The HFTP Research Centers Present: A Year in Review

It has been an exciting first year for the HFTP Foundation. Between frenzied fundraising and planning a packed docket of upcoming research for 2020, research staff have certainly had their hands full. Despite the flurry of activity that comes with building a new nonprofit from the ground up, the Foundation has not lost sight of the bread and butter of our operation: maintaining oversight of the three HFTP Research Centers, which generate quality research and resources for our stakeholders in the hospitality industry, all while bringing together hospitality scholars and professionals from around the globe.

Many of the resources produced come from veteran researchers like Professors Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE and Arlene Ramirez, MBA, CHAE, CHE, CHIA at the University of Houston — while others are developed with the assistance of students at higher learning institutions across the globe. Before DeFranco spearheaded the research for an outstanding report this year that illuminates trends in online reviews about hotel technology, she and Ramirez wrapped up their study of Pre-Opening Expenditures in Hospitality.

One of the proudest points for the Research Centers is our work with students in higher education at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM), École hôtelière de Lausanne, and the Conrad Hilton College of Hospitality Management at the University of Houston. Student liaisons produce resources pertaining to both regional and global trends and updates, from shedding light on China’s latest initiatives to reduce waste in hospitality to the impact of IoT on energy use and operations efficiency in hotels. Most recently, students in the HFTP Global Master’s Certificate program competed to produce webinars available to HFTP members, providing crucial information about the effects of 5G in hospitality, virtual reality employee training, and the impact of outbound Chinese travelers on global tourism.

Despite the difference in time zones, the HFTP Research centers collaborate closely to bring new resources to the table. Coming soon in January is a white paper on wireless connectivity in hotels, co-authored by myself [Bianca Lopez, HFTP Americas research associate] and Evita Ma, director of the Asia Research Center in Hong Kong. In the works for next year are two white papers based on the research of former EAHM Research Scholars Dyno Duque and Vladan Pantelic, exploring implementations of blockchain technology in the hospitality industry and key performance indicators in United Arab Emirates Hotel Properties.

Anyone in hospitality, travel and tourism can tell you: This is a global, intersectional industry where people from all cultures and perspectives come together. The HFTP Research Centers are proud to represent a microcosm of that diversity. As stakeholders in the global travel industry, maintaining a well-rounded, international perspective is mission-critical for the HFTP Foundation.

With research centers based in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Central/South Texas, we have managed to bring together a team of passionate researchers who keep our stakeholders updated on hospitality trends and news from all over the planet, and look forward to continue bringing outstanding resources to the table in 2020.

To view our latest blog posts, reports, white papers, and more, visit our industry reports and resources page at

Bianca Lopez is research associate for the HFTP Americas Research Center. She can be reached at +1 (512) 220-4038 or by email at

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About the Author: Bianca Lopez