The Young Hoteliers Summit, 2016 hosted by École hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland from the 14th to the 16th of March has been the most inspiring event of my student life. My fellow colleague, Ammar Chinikamwala, who accompanied me to the Summit, shared my excitement and nervousness prior to the event. We stepped into the Summit with a lot of pride, as we were the only Hospitality students representing India.
Our welcome and arrangements sung truly of the famous Swiss hospitality. The student organizers were exceedingly approachable, friendly and attentive. With the 80 delegates from 40 Hospitality Programs across the globe, the Summit quickly became a melting pot of cultures, ideas and opinions. It was a stimulating environment, with delegates eager to share their sentiments and absorb new information about the rapidly changing hospitality landscape.
The Summit was preluded by a Revenue Management workshop held by STR Global that gave us an insight into the real-world competition and market comparisons that hotel companies monitor. The next three days was a combination of panel discussions, Q & A’s with industry leaders, engaging workshops, networking and a lot of merry-making! The millennials also engaged in a competition on Day 3, with an HR challenge set forth by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
We interacted with many leaders and pioneers of the hospitality industry that have and continue to forage new concepts. The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Dorchester Collection, FRHI, The Leading Hotels of the World and Expedia were some of the industry partners present. The delegates caught a glimpse into each company’s ideologies and future strategies. The primary theme of the summit was technology in hospitality. Its pros and cons for the hotels, the employees and the guest experience were discussed in detail. Suggestions for improvement from the delegates were welcome. We would build upon each other’s ideas or even engage in a dispute, all in the spirit of bringing a change! These discussions brought us closer, and we developed friendships that would last longer than any other networking would. My biggest learning was the opening of my mind to the precision, possibilities and vastness of the industry, and this I learnt from my fellow delegates. I identified them as my spirited peers in the industry, not my competition.
Finally I have to mention the exquisite displays of food and wine always available in the most extravagant and opulent forms. We dined at the Beau-Rivage Palace, the Royal Savoy and were even treated to world cuisine at the École hôtelière de Lausanne campus prepared by the students. We ended the summit be donning our green robes and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at a local underground club! The cuisine compels me to say that the trip was a gastronomic voyage more than an educational one! All in all, it was the best experience of my life and I thank Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa for this opportunity.
– Kanika Vaish, Batch 6