Can universities assist small hospitality enterprises? The operators' views
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Previous research studying university–industry relationships suggests the existence of a traditional approach to cooperation and reciprocal support between these two entities. At the other end, little, if any, research has been conducted exploring relationships between universities or institutions with teaching hospitality management and the hospitality industry, particularly small hospitality enterprises. Fundamentally, there is a distinct lack of knowledge pertaining to industry attitudes and perceptions of these hospitality management programs, their students, and the cooperative services they might provide in assisting small hospitality enterprises in their day-to-day operations. The present study seeks to gain insights on these issues by studying small hospitality operators’ views. Data were collected among 21 small hospitality enterprises located in different southern U.S. states via face-to-face and telephone interviews. While fewer than half of the respondents saw specific ways of engaging universities, for instance, working on (student work) internships or helping students gain working experience, the general tone among respondents suggests lack of awareness and knowledge of the potential ways institutions could assist operations. While the expectation might be one of symbiosis, the findings point to a clearly dysfunctional relationship between small hospitality enterprises and the university hospitality programs that exist to serve their need.