A Singapore native, Karen is currently a PhD candidate and Presidential Fellow with the Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management. Prior to Temple, she was a core member of the faculty team that set up Singapore’s first full-fledged undergraduate hospitality program at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). At SIT, she also designed and developed original contents for sophomore and junior courses, which she taught through different pedagogies.
Karen’s main research interest lies in understanding the role of negative emotions in tourism and hospitality. This began with her study of the vacation guilt phenomenon and its root causes among employees in the United States. This study, which is published in Journal of Travel Research, was one of three “Best Research Paper” finalists at the 2019 Tourism Travel and Research Association (TTRA) conference in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to investigating how negative emotions impact tourist behavior, she is also interested in quantifying the financial impacts of such emotions on hospitality and tourism businesses. Moreover, by leveraging her extensive professional experiences, she is extending her research on negative emotions into luxury tourist behavior and tourism/hospitality development.
Karen brings with her close to ten years of professional experience in hospitality and tourism consulting. With a primary focus on the Asia Pacific region, her wealth of consulting experience spans the entire lifecycle of hospitality assets, including pre-development market and financial feasibility analysis, operator selection and hotel management contract negotiations, operations and benchmarking reviews, budget reviews, renovation and repositioning strategies, as well as asset disposal and brokerage. In addition, she has extensive experience in strategic consulting projects, providing advice to clients on tourism destination master planning, hotel portfolio restructuring, business planning, regional headquarter operating modes and pre-acquisition due diligence. She has also advised several Nasdaq-listed hotel companies on their country-specific market entry strategies.
Karen holds a Master of Business (By Research) degree with a specialization in Tourism Management and a Bachelor of Business with Honors from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.