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* Purdue University Hospitality & Tourism internship program with Jinling
* Jinling Hotel

July 29, 2008

Chinese hoteliers study tourism management practices

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The managers of one of China's most luxurious hotels and its parent company are spending a month on the Purdue University campus learning about up-to-date practices of hotel management.

Begun in 2000, the exchange program between Jinling Hotel and Purdue's department of hospitality and tourism management is one of the few between an international business and an academic institution that has been long-lasting, said Liping Cai, professor and associate dean for diversity and international programs in the College of Consumer and Family Sciences.

"It is a conglomerate that has other businesses, but their main business is hotels," Cai said. "Most of the people who come to the program are from the hotel. They come from China for one month, and our students go there (to the Jinling Hotel) on internships for five months."

More than 100 people have been involved in the exchange since it began, said Dennis Savaiano, dean of Consumer and Family Sciences.

"The mutual benefit has been substantial," Savaiano said. "Our students and the Jinling managers are far better equipped to compete successfully in the global marketplace."

Hotel managers from China confirm that they are helped by the program, which consists of seminars on such topics as management communication, finance, decision-making, marketing and branding, and field trips to American hotels.

"The American tourism industry has many good concepts and ideas, and Purdue is a famous university," said Di Jia, chairman of the labor union of Jinling Holdings Ltd. Co., which owns the Jinling Hotel. Unions are part of companies in China, not separate entities.

"We think we can learn new ideas and concepts, including some new technologies. The communication process in America is very good and management is very good. We need to learn more in order to improve service for our guests."

Shen Xueting, senior sales manager at Jinling Hotel, said she is looking for new ideas.

"I want to know more about consumer behavior and how it has changed," Shen said. "We also want to communicate better with other hotel chains."

Cai said there could be mutual learning about consumer behavior, noting a new agreement between the United States and China that took effect earlier this summer allows travel agencies for the first time to offer package tours to U.S. destinations to Chinese visitors.

"This company (Jinling) has the ability now to help the U.S. hotel industry better prepare for Chinese tourists whose traveling needs and wants are different in many aspects," he said. "If they get disappointed, the negative word-of-mouth will affect our appeal to this emerging market."

Shen said many of her fellow employees would like to come to Purdue for training.

"We hope this program goes on for years and years," she said. "It helps our hotels to grow. Our staff works hard to be able to come to Purdue."

Purdue is working to reciprocate, said Raphael R. Kavanaugh, professor and head of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department.

"We are committed to continuing the relationship with Jinling to the mutual benefit of both," Kavanaugh said. "We are always looking for ways to offer better services to the management of the Jinling."

Writer: Greg McClure, (765) 494-9394, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Sources: Liping Cai, (765) 494-4739, liping@purdue.edu

Ray Kavanaugh, (765) 494-4643, raphaelk@purdue.edu

Dennis Savaiano, (765) 494-8210, savaiano@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: The 2008 Jinling Executive Seminars Program at Purdue ends Aug. 11. Journalists who would like to talk with participants should contact Greg McClure, (765) 494-9394; gmcclure@purdue.edu

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