Each spring, the University of Central Florida’s Division of Graduate Studies honors student excellence in academic achievement, teaching, research, leadership and community service with the Graduate Awards of Excellence. Among the 2012-2013 award winners were two recent graduates of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Dr. Anil Bilgihan and Heidi Albus, who both graduated in 2012, received the college’s Award for Outstanding Dissertation and the Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis, respectively.

Bilgihan, who received a doctorate in hospitality education, won the award for the quality and contribution of his dissertation. His award-winning paper examined the concept of “online customer experience”, “flow”, and its role in influencing online customers’ loyalty to a hotel booking website.

“This study provided further insights to the researchers and industry leaders regarding the impact of hedonic and utilitarian features of a booking website on the overall flow experience of consumers,” said one of the ad hoc committee members for this award. “The findings are of practical importance to enhance the ‘e-loyalty’ of consumers.”

Albus, who earned a master’s degree in hospitality & tourism management, won the Outstanding Master’s Thesis award for quality and contribution of her thesis research. Her award-winning paper examined the effects of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on service recovery in terms of customer satisfaction, repeat patronage, word of mouth, and consumer trust in casual dining restaurants.

“The experimental design that she used in her thesis is interesting and we don’t see this type of data collection procedure in our field that often,” said one of the ad hoc committee members for this award. “I believe her thesis will contribute more valuable theoretical and practical implications.”