A new generation is becoming the focus of the hospitality industry. This new generation is not just causing changes in hospitality, it is causing changes in hospitality education.
Who are the millennials?
This generation is you: the Millennials or Generation Y. Generation Y is very different from other generations in terms of their expectations and what gets them excited. Although great service is always at the forefront for any hotelier, both the hotel industry and hospitality education providers are reacting to changes in the market as well as consumer trends, and adjusting their services to what really matters to this new generation of customers.
The most talked about example of this is WIFI. Wireless Internet was once a paid amenity or luxury at certain hotels. Generation Y has come to expect WIFI as standard. Those changes, especially in technology, can be extremely costly due to increased training and labour costs. But Generation Y will soon be the main demographic for hotels and it is important to get a head start in understanding their expectations.
What educators can do for Generation Y
To stay relevant, educators can adapt teaching methods, lectures and assignments to suit this new generation. Generation Y students are used to having information come at them from various sources, so holding their attention is one of the key challenges.
By incorporating technical devices, such as tablets, Apple TV, and E-podiums, into class instruction it’s much easier to engage with modern students. This can be as simple as designing a lecture in podcast format, posting it on the institution website and allowing students to download it and listen at home.
Social networking sites are also used where students collaborate on projects. These sites are particularly useful to more introverted individuals and can help to bridge cultural divides.
Group work can also be highly successful with Generation Y, because they have worked in groups all of their lives. After a brief lecture on a topic such as Entrepreneurship, students can be moved into groups to discuss and come up with ideas and possible solutions.
Every member of the group should have a designated role, such as the researcher to review the text or writer to take notes and a leader to help keep everyone on task. It’s also effective to vary the group structure within a class period, going from whole class to small group to pair work instruction. Some assignments are also carried as groups. Group work is very relevant to the hospitality industry and fits with industry requirements.
The benefits of international education
Cross-cultural skills are also very important. Having a wide range of nationalities represented on campus and ensuring they mix and work together makes them aware and learn about meeting the cultural needs of foreign guests.
Students also have many opportunities to study abroad. The old education model was to send students to study in the USA or Europe. Students are increasingly choosing to do an exchange in other areas such as Asia and China. With students also increasingly starting their careers in Asia, this gives them exposure to the fastest growing market at the moment.
Authored by: Jerome Casteigt, Sales and Marketing Director, Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School