Best Thesis Award April 2014
Sandrine Psycha-Waibel (Hospitality Management, B.A.)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
Employee Retention in Seasonal Hotels Exemplified by a Small Privately Owned Hotel in Greece?

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Maren Weber

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
The aim of this present work is to establish a human resources toolbox aiming at retaining skilled employees, improving their motivation and loyalty at the seasonal hotel Perivolas, located on Santorini Island, in Greece. First of all, the terms "employee retention", "seasonality", "motivation" and "labour turnover rate" in the hospitality sector are defined, in order to create an overall understanding of the topic. As the terms job satisfaction and motivation go hand in hand in influencing whether employees want to stay with a business, or in this case study, whether to return to a working place the next season, motivation theories are reviewed in detail. After examining the term job satisfaction and what it means, a closer look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is outlined, explaining the different stages of human needs and how these needs interact internally to motivate individuals to act upon their needs. Specifically, Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory illustrates that motivation contains two different sets of needs: one, motivators and two, hygiene factors. Moreover, in order to understand how motivation of human behaviour is generated, the Expectancy Theory is examined. In addition, the Goal-Setting Theory is illustrated, to confirm the assumption that motivation and performance is influenced by setting goals and by giving out feedback of achievement. To understand further the theory in practice, to figure out what motivates and what increases the loyalty of seasonal workers in Greece, a primary research study will be conducted, to independently question seasonal workers. This study finalises the material by creating a human resources toolbox aiming at developing a workplace with human resources processes that will increase motivation and satisfaction amongst staff. Additional recommendations include a corporation between the hotel Perivolas and a winter resort, to ensure continuous employment of staff. Continuous employment will bring increased staff motivation and as a consequence leading to higher employee retention.

Best Thesis Award April 2014
Lucia Privitera (Eventmanagement, B.A.)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
Internationalisation Strategies for Trade Fairs - An Analysis on the South African market: Specific Approach with Recommendation for the "Johannesburg Welding & Cutting 2015"

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Astrid Mühlböck

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
This study provides insights into the internationalisation strategy of a German trade fair organiser, on the example of the WELDNIG & CUTTING, the world leading fair for the metal processing industry. The paper examines, further, the South African market with special focus on its trade fair market structure, in order to identify potential risks that harm the implementation of the fair in 2015. An exploratory research was conducted through reviewing the literature and interviewing two experts of the German and South African trade fair industry. Next, a descriptive research was applied to develop accurate knowledge on the welding and cutting industry. 66 companies of the industry were interrogated, to research on their interest for a WELDING & CUTTING trade fair in South Africa. 77.2% of the respondent tended to agree that South Africa is an emerging market for the metal processing industry, whereas 44% of the respondents are likely to exhibit at such an event. In addition, the paper gives a recommendation how to best approach the South African market and implement the trade fair.

Best Thesis Award Oktober 2014
Jochen Müller (International Management, B.A.)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
Earnings Management of the Current DAX30 Companies: An Empirical Analysis of Impairment Losses between 2005 and 2013

Supervisor: Dipl.-Kfm. Michael Sulzbach

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
Understanding the importance of goodwill and goodwill impairment is essential for investors, analysts and stakeholders of corporations. Therefore, the following study examines the development of goodwill and goodwill impairment for DAX30 corporations between 2005 and 2013. In order to provide a sufficient sample, 261 observations were collected within the timeframe. Besides the descriptive statistics about the development of goodwill and goodwill impairment, current DAX30 corporations are clustered into industries and significant differences between groups are elaborated. Afterwards, the thesis conducts a research adopted from Jordan and Clark (2004) in order to test whether DAX30 companies practice Earnings Management to increase the value of the company. In addition, a regression analysis is performed to test whether impairment losses can be explained through different independent variables. A predictive power of the model would increase the validity of forecasts concerning goodwill impairments. During the literature review two hypotheses are created, which are tested within the research approach: H1: There are significant differences between industries concerning goodwill and goodwill impairment. H2: Goodwill and impairment losses are used for Earnings Management and Big Bath Behavior. The thesis confirms other research papers dealing with the development of goodwill and goodwill impairment. Furthermore, significant differences between industries are presented and implications for the market are identified. The study also illustrates that different industries convey different impairment patterns. Further research confirms that DAX30 companies practice Earnings Management. Especially Big Bath Behavior can be shown by the research findings. Moreover, the regression equation presents two significant variables, which influence the amount and frequency of impairment losses. Finally, recommendations for the market are made and both hypotheses are accepted.

Best Thesis Award Oktober 2014:
Guillaume Bourgain (Hospitality Management, B.A.)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
The Impact of Differential Pricing on the Perception of Fairness

Supervisor: Dr. Rose Delgado-Krebs

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
This descriptive research analyzed the impact of differential pricing on the perception of fairness. To provide a comprehensive understanding of the problem revenue management, approaches of differential pricing, as well as theories discussing the perception of fairness and the classification of hotels in Germany are discussed, by presenting previous researches and theories related to these topics. In total, 106 participants were asked to respond an online questionnaire regarding differential pricing. As revenue managers use rate fences to determine different prices, it was the core of the research to analyze perception of fairness of differential pricing and rate fences. The results have shown that differential pricing tends to be generally perceived as unfair by German customers. On the other hands, the rate fences used to determine different prices tend to be perceived as neutral or fair. While the results suggest that most demographic and travelling factors do not influence customers' perceptions of fairness of differential pricing, this research found that gender does. The findings show that women perceived differential pricing as more unfair than men. The reasons for such results are reviewed in accordance with the literature review. Finally, recommendations and further possible research on the topic are provided.

Best Thesis Award April 2013
Jennifer Oettel (Diplom Tourismusmanagement)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
The Failure and Success Factors of the German Tour Operator Business Model – is it still contemporary?

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Claudia Möller

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
Business Models are widely discussed within all industries. This dissertation investigates the tour operator business model on the basis of the current model, general business models and trends within the industry that may force a change within the current business model. Based on intensively reviewing relevant literature, the need of adapting a tour operator’s business model according to trends and the constantly changing environment is identified. This adaption becomes increasingly difficult given the frequently changing consumer behaviour. Due to various different attempts to define and construct business models along with contestability of the market, a given complexity can be inferred. To establish a contemporary tour operator business model, failure and success factors of the current tour operator business model are detected by analysing the Reiseanalyse 2008 as well as conducting two focus group interviews and an expert interview. As a result of these investigations a new tour operator business model is constructed that combines findings from the literature review and qualitative as well as quantitative research. This model describes how tourism companies compete in the market and how they choose to earn money. Furthermore, it especially focuses on the value propositions provided by the tour operator.

Best Thesis Award Oktober 2013
Nicola Wissmann (International Management, B.A.)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
An Event Study on Stock Price Behavior around Dividend Announcements for the German Stock Index DAX

Supervisor: Dipl.-Kaufmann Michael Sulzbach

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
Knowing the effect of dividend announcements on share prices is beneficial for many participants of a market. Therefore, this study provides empirical evidence about the power of dividend announcements to influence share prices of German, DAX listed corporations. In this study, a total of 150 dividend announcements were examined. The events were categorized in groups of dividend increases, decreases, and stable dividends. Due to the calculation of expected returns with the market model, this study found out if dividend announcements can promote significant abnormal returns, if dividends are relevant for DAX investors, and if the German DAX index is efficient. The results suggest that share prices significantly drop around the announcement of dividend increases. DAX investors show negative reactions to dividend increases, while they seem irrelevant of dividend decreases, and stable dividends. Further, information leakage and insider trading, as well as long-term abnormal returns following the announcement of dividend decreases, indicate that the market has characteristics of an inefficient market.

Best Thesis Award Oktober 2013
Isa Witte (Hospitality Management, B.A.)

Thema der Abschlussarbeit:
Mystery Shoppers in Luxury - Hotels - An efficient tool of quality assurance in the luxury hospitality industry?

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Schuster

Zusammenfassung in Englisch:
Mystery shopping as a tool of quality assurance increased drastically over the last decades. After introducing it in different service sectors it became a frequently used practice in the luxury hospitality industry. However, it is difficult for hoteliers to determine the importance of such instrument with regards to service quality and customer satisfaction since the knowledge about its validity and efficiency is still insufficient. This study made an attempt to resolve the problem by analysing the measurement validity of mystery auditing. For that purpose the mystery shopping and guest satisfaction survey scores for various Kempinski properties have been compared based on different assumptions as high correlation and similar means. Furthermore, a case study has been conducted to examine the quasi-longitudinal development of mystery shopping in a particular hotel. Analysing the data revealed no significant correlation between the two variables but simultaneously similar means of the two scores in general, whereby certain regions differ in their results. Moreover, it has been proven that stronger focus is put on mystery shopping with the consequence to neglect guest satisfaction slightly. Therefore, mystery shopping showed being a valid but still imperfect tool for quality assurance.