It is September already. It means that summer holidays, as well as the academic year 2016-2017, are over and a new academic year is starting. I still continue as the head of e-tourism research at the University of Eastern Finland Business School, Centre for Tourism Studies. This is also a good time to reflect what has happened and what are the expectations for the next year. This is what academic life is from my perspective as a tourism and marketing scholar.
The academic year 2016-2017
Where did last year disappear, what happened? Actually, a lot of interesting things ranging from starting a master’s degree programme to doing academic research. I even managed to get some papers published:
Tussyadiah, I. P., & Pesonen, J. (2016). Impacts of peer-to-peer accommodation use on travel patterns. Journal of Travel Research, 55(8), 1022-1040.
Journal of Travel Research managed finally to publish our paper on how peer-to-peer accommodation affects tourist travel patterns. The paper was originally published online 2015, but nice to see it finally in the actual journal. This paper is receiving considerable attention from the scientific community and it seems that peer-to-peer accommodation and sharing economy are hot topics at this moment. Studying how tourist behavior changes because of p2p accommodation availability helps us understand the phenomenon better.
Pesonen, J., & Tuohino, A. (2016). Rural wellbeing tourism destinations. The Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism, 401.
I like this paper a lot. The basic premise is that tourists see rural wellbeing tourism destinations as places to have experiences through activities. However, not all activities fit together. This study reveals which activities go hand in hand tourists’ preferences and how this information can be used to develop rural wellbeing destinations.
Pesonen, J., & Pasanen, K. (2017). A Closer Look at Tourist Information Search Behaviour When Travelling Abroad: What Is the Role of Online Marketing in Choice of Destination?. In Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2017 (pp. 431-443). Springer, Cham.
I have always found information search process of tourists extremely interesting, which is only natural when you consider how essential it is in marketing. In this study we managed to examine how international tourists search for information and make destination decisions using qualitative research methodology.
Pesonen, J., & Tussyadiah, I. (2017). Peer-To-Peer Accommodation: Drivers and User Profiles. In Collaborative Economy and Tourism (pp. 285-303). Springer International Publishing.
In this paper we analysed what factors drive p2p accommodation use and what kind of users we can identify. It was interesting to notice that environmental friendliness was not a driver for p2p accommodation use and that there are two types of users: Pragmatists and Idealists
Pesonen, J. A., & Tuohino, A. (2017). Activity-based market segmentation of rural well-being tourists: Comparing online information search. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 23(2), 145-158.
This paper was also published online first in 2015 but is now final. This paper helps tourism businesses to understand rural wellbeing tourists and contributes to how we use activity segmentation in tourism marketing especially when tourists are increasingly searching for information online.
That is in total of 10 points in Finnish publication system. Even if articles published online earlier would be removed that would still make 7 points. I am aiming at 5 points a year (average is somewhere around 2) so in that regard the year was successful. Another goal is to get each year more citations than the previous one and according to Google Scholar so far so good.
I also authored some reports on social media use in Finnish tourism destinations from nature tourism perspective and eco-certificates and sustainable tourism in Finland. These reports are only available in Finnish.
New Master’s Degree Programme
Big part of last year was the marketing of our Tourism Marketing and Management master’s degree programme. I am in charge of the program development, marketing do a lot of teaching and take care of our students. The application process went really well, we received more than 50 applications for 15 study positions available and were able to pick enthusiastic and professional students for the programme. You will be hearing from them in the future!
I worked in several project including Rural Finland (Rural tourism development), Savonlinna Destination (Destination marketing and management) and VirKein (New possibilities to develop and secure sustainable recreation and tourism in forests and water areas). I was also involved in planning several others, including VASMA (Marketing rural tourism products and services from sustainable tourism perspective).
I was also able to travel a bit and meet wonderful people from all around the world. Trips to Penang (Swap and transfer workshop on sustainable development), Glasgow (microbrewery development and idea exchange), Berlin (ITB, first ever!) and Rome (ENTER conference) will surely stay in memories for a long time.
I have been a teacher at the Finnish University Network for Tourism Studies (FUNTS), teaching e-business in tourism and quantitative research methods for students of several Finnish universities. However, during spring it became clear that FUNTS could not continue to exist in its old form as several institutions discontinued their funding. We were fortunate to have great people from five Finnish universities who wanted to continue FUNTS traditions and managed to create a new university network and a new system for providing tourism studies for students from these five universities.
Similar system is also used in eTourismCurriculum Finland (www.etourismcurriculum.fi) which is a network of Finnish universities of Applied Sciences that provide online tourism business studies to each other. I am happy that we have managed to get the system up and running, but there is still a lot to develop.
Academic year 2017-2018
I am a bit worried not to have any particular long-term goal, but it is also interesting to see where life takes you. At this moment, I am working with the master’s degree programme and tourism development projects, which provide me with plenty of interesting possibilities. I get to do a lot of things I enjoy and find interesting and meaningful to do. I definitely need a job where I can develop myself and be part of something bigger, move things forward. The best part of being an academic is that sometimes you understand or realize something that probably no one else has ever before. Then you write a nice paper about it and get some reviewers to agree with you. Maybe even some other find value in what I am doing, which is always nice.
Ongoing research that I am involved with focuses on topics such as destination marketing, craft beers and microbreweries, and online marketing in tourism from sustainability and content marketing perspectives. It is interesting to see what kind of research I will be able to finish this year and with whom. In any case I would be happy to get that five or six points worth of publications next year.
There will also be a lot of teaching this year. I have three master level courses: Destination Marketing, Information Technology in Tourism Business, and Practical Tourism Research. I also teach bachelor level online course Introduction to Tourism Studies. All these courses need to be built basically from zero, but flipped learning methodology has provided me with a lot of motivating ideas.
Marketing International Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management will take a lot of my time especially in fall 2017 as the application period for the programme ends 31.1.2018. We hope to get as many good applicants as possible. We are also making the programme even more internationally recognized and interesting. It is a new programme, so it takes a while before we get testimonials and such, but we have plenty of great things going on with the programme that I am sure will make our students happy that they chose to study with us. I would be happy to get 75 applications from people with at least 10 different nationalities.
This academic year we well have great collaborations in the programme regarding teaching and research with academics and business practitioners from all over the world. This is something that I very much look forward to!
We are also constantly looking for new projects and outside funding. At this moment, we are planning to develop eTourismCurriculum Finland further with funding from Ministry of Education. I would also like to build a new project that is connected to microbreweries. It would be great to participate in some international project connected to online marketing in tourism or tourism technologies, but we will see if a good opportunity presents itself. I aim to get at least one new project this academic year.
ENTER 2018 and 2019
Big part of this academic year and the next are ENTER-conferences. In January 2018 ENTER conference is held in Jönköping, Sweden, and I am the co-chair of the research track. Paper submission is still open. ENTER is a fantastic conference for everyone interested in tourism technology and I am happy to have the possibility to co-chair the research track this year and chair it the next.
I will also continue writing this blog and producing content on tourism business. One or two posts a month would be nice. I also update our department website, our master’s degree programme website, department Facebook page and TMM social media channels. I will also try to review papers as much as possible for academic journals, to give back to the community. I am also probably forgetting something but hey, that is academic life. 🙂
I study how changes in technology and consumer behaviour affect tourism marketing. Professor of Tourism Business at University of Eastern Finland and IFITT President.