The Center has a number of areas of expertise:
- Destination branding and marketing
- Sport tourism
- Customer service
- Film tourism
- Consumer trends
- Medical tourism
- Festivals and events
- Food and beverage services
- Hospitality operations
What We Can
Do for You
The Center has a highly qualified team of researchers and fellows that can carry out any number of projects, from feasibility studies, economic impact studies and marketing plans, to general tourism development research, new product development research and consumer satisfaction surveys. The Center also provides industry training, assists in writing grants, and
provides expert guest speakers.
For projects that have the potential to spur tourism economic development and create jobs in the state of South Carolina, the Center can offer matching funds.
Case study: In 2012, the Center conducted a feasibility study on the possible development of a major international horse park in the Aiken, SC area. The study included an industry analysis, a tourism resource inventory of Aiken and surrounding areas, a stakeholder perception and attitude study, projected market demand for the various components of the park, potential direct and indirect economic impacts and a sustainability analysis.
Tourism development research
Case study: In 2011, the Center undertook a research study on tourism development in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. The study was an exploration of the perspectives from both industry stakeholders and consumers on the potential for tourism development in the region, and provides a better understanding on the existing tourism resources, stakeholders' viewpoints of tourism development of Pee Dee and its collaboration with the coastal areas, as well as the interest, image, travel behavior and future visiting intention of current and potential visitors.
New product development
Case study: In this 2012 research project, the Center examined what type of restaurant residents living in Lake City and surrounding areas would like to see on the main street of Lake City, SC. The research was done by first conducting two focus groups with residents of Lake City and Florence, and then a detailed questionnaire was developed based on the results of the focus groups and on previous restaurant literature. Based on the results a number of recommendations were made to the client.
Economic impact studies
Case study: The Center plans to undertake research to identify ways to increase the number of African American tourists coming to South Carolina and to identify and to promote the state's rich inventory of sites and experiences related to African American culture and history. South Carolina has an unparalleled legacy of African American culture and history and a strong tourism infrastructure capable of supporting the growth and development of this exciting market component. One outcome will be economic impact projections of how visiting African Americans and all tourists interested in this culture spend dollars now and how this spending might increase.
Case study: The Center plans to conduct innovative research that will result in a scientifically-based plan for attracting new residents to South Carolina via tourism. Increasing the number of people settling in the state will expand the state's workforce, increase tax revenues, decrease poverty, foster small business growth, and encourage long-term sustainable economic development. Currently South Carolina hosts nearly 30 million visitors a year, and an estimated 7% of these visitors tour the state with the primary purpose of investigating second home, relocation, retirement or new business and job opportunities. However, South Carolina ranks well below many other states in its ability to attract retirees and new migrants. The Center will employ a series of studies to assess South Carolina's brand and its competitive position as a relocation destination by examining destination awareness, images and associations from the consumer perspective.
Concept or white papers
Case study: In collaboration with researchers from the Darla Moore School of Business the Center published a white paper for Pitney Bowes called Customer Communications Management in the New Digital Era. In this discussion paper we explored the new digital era of marketing communications, an era dominated by mobile information and social media accessibility. We described how marketers can leverage various social media platforms and services to touch customers at various stages of the buying process. We also highlighted the significance of emotions in marketing, and how emotional appeals are increasingly employed, both on- and off-line, to drive loyalty and build relationships.
Identification of new tourism markets
Case study: Both demographic and economic trends predict growth in international and domestic medical tourism, so the Center intends to explore the potential for attracting medical tourists to South Carolina. The research objectives will be to: (1) conduct scientifically based research to identify existing demand and supply in the state, (2) test a new theoretical model of medical tourism and its various components, (3) quantify potential fiscal returns on investing in medical tourism for the state and (4) identify specific funding opportunities to expand the research initiative both nationally and internationally.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Simon Hudson, Director
Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208