Syracuse University assistant professors Linchi Kwok of the College of Human Ecology and Bei Yu of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) received a 2010 Harrah Hospitality Research Center Grant Award for their project, “Typology of Social Media Marketing Messages: A Social Networking Website Perspective.”

Kwok and Yu were awarded $32,333 to fund a two-party study concerning how hospitality companies use social media in marketing.

“This grant allows us to conduct an interdisciplinary study that builds on media and marketing theories with the aid of text analytics techniques,” Kwok said. “The findings may help hospitality companies and marketing professionals identify effective ways of communicating with their target consumers with social media tools and possibly develop new marketing and communication strategies to shape consumers’ discussions in social media according to a company’s mission and marketing goals. We are very excited with this opportunity.”

The first part of the study will focus on the types of marketing messages that hospitality companies use to communicate with consumers while the second part of the study will monitor consumers’ word-of-mouth reactions to the marketing messages they received through social media platforms such as Facebook.

“To facilitate large-scale data analysis, we will develop new computational methods (drawn on sentiment classification techniques) to automatically code informational and transformational marketing messages and the sentiment of consumer responses in social media,” Yu said.

The Harrah Hospitality Research Center at the Harrah Hotel College at the University of Las Vegas in Nevada was established in 2008 and is dedicated to the advancement of research and practices in the hospitality industry.

Kwok earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration and a M.S. in Restaurant, Hotel & Institutional Management, both from Texas Tech University. His areas of interest include organizational behavior, recruitment and selection, social media, and event management.

Before joining Syracuse, Yu was a postdoctoral researcher at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She earned a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the areas of information retrieval, machine learning, and natural language processing. Her research interests also include developing text mining methods, especially emotion and opinion analysis approaches, to support data-driven scholarship in humanities and social science research. She holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science.