Now in its seventh year, Passion4Hospitality 2017, which took place on Monday 13 March at Novotel London West, provided networking and advice for hospitality management students at the start of their careers.
The all-day programme included inspirational stories from hospitality leaders, speed networking and one-to-one careers advice, the student debating competition and the HOTS Business Game to successfully operate a virtual resort hotel.
The subject of the debate was “Hospitality is about creating experiences, not processes and procedures.” Six universities put forward teams: University of Surrey, Plymouth University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Glion Institute of Higher Education, University of Derby and University of Brighton.
The finalists from Plymouth University (Lilla Ferencz and James Cusselle) and the University of Derby (Anna Derby, Marulis Elena-Cristiana and Ieuaf Griffiths) went head-to-head in front of the live audience.
Arguing for the motion, the University of Derby team said: “New generations like to spend more of their money on experiences rather than material things. Emotions cannot be standardised. Guests need more than a bed and a shower; they need a friend. Social interaction is important for our health and survival. We have to gain the customer’s trust and respect in order to generate customer value. To make them feel looked after, this cannot be achieved through standards and procedures, which make employers lose sight of the goal of connecting with the guest.”
Arguing against the motion, the Plymouth University team said: “At the core of experience is a procedure. Hospitality is like a play and, without a script, what would happen? If there’s no script, there’s no theatre. Service failure creates bad experiences because the organisation didn’t properly put into action its processes and procedures. It’s up to the customer to create the experience. If there’s no procedure, there’s no service and there’s no hospitality. Airbnb does not provide the experience. As such, they are a good example of why processes and procedures come first.”
An audience vote declared the Plymouth University team winners. Lilla Ferencz and James Cusselle received their trophy from Michael Sloan FIH MI, general manager of the Novotel London West, the venue sponsor, and from Matthew White FIH, chair of the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) the headline sponsor of Passion4Hospitality 2017.
The HOTS Business Game consisted of a competition to successfully operate a virtual hotel, setting up rate, revenue and marketing strategies for a full year. The finalists were teams from Plymouth University, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Surrey. Three individuals were awarded special merit for their performances during the day: Joyce Tsang, Rowan Boothroyd and Georgia Armstrong.
The overall winners were Joseph Hoare, Victoria Stewart, Katie Bradshaw and Beth Ineson from Manchester Metropolitan University.
In second place came another team from Manchester Metropolitan University: Alex Wood, Georgia Armstrong, Callum Nicholls and Jordan Scott.
Peter Ducker FIH, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, said “I always come away from Passion4Hospitality inspired and energised. Students attended from across the UK and we even had a group who travelled from Hong Kong. We are delighted to see this event grow and attract more interest each year.”
The Passion4Hospitality 2017 programme featured a keynote presentation “Who’s life is it anyway?” by Ben Bengougam FIH, Senior Vice President of HR EMEA, Hilton Worldwide.
A series of panel discussions highlighted the enormous variety of opportunities available in the hospitality industry. Expert advice and comment was delivered by:
- Liz Hartsone FIH, Liz Hartstone Executive Search
- Vivien Ivanyi MIH, Glion Institute of Higher Education
- Daniel Healey FIH, The Bloomsbury Hotel, London
- Jessica Berry, Firmdale Hotels
- Antony Woodcock, Gig
- Adam Rowledge FIH, Georgian House
- Sophie Murray, National Association of Care Catering
- Juliet Price, Hotel Booking Agency Association
- Matthew White FIH, The University Caterers Organisation
- Paul Hurren FIH, Association of Catering Excellence