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At Glion, we ensure our students get to experience the challenges and triumphs of the hospitality industry. We provide them with opportunities to gain hands-on learning and first-hand experience. One such method is through our Applied Business Projects (ABPs), where students work closely with a leading hospitality organisation. The ABP involves our students being tasked with a certain challenge or issue the organisation is facing. This could be anything from boosting a hotel’s number of guests to creating an innovative marketing strategy for a luxury brand.

This ABP is a little different. Our students have been split into two separate groups. Group One consists of Pier-Louis, Tran Hien Dat, Urangoo and Mazen, while Shumpei, Loic, Jamal and Adil make up Group Two. Their mission? To reposition, and raise both funds and awareness for the family-owned Sporthotel Knobelboden, located in the small town of Oberterzen, Switzerland.

When you start a project like this, where you have to build it from scratch, you have to take a comprehensive view of everything.

The challenges ahead

The ABP is based around the hotel’s desire to reposition themselves as a cosy boutique hotel. To do this, and to help bring in more guests, our students – all part of the International Hotel Development and Finance specialisation – have been split into separate groups with different objectives. “The project is all about repositioning the hotel,” Pier-Louis said. “And then doing the crowdfunding in order to finance the proposed changes.”

Urangoo has discovered that while the hotel is only small, it has strong bonds with the local community. “The hotel owners know everyone in the neighbourhood,” she said. “All the citizens from Oberterzen go to the hotel for coffee, breakfast and lunch. This made us realise targeting the town for crowdfunding could be possible.”

Another issue the groups need to solve is Knobelboden’s marketing strategies, which need developing in order to improve their online communications.

Two groups, one goal

While the projects for both groups are similar, they are using two different approaches. “Our group is more finance-oriented,” Adil said. “While the other group is more about crowdfunding.” Both groups found the task at hand to be tough, but were invigorated by the potential. “Yes, it’s challenging, but in a good sense,” Loic said. “When you start a project like this, where you have to build it from scratch, you have to take a comprehensive view of everything. You have to train your holistic skills.”

Both Pier-Louis and Loic envision the hotel’s growth as a “ten-year plan”, which Jamal feels is a standard amount of time. “For hotels, it is usually like this,” he said. “We have learned about the development of resorts, and from that we discovered it can take up to 30 years.”

Gaining skills

Improving a hotel’s occupancy and marketing, while also incorporating crowdfunding to bring in funds, is a big task. However, both groups feel that Glion has equipped them with the skills necessary to combat it. “The things we have learned during our Practical Arts modules, when we were doing the operations and working in Food & Beverage, have been very useful for this project,” Jamal said.

All of them agree that it is one of the most exciting and interesting challenges they’ve embarked on during their studies.

Urangoo feels she has gained new skills already. “This semester has allowed us to incorporate the knowledge we have learned,” she said. “But we are learning new things in parallel with doing the project.”

Jamal, in particular, feels doing the ABP is beneficial to his future career. “I would like to work in consulting one day, so this kind of experience will certainly help me work with my clients better,” he said.

All of them agree that it is one of the most exciting and interesting challenges they’ve embarked on during their studies. “It’s a complicated project that pushes us to learn more,” Loic said. Jamal echoed this sentiment. “It’s a first-time real project where they want us to strive and make results out of a difficult scenario.” For Tran, it’s a step into the real world. “This is the most realistic project that we have done at Glion.”

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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