Isa Witte, a student matriculating toward a dual degree from Niagara University and the International University of Applied Sciences in Germany, received the Best Undergraduate Research Paper Award at the 2013 Korea America Hospitality and Tourism Educators Association (KAHTEA) Conference, held April 12-13 in Las Vegas.
Witte's paper took the top prize in the undergraduate student forum category, earning the Berlin native a plaque and $500.
This is the second straight year that a student enrolled in the dual degree program at Niagara University has captured the conference's top honor.
Entries for the Best Paper Award were judged based on the topic of relevance and contribution of research to existing knowledge, sound methodology and statistical analysis, structure and clarity of writing, and conclusions and implications.
"We are quite proud of the dual degree program that we offer with our partner institution in Germany, as it presents us with a chance to host outstanding students like Isa, while also providing extremely unique opportunities for our students to learn abroad," said Dr. Gary Praetzel, dean of Niagara's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. "I commend Isa for the remarkable work that she put in to earn this international honor."
The abstract for Witte's winning paper, "Mystery shopping in the luxury hospitality industry: Service quality assurance from an employee perspective," appears below:
"Mystery shopping is one of the various service quality assurance measurement tools used by hotel companies. It provides valuable information when these companies wish to improve their guests' experience. However, during the assessment, front-line employees have been overlooked even though they are an essential part of the guests' experience. The purpose of this study is to examine the attitudes of front-line employees to mystery shopping. A questionnaire survey will be administered to front-line employees working at luxury hotels in the U.S. The findings can lead to suggestions that will motivate front-line employees to ensure service excellence."
Dr. Chang Huh, an associate professor in NU's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management and KAHTEA member, assisted Witte in preparing her paper and accompanied her to the conference.
Conference participants included professors, researchers and industry practitioners from the U.S., Korea, Philippines and Australia.
The Korea America Hospitality & Tourism Educators Association fosters academic and professional collaboration and networking between hospitality educators and industry professionals in both Korea and America.
Witte is matriculating toward a degree in hospitality management from NU as well as from her highly regarded home institution in Bad Honnef, Germany. The partnership is one of the many unique programs offered through NU's accredited College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
For more information on Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, call 716-286-8279 or visithttp://www.niagara.edu/hospitality.