CHME 2022 The Human Touch in Hospitality

The Human Touch in Hospitality

30th Council for Hospitality Management Education 2022

Edinburgh, UK 

25th-27th May 2022

(Tuesday 24th May, pre-conference registration, activities, and reception)

Council for Hospitality Management Education The past thirty years of CHME has witnessed a vast global shift from analogue to digital hospitality facilitated by the advent of the internet and more recently, alongside the global pandemic, the increasing use of smart phones; digital media; social media; virtual reality and artificial intelligence. 

In today’s digital world, the act of hospitality is increasingly digitally enabled through online bookings, digital media, use of Apps and other related tools. Nevertheless, human beings remain at the heart of hospitality. In this conference we will reflect upon the following questions:
  • How has the digital world impacted on the meaning of hospitality?
  • Where is the human touch in hospitality today?
  • How can we as human beings shape hospitality for the future?  
“Hospitality is society – flickering moments, little islands, magic touches, thrown togetherness, now you see it, now you don’t stuff, but constitutive of and constituted by society. It is the stuff that gets done, and in so doing makes society happen” (Bell, 2012: 149)


CHME 2022 is hosted by the Tourism and Languages Group of Edinburgh Napier University’s Business School. The conference will take place at Napier’s Craiglockhart Campus and in Edinburgh’s historic centre.

CHME is attended by UK-based and international academics and practitioners from the fields of Hospitality, Tourism, and Festivals and Events, amongst other related disciplines. Delegates will present their cutting edge research around the themes of the conference.

We are delighted to welcome a series of leading academic and industry keynote speakers and panellists from the Hospitality, Tourism, and Festivals and Events sector to CHME 2022. Speakers and panellists will be discussing the conference themes of:  Festivals and the human touch, Hospitable destinations, Applied hospitality management, Critical and cultural studies of hospitality and Learning, teaching and assessment in hospitality management education.

Two major themes for CHME 2022

Theme 1: Festivals and the human touch

“Festival is an event, a social phenomenon, encountered in virtually all human cultures” (Falassi, 1987: 1). 

Edinburgh is positioned as “the world’s leading festival city” (Festivals Edinburgh, 2019), and today the city attracts 4.5 million attendees from 70 countries worldwide (BOP Consulting and Festivals Edinburgh, 2016). Throughout human history, festivals have been at the centre of society and have served in communities as coordinated public celebrations that share common themes. The functional and symbolic meaning of the festival has been studied to gain an understanding of human society and culture (Falassi, 1987; Getz and Page, 2016). Nevertheless, in contemporary culture the festival has become a term associated with numerous forms of events set within urban and community contexts. While many of today’s festivals are inclusive celebrations of the arts and culture; others are purely commercially driven or exist as event tourism drivers (Getz and Page, 2016). As humans and hospitality are at the core of the functional and symbolic meaning of festivals, this themed track reflects on, but is not restricted to, the following areas:

  • Festivals and the human touch: where are human beings, society, culture and hospitality located in festivals of today and the future?
  • Festivals as access: being social phenomena across all human culture, can how, and should festivals be accessible, hospitable, and inclusive for different members and ‘tribes’ within communities?
  • Festival cities and eventful places: how can we understand human interactions and engagement with festivals in their physical settings? 
  • Festivals, festivalisation and (over)tourism: are there too many festivals? If so, what does this mean for the future of festivals and the human touch in terms of festival stakeholders, such as attendees, staff, volunteers, the host community and festivals research?
  • Festival design and experience: how do the human touch and hospitality influence the design and experience of festivals and events?

Theme 2: Hospitable Destinations

Destinations must balance conflicting priorities between having hospitable, open and friendly destination images of places that offer safe, yet stimulating experiences, in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner (Marra and Melotti, 2018). However, destinations may present themselves as inhospitable when they are lacking in welcome; when safety and security preoccupations dominate; or where local communities may feel as outsiders because of the commodification of their social spaces, public spaces and cultural practices and events. A backlash against tourism development and the emergence of bottom up initiatives that support alternative approaches to tourism development are how some communities have reacted to these challenges. In urban destinations, hospitality and hospitableness are packaged as traits to attract visitors, new residents and footloose capital (Bell, 2007) but the actual practices may ultimately make places inaccessible and exclusive rather than inclusive. This themed track raises the following questions, amongst others:

  • Who are destinations open and hospitable to or with? Is the destination selectively open or open to all? 
  • How is the hospitality made apparent and real? 
  • Is there is a difference between being open and being welcoming?
  • If the ‘throwntogetherdeness’ of people underpins society and culture in destinations, how can we understand hospitality as interpersonal relationships?
Finally, as we gradually move further into the sphere of digital and artificial intelligence, what aspects of host guest relations will make a destination truly hospitable?

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