Letter from the Dean – October 2021 Consumer Behavior Edition

Dean's Letter

Welcome to Boston Hospitality Review: Consumer Behavior Edition

Let’s cut to the chase. What was “at your service” has been replaced by consumers expecting to have services “on-demand.” The imagery of a butler in white gloves carrying a silver tray has been replaced by shouting across the room, “Hey Alexa,” followed by a command in the fewest words possible. 

Our on-demand society wants goods and services to be delivered in a fast, frictionless manner, a frequently absent of face-to-face interaction. The transaction may come by way of a robot affectionately named “Wally” or “Connie” at your door. And then, it’s slam, bang, and without even a thank you, since technically speaking, it’s nobody. In place of the butlers of bygone days, who were valued for their strength of mettle, these modern-day robotic counterparts, also steely and steadfast in their dedication to service, are made mostly of a substance of a different sort: metal.

In the hospitality world, we are “consumed” with all forms deriving from the word, “consumer” – subject, object, and (action) verb. It is our intense focus to anticipate, deliver, and ideally, exceed the guests’ expectations. This special edition of Boston Hospitality Review on “Consumer Behavior,” edited by Lydia Hanks, Ph.D.Florida State University, and Makarand Mody, Ph.D., Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, illuminates the innovations and trends taking hold that were accelerated by the pandemic. 

The idea is not to frame the discussion as a tug-of-war between touch and tech. As our editors, Drs. Hanks and Mody, express in one of the featured articles, the vantage point that will spur us forward is to imagine a continuum where tech and touch work together, hand-in-hand: a combination of mettle and metal.


Arun Upneja, Ph.D.
Dean of Boston University School of Hospitality Administration


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