Volume 16 Issue 2-3 2019 Emerging Scholar Profile 1

Dr Daniel Leung
Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)


It is my honor to have a chance to present my profile in this emerging scholar column. I hope it will help the readers of my entry better understand me, my academic journey as well as my research interests.

My name is Daniel Leung, and I am currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). My main areas of research interest are electronic marketing, social media marketing, the impact of user generated content, and technology adoption. Besides conducting research relating to technology management, I am teaching various technology-related courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. As an active member of the International Federation for IT and Travel and Tourism (IFITT), I have hosted and served as the Overall Chair of the IFITT Doctoral Summer School at MODUL University Vienna in 2015.

Coming from a working-class family, I have never dreamed of becoming an academician until I met my first “coach” and lifelong teacher – Prof. Rob Law. During my Bachelor study at the PolyU, I had the great honor to work on my bachelor thesis under Rob’s supervision. Throughout the compilation period, Rob shared a lot of his knowledge and advice with me in order to advance my work to the next level. He also introduced and asked many experienced researchers to help resolve the technical problems I encountered in my work. Under his great coaching and guidance, our completed work (titled “The Perceived Destination Image of Hong Kong on Ctrip.com”) successfully achieved its objective of unveiling the positive and negative facets of Hong Kong in the eyes of Chinese travelers. We were glad that our work was recommended for publishing in a top-tier tourism journal. We were even more fascinated that some suggestions from our manuscript were later employed by the local tourism authority when they devised their destination marketing plan. That was the very first time I recognized the value of academic research and the joy of being a researcher.

After having this positive research experience, I followed Rob’s advice and pursued a master degree at the PolyU. In the subsequent two-year study period, I explored diversified topics (e.g., social media, website evaluation, technology adoption) together with graduate students and other eTourism professionals from the school. I also had the honor to co-author many high-quality journal articles, conference articles and book chapters with many local and international researchers. Among all the works I co-authored during that period, I am particularly proud of the one titled “Social media in tourism and hospitality: A literature review” because of two reasons. First, the research gaps identified from that paper provide a solid foundation for subsequent researchers to develop their meaningful research. Second, the abovementioned paper helped me earn my first research-related award – the Emerald Citations of Excellence Award 2016.

Although my initial research journey at the PolyU was a fabulous one, I understood that I had to leave this “comfort zone” if I wanted to equip myself with better knowledge and skills. Hence, after earning my master degree at the PolyU, I moved to Vienna (Austria) to pursue my doctoral degree and continue my academic journey. Many people asked me why I chose to earn my doctorate at Vienna. In fact, Vienna is a place with many “hidden dragons”. As not many people know, at least three fellows of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism are working actively in Vienna. Moreover, many renowned scholars in the field of marketing (e.g., Adamantios Diamantopoulos) and management information systems (e.g., Josef Mazanec) come from Vienna. As a young scholar who aspired to enrich his knowledge base with help from these legendary people, I strongly believed that Vienna was a natural and suitable choice.

Throughout my four-study doctoral study at MODUL University Vienna, I met and exchanged research-related knowledge with numerous scholars from different areas (e.g., economics, social psychology, public governance). I also gained a lot of exposure and experience about how to manage a university. Apart from these, having my second “coach” and lifelong teacher – Prof. Astrid Dickinger – as my doctoral thesis advisor was the biggest reward I gained throughout my doctoral study. Unlike those monographs compiled by other PhD candidates, my doctoral thesis as a trilogy of three separate studies (including a systematic literature review study, a panel data study and an experimental study) which are designed to contribute to the growing stream of research on online reviews by investigating “what makes a useful online hotel review?” Astrid was in fact the one who proposed this design, because she believed that the three-paper design cannot only help demonstrate my all-rounded knowledge about the studied topic but also exhibit my ability to apply different research methodologies to answer a research question. Under her great leadership and guidance, I successfully defended my thesis in August 2017. We were very satisfied with our completed thesis, since the most recent ENTER conference selected our work as the Best PhD Thesis. We are currently submitting those three papers to different outlets for publication consideration. We sincerely hope our works will be published and shared with you very soon.

Like other young scholars who have recently earned their doctorate, I am now facing the unprecedentedly high level of pressure to enrich my publication record. Apart from continuing the examination of those areas I am familiar with (e.g., social media marketing and user-generated content), I have started diversifying my research profile via exploring some emerging topics such as blockchain and robotics. I am also re-investigating some un-resolved questions through applying innovative methodological approaches like field experiments and simulations. These research projects, for which I am collaborating with different groups of local and international scholars, will be completed very soon. We also look forward to sharing our findings with the interested readers at upcoming academic conferences or in the form of journal articles. Should any reader of this entry be interested in exploring the areas I mentioned earlier together, please feel free to contact me in order to exchange ideas and knowledge with each other. I look forward to meeting and starting intellectual discourses with you all at different academic occasions!

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