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West Federation


Saehya Ann
California state University, East Bay

2021 West Federation CHRIE Conference, February 18-20

Priyanko Guchait, Immediate Past President, West Federation

The 2021 West Federation CHRIE Conference was a huge success with over 350 attendees and over 75 submissions! The virtual conference was hosted by the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University on February 18-20, 2021. The theme of this year’s conference was "Hospitality Stronger, Together". This regional conference offered a diverse array of opportunities, for both WFCHRIE members and non-members, industry, as it focused on a broad range of topics related to education, industry, and research in hospitality and tourism. The conference was fun, engaging, meaningful and innovative. There were several new elements in addition to the academic presentations which our attendees found valuable and beneficial. Some of the conference highlights are presented below.

Panel and Professional Development Sessions
There were three panel presentations by keynote speakers during the conference. The speakers were from diverse sectors of the services industry which made the panel sessions exciting.

  1. The Future of Hospitality and Hospitality of the Future.
  2. Reshaping Hospitality Education
  3. Diversity and Inclusion in the Hospitality Industry

There were three professional development sessions. These sessions were a great opportunity for attendees to learn from top instructors, researchers, and college administrators respectively.

  1. Effective teaching techniques
  2. Contemporary research design and analysis techniques
  3. Career Planning and Development.  

Please use the link ( to access all the panel session video recordings. Please share these valuable resources with your students, colleagues, and industry partners.

Networking Sessions
There were three networking sessions. These networking sessions were open and free for all. There was no need to register for the conference in order to attend this session. Students and faculty from various federations and universities joined the sessions and made lasting connections.

  1. Early stage doctoral students
  2. Late stage doctoral students
  3. Junior/New Faculty

Research Hackathon
Our first ever Research Hackathon was a huge success. We had six teams comprising of 24 faculty members from various ICHRIE federations and universities participate. This was a platform where researchers from different universities and diverse hospitality disciplines worked in teams to create a unique and new multi-disciplinary research project proposal. Each team presented their proposal to judges, Dr. Fevzi Okumus, Dr. Bruce Tracey, and Dr. Jenny Kim at the conference. Teams were created based on members’ expertise in their own discipline and their research interest. All proposal got invited to submit their full paper to IJCHM/CHQ by Sep 30, 2021 that will go through a fast-tracked review process and a possible publication at IJCHM/CHQ. This was a terrific opportunity for researchers to work on a multi-disciplinary research project and possibly achieve a paper publication. Also, this gave a collaboration and networking opportunity to faculty outside their respective programs and universities.

Best Paper Award Winners
There were three best paper awards and a best reviewer award. The awards were generously sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at University of Houston. An innovative proposal (research in progress) award was sponsored by Northern Arizona University.

The winners were:
BEST PAPER AWARD: FOR APPLIED RESEARCH TRACK: Exploring perceived risks in ordering online food deliveries during COVID-19. Xi Leung, University of North Texas and Ruiying Cai, Colorado Mesa University.

BEST PAPER AWARD: FOR EDUCATION TRACK: Changing what we teach in restaurant management and culinary labs in response to COVID-19. Jean Hertzman, New Mexico State University; Andrew Moreo, Florida International University; and Patrick Moreo, University of South Florida.

BEST POSTER AWARD: Excuse me, could you please put on your mask?: An investigation into the influence of face covering regulations on restaurant customer attitudes and behaviors. Jamie Levitt, Fresno State University

BEST REVIEWER AWARD: Shiang-Lih Chen McCain, Colorado Mesa University

INNOVATIVE AWARD FOR THE MOST IMPACTFUL RESEARCH PROPOSAL: Investigating differences in group travelers repurchase intentions to stay at short-term rentals Yang Zhou, Texas Tech University; Matthew Bauman, Purdue University Northwest; Jessica Yuan, Texas Tech University

Undergraduate Research Competition Winners
The first ever undergraduate research competition at WFCHRIE was another great success that provided an opportunity to promote undergraduate research in hospitality. The competition was generously sponsored by University of North Texas. 14 teams from various universities and countries presented their research at the conference. The competition winners were:

First Place: How Airlines Respond to the Pandemic on Twitter: An Application of Situational Crisis Communication Theory. University of North Texas

Second Place: Recovery of hotels in Hong Kong from the protests: Evidence from tourist’ emotional changes. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Third Place: Millennials’ Perceptions of Staycation in Hong Kong Under Covid-19: A Qualitative Approach. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Honorary Award 1: An Investigation on Factors that Influence Customer Satisfcation in the Restaurant Industry. Colorado Mesa University

Honorary Award 2: Blame it on the Virus: Effect of COVID-19 message on the relationship between layoff and survivors' prosocial rule-breaking behaviors. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Graduate Program Information Session and Academic Career Fair
We also organized a graduate program information session and academic career fair for schools to promote their graduate programs and job positions. We had over 200 attendees and over 15 schools participate. This session was open and free for all. There was no need to register for the conference in order to attend this session.

Finally, no WFCHRIE conference is complete without some elements of fun. Keeping that in mind, we organized a virtual lunch, games, wine social and several fun activities which all of our attendees enjoyed.    

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the attendees for making this conference special. Also, I would like to thank our industry sponsors (Knowledge Matters, EthicsGame, Rouxbe, and Highway 12) and our university sponsors (NAU, UH, UNT, UNLV, WSU, CalPoly Pomona, CalState East Bay, Hong Kong Poly, NMSU, MSU Denver, Colorado Mesa, and CalState San Bernardino; the conference would not have been successful without their support.

Finally, WFCHRIE has several board positions open including Vice President, Director of Member Services, Director of Networking, and Treasurer. The call for nominations have already been sent out.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the conference and/or about WFCHRIE.

Priyanko Guchait, PhD, CHE
Associate Professor  
President, West Federation CHRIE


Federation Overview
Meet the West Federation Board


Call for Proposals


Information Here


Full Conference Brochure



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