Professor Peter Harris

MSc, MIH, CDipAF, FHOSPA (Hon), Dip Hotel Admin (Ports)

Emeritus Professor of Accounting

Oxford Brookes Business School

Peter Harris



Peter joined Oxford Polytechnic as Principal Lecturer in Accounting and Chaired the BSc (Hons) in Hotel & Restaurant Management, and later - after leading the development of the School's initial masters programmes - as Director of the Executive MSc in Hotel & Catering Management (for professionals) and MSc in International Hotel Management (now MSc in International Hotel & Tourism Management); and latterly, appointed Director of Hospitality Consultancy, across the School.


Engaging with core teaching of accounting in the School together with visiting lectures across a range of international hospitality management programmes; and guiding undergraduate and postgraduate student research project endeavours.

His investigative interests focus on the application of generic accounting theory to hospitality services, a field in which he has contributed, consulted and published widely; feeding directly into the classroom to enhance student learning and enriching his own teaching experience.

Teaching and supervision

Visiting Lectureships:

  • 1998 - 2018 Universita Ca’ Foscari di Venezia (University of Venice): Masters in Economics and Tourism Management 
  • 2005 - 2017 Yrgo Hotel Academy (Gothenburg): Advanced Diploma in Hotel Management 
  • 2014 - 2015 ESSEC Business School (Paris): Hospitality Executive Education Programme
  • 2008 - 2009 Haaga-Hellia University (Helsinki) Welcome to the World of Theatre Role Plays
  • 2003 - 2006 Group Accor Corporate Office (Paris): Vivier Management Development Programme (associated with IMHI)
  • 2001 - 2002 The Norwegian Hotel School, University College, Stavanger 
  • 1995 – 2000 University of Gothenburg, Department of Accounting and Finance
  • 1986 - 1999 Cornell University/ESSEC Business School: Postgraduate Diploma/MBA in International Hotel Aministration 
  • 1996 – 1998 Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne
  • 1979 - 2010 During his tenure, Peter led the following Business School Modules:
    • BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance: 
      • Accounting for Planning and Business Decisions
    • BSc (Hons) Hotel & Restaurant Management:
      • Management Accounting in the Hospitality Industry
      • Financial Analysis & Control in the Hotel Industry
      • Financial Administration for Hospitality and Tourism Services
    • MSc in Hotel & Catering Management (for professionals):
      • Financial Management Perspectives
      • Financial Management Approaches
    • MSc in International Hotel & Tourism Management:
      • Strategic Management Accounting


Director of Studies for the following theses to completion:

Master of Philosophy:

  • Jones, T A 'Financial and Operating Information Needs of Managers in Hotel companies' MPhil awarded November, 1991.
  • Burgess, C L 'A Profile of the Hotel Financial Controller: Education and Training Needs for the Future' MPhil awarded June, 1993.
  • Downie, N 'The Use of Accounting Information in Hotel Marketing Decisions' MPhil awarded July, 1996.

Doctor of Philosophy:

  • Doherty E J 'An Evaluation of Human Resource Management in the UK Hospitality Industry' from 1990-2000' PhD awarded July, 2002.
  • Brander Brown, J 'Relating Organisational Culture and Accounting Control System Design: A Contingency Study in the Hotel Industry' PhD awarded November, 2002.
  • Haktanir, M 'Performance Measurement in Small Service Businesses: An Investigation of Independent Hotels' PhD awarded December, 2003.
  • Wang, X (L) 'The Impact of Yield Management on Customer Relationship Management in a Service Sector Context: A Case Study in the Hotel Industry' PhD awarded October, 2005.
  • Krakhmal, V 'Conceptual Development of a Customer Profitability Analysis Model for Individual Hotel Properties: An Activity-Based Costing Approach'. "Funded Doctoral Programme by: Arthur Andersen's 'Hotel Company Finance Directors' network, comprising DeVere Hotels; Corinthia Hotels International; Kempinski Hotels & Resorts; Marriott Hotels-Resorts-Suites; Moat House Hotels; Movenpick Hotels; and Radisson Hotels & Resorts: Awarded £35,000." PhD awarded June, 2006.
  • Van der Rest, J-P I 'Pricing Practice in a Service Sector Context: The Case of an International Hotel Group' PhD awarded July, 2007.
  • Wu, H C 'The Impact of Environmental Management Practices on Hotel Financial Performance: A Case of Water Management on Hotel Operating Costs' PhD awarded August,  2010.


Peter's research and development activities include cost dynamics, profit planning, performance measurement and benchmarking, related to hospitality businesses; and encouraging student self-assurance in engaging with accounting matters.  
In particular, his research interests primarily centred on the application of cost behaviour and marginal accounting techniques, including pragmatic rough and ready - 'quick & dirty' - computations for routine, day-to-day, decisions at the hotel property level; which he initially investigated with the support of Commonwealth and Holiday Inns of Canada (CHIC) and later tested on the Savoy Hotel Group and Ciga Hotels (the grand Italian chain). 

To assist student learning he developed course assignments with an interactive edge, by drawing upon and extending the use of interactive skills. Initially beginning with spoken 'summary presentations', developing on to 'seminar role-plays' and, finally, evolving into 'theatre role-plays in accounting & finance' - the purpose to enhance student confidence in presenting, conversing and articulating financial management issues. Carried out at both undergraduate & postgraduate levels, the approach was well received in student feedback; and subsequently his method(s) disseminated, by invitation, to a number of university programmes in UK and abroad.

Research impact

His work on applied marginal accounting attracted the attention of the InterContinental Hotels Group (a major Holiday Inn Worldwide brand operator). At that time, the Brussels-based Europe*Middle East*Africa division had a projected gross operating profit (GOP) target of £100m by the year 2000. As part of the strategy to achieve this, the company identified a need to improve the effectiveness of operational decision-making at the unit level. This led Peter to propose the design of a "Hotel Profit Planning Framework" underpinned by marginal analysis techniques, which (after trialing internally) the company accepted for adoption throughout the division's 240 branded hotel properties, which included Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn (core brand), Holiday Inn Crown Plaza and their exclusive, 5-star brand, InterContinental Hotel properties.

As a result, it is believed the InterContinental Hotels Group became the first hotel chain to formally incorporate and document a comprehensive framework of marginal accounting techniques for routine, day-to-day, decisions at the hotel property level.

Essentially, the Hotel Profit Planning Framework is designed to facilitate the provision of more relevant (targeted) financial information to better inform unit managers' business decisions at their particular properties; therein enhancing profit generation, through:   

  1. Negotiation of new business streams; sales volume and business mix optimization; and transaction pricing of events, special promotions and ad hoc competitive bids; 
  2. Gaining new insights into the operating characteristics of their hotel properties through the lens of revenue, cost, profit relationships; and thus
  3. Enabling managers to approach routine, day-to-day, business decisions (with renewed confidence) from a position of strength.

Implementation of the Hotel Profit Planning Framework was achieved through an integrated management development programme comprising studio-filmed tutorial videos accompanied by technical distance-learning manuals (produced in English, French, German, Italian & Spanish) distributed across the 'company-owned' and 'managed' properties; plus underpinned by a structured mini-conference and small-group seminar series for discrete teams within the hotel properties e.g. general managers, financial controllers, revenue and operations managers, and within the corporate office e.g. finance, marketing and business development executives. The company also introduced a contract requirement within it's 'franchised' properties that all hotel general managers complete a mandatory seminar programme on the Framework.

During and after implementation of the development programme, the extent of the enthusiasm and positive feedback received from across the division was both satisfying and unexpected. Particularly financial controllers - but also other HODs - frequently expressing their interest and approval during testing/applying marginal accounting techniques at their properties, with some making personal contact to clarify application practicalities and others suggesting additional uses and/or adaptation of the design methods, such as e.g. using flexible budgets for resource articulation. However, perhaps the most frequent (and interesting perception) present in the feedback comments received can be paraphrased as: 'the surprise that marginal analysis features so widely in accounting, economics and management courses, yet is rarely (in their own experience) encountered in practice!!  
During the initial three years following implementation of the Framework, the division's current average GOP margins of 35 percent grew, by four percentage points, to 39 percent. While this was encouraging, there can be no claim of exclusivity for any one factor's impact on reported on results. This said, senior management explicitly expressed confidence that the development programme played a positive role in significantly adding to shareholder value.       

Consulting commissions followed with other major chains and smaller concerns interested to explore the possibilities and benefits of engaging with marginal accounting techniques at the property level.


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Member: Institute of Hospitality (MIH)
  • Honorary Fellow: British Association of Hospitality Accountants (FBHA) (now the Professional Hospitality Association [FHOSPA])


Relevant Conference and Research Seminar Papers/Presentations…

  • Harris PJ, “Profit Planning in Restaurants: Dropping a stone into water”, Prince Bertil Annual Seminar, University of Gothenburg, October, 2011.
  • Harris PJ, “Hospitality & Tourism Financial Management: Theory to cutting-edge practice, informing practitioners”, Forum: Confindustria AICA (Association of Italian Hotel Companies) and Confindustria Alberghi (Association of Italian independent hotels), Laguna Palace Hotel, Mestre, Venice, April 2011. 
  • Harris PJ, “Working with industry: research to consultancy (informing practice)”, HLST Network Annual Conference, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, November, 2008.
  • Krakhmal V, Harris PJ, “Implementing customer profitability analysis (using activity-based costing: a service industry context”, Management Control Association Conference, Paris, September, 2007.
  • Mongiello M, Harris PJ, “Touching base in hospitality accounting and financial management: a thematic analysis from a decade of research and developments”, Cost and Performance in Services and operations: European Institute of Advances Studies in Management Conference, Trento, Italy, June, 2007.
  • Krakhmal V, Harris PJ, “Implementing an activity-based customer profitability analysis model: a service industry context” Cost and Performance in Services and operations: European Institute of Advances Studies in Management Conference, Trento, Italy, June, 2007.
  • Haktanir M, Harris PJ, “Performance Measurement Practice in Small Service Businesses: An Investigation into Independent Owner Managed and Remotely Owned Hotels” CHME Research Conference, Oxford, May, 2007.
  • Van der Rest J-P, Harris PJ, “Pricing Practice in an International Hotel Group: exploring and developing a resource-advantage perspective” CHME Research Conference, Oxford, May, 2007.
  • Krakhmal V, Harris PJ, "Customer Profitability Analysis at the Hotel Property Level: an ABC approach", British Association of Hospitality Accountants Conference and Exhibition, 2nd November, 2006, London Heathrow Airport.
  • Krakhmal V, Harris PJ, "Customer Profitability Analysis at the Hotel Property Level, an ABC approach", Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales Tourism & Hospitality Special Interest Group Annual Conference, 30th November 2006 Chartered Accountants’ Hall, London.
  • Mongiello M, Harris PJ “Key Performance Indicators in Hotel Chains within Europe” British Accounting Association Annual Conference, University of Exeter, April (2000).
  • Harris PJ “Seminar (Theatre) Role-Plays in Accounting and Finance Learning” CHME Learning and Teaching Conference, Oxford, October (1999). 
  • Brander Brown J, Harris PJ, “Relating Business Orientation to Performance Measurement Design in a Service Industry Context: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives from the Hotel Industry” Performance Measurement: Theory and Practice Conference, Churchill College Cambridge, June (1998).
  • Harris PJ, Brander Brown J, “Research and Development in Hospitality Accounting and Financial Management” CHME Research Conference, Glasgow University, April (1998).
  • Harris PJ, “Using Seminar Role-Plays in Accounting and Financial Management Education” British Accounting Association [Special Interest Group] Accounting Education Conference, Manchester, November, (1997).
  • Harris PJ “Developing a Profit Planning Framework for Holiday Inn Worldwide: A Case Study” School Research Seminar, February, (1997).
  • Brander Brown J, Harris PJ “Organisational Culture and Control: Implications for the International Hospitality Industry” Service Industries Symposium, Bournemouth University, September (1995).
  • Harris PJ, “Demonstration of Seminar Role-Plays for Hospitality Accounting and Finance Education” presentation at the invitation of the Department of Accounting and Finance, Gothenburg University, Sweden, April (1995).
  • Harris PJ, “Seminar Role-Plays in Hospitality Accounting and Finance Education” International Association of Hotel Management Schools Conference: Management Games and Simulations, Cergy Pontoise, France (1994).
  • Harris PJ, “Hospitality Operations Management Curriculum Development: The Accounting Contribution” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management: New Visions in Hospitality Operations Management Conference, Danbury, November (1994).
  • Harris PJ, “Hospitality Profit Planning in the Practical Environment: Integrating Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis and Spreadsheet Management” International Association of Hotel Management Schools Conference: Issues in Accounting, Economics and Information Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University, May (1992).
  • Field HM, Harris PJ, “Financial Management in a Crisis: A Case Study Approach to Hotel Property Recovery” Holiday Inn Worldwide (Europe*Middle East*Africa Region) Financial Controllers Conference, Antwerp, Belgium, January (1992).
  • Harris, PJ, “Applying the Fundamentals of Computer Spreadsheet Design in Accounting Education” Issues in Accounting Research and Education Conference, London School of Economics, University of London, December (1990).


1998 - 2019
Subsequent to Peter's work with the InterContinental Hotels Group, consulting assignments followed with other major chains and companies interested in improving the quality of routine decisions at the cutting edge of their business operations, including the Dorchester Collection, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (UK, Ireland, Scandinavia & Turkey division), Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts (Europe), Firmdale Hotels, Queens Moat Houses, Raffles Hotels & Swissôtel, Clivden (Taplow), Savoy Hotel Group, Great Southern Hotels (Ireland), LHM (Luxury Family Hotels - Alias Hotels), Lyric Hotels (UK), Myhotels (London) and Regal Hotel Group and Royal Harbour Hotel Ramsgate; plus VISITGUERNSEY (States of Guernsey Tourist Board), Fáilte Ireland (National Tourism Development Agency) and Westminster Abbey (London).

1995 - 2004
This comprises the period during which he was commissioned by the InterContinental Hotels Group's Brussels-based Europe*Middle East*Africa division to propose, design and deliver the management development programme for the "Hotel Profit Planning Framework", which included the ongoing seminar series for bedding down the accounting methods and techniques within the property management teams/functions per country across the division's company-owned, managed and franchised properties.     

1990 - 2003
Appointed Programme Director BAHA (CPE). He led the annual programme at the University's Headington Hill Hall - comprising three intensive residential weekends, each of which was followed by case study assignments conducted back at candidates' organisations.

1988 - 1989
He was commissioned to design and establish a British Association of Hotel Accountant's (BAHA) Programme of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for accounting specialists and consultants operating in the hospitality industry, for which the Association introduced a new grade of membership (MBHA), in recognition of the Award.

Summary of Funds attracted to the University during his tenure:

  • Consultancy Commissions & Fees: £210,582  
  • Visiting Lecture Fees: (Cornell/ESSEC): £31,252  
  • PhD Research Funding Award: £35,000 (see PhD Supervision)
  • Publishing BAHA Practice Guide: Award: £20,000 (see Publications)

Further details

In the hospitality industry he gained departmental and supervisory experience in various hotels in London and the south of England becoming a maître d’hôtel. Later, after management training, he held positions of department head, assistant manager and assistant general manager in hotel, restaurant and banquet organisations, culminating with the Rank Organisation’s Hotels Division. 

He holds a Diploma in Hotel Administration (Portsmouth), the Institute of Hospitality Professional Qualification, the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants’ Certified Diploma in Accounting & Finance and a Master’s Degree (by research) from the Scottish Hotel School, University of Strathclyde.

In 1990 he was elected Honorary Fellow of the British Association of Hospitality Accountants (FBHA), now FHOSPA, and In 1998, he was awarded a Professorship by Oxford Brookes (personal chair). In 2004, at BAHA's Annual Awards Lunch at the Savoy Hotel, London, he was presented with the BAHA Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2007 he was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Council for Hospitality Management Education.