sealPurdue News

June 19, 2001

Chinese hoteliers study current 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 everything they can about the most up-to-date practices of hotel management, marketing and human resources.

"We have had a relationship with the Jinling Hotel in Nanjing for three years," says Liping A. Cai, an assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management. "The Jinling is the flagship hotel of a corporation that owns 30 other companies. Of the seven Chinese hotels listed by the Leading Hotels of the World Consortium, the Jinling is the only one owned and managed by Chinese."

The Jinling managers are motivated by the coming entrance of China into the World Trade Organization, Cai says. They realize that good management practices are necessary to compete with the foreign companies that operate hotels in the world's most populous country. Chinese companies will get less government protection with WTO entry, which could happen this year.

One group of Purdue hospitality and tourism management students has just returned from six-month internships at the Jinling. Another group is leaving next month.

Raphael R. Kavanaugh, professor and head of hospitality and tourism management, has presented general management and human resource training for Jinling managers for three years running. Alastair Morrison, a professor of hospitality and tourism management, is currently in Nanjing studying the business climate and helping the hotel develop a stronger marketing and promotion program.

Jinling also has sent managers to Purdue as visiting scholars.

"We look at China as ground zero in terms of tourism practice," Kavanaugh says. "From a research perspective, our work with the Jinling management is an opportunity to look at the development of a national tourism-based infrastructure."

The department also is using the Jinling relationship as a prototype for other international partnerships, Kavanaugh says. A group of hospitality and tourism management students is leaving in August for four-month internships at a hotel in Caracas, Venezuela.

"Our internship students are juniors and seniors and have a fairly sophisticated level of expertise," Kavanaugh says. "We look at international internships as providing a higher quality learning experience for our students. The students benefit personally and professionally even if they never return to the country of their internships.

"By the time they return to campus, these students have their blinders knocked off and come away with a broader perspective of diversity across the world." This experience stands the students in good stead wherever they work in the tourism industry, which is increasingly global.

A broader perspective is what interests the Jinling managers, too, says Cai.

"They value the quality of our interns and their bringing Western perspective, business practice and the English language into their hotels," he says. "The employees of the hotel get to work side-by-side with our interns for five months."

The Jinling managers are at Purdue for the whole month of June. Hospitality and tourism management professors present a seminar each day on such topics as management communication, finance, decision making, marketing and branding.

During the lunch period, the Chinese manager-students complete assignments related to the morning seminar. Afternoons are reserved for discussions of the material. On weekends the managers go on field trips to American hotels.

Sources: Liping A. Cai, (765) 494-4739,

Raphael R. Kavanaugh, (765) 494-4643,

Writer: J. Michael Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Hospitality and Tourism Management Department
Hospitality and Tourism Management Tourism Research Center

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