Rise in global tourism creates demand for hospitality degree
Recent findings compiled by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report that global tourism is growing so fast that the hospitality sector is facing an inevitable talent crisis. Global Travel & Tourism direct employment is forecast to increase by more than 25 million jobs in the next ten years, with 16 million additional jobs in Asia, according a 2014 year-end statement by David Scowsill, president and chief operating officer of the WTTC (October 2014).
On the other hand, Switzerland is facing a different type of tourism crisis, as the strength of the Swiss Franc may push travellers to choose other destinations. In both cases, finding qualified professionals who can impress and attract the global traveller has never been more important, especially when billions of dollars of industry growth are on the line.
While the role of cheaper, faster transportation cannot be overlooked, it is the quality of hospitality services that is making a difference to today’s global tourist. Luxury travel is on the rise and hotels and resorts must be equipped with professional and knowledgeable staff. Consistently, recruiters and staff agencies from the world’s top hotel brands, including the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental hotels turn to specialized business schools such as Glion Institute of Higher Education, for their hiring and professional training needs. “The human element in travel is not to be negated. People want to be greeted with a smile after a long trip,” says Fabienne Rollandin, director of career, industry and alumni relations at Glion, a hospitality management institution located above Montreux, Switzerland. For Rollandin, the soft skills that students develop at Glion are fundamental to their success in today’s customer-oriented marketplace. “We educate our students to feel at ease with the customers,” she adds. This includes a curriculum that puts emphasis on communication, leadership and time-management.
Such a curriculum must be driven by a hands-on approach that teaches the essence of service and professional expertise. At Glion, this sort of education is referred to as Applied Learning. Students learn about every position in the hotel industry from the ground up. They receive training in housekeeping and room service, as well as in the kitchen, restaurant, and front office. This approach confers a greater understanding of the processes and duties that are essential to creating an impeccable guest experience. Given the 85 percent employability rate of Glion graduates, it appears that this approach is highly successful. Interestingly, only around 50 percent of the graduates end up working in hotel and hospitality roles, with a vast majority based in international hotels. Alumni of the institution also find work in the event industries, tourism, retail and the finance sector. Indeed, the soft skills that are so critical to the hospitality industry can be broadly applied in the other job markets.
One current third-semester student at Glion is exploring her options through the practical internships that are a part of the three-and-a-half-year undergraduate program. Amelia Libeau explains that the first internship, focused on operational training in kitchen, service or housekeeping, taught her “how to be a leader with the help of a supervisor. I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and how to improve upon them.” In addition, she learned how to be diplomatic with other people from various cultures and backgrounds as well as give constructive criticism to her peers.
In this way, she will be prepared for her second internship, which will be of a higher calibre in a more administrative or project management-oriented role. Hereto, Amelia is looking to industries such as banking or luxury retail in order to further expand her experience and portfolio. This multi-faceted approach to education creates a wider breadth of knowledge for graduates and equips them to handle an ever-evolving hospitality and management industry. The luxury hotel brands and elite banks that actively recruit students from Glion are looking for such highly and diversely trained students.
In order to stay relevant in the rapidly developing hospitality landscape, Glion founded industry and advisory panels. These help the school stay current and relevant to what is important and trending in today’s tourism climate. They also help students develop important contacts with the world’s biggest hotel chains and top recruiters from other industries.
Along with the undergraduate programs in hospitality management, or event, sport, and entertainment management, Glion also offers several postgraduate and graduate opportunities such as the Online MBA and Executive Certificates. Alumnus Bernard Rodrigues completed his Online MBA through Glion and was recently appointed general manager of New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel, a five-star property. The programme allowed him to continue working while earning his advanced degree, an important component in the fast-paced world of hotel management. His promotion comes at a critical time, as the WTTC projects that South and South East Asia will become among the world’s fastest growing regions in terms of tourism within the next year (WTTC, October 2014).
An education from Glion, one that focuses on both the theoretical and practical aspects of hospitality, equips students with the necessary tools and knowledge to be marketable and competitive in various job markets. Alumni research indicates that a degree from Glion is useful not only in hotel management but in industries such as insurance, banking, entertainment, food and beverage, and other nuanced subsets of tourism. The international setting at Glion opens students’ minds to unparalleled travel and cultural enrichment opportunities, as well as engagement with other motivated young professionals. In short, it is a dynamic setting that prepares them for an exciting and evolving future.
Article by Kristina Held