Published: 19th August 2020
How hospitality education across the world will need to reinvent itself in a post-COVID world
Change requires skilling and reskilling and the curriculum of the hospitality management schools have to evolve, says Juan-Francisco Perellon
The hospitality industry was (and is) one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic and the resulting lockdown. As we regain some semblance of normalcy and the industry gets back on its feet, the skills required will also change. There will be a paradigm shift in this regard, says Juan-Francisco Perellon, Chief Academic Officer, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, a hospitality and leisure management school in Switzerland, He adds that digitalisation, health and safety and even structural change are the major areas to focus on.
The industry will be changed substantially, says Perellon. "There will be no one-size-fits-all solution for this. There are three major areas that will be key to the future of the industry. Firstly, the health and safety measures will have to be the priority to make the customers feel safe at the hotels. The standardised measures have to be followed to ensure all the operations are compliant with the protocols. New technologies have to be implemented — UV lights, air-cleaning technologies have to be used," he adds. "Secondly, as we are moving to a contactless era and digitalisation needs to be a focal point. Especially, with respect to the check-in and check-out to and from the hotel. The hotels have to evolve to a more digitalised model where everything can be monitored from the mobile phone so that the guests can access everything from food to the features inside the room from their phones. The third aspect is the remodelling the architecture of the hotels to make it safer and flexible for the guests. Especially in the lobbies where the guests congregate in numbers and meet according to their needs," he says.
But these require skilling and reskilling of the staff and the new students in addition to the financial investments from the hotels. The curriculum of the hospitality management schools has to evolve to address the new normal, says Perellon. "Not just the health and hygiene aspect of the hotels but the revenue management too will have to change as there will be changes in the business model. In terms of digitalisation, the hotel management institutions are naturally 'not IT' schools and what's important is to give the students a solid knowledge of hotel management skills and the ability to connect with other concerned professionals. There have to be short courses which will help them adapt to the new normal," adds Perellon.
Even though enrolment has not dipped in the hotel management schools like EHL, online teaching is the way out here as well. "There are two types of off-campus teaching — remote and digital. In remote learning, video conferences are used to teach the students. The teachers are the same, the students the same, but instead of a classroom the class is conducted over a video call. Digital learning is a much more holistic approach where the entire module is online and certificate courses are integrated into the curriculum for a more holistic education," he adds.