Dr. Katerina Berezina, CHTP, CRME, CHIA, associate professor and a hospitality management program director in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi, was awarded the 2022 Marketing Educator of the Year Award during the HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference, June 28. “I am so honored and excited,” she said. “It is very special to me because of the relationship I have developed with HSMAI over the years and because of the industry recognition of my teaching. This award provides a great motivation for me to continue improving my courses and preparing the next generation of hospitality marketing professionals.”
In her current role, Berezina mainly teaches hospitality marketing and hospitality technology courses. Her research interests are information technology in hospitality and tourism, electronic distribution, and revenue management. She has been a member of HSMAI since 2013, participated in faculty roundtables, and in 2022, joined the Industry-Faculty Partnership Council. Berezina also serves as the managing editor of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, as vice chair of the CHTP Advisory Council with Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, and as the director of membership services with the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started my career working in travel agencies in Russia, mostly in outbound international tourism. I found it exciting to help people plan their vacations. My work in travel agencies taught me a lot about working with people, understanding their needs and interests, travel distribution, and sales. But also, because travel agencies are small companies, and as I was advancing in my career, I also learned about marketing, website development, and revenue management.
I was attracted to this profession because it felt like a “happy place.” Every day was interesting and exciting for me. I liked being a part of the travel planning process for so many people for all the different destinations around the world. This profession also allowed me to travel. I visited different countries on fam (familiarization) trips, such as Turkey, Egypt, and Czech Republic.
What do you think is most important in getting more students interested in hospitality careers?
I think it is important to show students the variety of careers the industry has to offer and give them a taste of the industry. The industry-education partnerships are very important. I believe students should try and see how it feels and determine if this is their happy place, too.
What would you describe as the best moment of your career?
There are different milestones at different stages of the career. I can name several things, such as receiving my Ph.D. It is the highest level of education that one can attain and the “key” that opens so many doors and allows me to do what I do now.
This HSMAI award is another highlight. It is very special to me as my first industry award as a faculty.
And thinking about this year, it would be seeing my first two Ph.D. students complete their degrees. Both are working on their dissertations right now and are almost at that finish line.
What are you most optimistic about when it comes to the new generation of hospitality marketing professionals who will soon be entering the workforce?
I am very optimistic about the future, the growth of the hospitality industry and all the wonderful opportunities it will present to the new professionals entering the workforce. Our industry had to reinvent itself to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and I feel that those entering the field will be a part of something bigger and better that we have seen so far. Also, technology brings so many interesting opportunities for marketing, e.g., virtual reality and metaverse. I am very excited for the new hospitality marketing professional who will work in this new era of travel.