The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred research by a Troy University Sorrell College of Business professor that has garnered the attention of a national organization.
Assistant Professor of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management Kate Price-Howard received the Resort and Commercial Recreation Association’s Excellence in Research Award, given in recognition of the valuable contribution a piece of research makes at the RCRA Research Symposium.
The resort industry suffered a massive loss as the global pandemic swept across the world, and the effects did not discriminate between employees, owners, managers and guests. Millions of employees were furloughed or eliminated from resort operations as a result. As past challenges in the economy and crisis events have occurred, the resort recreation sector is often one of the first casualties.
“Since I have worked as a practitioner in the resort recreation setting for more than 20 years, I was able to help the researchers understand the difficulties and challenges that practitioners were facing during the pandemic, viewing from a different perspective,” she said.
The research, which was conducted with a team of five other academicians, aimed to develop protocols and standard operating procedures for resort and recreation professionals to implement for future crises. Price-Howard said she expected the research project would expand in 18 months.
“I am the most junior on this team and the newest to academia, so it has been a nice mentorship I have with the established professors in our industry,” Price-Howard said. “Many of these professors encouraged me to go for my Ph.D. It’s a small, tightknit organization and I am honored to be on this team.”
While she may be relatively new to the academic side of RCRA, — Price-Howard completed her Ph.D. in 2009 at the University of Utah — she’s no stranger to the industry. She’s been a member of the RCRA since 1998 as a recreation professional in the resort sector. She became Recreation Director at Hawk’s Cay Resort in 1996, and as Director of Recreation at ResortQuest Northwest Florida from 2000-2007. In addition, she has worked for Wynn Resorts and founded the consulting firm Go Play, Inc. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Florida International University and co-authored the textbook Commercial Recreation and Tourism (7th Edition). She joined the Sorrell College faculty in 2013.