“Heritage is a thoroughly modern concept” *…

“Heritage is a thoroughly modern concept” *…

Heritage is a thoroughly modern concept ~ McCrone, Morris and Kiely (1995, p. 1)

As McCrone, Morris and Kiely assert in their seminal work on Scotland – the Brand: The Making of Scottish Heritage (1995), heritage as we know it today is not the same concept of heritage from hundreds of years ago. The depictions of plaids, and other Scottish icons can be traced back to the early 19th century (1822), to Sir Walter Scott’s pageantry of King George IV’s visit to Scotland. Scott was well ahead of his time regarding the marketing of a destination. He put Scotland on the map with his writings and romanticism of the country. I can’t blame him for he is reacting to the historical events that happened in the late 17th and 18th century that stripped the country of its pride and self-identity. I would say those events, to a degree, bent but didn’t break the country. If anything those events helped to make it stronger.  This isn’t the first time I revisit the discussion of ‘manufactured’ tourism.

Let’s revisit Starz Outlander. Don’t get tired; this is a great show to demonstrate concepts, even the ‘built’ world of writers, and the film/tv industry. Saturday night was episode 210: Prestonpans was aired, and of course, I visited the subsequent talks on social media on Saturday, and Sunday. Of course, some of the chatter had to do with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s wardrobe.

Outlander Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie, Outlander Season 2, episode 210; ©2016

Some of the fans were arguing over what tartan he was wearing. Some thought it was the Wallace tartan; others weren’t sure. Whatever they utilized in the show, I would hazard a guess that there is host of historical inaccuracies. Again, what makes for good television. Any tartan or plaid we have today is a manufacture representation traced back to that demarcation line when Scott created the icons for Scotland.


This is one of my favorite paintings of the Prince by Pettie and is in the Royal Collection. Pettie lived from 1834-1893, in the age of romanticism. The Prince is wearing the Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan. The Prince is emerging into the light of Holyrood Palace after taking Edinburgh in the early days of the ’45. If this tartan had any historical accuracy, which it may or may not, then the tartan used by the wardrobe on the show has thoroughly got it wrong. But more importantly, these two depictions demonstrate the concept of modern heritage.

I am amused by the show. Heck, I just watch it to hear the accents and see the beautiful scenery, and it does have a great storyline. The acting is well done, but I cringe every time for the bastardization of representations of heritage and historical events. I know, let it go, it’s just entertainment. Usually, I do several days later. I have to remember what Beveridge and Turnbull, 1989 stipulated in their works. That the truth of Scottish cultural is that mystical entity that has been ‘eclipsed’ over time. That we will not truly know the genuine character and can only ‘create’ our own interpretations. McCrone, Morris, and Kiely argue that Scottish heritage and its associated icons are malleable. That they are distorted and susceptible to interpretation.

Bonnie Prince Charlie and James Fraser
Bonnie Prince Charlie and James Fraser, Starz Outlander Season 2, EP 210 Prestonpans ©2016

The romanticism of Scotland is a glamorous depiction of historical events. And I have to say makes for great entertainment. Students you must dig past this glamorous representation, do your homework, find primary sources and research for yourself the truth behind destinations. Understand how history, those that influence the development of tourism and its associated marketing to understand how we can differentiate one destination from another. To benchmark against those that are successful and those that are not. Scotland is successful in its marketing efforts and has Scott to thank for that. Tourism is one of the leading industries that aid that countries economic vitality. Go further, farther in your examination to understand just what heritage is, and how it supports a country and its tourism products.

Should we even get into a discussion about authenticity? Maybe next time.



Key to understanding the industry, and all that is happening is to search out and read as much as you can.  Find the authors of your book.  Find the authors mentioned in their references.  Look for trade publications.  Bookmark web pages.  Research your interests.  Because I will tell you, prospective interviewers might just ask you questions concerning the industry and these people.

Many of you are interested event planning.  Here is a brand new article by one of the authors I follow…

Professor Buhalis is one of, if not the leader in eTourism research.  His latest is on event planning.  

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis

Mapped out the Dragon Fly Effect for upcoming conference

Mapped out the Dragon Fly Effect for upcoming conference

Presenting on multi-media and hyper-media use in the classroom at the Educational Academy at ICHRIE in St. Louis, MO this July and so, as per my usual, had to map out my ideas for creating an innovative culture. This mind map addressed the three prong approach of collaboration, communication and critical/creative thinking.  Wish me luck!

Observations on Applebee’s.

Observations on Applebee’s.
A snippet of a bigger picture
Mind-map of business environment, main drivers information, promises, money both tangible and intangible

Well, I guess I am weighing in on the Applebee’s fiasco.  I teach Hospitality Ethics and this is making for a great case study from various points of view.

First, if you haven’t read the article or the complete story, you need to do some research.  I have to admit the media today is not well favored in their reporting.  Yahoo (and here) reported on the incident as it was percolating across the social media spectrum.  Make sure you go to the original Reddit posting and look at the image that was posted.  There are other tangible evidence that there might be different versions of the check image, one with the complete signature.  Also, there is evidence of posting other customer signatures when service execution goes above and beyond.   Again, a whole mess of evidence that even at this blog posting, I am still weighing and how to trawl through.

I won’t tell you the whole story but management, the person involved expresses that it comes down to an argument of privacy.  Or does it?

There are ten principles in hospitality ethics (Jaszay & Dunk, 2006; Ethical Decision Making in the Hospitality Industry; pg 2-3; Pearsons):

  1. Honesty
  2. Integrity
  3. Trustworthiness
  4. Loyalty
  5. Fairness
  6. Concern and Respect for others
  7. Commitment to Excellence
  8. Leadership
  9. Reputation and Morale
  10. Accountability

Now our industry as with any other is driven by information, money and promises, both intangible and tangible.  They are funneled into a dynamic and traditional exchange environment and the industry business’s then execute effective and efficient management functions, processes in order to maximize revenue and profits, in order to reward and reinvest in our stakeholders and the firm, respectively.  I have talked about social contract theory as well as psychological contracts in that they may or may not be articulated or even in writing as part of the exchange of goods and services.

This case highlights the pitfalls and failures, the good, the bad of service encounters, service execution.  There are a host of questions that I will pose to my students to think about.  This brings to mind the social media backlash against Darden and Olive Garden.  There is also the demonstrated pitfalls of social media in delivering instantaneous information to make headlines.  The ramifications on service, social responsibility, employee relations and fiscal responsibility.  There are a host of answers good and bad.

And not just privacy is an issue here, but the tipping, gratuity policy of restaurants.  Recently, given today’s economy, many customers are questioning a restaurants right to automatically charge a gratuity for large parties.  Yet, there are arguments for and against this.  How many customers really understand how a restaurant runs?  How many understand the nature of waiting on customers; a restaurant server’s pay, paying scale and so forth.  What about the customer’s responsibility?  Is the customer always right?  What about the autonomy of managers, their empowerment to manage a business?   How will this hurt Applebee’s brand?  How will Applebee’s weather the storm?  What are the effects on social media?

I could go on.  This could turn into a lengthy post but needless to say, 50 minutes of class time might not be enough for this topic

Social and Psychological Contracts…new evolution with Social Media

Social and Psychological Contracts…new evolution with Social Media

Covering social and psychological contracts in sales class today. I do feel that these theories are evolving given the expansion into social media. Psychological contracts are usually the domain of organizational behavior; the relationship between employer and employee but I do believe it extends beyond this realm. It comes down to moment of truth in any relationship and implied, explicit and non-verbal expressions of expectations, wants and desires. Another aspect of intangibility at work. In hospitality and tourism, the human element, the interaction between host and guests is in constant flux and dynamic, evolving with internal and external forces at play. Therefore, the social contract may take on greater meaning for both parties engaged in mutually beneficial exchanges. Whereas the psychological contract is no longer just something embedded in a business culture but extends outward to the exchange between customer and provider. It will be an interesting debate.

Social Contracts:

Psychological Contracts:

Hurricane Sandy and the clean up

What's left of the Jetstar from Casino Pier sits in the ocean in Seaside Heights, New Jersey Tuesday 10-30-12 photo by David Gard
What’s left of the Jetstar from Casino Pier sits in the ocean in Seaside Heights, New Jersey Tuesday 10-30-12 photo by David Gard

It will be interesting to see how the hospitality and tourism industry rebounds from Hurricane Sandy. The infrastructure of this country was already taxed and decaying from lack of refurbishment. Atlantic City already suffering from last year’s Hurricane Irene and diminishing casino revenues due to legalization of gambling in surrounding states, has yet, probably to total the complete damage. There may be minimal damage to the hotels, casinos themselves but the supporting infrastructure is sure to be challenging. Are we going to see an influx of legislation now for more Internet-based gambling opportunities? How will social media help in drawing back crowds to that famous area of New Jersey? How will the hospitality organizations work together to rebuild and flourish in these uncertain times?

In the back of everyone’s mind in hospitality has to be the thought that there is a remote chance of something dreadful happening. Any hotel, hospitality venture with its grain of foresight would have such a plan of action in place to address this possibility. With climate change has this probability evolved into a likely possibility? Does it have to be a catastrophic storm or just a guest becoming ill for a company to recognize that it needs action plans in place to address and overcome these challenges? How can you not?

My grandfather, my father always said, have a plan of attack. You cannot sit on your laurels, thinking nothing bad is ever going to happen. It does, whether you are prepared or not, someday, someone, something, is going to take a bite out of your flesh. Those that sit and wait will be, as my grandfather eloquently said, “Sh*t out of luck.” But how do you prepare for such a national emergency? How do you prepare your employees, your middle managers and so forth to deal with such events? How do you safeguard your assets?

Planning just isn’t for the future, it is for today and tomorrow. I tell my students in my two-week lecture on crisis management (believe me I could use a whole year on this or more), you learn from the past, you visualize scenarios and you plan. You put it down on paper and you train. Sure, people will panic, people will react differently when placed in real life events, but the more training you have the better you will be to handle the situation. Your instincts will kick in and take over. You will not second guess yourself and act. We don’t have time to train? It costs too much. Yet, the impact to your bottom line could be far greater if you do not incorporate crisis management into your budget, have as a line item on your income statement. Wouldn’t insurance agency be happy and consider this planning a bonus and give you points for planning? Perhaps they do already? Do you know? The old cliché–plan for a rainy day jumps out at you.

No one is good at anything without practice, even if that just means sitting down and closing your eyes and visualizing what would happen. Test yourself, test your own ability, challenge yourself. To this day my favorite quote that came into my mind and I know probably has been said by many others:

Challenge life, do not let life challenge you.

I know that is all well and good and believe I’m not perfect. I should be better prepared for any challenge in my life. All of us want to go about our lives as if nothing bad would happen. But the fact is, reality is rose with a host of thorns. I do not always plan and I should. I procrastinate and wait until the last possible moment to do things. I know I shouldn’t. I am human and flawed. You have to realize that and get over it. You have to develop thick skin and push on. And yes, you have to remember the humor of life.

God grant me patience but hurry

The Freedom to….

The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence

As a woman, and a labeled “baby boomer”, I have been raised a certain way. I was born and raised in the United States and I do feel that we are one of the better countries on the planet for the freedoms that are endowed to us by our Constitution. I was raised in a lower to middle-income household to two high school teachers. I had a third parent within the household, namely my mother’s father. My grandfather grew up in turbulent times that saw the rise of unions and backlash of the Civil War that eventually came to a head in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. My parents were ‘Depression Era’ babies and the last of the “Greatest Generation” to still be alive today. I am fortunate and thankful, appreciative of my parents for their continued love and support each and every day. I was raised within religion where the norm was ‘every Sunday’ attendance both to Sunday school and main service. I grew up with the exponential advances in technology and the troubles, the good of this earth. I have lived in another country, similar to my own but wholly different. I am though, with all these labels, still on the cusp of the ‘adrift’ generation. Those that have the knowledge and facts about our country and its rights as well as a greater awareness of the world. I have a problem.

I do not know whether it is because of my upbringing, immersed in three unique sociocultural, physical and natural environments or abject fear of reprisals, rejection, loss of job, loss of friends and so forth that I do not conscientiously exert my first amendment rights; the freedom of speech. I know I have a responsibility. I know I am a steward on this planet but still there are times, I want to voice my opinion but am stymied by my lack of faith in my cultural upbringing, in society that clamps my mouth shut, stills my pen, and thrust me into a subconscious of torture of my own making. I want to rail against injustice but fear of losing a job or even job prospects. I want my voice to be heard and yet, could feel the vicious backlash of fellow humans, warranted or not. These internal strifes still my tongue and silences the typing of my fingers. Yet, here I am voicing that pent-up desire to attain the freedom from fear and retribution that yes, was instilled by my parents. I was never supposed to make ‘waves’ and that has caused me great emotional turmoil.

As with every human on this planet, I trust my instincts one moment and question them the next. I have great expectations for those around me and yet, come face-to-face with cruelty and goodness at least once a day, even if it is delivered through different social means. There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I too curse in my car, behind closed doors the stupidity of humanity. I know we have inched closer to the precipice and are looking down into a deep cavernous abyss. At times, I wish we would just get it over and jump, take a leap of faith and evolve. I can feel the tug of war and just want to scream. I don’t understand my role in all of this. Am I part of the crowd or one that is supposed to lead? I know I am keeping several cards of this poker game close to my chest and feel I should show my hand, make a decision and take what is to come.

I hate clichés.

I hate the curtain I am hiding behind, where my voice is silent and my writing, my thoughts are hidden away. Well, not completely but I fear even this medium and how the world will judge its content if I shift gears and post what I really want to post. Beyond my teaching, beyond my thoughts on research. If I post as a pseudonym, I can still be found and probably will or have been found out. What will happen if I crank it up a notch. Maybe I should realize and come to terms that I am not supposed to be liked by everyone. That my opinion counts and delivered with the aforementioned responsibility. I should exercise my First Amendment rights. Why else did our Founding fathers, particularly James Madison, make that at the top of the list if not to hold the right to speak up with due diligence and logic against what you deem as wrong, “iffy”.

I know they were framing that amendment to political and religious expression but Madison address of July 8, 1789, delves into more and yes, leaves open the window for continued debate.

Fourthly. That in article 2nd, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit,The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience by in any manner, or on any pretext infringed

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.

Read more:http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/james-madison-speech-june-8-1789.html#ixzz29Z9fJVbA

I am struck by the composition and the language, awed that our discourse over time has changed from such prose.  I understand my ignorance, lack of true intelligence and that I exist in a poverty of my own making.  That perhaps every one on this planet does in varied forms.  And that sparks a grief of emotions.  So what do I do?

For now I write…