Yuh-Hua Xu, best known as Melody, is a 3rd year PhD Student in Tourism. Her research focus is in Destination Planning, Destination Resilience, and Sharing Economy.
Nationality: China, Sichuan Province, “Hometown of Giant Panda”
Past Experience: Undergraduate in Sport Management and Master in Sport Economy and Management from the Beijing Sport University. Several internships and part-time jobs in marketing, sponsorship and finance in China.
Favorite UF Experience: She loves the people at UF. Faculty is very receptive and willing to help and share knowledge.
Favorite past project: She enjoys her past project for TTRA 2019, because the thinks that after three years at UF she has gained knowledge to improve her research. She is on the top of her learning curve, but the curve is always moving up.
Valuable learning from EFTI and UF: The fact that she can study Geography as almost a second major, expanding her skills and specializations in a way that it is integrated to tourism.
EFTI person she admires: All the faculty is admirable for working hard, but she specially admires Dr. Pennington-Gray for bridging study and research to the industry so well. She also admires Dr. Gibson and her knowledge, which makes her classes interesting and relevant to life.
Favorite travel experience: She tries to travel abroad every year, but visiting Rome in 2014, while on a Eurotrip to France and Italy was one of her favorites. “Rome is a live museum, it’s amazing”. She loves to see how everything she studies applies to real life during her trips such as “Hot spots and cold spots”.
Dream place to visit: As someone who enjoys Hiking, she wants to visit Antarctica. Tibet and North India are also on her bucket list.
Hobbies: She plays tennis and swims, besides taking trips whenever she can.
Fun fact: She takes travel planning so seriously that she creates a model after analyzing factors such as ratings, location and distance of hotels to make her decision on where to stay.
The Sharing Economy: A Geographically Weighted Regression Approach to Examine Crime and the Shared Lodging Sector.
Abstract: The sharing economy has gained great market share within the lodging sector by offering cost-effective accommodation solutions. However, it is also troubled by increasing criminal incidents. This study examined the global relationship between the density of Airbnb and crimes in Florida, explored how the relationships vary at the county level. The results suggested that crime-lodging associations vary by listing types but not crime types. Only the Shared Room type consistently exhibited positive associations with both property and violent crimes, while Private Room and Entire Home exhibited negative associations. Local variations were identified by geographically weighted regression, which could be explained by the local tourism development and ethnic diversity degree. We suggested equal efforts in preventing both property and violent crimes in home sharing business. Also regional differences need to be considered when responding to shared lodging crimes.
Research on the Sustainability Management of Winter Olympics: International Experience and Revelation to China’s Preparation for 2022 Winter Olympic Games
Sustainable development is one of the three spirits of China's preparation for 2022 Winter Olympic Games. It requires high-standard sustainability management level due to the uniqueness of winter sports and its natural competition terrain. In order to explore the sustainability management practices in an overall perspective and provide reference for 2022 Winter Olympic Games preparation,this paper analyzed IOC official documents and former host cities' management measures. Combined with the practical preparation situation of China,it was found that: 1) A specific policy system has formed with regards to environmental protection,organization management and evaluation. 2) The measures taken by previous Winter Olympic Games are mainly focused on infrastructure,public policy,environmental advertising,and natural resource protection,and also paid attention to winter sports particularity. 3) In China's preparation,4 major concerns are discovered,they are the inconsistence within the administration and their responsibility,less normalized managerial standard,low level of ski resort operation and narrow utilization of high-techs to aid with the Games. Some pertinent suggestions are put forward,for strengthening sustainability management of China' preparation for 2022 Winter Olympics.
More about Melody…
Originally from China, Melody is in the US for just three years, but she has conquered her space and adapted very well in such short time. Melody met her advisor, Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray and other UF faculty during a visit they did to Beijing Sport University, where she was working on her Masters Degree. The way EFTI’s faculty was receptive, open, and supportive gave her confidence to pursue her PhD here, where she is being able to close experience many possibilities of collaboration between different areas of research and even different UF departments. An avid traveler, even on a tight budget, Melody learned from her trips to country areas in China and around the world the necessity of destination planning and resilience, which are the ability to develop in a sustainable way while being strong and prepared for a crisis or disturbance situation. According to her, rural areas are where you can easily see, although also important on big cities, the necessity of planning and collaboration between the government, community, local tourism operators, residents, and travelers in favor of tourism. These areas make evident the necessity of planned and sustainable development.
To achieve her goal of traveling abroad at least once a year, Melody had to adjust and embrace the sharing economy as a way to reduce costs. From this experience, she developed the interest and love for studying shared accommodations, a trend that continues to grow from a decade ago with many controversies. Specializing in Sharing Economy, Melody recently collaborated with Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray and Dr. Jin-Won Kim in a paper titled “Spatial Effects of Crime on Peer to Peer Lodging Performance.” The article won the award of “Best Academic Paper” during the 50th Annual Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) International Conference that happened in Melbourne, Australia, between June 25 and 27, 2019. The publication is the continuation of another study with which the duo was also awarded the “Best Graduate Colloquium Paper Award” during the 48th TTRA conference in 2017, Quebec, Canada. The study examined the global relationship between the density of Airbnb and crimes in Florida, and explored how the relationships vary at the county level. The result suggested that crime-lodging associations vary by listing types but not crime types. Only the shared rooms (which mostly locate in rural Florida) shown positive associations with crimes, while private rooms and entire homes exhibited negative associations. Local variations were identified, which could be explained by the local tourism development and ethnic diversity degree. In the study she suggested equal efforts should be paid in preventing both property and violent crimes in home sharing business. Also regional differences need to be considered when responding to the shared lodging crimes.
Her recent study analyzed data from the city of Orlando on how crimes influenced the performance of peer-to-peer lodging (Airbnb and Homeaway, for example). Three levels were studied, and the researchers found that the crime at the community level expresses the strongest influence on the guests’ decision of staying as well as the hosts’ decision of sharing their houses. The destination itself, which is the city of Orlando in this case, exercised a meaningful but less strong influence in the decisions, and the least important factor was the safety of the individual property. According to Melody, these findings have a great application in the industry, such as in the decision making process of Airbnb owners, which should worry more about having their businesses in a safe area in collaboration with the local community and destination’s government than focusing on securing their business itself with very sophisticated security systems, since it wouldn’t change much the decision of consumers.
While always looking for opportunities to study more sustainable tourism in rural areas, in parallel to exploring the sharing economy, Melody is looking forward to staying in the academic field after graduating.