Profile picture of: Estrella Diaz Sanchez


University of Castilla-La Mancha

Business Administration

Law and Social Sciences School

Ronda de Toledo, S/N

13071 Ciudad Real (Spain)

Research Interests

Smart Tourism; Marketing; Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs); Smart technologies; Consumer behavior; Sustainability


Topics to speak on:

Smart tourism; Smart technologies; Consumer behavior; ICTs and SMEs

Words of Wisdom

“We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” (Marie Curie)


Dr. Díaz is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), although since 2020 she has been accredited as Full Professor in the area of Social Sciences. Dr. Díaz is a Full Member of the prestigious Young Academy of Spain, collaborating in different working groups and carrying out various research projects. In addition, she is 1 of the 10 European experts in smart tourism and data management that the European Commission has selected to determine the guidelines for smart tourism destinations in Europe within the project “Smart Tourism Destinations.” She has previously been a UCLM Distinguished Research Fellow (2019-2022) and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Senior Global Fellow, leading a European Union Horizon 2020 project as Principal Investigator (PI). This project was developed between San Diego State University (USA), European Travel Commission (Belgium) and UCLM.

Her research activity has 2 tranches recognized (2008- 2015 and 2016-2021) and she has merits for a third research tranche. In January 2023 she received the I3 research certificate awarded by the Ministry of Universities. Her research career has focused on different lines such as smart tourism, smart technologies, consumer behavior, SMEs, distribution and logistics management and service cannibalization. Beyond her focus on these different lines, she considers interdisciplinary research to be essential for the advancement of science. In summary, she has 37 articles in top level and prestigious international publications with great relevance from publishers (Elsevier, Emerald, Sage, Taylor & Francis or Palgrave). These scientific publications are completed with 1 book and 8 book chapters, published by Goodfellow Publisher Limited, ESIC editorial or The University of Queensland. The applicant has collaborated with internationally renowned professors from different countries (United Kingdom, Italy, United States, South Korea, China, Abu Dhabi and Portugal).

The quality of its activities is supported by 14 awards and distinctions. Among them, the following stand out: Highly Commended Award Winner by Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award; Extraordinary Doctoral Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis in Social Sciences by the UCLM; Award for the Best National Thesis in Marketing by the Spanish Marketing Association (AEMARK); Best paper award by IFITT conference 2023; Top downloaded article 2017-2018 from the Wiley publishing or Highly Commended Award Winner 2019 Literati from the Emerald publishing. One of Dr. Díaz’s outstanding distinctions is being a representative in the field of Social Sciences of the Seal of Excellence for Human Resources in Research (RS4R), assigned to the UCLM. In addition, she has received 4 research grants, including the Tourism of Spain and José Castillejo grants. Dr. Díaz has participated in more than 60 national and international conferences organized by prestigious associations (American Marketing Association, Society for Marketing Advances or Academy of Marketing Science), is a member of several scientific cooperation networks (e.g. ADU Global Engagement Program), member of 11 scientific and/or professional societies, reviewer in more than a dozen first level publications (JCR) and invited speaker in several seminars in foreign universities.

For Dr. Díaz, the international aspect has been key in her scientific career, with more than 190 weeks of teaching and pre- and post-doctoral research stays at Bournemouth University (UK), The University of Richmond (USA), Università degli Study di Firenze (Italy), San Diego State University (USA) or European Travel Commission (Belgium).

Estrella Díaz has been member of scientific committees in numerous international scientific meetings and international consultant on tourism issues. The different activities within the Youth Academy of Spain and the collaboration as an expert in tourism within the project “Smart Tourism Destinations” promoted by the European Commission have increased the activity and training carried out by the applicant in scientific advice.  In recent years, the applicant’s training has focused on science diplomacy. In a complementary way, it is necessary to highlight the international dissemination activities focused on raising awareness of the importance of research in the field of Social Sciences. These activities include: interviews in audiovisual media, press releases and articles published in the press, creation of blogs and/or websites or collaboration with schools and institutes in Europe and the United States.

Within her academic and research career, another fundamental element that she has always tried to keep in mind is the relationship between academia, business and society. Dr. Díaz has participated in 12 research projects at European, national and regional level. Among the funded projects, 2 stand out where the candidate played the role of principal investigator: 1) a regional project funded by the Castilla-La Mancha Parliament in collaboration with the UCLM (duration of 2 years). This project offered the candidate independence as a researcher, as well as enhancing her planning and organisational skills, very important attributes in the academic field, and; 2) a European project within the Marie Curie Excellent Science actions of Horizon 2020 (duration of 3 years). This research is pioneering in the field of Social Sciences, incorporating a combination of disciplines of great relevance today, such as smart technologies, tourism, SMEs, consumers and society. One of the main objectives of this project was to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMEs) and, consequently, the well-being of society at an international level. The transfer actions towards society have been very important for the candidate. Thus, Dr. Díaz has participated in 6 important collaboration and advisory agreements with various institutions and organisations. Among these agreements, the participation in the maintenance of the Castilla La Mancha Tourism Research System (SITdCLM) stands out. In this collaboration with organisations and institutions, the quality of the transfer of its results to the productive sector through various reports to companies and organisations stands out. In addition, it has collaborated in the publication of a series of tourism bulletins (18 in total) issued quarterly within Turismo de Castilla-La Mancha. Finally, it is necessary to highlight the continuous work of the applicant through different programmes financed by the European Commission with the aim of bringing the results of its research and innovation to Spanish, European and international companies, residents and society in general.

In short, the main contributions of Estrella Díaz to research, innovation and scientific advice at national and international level focus on the contribution of results to improve the quality of service, tourist experience, use of smart technologies applied to the destination, smart tourism, marketing and communication, relationship marketing, satisfaction of tourist demand or cannibalization of services in tourism, among others. Through her research, Dr. Díaz has conveyed to Spanish and international society the importance of collaboration and synergy between researchers from different fields, regional, national and international organisations and institutions. The multidisciplinary aspect, diversity and internationalization are central concepts.

An important aspect she has tried to convey is the promotion of professional scientific careers, within a higher education system that enables potential researchers to design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects, to work both in teams and independently and to seek solutions to society’s major problems in all areas. Involvement with young people and helping other people and/or those with special needs have been key elements in its trajectory. In this sense, the supervision of doctoral theses is considered as a fundamental activity to train young people in the field of research, always with an international and inclusive perspective. During her stay in the United States, she intensified her involvement in volunteer activities aimed at young people, highlighting her participation as a tutor at Preuss College, where the applicant helped students with limited economic resources to obtain excellent grades to access university. This connection with young people has been reflected throughout her academic career.

Dr. Diaz has passed on her experience to children, young people and adults in different countries in management, research and teaching roles for more than seventeen years. In addition, she has been the first person to receive a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship in Castilla-La Mancha and one of the youngest women to be accredited for a position as Full Professor. These aspects have intensified her leadership capacity. With her international research, teaching and management experience, Dr. Díaz is a reference for future generations of young people who want to lead projects and research in the field of Social Sciences. In this sense, Dr. Díaz is committed to fighting for the visibility of young researchers in the field of Social Sciences, contributing to the progress of science, technology and culture.


Extraordinary Doctorate Award by the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

Best Doctoral Thesis in Marketing by the Spanish Association of Academic and Professional Marketing (AEMARK)

Highly Commended Award Winner in Hospitality and Tourism by Emerald/EFMD Publishing

Highly commended award winner 2019 Literati by Emerald Publishing

Young Researcher Award-Government of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)

Best paper award by IFITT-International Federation for IT and Travel and Tourism