Tourism and Service Management

Current Projects

The purpose of this project is to set the foundation for the ​development of a secure and trusted Data Space for Tourism (DSFT) which enables all sector stakeholders to share and ​access the data they require when they need it. For the DSFT to be a sustainable solution, a bottom-up approach which builds a “culture of data sharing” among all relevant tourism stakeholder groups (e.g., SMEs, governmental agencies, technology firms, tourism entities at the European, national, regional, and local scales of operation) is required.​

Project partners: Modul University Vienna, ForwardKeys, The European Travel Commission, City Destinations Alliance  
Period: November 2022 – ongoing
Funding:  European Union 
For more information and the report click here

SmartCulTour (Smart Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Sustainable Development of European Regions) is a four-year project, funded by the European Union in the frame of Horizon 2020. The goal of SmartCulTour is to: 
support regional development in all European regions with important tangible and intangible cultural assets, including those located in rural peripheries and the urban fringe, through sustainable cultural tourism.
•Describe and deploy a set of adequate and innovative indicators to quantify a) Demand; b) Supply and c) Impact of Cultural Tourism;
Develop six living-labs in which novel ways of managing sustainable cultural tourism development will be implemented, tested and evaluated through experiments, serious games, arts-based methods, service or social design techniques to enhance collaboration between the cultural sector and the tourism industry, in order to facilitate a process of capacity building.

Project partners:  KU Leuven (coordinator)Breda University of Applied SciencesUniversity of Split, Faculty of Economics, Business and TourismUniversity of LaplandMODUL University ViennaCa’Foscari Università di VeneziaUNESCOMediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza / International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (IAMZ-CIHEAM)Toerisme Vlaanderen (Visit Flanders)Quantitas
Period: February 2009 – ongoing
Funding: European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme 
For more information and the report click here

Tourism organizations need internationally comparable statistical data on the present structure of the industry as well as on historical and future trends. Based on reliable information, strategies and operational plans are implemented, monitored and where necessary, modified in response to feedback from the market.   ECM Benchmarking Report covers the information needs of city tourism managers and is based on the data collected by TourMIS. It has a distinct focus on the strategic and competitive position of European city destinations and thus equips destination managers with important trends and recent developments in the European city tourism business. The prime objective of the ECM Report is to convert complex statistical data to easily accessible and comprehensive managerial information mainly by graphical presentation of charts.  

Project leaders: Bozana Zekan, Karl Wöber, Kimberley Marr 
Period: February 2009 – ongoing
Funding: European cities marketing (ECM) & ECM Benchmarking Group 
For more information and the report click here

Development of a Tourism Marketing Information System.
Objective: Developing and testing interactive tools which support tourism related management tasks. Funded by the Austrian National Tourism Office and the European Travel Commission with a project value of approx. € 190,000 (since 1990). See

Project leader: Karl Wöber
Period: Ongoing
Collaboration: Bozana Zekan, Lidija Lalicic, Jason Stienmetz, ECM, industry

Past Projects

Training of hotel staff is essential to secure the successful implementation of the principles of sustainable food. MODUL University in collaboration with the sustainability initiative of the German travel industry Futouris, conducts ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops for multiplicators such as environmental, quality or service managers of the hotel industry. The content consists of theoretical background knowledge regarding the concept and an evaluation of hands-on exercises for the hotel staff. The workshops build the basis for staff trainings to be held in holiday destinations throughout Europe.

Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher

Period: ongoing from November 2018

Funding: Futouris e.V., Germany

Many studies showed the vulnerability of Austria's tourism to climate change, possible economic impacts, risks and opportunities. However tourism itself contributes substantially to climate change. Given the importance for the economy, a specific, reviewed assessment is needed. The purpose of the Special Report is to summarize and assess the state of knowledge of all aspects of this topic based on and open to contributions by the full community of Austrian researchers and related experts. You may find out more about the objectives of the project (in German) by clicking here

Project leader (at TSM department): Dagmar Lund-Durlacher

Project partners: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU); Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG); JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbh

Click here for more details about the project team (in German)

Project period: March 2018 - February 2020

Funding: Klima- und Energiefonds, ACRP

The aim of the qualification network is to provide the employees of the participating companies with innovative methods for dealing with internal and external data and thus to create skills for the digital transformation. With this know-how, employees should be able to transform data collected in the context of the ubiquitous digitization into decision-relevant information. Raising awareness for the open handling of data is in the center, so that accommodation companies and their employees do not perceive digitization as a threat but as an opportunity. Future-oriented and tailor-made qualification measures in the handling of data should increase the individual ability to innovate through knowledge creation, while at the same time participants should recognize the sustainable value of interconnected knowledge. Therefore, the envisaged qualification network contributes decisively to closing the existing knowledge gap in the field of ‘smart data analytics’.

Project team: Florian Aubke, Irem Önder, Ulrich Gunter

Period: July 2019 – December 2020

Partners: Technische Universität Wien, Institute of Information Systems Engineering and 17 organizations

Funding: FFG

Modern day tourism organizations use standard general-purpose software tools, such as Google Analytics to collect and report website statistics. But to the standardized key performance indicators (KPIs) provided by these tools really provide added value? What insights do they provide? How can they be applied in an effective way? It is of outmost importance to find KPIs that are linked to the objectives of every tourism organization. General-purpose tools are good in improving an individual’s website content or for identifying and solving usability issues. However, they are not capable of providing meaningful, industry specific information.   Moreover, web analytics need to move from a technology driven, standardized reporting function towards a business objective centered approach, which provides useful information to managers. The purpose of this project is to create a unique platform for destinations, to compare and benchmark their website with other destination websites. In addition, it gives the opportunity to create online marketing projects based on the demographics of their website visitors, compare the number of visitors from source market versus number of website visitors from the same source market, and opportunities for forecasting.


Project leaders: Karl Wöber and Jason Stienmetz
Period: October 2013- ongoing
Funding: Vienna Tourist Board and individual DMOs

‘The Tourism Research, Innovation And Next Generation Learning Experience (TRIANGLE) Program is creating a Knowledge Alliance of HEIs and businesses across Europe, delivering a common sustainable tourism training system for protected area and green tourism destinations’.

Within the framework of the EU’s Erasmus Knowledge Alliance program, the European-wide Ecotrans Network for Sustainable Tourism has teamed up with leading universities (Algarve, Eberswalde, Sorbonne, Vienna), and businesses with core ICT and tourism interests (Eau de Web, Forum Anders Reisen) to create a European-wide collaborative online learning system for Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to offer quality sustainability training and education to tourism destination administrators, SMEs workforce individuals and students linked to tourism activity in Europe’s protected areas and green destinations.

You may download the provisional TRIANGLE Program Prospectus here

Project leader (at MU TSM Department): Ulrich Gunter

Collaboration: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher

Period: November 2016 - October 2019

Funding: Erasmus+

Urban tourism contributes to (local) economic prosperity, but also creates negative consequences such as CO2 emissions and pollution, overcrowding, traffic jams, noise and touristification of the city, thereby harming liveability for both residents and tourists. This project introduces the Smart City Hospitality concept, consisting of guidelines and tools, that can support cities to make the transition towards environmentally and socially responsible tourism that simultaneously contributes to long-term (economic) prosperity. Through combining hospitality principles, simulation tools, apps and serious gaming techniques, this concept supports policymakers in generating deep reflections about barriers to sustainable urban tourism and the need for transition or adaptation strategies. This project develops Smart City Hospitality guidelines and tools for cities that could help them find solutions to overcrowding, pollution, noise and numerous other problems that are caused by tourism and actively involve the public in doing so.

Project leader: Irem Önder
May 2016 – May 2019
European Union & FFG
Collaboration: Karl Wöber & Lidija Lalicic

Project partners: NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), West Norway Research Institute (Norway), Worldline Iberia SA. (Spain).


To the authors' best knowledge, metadata contained in Geotagged photos have not been previously used to identify "hidden gems", nor to estimate and forecast visitor numbers related to them as well as more prominent locations. However, it has already been shown for Austria as a whole that Geotagged photos can map the current tourism demand well. Such findings suggest that they contain informative content for (more accurate) forecasts as well.

Project team: Ulrich Gunter, Irem Önder

Period: December 2017 - November 2018

Funding: Hochschuljubiläumsstiftung der Stadt Wien

The purpose of this project is twofold. First, it aims to help the hospitality industry in Vienna by identifying the key determinants of Airbnb demand and by quantifying their respective contributions in terms of demand elasticities. Second, it aims to investigate the competitive standing of Viennese Airbnb accommodations among the best performing ones of other European cities. Number of managerial recommendations can be derived from both studies.

Project team: Bozana Zekan, Irem Önder, Ulrich Gunter

Period: October 2017 - September 2018

Funding: Award of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Business (Wirtschaftskammerpreis 2017)

The bike sharing system in Austria is currently heterogeneous and consists of mostly incompatible systems, both from the user as well as from the user perspective. The project compiles a comprehensive inventory analysis with a focus on tourism. Based on this, the systems are evaluated, success factors are identified, and future development potentials are estimated.

Project leader (at TSM department): Lidija Lalicic

Project partners: Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) - Center for Mobility Systems, Dynamic Transportation Systems

Project period: September 2017 – April 2018

Funding: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW)


Sustainability information needs to be communicated effectively to change awareness and consumption levels of tourists towards more sustainable behavior. Building on the results of the study “Sustainable Food in the holiday context” conducted from September 2015 to March 2016 by the same project team, the main goals of the project ’Sustainable Food Communication’ were to develop effective tools for communicating the sustainability dimensions of the food on offer to hotel guests and to measure the impact of different communication instruments on guest awareness, attitudes and behavior regarding sustainable food in holiday hotels. Fourteen different displays and signage were developed and implemented at the breakfast offer. The local origin and authenticity of food products as well as the prevention of plate waste were chosen as the central sustainability dimensions to be communicated to hotel guests. In a series of experiments, the effectiveness of the communication tools was empirically tested and showed consistently positive results. In hotel resorts in Gran Canaria, the use of a combination of tools such as posters (in the lobby), speech bubbles on the buffet, local product displays (on the buffet) and table displays increased the consumption of local food significantly (by up to 350 % per product). At the same time, a combination of tools addressing issues related to food waste reduced the edible plate waste by 15%. Overall, guests consider food sustainability and especially food waste prevention in hotels important. The messages on the communication tools are all effective, and the tools at the guest tables proved most effective in communicating the messages. The results of the experiments and surveys were summarized in individual management summaries for the participating hotels. Furthermore, the manual “Sustainable Food Tools – Ways to communicate with the guests” was published in English and German and enables practitioners to develop such communication tools by using the guidelines and printable templates of the 14 tools of this manual. Futouris e.V. and their partner corporations will support the dissemination of the study results and the available communication tools to other hotels in holiday destinations. The manual “Sustainable Food Tools – Ways to communicate with the guests” is free to download from here (in English) and here (in German).

Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher

Period: August 2016 – December 2017

Project team members: Hannes Antonschmidt, MODUL University Vienna; Klaus Fritz, FH Wien der Wirtschaftskammer Wien, Eva-Maria Frey, Informationsdesign

Contractor: Futouris e.V., Germany

ITB project presentation

Sustainable food is a social phenomenon of increasing popularity. Is it also a concern while on holidays? What exactly does ‘’sustainable food’’ mean? The main goal of the project was to develop a deeper understanding on what is actually comprehended by the concept of sustainable food, and what holidaymakers really think about sustainable food consumption while travelling. Furthermore, the researchers also wanted to explore how tourism businesses are working on the implementation of sustainable food policies. The results were also summarized in a how-to manual for tourism providers who want to offer sustainable food and drinks.

For more information on the project, please see the final project report (in German) or its summary in English. You can also download the how-to manual for tourism providers in English and in German.

Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher
Period: August 2015 – March 2016
Collaboration: Klaus Fritz, FH Wien der Wirtschaftskammer Wien, Dietmar Kepplinger, Kondeor, Hannes Antonschmidt, MODUL University Vienna
Contractor: Futouris e.V., Germany

Project aims

Many travelers to the Turkish Aegean region have a huge interest in the local cuisine, and many hotels already source from local producers. Nonetheless, the connection between agricultural producers and purchasers from the hotel industry still needs to be improved. Furthermore, the concept of organic food is largely unknown in the Turkish hotel industry. The project "Taste the culture", which was funded by ÖGER Tours, Germany’s leading tour operator specialized in travel to Turkey, addressed these issues within two project phases. In the first phase, training courses for hotel staff were developed with the local project partner and organic-farming expert, Gürsel Tonbul. The courses were based on the "Sustainable Food Manual" (in English and German), developed by MODUL University and FH Wien, and included purchasing, storage and processing of organic and sustainably produced foods. The course material conveys the benefits and value of sustainable and regional food. These training units will be tested in hotels at the Aegean coast and optimized where required. In addition, it is planned to establish interactive training units in which employees will visit sustainable agricultural operations in the region and get to know their working methods. The second project phase dealt with the presentation and communication of sustainable food offers. The aim was to design and test communication tools to promote local produce on buffets. This phase was based on the tools and the results of the MU project “Sustainable Food Communication” and implemented in a five-star resort in Izmir Province.


The results showed an average increase in the consumption of the advertised local products of 53.1%. This increased consumption supports local vendors as well as local food producers and also helps to strengthen the integration of hotels into the local economy. A simultaneously conducted guest survey indicated moderately positive changes in the attitude of tourists towards sustainable food. To make this project scalable, the educational material, the communication tools including guidelines for implementation are freely available to the Turkish hotel industry. Using these materials, together with ÖGER Tours, sustainable food trainings and sustainable food communication tools will be implemented in other Turkish hotels in spring 2018.

Press coverage related to the project can be downloaded here

Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher

Project team: Hannes Antonschmidt, Klaus Fritz, FH Wien der Wirtschaftskammer Wien, Daniela Fischer, University of Applied Sciences Kempten

Period: March - December 2017

Funding: ÖGER Tours

The tourism sector, especially in the Alpine areas, is one of the main employers and generators of value in Austria. Yet in order to make its products and services even more attractive, this world renowned region has to face new challenges, such as climate change and sustainable use of energy and resources. The aim of the “VorTEIL – Energy Flagship Tourism Region” project is to identify potential synergies along the value chain and among relevant stakeholders and to demonstrate that sustainable and resource-efficient technologies can fulfill requirements of tourism infrastructure. The LEADER region "Hohe Tauern" and the largest Austrian ski region "Skicircus" serve as bases for exploring the needs of the tourism sector. More information can be found on the project website (in German).

The project was conducted in collaboration with the MU Department of Sustainability, Governance and Methods (Dr. Sabine Sedlacek)

Project team (at MU TSM Department): Dagmar Lund-Durlacher, Hannes Antonschmidt

Project partners: AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology, LEADER Nationalparkregion Hohe Tauern, Energy Changes.

Project period: July 2016 – March 2017

Funding: FFG / program „Vorzeigeregion Energie“

While smaller in scale compared to sea cruises, demand for river cruises has been booming in the recent years. Being part of the popular Danube cruise route, the city of Vienna has also got its share in this increasing interest. Similarly to sea cruises, river cruise tourists have their accommodation and most of their meals onboard the ships. However, unlike sea cruises, river cruise tourists spend less time on board and more time in the cities where their ship docks. This provides more opportunities for spending and at the same time increases the pressure on the infrastructure of the city. Since detailed and comprehensive information on river tourism in the city of Vienna is scarce, the study aims at filling this gap by collecting data and applying a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach to its analysis. The study will provide information on the various impacts that river cruises have on the tourism industry in Vienna and thus can serve as a starting point for discussions on the future of this form of tourism and the related infrastructure.

Project leader: Kristof Tomej
Period: July 2016 – August 2017
Funding: Award of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammerpreis 2016)

The presence of online hotel reviews undoubtedly helps travelers in assessing hotel quality and making informed decisions. Yet, the abundance of online reviews increases cognitive costs for travelers to process and judge the usefulness of various reviews. Since receivers' perceived review usefulness is of importance because it is a crucial predictor of their adoption intention as well as their subsequent behavioural reaction, it is thus essential to understand the determinants of review usefulness in order to identify reviews with high diagnostic value for facilitating consumers' adoption intention and thereby improving the efficacy of the viral marketing strategy. The purpose of this project is to examine the influence of various content-related and source-related characteristics on readers' perceived usefulness of online hotel reviews. Through analysing online reviews on hotels in Vienna which were published on major online review portals, the findings of this project is expected to provide stakeholders of the Viennese tourism industry in general and practitioners in the Viennese hotel industry in particular with clues for improving their viral marketing efficacy.

Project leader: Daniel Leung

Period: September 2016 - June 2017

Funding: Award of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammerpreis 2016)

Identification of drivers of Airbnb demand in Vienna and quantification of their contribution to demand. Comparison to the situation in Vienna’s main competitors. Derivation of recommendations for the hotel industry.

Project team: Ulrich Gunter, Irem Önder, Bozana Zekan

Period: August 2016 – January 2017

Contractor: Michaeler & Partner, PKF hotelexperts, Vienna Tourist Board

Comprehensive overview of the European city tourism trends and competitiveness (including the benchmarking case study of 27 cities by applying data envelopment analysis), European air transport, as well as the case studies on low-cost airline services, smart tourism in smart cities, and the sharing economy. Report was completed in August 2016.

Project team at the TSM department: Bozana Zekan, Karl Wöber

Project partners: TEAM Tourism Consulting/Roger Carter, The Travel Business Partnership/Nancy Cockerell

Contractor: World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF)

Development of an instrument for collecting information about systems measuring city tourism performance worldwide. Data form and questionnaire for the expert interviews with destination management organizations (DMOs) that were developed include the most current, measurable, objective, and replicable information. Project was completed in August 2016.

Project team at the TSM department: Bozana Zekan, Irem Önder, Karl Wöber

Contractor: UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Firms have begun to realize that collaboration with their consumers is their key to successful innovation. The integration of external sources and collaborative innovation becomes easier due to the diverse internet-based mechanisms. Therefore, tourists are getting asked more frequently to contribute their creative insights and problem-solving skills to create, conceptualize and experience new products and/or services through social media spaces. The Vienna Tourist Board has started to implement forms of the open innovation paradigm (i.e. Idea Contest “Now or Never: Vienna2020#). Analysis based upon these kinds of initiatives can provide research as well as practice insights into the effectiveness of open innovation platforms in the field of tourism. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be employed to capture a holistic view of this phenomenon.

Project leader: Lidija Lalicic
Period:  November 2014 – June 2016
Collaboration: Vienna Tourist Board
Funding: WKO Wirschaftskammer Preis 2015      
Links to reports, publications


Consumers modify, adapt and create products closely fitting their needs and wants. The collective intelligence and available tool-kits facilitated by ICT, successfully supports the development of user-driven innovation. Also, forms of user-driven innovation have started to emerge in the tourism industry. We see many forms of user-generated content in forms of informal discussions, consumers creating structured reviews, promotion through self-created advertising videos and modification of products and distribution of innovations. Practitioners need to understand which tool-kits or context-depending factors are necessary to provide support for user-driven innovations in social media platforms for tourists. Therefore, this research project aims to provide companies insights into the different aspects of consumers’ creativity resulting in user-driven innovation practices. Secondly, the project will provide recommendations on how companies can facilitate user-driven innovations by designing effective social media spaces. The overall aim of project is to bridge the gap in literature on innovation and the integrated use of social media platforms in the field of tourism.

Project leader: Lidija Lalicic
Period: June 2014 – June 2016
Collaboration:  Astrid Dickinger (supervisor),    
Funding: Net Idee 
Links to reports, publications:

Mountain biking is seen as one of the core summer tourist activities in Austria in particular in mountainous regions and the bike industry continuously stirs the demand with new bike technologies. A recent debate revolves around the advantages and disadvantages of general opening of public and private owned forests for mountain bikers in Austria. Up to now mountain biking in forests is only allowed after approval of the land owner. The aim of the project was to assess the status quo of mountain biking in Austria as well as consequences of opening the forest tracks for mountain bikers. Potential consequences such as an increased volume of mountain bikers, user conflicts, accidents and security risks were to be evaluated. The expectations of all affected groups (mountain bikers, other nature users, touristic destinations) were examined. Eventually, the economic consequences of an opening were considered.

For more information about the project, please see the press clipping and detailed project report (both in German).


Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher
Period: July – September 2015
Collaboration: Hannes Antonschmidt
Contractor: Österreichische Landwirtschaftkammer

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether using Google Trends indices for web and image searches improves tourism demand forecast accuracy relative to a purely autoregressive baseline model. To this end, Vienna, one of the top-10 European city destinations, is chosen as a case example, for which the predictive power of Google Trends is evaluated at the total demand and at the source market levels. The effect of the search query language on predictability of arrivals is considered and differences between seasonal and seasonally-adjusted data are investigated. The results confirm that the forecast accuracy is improved when Google Trends data are included across source markets and forecast horizons for seasonal and seasonally-adjusted data, leaning towards native-language searches. This outperformance not only holds relative to purely autoregressive baseline specifications, but also relative to time-series models such as Holt-Winters and naïve benchmarks, where the latter are significantly outperformed on a regular basis.

Project leaders: Irem Önder and Ulrich Gunter
Period: October 2014 – June 2015
Funding: Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Links to reports, publications:

The emerging technological dynamics and increasing consumer power requires proactive strategies by Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). Furthermore, positioning a destination around the feelings it generates and its ability to offer visitors unique experiences, relationships, meanings, and self-expressions is a strong competitive advantage. This study analyzed Vienna’s brand personality and emotions as reflected in online reviews from different service settings such as accommodation, sights, and restaurants. In addition, the study compared the results with tourists’ connotations with Vienna as collected in a conventional survey. The combination of content analysis and comparative analysis provides recommendations for DMOs on how to develop emotional links and use consumers’ information shared in an online setting.

Project leader: Astrid Dickinger
Period:  November 2012 – November 2014
Collaboration: Lidija Lalicic 
Funding: WKO Wirschaftskammer Preis 2012
Links to reports, publications:     

The aim of the project was to investigate the current situation and characteristics of employment in tourism for females and to identify opportunities and strategies to (re-)attract and/or retain female employees in the hospitality industry. Focus groups were conducted to gather the opinions of female employees currently working in the hospitality industry as well as of those who had once worked in the industry but left the sector. Furthermore, experts from various fields of expertise were interviewed to obtain their point of view regarding the problems, challenges and opportunities for female employment in the tourism industry. The study identified some crucial challenges that need to be tackled in order to make the hospitality industry more attractive employer for females.


Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher
Period: January 2009 – January 2010
Collaboration: Ulrike Bauernfeind, Anja Hergesell
Links to report, publications:

  • Conference paper: Hergesell, A., Bauernfeind, U., Lund-Durlacher, D. , "The role of values in sustaining the hospitality labor market: The case of Austria", BESTEN Think Thank IX: The Importance of Values in Sustainable Tourism, Singapore, pp. 223-228, 2009
  • Technical Report (Projektbericht) in German

Understanding urban tourism in Europe and creating a harmonized system of European City Tourism Statistics. The long-term objective of this project is to increase the awareness for regional tourism, particularly city tourism in Europe. Related to this research field is some work for an ESPON project ('Study on spatially relevant aspects of Tourism'), which may lead to a much larger EU funded project within the INTERREG/INTERACT program.