Travel medicine in hospitality: An interdisciplinary perspective
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Centre for Precision Health / School of Business
Edith Cowan University Joint PhD Scholarship (No. 202109327004) / Fangli Hu’s CSC (China Scholarship Council)
Purpose: This paper aims to introduce an under-researched concept, travel medicine, to the hospitality field and proposes future research directions. This paper also highlights the need to acknowledge the missing link between hospitality and medical science and encourages research on the health of hotel guests, especially those with mental disorders. Design/methodology/approach: By synthesizing relevant literature, this study proposes a conceptual framework focused on identifying and filling knowledge gaps between hospitality and medical science. Pathways for empirical research on hotel guests’ travel health are suggested accordingly. Findings: This paper reveals that the topic of travel medicine has been neglected in hospitality, especially in relation to vulnerable hotel guests. Additionally, this study suggests that researchers should move beyond the confines of social science and conduct interdisciplinary hospitality studies. In-depth analyses of hotel guests’ health and safety are also recommended. Research limitations/implications: This conceptual piece serves as a “provocation” that is exploratory, thus laying a foundation for future interdisciplinary studies bridging hospitality and medical science. This paper offers practical significance for hospitality stakeholders (i.e. academics, practitioners, hotel guests and society) and also provides guidelines on how to create vulnerability-friendly hospitality environments. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study takes an important step toward interdisciplinary research between hospitality and medical science through the lens of travel medicine. This paper offers insight to bridge these disciplines and extend hospitality research into medical science. This paper further identifies an under-investigated topic and feasible research avenues that can offer timely solutions for hospitality academics and practitioners.