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Employer-Engagement: What does it mean for HLST? “Working with Industry Research to Consultancy” (informing practice) Thursday 6 th November, 2008 St Anne’s College, Oxford Peter Harris Professor of Accounting & Financial Management Working with Industry

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Employer-Engagement:What does it mean for HLST?“Working with Industry Research to Consultancy”(informing practice)Thursday 6th November, 2008St Anne’s College, OxfordPeter HarrisProfessor of Accounting & Financial Management

Working with Industry

Oxford Brookes University&Rezidor Hotel Group

(a decade of collaboration)

Peter Harris & Knut Kleiven


The Company (at 31 Dec. 2007)

  • One of the fastest growing hotel groups
  • Based in Europe - Middle East - Africa (45 countries)
  • Corporate office: Brussels
  • Operating some 287 hotels = 50,000 rooms (approx.)
  • Results for year (approx.): Revenue €785m; GOP €291m; Profit after tax €46m
  • Designed business analyst in-company project(1999)
  • Key development: Stockholm, company embraced “marginal accounting construct” (2001)
  • Designed company-wide cost analysis process(2001)
  • Designed programme for financial controllers & general managers (drivers at properties)Sweden (trialled analysis process) (2002)
  • Delivered seminars in-country at the regionsGermany, Belgium & Norway (2003)Poland, UK & Ireland (2004) France, Denmark & Iceland (2005)Austria, Switzerland & Italy (2006)
  • Embedded through the company’s virtual management school (2002-2006)
consultancy reflection
Consultancy (reflection)
  • Natural platform for co-operation and interaction between industry & education
  • Opportunity to reflect on strengths/contributions of the organisation and the university
  • Practitioners obtain new/novel applications
  • Faculty research endeavours tested/refined/adapted in rigours of ‘live’ commercial environment
  • Cutting-edge experience to bring back to teaching environment
  • Financial rewards to university, school & individual
  • Raises faculty profiles(companies tend to engage with individuals)
contribution to research
Contribution to research
  • European hotels performance project (a) company-wide questionnaire distribution (b) facilitated follow-up field interviews
  • PhD industry-wide CPA project (Vira Krakhmal) (a) part-funded full-time candidate(b)provided complete data collection access to build a constructive case study model (13-month period)
  • PhD pricing project (Jean-Pierre van der Rest) (a) funded complete data collection stage(b)arranged access to 33 hotels -18 cities -16 countries in Europe
  • MSc dissertations: generous fieldwork access e.g.(a) one student is currently interviewing corporate office executives in Brussels for “investment appraisal project”

(b) plus another student granted access at two Radisson SAS hotels: Birmingham (for pilot) & London (part of main study)

partnership beyond the ordinary
Partnership beyondthe ordinary
  • Sponsored professorial inaugural lecture event – champagne reception & buffet for over 100 guests
  • Kurt Ritter, President & CEO attended and delivered keynote address for our major alumni event at Chelsea Football Ground
  • Contributed ‘forward’ for new accounting & finance book(& almost a chapter on corporate governance..!!!)
  • Sponsor annual Master’s book prize for top student
  • Joint authored “a decade of collaboration” article
The company has always said

‘yes’(carry’s responsibility!)


Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and WalesTourism and Hospitality Group Annual Conference, November 2006Customer Profitability AnalysisResearch Findings

Prof Peter Harris


Dr Vira Krakhmal

Purpose of the project

Construct a model to assist hotel companies to improve customer mix decisions


Model construction

Development of a CPA Model(using activity-based costing)

Case property is a 280-room, four-star, full-service international city-centre hotel

case hotel customer profit profile

20 % of the customers generate 250 % of the profits

80 % of the customers lose most of the extra 150 % of the profits


Cumulative Operating Profit


Unrealised Profit Potential



Actual Profit













Cumulative % of Customers

Case hotel customer profit profile
customer base portfolio analysis strategic tool


Ideal situation;

little or no subsidising

Room for action;

small number of very unprofitable customers


Low risk situation;

no extremes

High risk situation;

dependence on few customers;

extensive subsidising



Subsidising effect


Customer-base portfolio analysis(strategic tool)

Profit profile at the site

Source. Storbacka, 2001

Phase 2: Dissemination to Industry

(2006 – 2007)

Joint Publication

(BAHA, Oxford Brookes University & The Open University)

“Recommended Practice Guide for

Customer Profitability Analysis”

(revised draft guide submitted September, 2007)

phase 3 informing practice 2008
Phase 3: Informing practice(2008)

Friday 25th April:Presentation of CPA research findings at corporate office, Brussels

Monday 26th May:Meeting with corporate office team from Brusselsat Radisson SAS Portman Hotel, London to:

“Explore the implementation of CPA in the Rezidor Hotel Group”

Meeting resolved to develop a system and pilot in the newRadisson SAS EU Hotel, Brussels

Consulting opportunities are already beginning to flow