Saunders College Department Head brings hospitality and research ardor to RIT
As a teenager, Edwin N. Torres remembers traveling and being “fascinated by the possibility for hoteliers to transform a place into an experience”.
“I was curious about how developers and operators created an environment where employees could provide exceptional service in a unique physical setting,” Torres recalls.
This curiosity then turned into a passion, which Torres brought to RIT in July when he became Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of International Hospitality and Service Innovation (IHIS) at Saunders College of Business. . He came to campus after serving on the faculty at the University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
In addition to his passion for hospitality, Torres brought an ardor for research to Saunders College.
“My research has focused on customer attitudes and emotions with a focus on customer satisfaction and even customer outrage,” he said. “I also studied quality of service and electronic word-of-mouth. On the human resources side, I studied asynchronous video interviews, cyber incivility and occupational health in the hotel industry.
Torres has also gained extensive industry experience, including hotel and restaurant management roles as well as advising on a wide variety of organizations. Published in many leading journals in management, marketing, hospitality, leisure and tourism, he has garnered thousands of citations throughout his career.
A handbook co-authored by Torres, Customer service marketing: Managing the customer experience, published next month and covers all major aspects of customer service, including the physical environment (servicescape), customer experiences and cross-cultural interactions with customers, from a wide range of fields.
Future research topics will include exploring the interplay between work and vacation for remote workers, also known as “work,” Torres said.
“I also study the preparation and best practices of hotels and other hospitality organizations in the United States to receive international visitors,” he added. Torres will also continue to study consumer behavior closely with the goal of developing a guide for consumers to become better customers in the hospitality and tourism industries.
Altogether, he uses his extensive teaching, research, and hospitality experiences to further differentiate IHSI from competitive programs.
“Our program ensures that students are exposed to comprehensive experiences inside and outside of the classroom,” Torres observed. “In addition to all the major conferences, exhibitions and hotel events across the country, we offer them the opportunity to study in our hospitality program in Croatia, which combines the same curriculum as that of RIT with a very European hotel experience. different.”
“As a hospitality program within an institute of technology, we want to ensure that our students are exposed to key developments that will shape the customer experience for years to come,” he added.
The hospitality program will also continue to build on its strong legacy of placing students in leadership positions and advancing to leadership positions, the department chair said, while leveraging the extensive alumni network of the Saunders College, one of its many recognized strengths.
“We are working with our advancement partners to create alumni events in cities where more of our alumni reside,” he said.
Since joining RIT last July, Torres has worked with faculty and staff to expand the reach of the college’s community college, launched a social media marketing campaign, developed a summer camp experience for prospective students and has partnered with area high school programs on hotel management courses. .
In addition to developing a minor titled “Hospitality as Real Estate” in response to the explosion of hospitality opportunities around short-term stays and experiences, Torres is working with IHSI faculty and staff to reposition the majoring in food and beverage from college in order to focus more on sales. , the marketing and distribution of beverages and the creation of beverage experiences.
“We are relaunching the program next year as beverage management,” he said.
While the hospitality field is not without its challenges, including labor shortages across industries, Torres sees a bright future for a field of study that is constantly evolving and redefining the guest experience.
“I see greater personalization of the experience as service providers use data to get to know their customers better,” he said, “as well as the application of hospitality and customer service concepts in industries that are not traditionally part of the hospitality industry, especially healthcare.”