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Can Technology Save Hospitality with Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu, Director of M3 Center at University of South Florida

In this episode, Ragnar connects with renowned hospitality and tourism technology expert, Dr. Cihan Cobanoglua. They dive into the world of technology and ask, in the new frontier created by the global pandemic, can technology save hospitality?

Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu is the McKibbon Endowed Chair Professor of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHRM) in the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida (USF) and serves as the Director of the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation and Coordinator of International Programs for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. 

His research centers on the use and impact of technology in the hospitality industry. “People are always assumed that when we say technology, it’s high-tech; it’s Elon Musk; it’s space; it’s robots; it’s flying objects,” says Dr. Cihan. The way he sees it, that is technology, but so are simple ideas like a “Do Not Disturb” sign on a hotel door. By his definition, technology is any skill, tool, or process of doing anything better, faster, and more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable. That’s far more approachable.

He leads the M3 Center thinktank and research hub to offer resources for educational tools and innovation, conferences, training, and forums. Together, they’re working to improve the connections between academia, industry, and society at large.

With this mission in mind, Dr. Cihan and the USF M3 Center took their expertise to the masses with a groundbreaking program for a Post Crisis Hospitality Management Certificate: 100% online, and free of charge.

The seven-week online certificate program is designed to help answer critical questions facing hospitality and tourism industry leaders post-pandemic.

How will technology change the way services are delivered?
What operational measures need to change to make consumers willing to come back?
How will managers build employee loyalty when the industry had no choice but to lay off some top performers?
How will leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry answer these questions?

The first cohort of international participants who enrolled for the 7 live sessions reached nearly 6,000 from 102 countries.

The program has been a tremendous success. They set out to “give people hope, inspiration, and maybe some new ideas that they can refresh their regiments and then hopefully be able to land a job,” says Cobanoglu. Alongside thanks and positive feedback, some participants wrote to say they found a job because of the program.


To take the Post Crisis Hospitality Management Certificate, scroll down to Resources for all the information you need to get started.

Session 4 of the course, Technology as a Competitive Advantage in Hospitality, poses the question of the day: Can it be a savior? Tune in to hear the answer from Dr. Cihan.

About the Guest

Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu

In addition to his role as the McKibbon Endowed Chair Professor of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and directorship of the M3 Center, Dr. Cobanoglu is a Fulbright Specialist commissioned by the Fulbright Commission (2018-2021). He is a Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) commissioned by Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP) and Educational Institute of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

He is the Editor of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology (JHTT)(Indexed in SSCI IF=2.796), editor of Journal of Global Business Insights (JGBI), Journal of Global Hospitality and Tourism (JGBI) and a co-author of six books and ten conference proceedings. He is also currently serving as the President of Association of North America Higher Education International (ANAHEI). He is the founder of, an open-access paper management system and, a portal for educators around the world.

Dr. Cobanoglu also serves the industry as a consultant. He is the founder and chair of Global Conference on Business and Economics (GLOBE), Global Conference on Education and Research (GLOCER), Global Conference on Business, Hospitality and Tourism Research (GLOSEARCH) and Global Conference on Services and Retail Management (GLOSERV). Dr. Cobanoglu created a curriculum for hospitality software: innRoad Property Management System, M3 AccKnowledge Hotel Accounting System, and M3 Link Hotel Business Intelligence System. He is also the founder of open-access conference and academic job listing website: He also is the founder of open-access manuscript review system:

He founded and managed the eXperimental Guestroom (X-Room) at the University of Delaware’s Courtyard by Marriott from 2007 to 2009. Dr. Cobanoglu’s work has been featured in national and international media outlets such as BBC, NBC, ABC, CN8, Futurist Magazine, New York Times, Boston Globe and Lodging Magazine. He published in scholarly journals such as Tourism Management, The Service Industries Journal, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, International Journal of Hospitality Management, and International Journal of Market Research. His articles have been cited in more than 4000 times and he has made numerous presentations in national and international conferences.

For more information, visit his website at or his LinkedIn page. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter or Instagram. For ANAHEI, please visit


Keep up with the latest industry insights from the USF M3 Center on Facebook and LinkedIn, and visit the website at

You can participate in the Post-Crisis Hospitality Management Certificate program, too! Tune in for all 7 sessions online:

Learn more about the free program and the certificate here. Self-paced, each of the seven modules are self-contained and may build upon select pre-work, readings, and references to create an online synchronous or asynchronous learning experience that maximizes knowledge transfer and market readiness.

Complete the program and receive a passing grade from the associated testing and you’ll be granted the Post-Crisis Leadership Certificate, issued by the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation in the Muma College of Business.

The USF M3 Center also offers Hospitality Marketing Certificate. To learn more about this program, click here.

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Special thanks to Dr. Cihan Cobanoglua for joining as as a guest.

World on a Plate is supported by Nestlé Professional and our podcast sponsors.


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