John Chambers College of Business and Economics

Ajay Aluri

Ajay Aluri Head Shot
Ajay Aluri speaking in front of a group.

If you are a people person, if you love to travel, or if you would like to work in a dynamic environment, where every day presents new challenges with new customers, then hospitality is for you.

Since hospitality and tourism management is an industry-specific field of study, every student who majors in this program should be able to track their degree into a career path.

“If you are a people person, if you love to travel, or if you would like to work in a dynamic environment, where every day presents new challenges with new customers, then hospitality is for you,” Ajay says.

His teaching philosophy is that students are best prepared for life after the classroom by getting learning experiences with actual businesses while they are in school.

“I incorporate real-world projects into the curriculum that tackle issues faced by hospitality and tourism businesses today, so that students can get hands-on problem-solving experience in this competitive, rapidly changing field.

“It is vital for students to use technology and to understand its impact. My goal is to take their skills to the next level and help them understand strategies to integrate technology as needed.”

Aluri is founding director of WVU’s Hospitality Innovation and Technology (HIT) Lab, where he and his students use, develop, and test emerging technologies. They also use real-life data and social media applications in class to help businesses in the community.

He says it is also vital that students begin to network, because networking will enable them to learn from leaders, experts, and successful people in the industry.

About Mentoring
Out of all my mentors, the ones who influenced me the most were the ones who set an example in their fundamental beliefs, actions, and behaviors.

Research Interest
I recently received an award for outstanding research paper in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research for cutting-edge research on the use of machine learning in the hospitality industry.

My students and I are working on a few projects related to COVID-19, which came out of discussions about how to find solutions for businesses during the pandemic. We are also working on coding a service robot that can be a host in the hotel or resort industry.

Book Currently Reading
Right now, I’m reading Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World– and Why Things are Better Than You Think By Hans Rosling.

Pedagogical Changes on the Horizon
I plan to continue “learning by doing” and exploring and traveling (virtually or physically) while doing experiential projects.

Technology He Utilizes in the Classroom
Augmented reality, data mining, Internet of Sound, Internet of Things, service robots, and virtual reality.

About His Students
If you make learning interesting and empower them to learn by doing, students can achieve so much. Never underestimate the potential of a student. It takes only one X factor for them to be successful and reach their goals.