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Virtual Business Insights in Austria’s Hospitality Industry

July 1, 2020

Hotel companies and hotel service providers pass on their experience to students via distance learning.

(c) pixabay
(c) pixabay

The elective „Hotel Management” in the Bachelor’s degree program Tourism Management generally includes a lively exchange with the industry. Beside theoretical knowledge, a variety of different on site visits and excursions as well as networking opportunities are part of this elective.

The current Covid-19 crisis had tremendous impact on this semester’s schedule. Since March this year, excursions and on-site visits have been cancelled due to government’s safety regulations. Thanks to the efforts of our lecturers Henri Floris Ijssel de Schepper and Günter Reiterlehner and the excellent commitment of many industry experts, we were able to offer virtual sessions instead. Although the hospitality industry is facing major challenges, many experts immediately agreed to share their knowledge and experience with our students in the virtual space.

“High Tech vs. Low Tech” was the focus of Tina Seitner’s presentation. She is Senior Sales Manager of Hotelkit GmbH, an all-in-one hotel operations platform. She gave an interesting insight in the company’s portfolio, its services and digital tools for the hospitality industry.

Mario Clemente Cejudo, Operations Manager Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Bookassist.com held a guest lecture about online distribution, online campaigning and online marketing for the hospitality industry.

Ines Lochmann, Director HR, Park Hyatt Group held a presentation about the Andaz Vienna philosophy and current challenges of the Viennese hospitality industry.

Her hotel career and leadership style were the focus of Monique Dekker’s speech. She is General Manager of Park Hyatt Vienna. Students were fascinated by her interesting vita and expertise. This gave our students lively insights in a general manager’s life.

Finally, Hani El-Sharkawi, Director Sacher School of Excellence held a presentation about his area of responsibility and gave a lot of information about the Hotel Sacher, the most famous Viennese family-owned hotel.

Only the guest lecture of Simon Kronberger, Director Austria & CEE at Christie & Co and alumni of the study area of Tourism & Hospitality Management about „National & International Hotel Real Estate” had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Students of the 6th semester developed a hotel’s marketing plan. During our students’ virtual final presentation a jury (lecturer Günter Reiterlehner and Raoul Gransier, Managing Director, Gransier & Associates, an international business advisory, gave feedback regarding feasibility and plausibility.

Fascinating business insights, lively discussions, an interesting project and virtual networking made these online sessions a memorable experience for our students. Many thanks to our guest lectures for their great co-operation in this challenging time.