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Change the world

25/04/2020

As the hospitality sector is suffering badly during the COVID-19 lockdown, much will have to be done to restore the sector and Dr Megan Sharrock’s doctoral research will help to better understand guest experiences in hotels.

Dr Sharrock, who just graduated with her PhD in Business Management, has also found a way (methodology) to literally research millions of guest reviews (big data analysis) and empirically test the impact shared values have on guest experiences in hotels. 

Shared values indicate, among other things, whether hotels care about the environment, says promoter Prof Struwig.

Dr Sharrock, who lectures Financial and Revenue Management, as well as Strategic Management at Stenden University in Port Alfred, managed to complete her doctorate between sleeping and feeding after she gave birth to her first baby, two days after submitting her final draft to promoter Prof Miemie Struwig.

“If Prof Struwig, was not such a driven woman, I probably would have forgotten about my studies altogether during that time.  Her 'not-so-gentle' nudges to move forward, were exactly what I needed to get through the final chapters of my study last year. Without her, I probably would have given up by now”, Dr Sharrock says.

"I found that using guest review data from online review platforms is incredibly useful for hospitality research as it provides us with valuable and honest insight into the experiences of travellers.  In my mind, big data from these sites is the future of tourism and hospitality research".

“On my graduation day, I can honestly say that I have mixed emotions thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I am thrilled and grateful to be graduating, but also sad that I cannot share this experience with my promoters and parents. 

We are facing some difficult times ahead, but thanks to this process, I feel that I am better equipped to educate my students online over the coming months," she says.  

During the second-year of her studies, Dr Sharrock started to plan her wedding and entered the TV show, the Wedding Bashers on a whim. The “roller coaster ride ended in us winning the show, four weeks after I found out I was pregnant in early January, 2019.

Prof Struwig says Dr Sharrock is a good example of a student having a balance between her studies, work and family - getting married, winning a competition and giving birth all while working on her doctorate.

"Gaining this degree has played a pivotal role in developing my research skills so that I can further assist my students in the research process."

Her co-promoter and line manager, Dr Wouter Hensens, Executive Dean at Stenden University, was her initial source of inspiration and encouragement for this process.  Dr Hensens is also a former student of Prof Struwig.

 

Contact information
Prof Miemie Struwig
Professor in Business Management
Tel: 041 504 2475
miemie.struwig@mandela.ac.za