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6 Essential Trends and Skills for Hospitality Careers

6 Essential Trends and Skills for Hospitality Careers main image

Sponsored by emlyon business school.

The “single largest employer, supporting one in every 11 jobs worldwide”, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, and seen as a “catalyst for economic development and job creation” (Ernst & Young – Global Hospitality Industry Insights report for 2016), the hospitality industry is recognized the world over as a booming sector.

This vast sector is comprised of many diverse and rewarding hospitality careers. The food and beverage (F&B) segment, for example, is the largest area of the hospitality industry. Ranging from high-end restaurants to fast-food eateries and catering, F&B is a dynamic market across all continents. Highly linked to F&B is the accommodation segment, including hotels, bed and breakfast enterprises and other lodging options, as well as the travel and tourism category, which encompasses airlines, trains, cruise ships and amusement parks. You may also decide to pursue hospitality careers in event companies, spas, convention centers and more.

So which trends should you pay attention to when starting out in this highly competitive, flourishing and multidimensional industry? Furthermore, how can you acquire the skills that will help you understand and analyze these trends and the challenges that accompany innovative ideas? Read on for an overview of the key hospitality trends you need to be aware of, and the skills that will help you keep pace.

Key trends transforming the hospitality industry 

Whether you’re working on the business development plans of a fast food company or in the communication and marketing department of the Ritz-Carlton, there are a number of key industry trends you must take into consideration

1. The use of new technologies

First off, knowing how to use new technologies to your advantage is of paramount importance in today’s global hospitality industry. From mobile check-ins and geo-location to special discount apps, online advertisement and a digital concierge system, you will have to make sure that your customer’s experience is unique. In an article published on Hospitalitynet.com, Navis, an award-winning hospitality technology company, explains that “in 2016, 51.8% of travelers who book trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device.”

Linked to new technologies is the use of social media. Making sure that establishments are visible on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Foursquare is crucial in the hospitality industry. Why? Because social media networks are an integral part of the customer’s experience. While Hyatt Hotels launched a concierge service on Twitter a few years ago, allowing customers to find nearby parks for example, the Wynn Hotel & Casino located in Las Vegas provides a complimentary glass of champagne to all users who check-in on Foursquare. Social media can also be used to send promotional offers to customers like discount coupons for hotels or restaurants.

Also, because slot machines don’t appeal to the millennial generation as much as to previous generations, casino operators are thinking of ways to integrate social media within their gaming platforms and day-to-day operations. As explained by Ernst & Young in their Global Hospitality Insights: Top 10 Thoughts for 2016: “addressing this issue is critical to the long-term success of the gaming industry, as modern casinos earn approximately 70%-80% of their gaming revenue from slot machines.” The casino industry is therefore analyzing how hotels like Caesars Palace can rearrange their floor layouts, and slot manufacturers are evaluating how their games can become more interactive and social

2. Collecting data to improve customer experience

Another trend that future leaders of the hospitality industry must look out for is the use of advanced analytics, revenue management systems and customer segmentation, to increase loyalty. Customer loyalty programs have been around for years and while they are very useful in order to attract and retain clients, these programs need to evolve.  As mentioned by Ernst & Young in Global Hospitality Insights: Top 10 Thoughts for 2016, by using these data-collectors, “organizations have the ability to constantly surprise and delight customers by delivering unexpected rewards to them (e.g., upgrades, refreshments, entertainment and unique experiences).”

3. Taking sustainability into consideration

As sustainability is now a global matter, the hospitality industry needs to identify ways to comply with regulations and place this core subject at the heart of its strategies. While hotel groups such as Marriot, Hilton or AccorHotels aim to reduce their environmental impact, economic and social dimensions also come into play. In an article published on Hospitality.Net, Arturo Cuenllas, Founder of Conscious Hospitality,  a hospitality educational consultancy in management, leadership and sustainability claims that “sustainability must be definitively seen as a new quality management dimension, a source of innovation and as a new paradigm for the twenty-first century, though it still needs to keep up with other strategic variables such as providing memorable experiences, offering a good product and an outstanding service. And, of course, sustainability still needs to fulfil the classic economic axiom: to offer great value for money.”

How can you keep pace with these hospitality trends?

To jump-start your career in this expansive industry, you will need to develop the necessary skills and practical experience to analyze evolutions and tackle the challenges attached to industry trends.  This is whyemlyon business school,one of Europe’s top business schools, and Institut Paul Bocuse, a world-renowned school of hospitality management and gastronomy, have developed the MSc in International Hospitality Management. This 16-month full-time program delivered exclusively in English provides a balance of theory, strategic analysis and creativity, while allowing students to gain practical experience and build their professional network. Furthermore, having recently changed its pedagogical approach in order to ensure students’ needs are addressed and met through an adaptive method, this international program may be the perfect fit for you! Below are three ways this program will prepare you for hospitality careers.

4. Access to specialized courses

As part of the theoretical aspect of the MSc in International Hospitality Management, students have access to specific industry courses such as “Interpreting Hospitality Financial Data”, “The Electronic Marketplace”, “Managing Service Quality”, “Innovation Management”, “Revenue Management”, “Hospitality Finance”, “Environment & Eco-Tourism” and  “Advanced Wine Knowledge”.  Targeting current hot topics and hospitality trends, these courses will help you master the complexity of the sector and understand all its aspects.

In order to make sure all students start off the year with an equal knowledge of the hospitality industry, this unique international program also includes a Professional Immersion Module, set up specifically to help students with no hospitality management background immerse themselves in the operations and culture of hospitality from day one.

5. Gain practical experience with projects, an internship and company visits

Because putting into practice your theoretical knowledge is essential to your future career, the MSc in International Hospitality Management features different projects throughout the year. From developing an entrepreneurial business project and creating a virtual company, to working on a hospitality concept (such as a restaurant) and completing an in-company project, you will present your newly acquired knowledge in a concrete format.

You will also benefit from a four- to six-month internship, which will enable you to gain a tangible experience and boost your hospitality career prospects. Previous cohorts have interned with Hotel Pullman Paris, The Ritz Carlton Tenerife, Mama Shelter Paris, ClubMed, the AccorHotels group and the Fairmont Hotel in Monte Carlo.

6. Focus on a key market within the hospitality industry

According to Deloitte’s Hospitality 2015 report, it is predicted that by 2019, China will have exceeded the US in absolute industry growth. Penetration of domestic travel markets in China and India will yield the greatest long-term returns for international brands. This is why it is important for future hospitality leaders to understand Asian consumers’ needs, and how to take advantage of this huge growth opportunity.

In response to this growing market, the MSc in International Hospitality Management provides students with a semester in Shanghai, during which they study the Asian business environment, change management and hospitality brand design, as well as hospitality asset management and business models.

See yourself as part of the future generation of global hospitality leaders? Ready to face the challenges of this thriving sector? Already have ideas of how you can contribute to making this industry even greater? Discover the MSc in International Hospitality Management and jump-start your hospitality career today!

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