkova and graduate student Lijuan Su. In this study, they aimed to examine the spatial variations between public’s involvement and socio-economic variables on the city scale. The study sampled 10,245 messages with the hashtag “woman attacked in Yitel hotel” from Sina Weibo. The findings indicated geographic proximity affected spatial distribution patterns of involvement.  The next presentation in the session was from Luyu Wang with support from Dr. Angélica Almeyda Zambrano (did not attend). This study examined one of the most popular and most reviewed natural protected areas in the United States, the Grand Canyon National Park. This study investigates the sentiment changing pattern over months, comparing sentiment scores with the number of tweets.  The next day, the faculty and students participated in a session titled “Revisiting Tourism in Sustainable Development.” In this session, graduate student Pamela Montero-Alvarez presented her results from her analysis of a community-based tourism association located in the buffer zone of the Tamshiyacu - Tahuayo Communal Regional Conservation Area, in the Peruvian Amazon. The research aimed to analyze the role of communal rural sustainable tourism in Protected Area conservation.

Faculty and graduate students travel to AAG Annual Meeting for research presentations

From April 10-14, 2018, six graduate students and three faculty members traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting.

      Advisory board previews FADMO presentations and interacts with students at Industry Insights  April 16, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     After the morning research presentations and the business meeting in the early afternoon of April 13th, 2018, the advisory board participated in an Industry Insights session where they shared their knowledge and expertise to a group of 40+ students, faculty, staff, and the rest of the advisory board.  During the first presentation, the science behind Visit Tampa Bay’s Storytelling Campaign is explained. Led by Patrick Harrison, VP of Marketing with Visit Tampa bay, Howard Tietjen, SVP of research and Strategy with Madden Media, and Dr. Dan Fesenmaier, Director of the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute, this session previewed a unique presentation that described how advertisers are tracking the effectiveness of their campaigns and how storytelling can increase interactivity.  The second session was a panel from the newest advisory board members on career advice and how research can provide the cornerstone for successful tourism campaigns and education. This session included seasoned tourism executives such as Chris Thompson, CEO of Brand USA, Bill Siegel, Founder/CEO of Longwoods International, and Joe Duggan, VP of Corporate Relations- Emeritus of Pheasants Forever.  One of the notable pieces of advice that Chris Thompson gave to students was to “stay curious- in your career and in your personal life.”  After the session, the advisory board, faculty, and students joined together for an informal reception and networking session.

Advisory board previews FADMO presentations and interacts with students at Industry Insights

After the morning research presentations and the business meeting in the early afternoon of April 13th, 2018, the advisory board participated in an Industry Insights session where they shared their knowledge and expertise to a group of 40+ students, faculty, staff, and the rest of the advisory board.

      Advisory Board participates in research presentations, GatorEye Demonstration  April 16, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In addition to the general business meeting joined by the Dean’s Leadership Council, the EFTI Advisory Board participated in research presentations and student interactions on their visit to Gainesville on April 13th.  In the morning activities, the advisory board members had the chance to interact with faculty and graduate students about current research projects.  The first presentation, The Science of Online Tourism Advertising – Emotions & Tourism Stories, the advisory board got to see what it was like to be a participant in an experience where what you see and hear and how you react are emotionally measured. Through the use of GSR sensors and eye-tracking devices, they learned how the researchers discover emotions in real-time while reading travel stories or tourism videos.  In the second presentation, VR Saftey Video Demonstration, the advisory board was able to experience a 360 video, shot in Finland, with a voice over safety message through a VR headset. This presentation, given from Drs. Lori Pennington-Gray and Ashley Schroeder from TCMI, showed the advisory board that TCMI is dedicated to preparing the tourism industry to effectively manage crises.  In the third presentation, the advisory board was driven down to the University of Florida’s Natural Area Teaching Laboratory for a GatorEye Demo Flight. Facilitated by TES Group faculty member Dr. Angelica Almeyda-Zambrano, the advisory board watched the launch of an unmanned “flying laboratory.”

Advisory Board participates in research presentations, GatorEye Demonstration

In addition to the general business meeting joined by the Dean’s Leadership Council, the EFTI Advisory Board participated in research presentations and student interactions on their visit to Gainesville on April 13th.

      Dr. Hernández-Guerra discusses growing network model in EFTI seminar  April 9, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     On April 6th, 2018, the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute hosted visiting scholar, Dr. Juan M. Hernández-Guerra, for a seminar on understanding the links between hotels and activities in a tourism destination using a growing network model.  Visiting from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, Dr. Hernández-Guerra has been visiting with Dr. Andrei Kirilenko to discuss the application of social network analysis to tourism, from the theoretical and empirical point of view.  Dr. Hernández-Guerra’s main line of research has been the application of dynamical models to represent complex systems in nature-based industries, such as tourism and fisheries.

Dr. Hernández-Guerra discusses growing network model in EFTI seminar

On April 6th, 2018, the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute hosted visiting scholar, Dr. Juan M. Hernández-Guerra, for a seminar on understanding the links between hotels and activities in a tourism destination using a growing network model.

      Dr. Kirilenko travels to Singapore for United Nations GEO-6 Meeting  April 9, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Dr. Andrei Kirilenko traveled to Singapore to participate in the authors’ meeting of the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook, GEO-6. GEO is a regular report focused on the ongoing changes in environment, impacts of these changes on people and economics, and policies, aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Kirilenko has become a leading author on climate change in the United Nations Environmental Program Global Environmental Outlook assessment.  Geo meetings gather the scientists and government officials from the countries represented in the UN with the goal of bridging the gap between the science and policymaking and interpreting the scientific knowledge into the policy-relevant information.  Each GEO report is targeting a specific main theme; the topic of the current assessment is “Healthy planet – healthy people”. The Singapore meeting was showcasing creation a sustainable urban environment.  “Singapore is one of the most safe and comfortable, large cities in the world, boasting well-integrated public transportation,” Dr. Kirilenko said. “I had the chance to visit Singapore garden, which is the only tropical garden in the UNESCO World Heritage list.”

Dr. Kirilenko travels to Singapore for United Nations GEO-6 Meeting

GEO is a regular report focused on the ongoing changes in environment, impacts of these changes on people and economics, and policies, aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

      Drs. Pennington Gray and Schroeder travel to Finland for research presentation on crisis management  March 26th, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     From March 16th to 23rd, Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray and Dr. Ashley Schroeder visited Lapland, Finland to present in a one day workshop held at Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Multidimensional Tourism Institute (LUC). Dr. Pennington-Gray presented information on crisis management planning, while Dr. Schroeder presented information on tourism crisis management’s best practices.  During their trip to Finland, they interacted with the Rector and Vice-Rector of Lapland University of Applied Sciences as well as met with the University of Lapland: Artic Center. They created a collaboration plan on safety cultures in Lapland and on how to increase personal protective behavior of tourists.  Dr. Pennington-Gray and Dr. Schroeder were also able to visit an ice hotel, take a husky safari, and take a reindeer safari.  “The trip to Lapland was a great success,” Dr. Pennington-Gray stated. “In Roveniemi, Finland we visited the main campus of Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Multidimensional Tourism Institute and Ashley and I both presented in a one day workshop. The trip was very exciting.”

Drs. Pennington Gray and Schroeder travel to Finland for research presentation on crisis management

Dr. Pennington-Gray presented information on crisis management planning, while Dr. Schroeder presented information on tourism crisis management’s best practices.

      Dr. Almeyda Zambrano travels to South America and develops new study abroad program  March 26, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     From March 18th to 24th, Dr. Angélica Almeyda Zambrano traveled to South America and interacted with new colleagues, developed a study abroad program focused on sustainable tourism for UF students in the Galapagos, and started discussions on a potential study abroad program on anthropology and tourism in the Galapagos.  Through various meetings with colleagues at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), Dr. Almeyda Zambrano contributed in discussions focused on developing strategies to define and measure sustainable tourism in the Galapagos with a long term aim to support a sustainable tourism certification process and analyze alternative tourism approaches that will allow for greater benefits for local populations.  “The trip to Ecuador was a great success,” Dr. Almeyda Zambrano stated. “Specifically, the visit to Galapagos was truly amazing. In Quito, we visited the main campus of Universidad San Francisco de Quito and had productive meetings as a group with the chancellor, the rector and others. I personally met with the Dean of Hospitality and gave a colloquium presentation at a movie theater, which was a first for me.”  More information on the *NEW* sustainable tourism study abroad program:  http://www.usfq.edu.ec/opi/international-students/Paginas/galapagos-semester.aspx   More information on the coursework from the sustainable tourism track:  http://www.usfq.edu.ec/opi/international-students/Paginas/galapagos-semester.aspx#demoTab2

Dr. Almeyda Zambrano travels to South America and develops new study abroad program

From March 18th to 24th, Dr. Angélica Almeyda Zambrano traveled to South America and interacted with new colleagues, developed a study abroad program focused on sustainable tourism for UF students in the Galapagos, and started discussions on a potential study abroad program on anthropology and tourism in the Galapagos.

      Dr. Fesenmaier discusses global tourism industry in CGTN America interview  February 21, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Interviewed by news anchor Rachel Akuffo, Dr. Dan Fesenmaier spoke about the recent trend in the global travel tourism industry in a brief “Global Business” segment on CGTN America. As part of this segment, Dr. Fesenmaier covered topics such as the drives in international tourism, the revitalization of terror-stricken countries’ tourism industry, the challenges that come with tourism influx, and how technology has changed the tourism industry.  During the segment, Dr. Fesenmaier spoke about the global tourism industry and the fluctuations it has had over the years. He touched on the drive in international travel is attributed to the increasing economic development of developing countries. He also spoke about how European cities with the top tourist destinations, such as Spain or France, are battling to show tourist the authenticities of their counties, as opposed to becoming solely a tourist hotspot.  Another topic Dr. Fesenmaier elaborated upon was the challenges that countries face due to tourist influx. Increases in crime, tension between locals and tourists, and inflation are all challenges that come with an increase in tourism.  “Now because of Facebook and really all of mobile technology, people bring this technology with them wherever they are going,” Dr. Fesenmaier stated during his interview. “Tourism now is not just about getting away from your responsibilities because you can take a lot of different parts of home with you and be connected every day.

Dr. Fesenmaier discusses global tourism industry in CGTN America interview

Interviewed by news anchor Rachel Akuffo, Dr. Dan Fesenmaier spoke about the recent trend in the global travel tourism industry in a brief “Global Business” segment on CGTN America.

      Dr. Gibson and her graduate students present research at TALS Conference in Indianapolis  February 20, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In Mid-Febraury, Dr. Heather Gibson and her PhD students traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to present and participate in a workshop at The Academy of Leisure Sciences Conference. This conference included keynote speakers, research poster presentations, teaching seminars, and panel discussions.  “The conference was the first for the Academy of Leisure Sciences (TALS) to host both the research and the teaching institutes at one time,” Dr. Heather Gibson stated. “I think it worked well. The sessions were workshop style of an hour each which gave presenters more time to talk about their work and for the audience to ask questions and share their experiences especially in the teaching sessions. It was also good to catch up with colleagues from different universities and find out what is happening in their programs as well as to meet the new generation of scholars both new PhDs and current PhD students.”  PhD students Yu Niu and Mona Sadat Mirehie presented their research poster that focused on highlighting the concepts in leisure studies and to explore the future directors for studying leisure and well-being. They presented two original case studies, one focusing on female snow skiers and snowboarders represented Seligman’s (2011) five domains of well-being that form the PERMA framework, and the second case study focusing on the positive effects of promoting leisure participation, social connection and attitudes toward life in the well-being of older adults.  "I love the scientific spirit and the warm and friendly environment in this conference," PhD student Mona Sadat Mirehie said. "This year it was even more enjoyable since we had a significant number of attendees in our presentation. Nothing feels better when you have a big room packed with attendees and then others join and care to listen so much that they sit on the floor for one hour. There were also great networking opportunities, after our presentation I had numerous people telling me how much they enjoyed the content and composure in our session. I also received an invitation to review papers for the next conference."  The second poster presented by PhD students Hongping Zhang, and her University of Illinois colleagues, focused on the role of leisure engagements in the establishment of bonding and bridging social capital among Chinese international students. For their research, they conducted two rounds of in-depth interviews with 15 Chinese graduate students at a large Midwestern university in the U.S. The findings helped to expand the functional model of friendship networks by indicating that connections with co-nationals facilitate the development of both bonding and bridging social capital. Second, although international students expressed willingness to interact with their domestic counterparts, they were concerned about the possible rejection by their co-national group of those who “stepped outside” of their social circles. Third, international students’ leisure preferences were shaped by their plans for the future and the perceived availability of social capital.

Dr. Gibson and her graduate students present research at TALS Conference in Indianapolis

In Mid-Febraury, Dr. Heather Gibson and her PhD students traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to present and participate in a workshop at The Academy of Leisure Sciences Conference.

      PhD students present their findings from TripAdvisor reviews to the analytics team at Universal  February 2, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     After almost a year of research, graduate students Wenqui Wei and Shaorui Zhou presented their analysis and findings from TripAdvisor reviews to Justin Gressel, Channel Analytics Manager, and his team at Universal Studios.  “It’s great practice for me to apply the knowledge I get from class and acquire new ideas from the discussions with the Universal team,” Master’s student Shaorui Zhou said. “It also gave me an opportunity to think about Universal’s demands and how I can better present my results.”  Led by Dr. Daniel Fesenmaier, the students analyzed a year’s worth of data from TripAdvisor to determine the effect of positive and negative reviews and to see how that correlates to ticket sales. The students also compared the park’s performance to other theme parks in the area, such as Disney and SeaWorld.  “Universal can better understand their customer in the statistical point of view from our analysis,” Zhou stated. “Some important findings such as the seasonality, the preference of different trip types and the change of rating could help Universal understand how their visitors perceive the park and how they should adapt in the future.”  After the research was presented, Justin led Dr. Craig Schmitt and the visiting group of graduate students around part of Universal Studios for lunch.  “The Universal Project is critical in my master's study,” Master’s student Wenqi Wei. “It was so exciting to take over the project and see it through to completion. The project was an interesting, analytics-focused project. The spatial analysis enabled me to observe theme park visitors' satisfaction globally and the content analysis provided an in-depth look into the guest experience. It was a wonderful trip as we had the chance to understand how one of the best tourism companies operate and how they deal with the challenges from the big data era.”

PhD students present their findings from TripAdvisor reviews to the analytics team at Universal

After almost a year of research, graduate students Wenqui Wei and Shaorui Zhou presented their analysis and findings from TripAdvisor reviews to Justin Gressel, Channel Analytics Manager, and his team at Universal Studios.

      EFTI presents collaboration with Madden Media at industry summit  December 15, 2017     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Before the University of Florida winter break commenced, Dr. Craig Schmitt and three graduate students represented the University of Florida and the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute for a presentation at the 3rd Annual Visit Tampa Bay’s Marketing/Industry Summit.  His presentation was about the research collaboration between Madden Media and Dr. Daniel Fesenmaier in the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute and how the research is beneficial in an industry setting. Patrick Harrison, VP of Marketing at Visit Tampa Bay, is a member of the EFTI Advisory Board and invited EFTI down to come speak about the success of their research and how more people need to be invested into analytics.  “Being able to listen and interact with the speakers was a great opportunity,” PhD student Larissa Neuburger said. “The speakers presented on a variety of topics ranging from the effects of storytelling to the research behind Expedia. It was a great event and I am looking forward to applying the knowledge I learned there to my research.  After the industry summit, there was an arranged lunch of UF alumni and tourism executives. Some of the professionals who joined the lunch were:   Patrick Harrison, Visit Tampa Bay  Elisa Debernardo, FKQ Advertising  Gina Kline, FKQ Advertising  Danah Heye, Madden Media  Kristy Chase Tozer, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

EFTI presents collaboration with Madden Media at industry summit

Before the University of Florida winter break commenced, Dr. Craig Schmitt and three graduate students represented the University of Florida and the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute for a presentation at the 3rd Annual Visit Tampa Bay’s Marketing/Industry Summit.

      TRSM Advisory committee meet to finalize details of the new online Master’s program  December 13, 2017     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     With the push for online education increasing, HHP’s Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management is taking another step into the virtual world with their proposal of an online Master’s of Science in Hospitality Business Management.  “An online program not only provides working professionals the opportunity to further their education,” advisory committee member Dr. Craig Schmitt state. “But it also allows students from all over the world to learn from experts at the University of Florida…and be a part of the Gator Nation.”  This program is planned to launch in the fall semester of 2018 and offers courses covering research design in tourism and hospitality business management. This program is a 30 credit hour degree and is led by decorated faculty and industry leaders. Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D., Gregory Dunn, Ph.D, and Craig Schmitt, Ph.D. are the co-leaders of this program proposal and have brought on some notable industry members to relay their opinions about the curriculum of this program.  Some of the notable industry members serving on the committee include:   Joni Newkirk, CEO, Integrated Insights  Joe Norsworthy, The Norsworthy Company  Katie Ozedemir, Senior Director, Consumer Insights, Universal Orlando  Quinn Doyle, Director, Consumer Insights, Darden  Wende Blumberg, General Manager, Virginia Crossings Hotel   “It’s critical in the ever-evolving hospitality industry that we partner and engage in conversation with industry,” Schmitt said. “This way we ensure our students are acquiring the skills and experiences necessary to be positioned to contribute to an organization at a high level immediately upon graduation.”  Throughout the meeting, the advisory committee shared their thoughts on the current state of the program, the core competencies that the program must contain, the key success factors, the resources and requirements needed for the program, and to discuss the next steps in the creation of this new online program.

TRSM Advisory committee meet to finalize details of the new online Master’s program

With the push for online education increasing, HHP’s Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management is taking another step into the virtual world with their proposal of an online Master’s of Science in Hospitality Business Management.

      Canadian university students travel to Florida for valuable Disney experience  December 11, 2017     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Six months ago, 18 Canadian university students left their homes to embark on a journey at the University of Florida and Disney in the Disney Academic Exchange Program. The students spent their initial two weeks living in Weaver Hall and exploring the facets of attending an American university.  After their time at UF, the students traveled down to Orlando do begin their program at Disney. For six months, the students were enrolled in one class taught by a Disney associate and another class led by TRSM senior lecturer, Dr. Gregory Dunn. In addition to taking these two courses, the students were put into different roles all across Disney Parks and Resorts. With roles spanning from working in merchandise in Animal Kingdom to attractions at Epcot, the students received a wide variety of experience working front-line at one of the largest theme parks conglomerates.  “I had a wonderful, yet eye opening, experience working for Disney where I saw that even the global leader in entertainment needs a lot of work,” Brock University student Jonah Graham said. “This experience helped me solidify my goal of pursuing a career in tourism and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it.”  After spending many long days and nights together, the students grew extremely close and it was very apparent during their end of semester presentations that were scattered with some tears and a lot of laughter.  “Working at Disney has been the experience of a lifetime I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world and if I had the opportunity to do it again, I would in a heartbeat,” University of Waterloo student Brandon Brock recalled. “Everyone has a different story and everyone can impact and change your life, and giving yourself the opportunity to engage with more people is such a great thing.”

Canadian university students travel to Florida for valuable Disney experience

Six months ago, 18 Canadian university students left their homes to embark on a journey at the University of Florida and Disney in the Disney Academic Exchange Program. The students spent their initial two weeks living in Weaver Hall and exploring the facets of attending an American university.

      Disney Executive sits in on panel of PhD students, joins sports executives on Industry Insights  November 17, 2017     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     To kick off the Friday before the holiday week, the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sports Management hosted Gary Daniels, Vice President of Digital Experience at Disney Parks and Resorts, to speak with two sessions of students in the afternoon.  Daniels had an informal session with PhD students to start his visit. Joined by Dr. Dan Fesenmaier and his PhD students, the group discussed topics ranging from artificial intelligence and RFID technology, to how Disney works to stay on top by keeping the guest as their focus.  “One of the best things about working at Disney is we do keep guests at the center of our relations,” Daniels said. “That’s why I have stayed almost 20 years, because at the end of the day, I’m not making tires, I’m not making phones, I’m creating memories for families and that’s something people aspire to do.”  Later in the afternoon, Daniels joined a larger Industry Insight session to present to a larger group of students and faculty from the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management. This Industry Insight Session also included a panel discussion between Chris Gargani, Vice President of Premium Seat Sales at Live Nation Entertainment, and Matt DiFebo, CEO of Havana Sun. After the Industry Insight session, there was a quick reception and networking opportunity for students.  Jeremy Panakos, a student in the Sport Management Master’s Program, was interested in the vast technology that Disney has to offer.  “The big thing [I got from] listening to Mr. Daniels was realizing that Disney is not only blowing other companies away in technology, but also their data collection,” Panakos said. “It’s amazing to see the capabilities they have by getting their customers to wear magic bands and with everything they do, they make it simple and I think that’s key.

Disney Executive sits in on panel of PhD students, joins sports executives on Industry Insights

To kick off the Friday before the holiday week, the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sports Management hosted Gary Daniels, Vice President of Digital Experience at Disney Parks and Resorts, to speak with two sessions of students in the afternoon.

      Turnkey Intelligence director’s journey from academia to an industry professional  November 6, 2017     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In order to offer students insight into the different career paths available, the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management is active in bringing in guests from the industry to offer their advice and prospective career paths with young professionals.  Dr. Simon Brandon-Lai was in and out of classrooms and conference rooms telling his story on how he utilized his background in academia and turned it into a successful career in the industry. With three Master’s degrees and a Doctorate degree from Florida State University, Dr. Brandon-Lai is well seasoned in research and data analytics and was eager to find a position where he could utilize these skill.  “When looking for a job, you really have to find the right fit,” Dr. Brandon- Lai said. "You really have to show the company what you can do."  He found this opportunity within a company called Turnkey Sports & Entertainment. As the Director of Research, Dr. Brandon-Lai collaborates with numerous clients in the sports and entertainment industry with the interest of asset valuation, partnership measurement, and consumer research. His most recent project involves the asset valuation of the St. Louis Blues arena to create a new naming rights opportunity.  Throughout his presentations in the undergraduate and graduate level Research Methods classes, the one key fact that he stressed was that data literacy is crucial. The ability to understand and synthesize data is going to be crucial in the future of the sports industry.  “Taking statistics courses aren't fun," Dr. Brandon-Lai stated, "But it's crucial. You need to eat your vegetables, you're not going to want to do it, but it is good for you."

Turnkey Intelligence director’s journey from academia to an industry professional

In order to offer students insight into the different career paths available, the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management is active in bringing in guests from the industry to offer their advice and prospective career paths with young professionals.