What Opportunities do Modelling and Simulation Techniques Offer to Researchers and Practitioners?

We recently published Modelling and Simulations for Tourism and Hospitality by Jacopo A. Baggio and Rodolfo Baggio. In this post the authors explain the need for new methods in tourism and hospitality research.

Tourism is a complex phenomenon because of the many interdependent activities and organizations that deal with the movement of millions of people across the world for the most diverse purposes. The enterprise of understanding tourism’s main characteristics and attempting to predict future behaviors of tourism systems is thus complex. What is more, there is no satisfactory definition for “tourism”, despite a vast and enduring effort of a wide number of scholars and practitioners, thus making the endeavors of rigorously framing many questions even more difficult.

This complexity, as many scholars have recognized in recent times, requires tools and methods that are more sophisticated than the qualitative and quantitative techniques traditionally employed.

Today there are a number of methods that are facilitated by the availability of good hardware and software applications, which can be used to model systems and phenomena, and stimulate possible configurations and the effects that these have on many dynamic processes. These tools come from the work done in several different disciplines but are, however, not very widely diffused in the tourism and hospitality domain, even though they could prove quite effective in analyzing, assessing and predicting complex systems and phenomena, such as those observed in tourism and hospitality.

In recent years we have studied and used many of these methods, applying them in different contexts, often with a special focus on issues connected with the tourism and hospitality domains.

In Modelling and Simulation for Tourism and Hospitality we provide an introduction to the main opportunities modelling and simulation techniques and tools offer to researchers and practitioners. The approach we follow is mainly “practical”. We do not delve into complicated theoretical descriptions of the methods, and when we do, we mainly focus on highlighting the conceptual nature of the technique at hand.

Instead, we concentrate on discussing examples aiming to show the basic features, the possibilities of the different techniques and how these methods complement each other in providing a wider array of tools for all those interested or involved in studying or managing tourism or hospitality organizations. Finally, we complement the book with suggestions for further readings and with a list of software tools usable for the different modelling techniques discussed.

Jacopo A. Baggio, jacopo.baggio@ucf.edu

Rodolfo Baggio, rodolfo.baggio@unibocconi.it

 

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Quantitative Methods in Tourism by Rodolfo Baggio and Jane Klobas.

From Idea to Published Book: How a Qualitative Tourism Research Book Came Together

This month we published Qualitative Methods in Tourism Research edited by Wendy Hillman and Kylie Radel. In this post the editors give us an insight into how the book came together, from the seed of an idea to publication!

Our book was imagined from an idea that there were no qualitative research books, or the juxtaposition between qualitative and quantitative methods, that is, mixed methods, in Channel View Publications’ Aspects of Tourism series. After much discussion with commissioning editors Sarah and Elinor, we finally put together a proposal for a book on qualitative research methods that are being used and adapted for tourism research. Putting together the original book proposal was relatively easy. However, the questions from the series editors were more difficult!  While they liked the outline of the book, they asked us to provide a bit more information on what would be in each chapter; information about the author of each chapter; and, they asked us to include a chapter on mixed methods, as they felt that readers would want to know how the two diametrically opposed positions of qualitative and quantitative analysis could be brought together.

This was an exciting time for us as, although we had written book chapters before, we had never edited a book, or edited a book together. The commissioning editors had the patience of saints, as we took quite a long time to find others to write chapters, extract their details and bios (from some of them) and put this all into an acceptable format for the newly evolving and extended book proposal. We began by approaching some well-established researchers in tourism that we knew well, and asked them to participate in chapters. This way we were able to find authors for four chapters. We were to write the introduction, a chapter on grounded theory, and the conclusion ourselves. So, we were able to account for seven chapters of the book already – this was exciting!

At the next Council of Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Educators (CAUTHE) conference, we decided to approach early career researchers in tourism; those who had not long graduated with their PhDs, or were in the process of completing their PhDs. This worked really well, and gave the opportunity for up and coming researchers to get “a foot in the door”. We then had eleven chapters, plus the introduction and the conclusion. This meant that we had developed a book that would provide a valuable contribution to research methods in tourism; one that brings together traditional qualitative positioning with current applications in the field.

Along the way, at least one of the authors did nothing, wrote nothing and sent us nothing. This was very disappointing for us. And others also experienced life changes, work struggles, health issues and a new addition to their family. At the following CAUTHE conference, another researcher promised to write one of the (now) missing chapters for us. This went well until we asked for the draft and it transpired there had been a misunderstanding: the author said they thought we wanted a systematic literature review, when we had asked for a chapter on a specific qualitative research approach. We’re not sure what happened there! Anyway, we carried on, wrote the additional chapters ourselves, co-wrote a chapter with one of our research students, and finally got the book to completion. Again, the commissioning editors were very, very patient; and for all their help and extremely good dispositions, we truly thank you!!

While all this took a long time, we have ended up with an excellent product. We have produced a qualitative research book that is distinctive, informative, up-to-date and of value to researchers in any community, not just that of tourism and hospitality research. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing and editing it! Happy reading and researching!

Dr Wendy Hillman

Central Queensland University, Australia

w.hillman@cqu.edu.au

Dr Kylie Radel

Central Queensland University, Australia

k.radel@cqu.edu.au

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Quantitative Methods in Tourism by Rodolfo Baggio and Jane Klobas. 

An Interview with Rodolfo Baggio, Co-author of “Quantitative Methods in Tourism: 2nd edition”

This month we are publishing the second edition of Quantitative Methods in Tourism by Rodolfo Baggio and Jane Klobas. In this post Rodolfo answers a few questions about the book and the work of a tourism academic.

It’s been six years since we published the first edition of Quantitative Methods in Tourism. What can we expect from the second edition?

First of all let me say that I’ve been quite surprised and amazed to see that our little work received so much attention as to deserve a second edition. We (my coauthors and I) are very grateful to the readers and to find out that our idea of providing a “practical” handbook has worked well. In this edition we have essentially done two things. One has been (rather obviously) to amend the little inaccuracies or errors that inevitably escape in a work like this one, even after a good number of checks. Then we have improved and updated examples and references and added some new materials on data screening and cleaning, the use of similarity and diversity indexes, path modelling and partial least squares, multi-group structural equation modelling, common method variance, and Big Data.

What is the collaborative process like between you both?

For this book (as for the previous edition), after having agreed on the topics to include, we split them based on our expertise and interests so that each one of us wrote the different pieces, then we swapped the chapters and cross checked all the materials.

What is the most rewarding and most difficult thing about writing a book?

The most rewarding thing is for sure the moment in which you get the book in your hands. The most difficult (probably better to say tedious, tiring or grim) comes when you have finished writing and you have to start checking, refining, correcting, reworking, etc.

As a tourism academic, what’s the favourite place that you’ve travelled to in the course of your research?

Contrary to what many might think, working in tourism, whether as an academic or industry practitioner, does not necessarily mean travelling. There are hotel employees that have never seen places different from their hotel or teachers that have never been in a city different from the one in which they give classes. I have been privileged and, due to personal attitude and life chances, have so far had an incredible number of possibilities to travel to many parts of this planet. I do not have a favourite place. All are interesting and exciting in one way or another. Probably my truly favourite place is one (and there are many) in which I have not yet been.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing books?

Well, not being a writer most of my life is spent NOT writing books, so I do what anyone else does. Personally I enjoy reading, walking around, listening to good music, travelling and so on. But I also very much enjoy studying and researching new avenues for the difficult work of understanding a complex and complicated domain such as the tourism one.

For more information about this book, please see our website.