Categories

Students from our MSc in Hospitality, Entrepreneurship and Innovation recently travelled to Berlin and Paris for an immersive, five-day business field trip. We got the inside story on the trip from students Rusudan Kvantaliani and Nikolay Lachezar Todorov…

Day 1 – Berlin

Company visited:
Delivery Hero

Why it matters:

Founded in 2011, Delivery Hero is the biggest food delivery company in Germany and a global player: 40+ countries, 200+ cities, 250,000+ partner restaurants, 21,000 employees. Its multinational workforce has spawned a multicultural way of working, where employees are not required to communicate in German. Important learning for a Master’s class featuring 18 different nationalities!

Rusudan Kvantaliani (RK): “Delivery Hero was one of my favorite visits during the field trip. We knew a lot about the company, because we had done a case study on them prior to the trip, but there were still so many things – such as their success is based on more ‘Big Data’ consumer data, restaurant data, delivery data and third party data, which provide greater value for both consumers and restaurants – that were new to us and that we learned on the spot. We got a lot of information about this company (for example, it handles 1.5 million+ orders per day), saw that it is very strong and still developing, and it was inspiring to hear what they had to say.”

Day 2 – Berlin

Company visited:
The PlaceBerlin.com

Why it matters:

The PlaceBerlin.com is one of Berlin’s first start-up co-working spaces. The visit gave the students the chance to lead a panel discussion they’d created during their preparation for the field trip, with entrepreneurs from different sectors, such as a site for booking street artists, a co-living company, an innovation lab and a start-up from the biomedical segment

RK: “This was especially interesting for us, given our program is all about entrepreneurship and innovation. And because these entrepreneurs were from different countries we got to hear about the cultural differences in business too. I liked the fact that most of these entrepreneurs were people our age or even younger, and that they were so passionate about their businesses.”

Company visited:
N26
Why it matters:

A mobile-only bank founded just over six years ago, N26 now has 1,500 employees and around 3.5 million customers.

Nikolay Lachezar Todorov (NT): “This is the future of banking and a very good example of hyper-growth. During the visit we met a few people, for example one of their recruiting managers as well as a regional CEO. They made a really nice presentation and gave us the opportunity to become N26 Ambassadors! The most important part is that they gave us the connections – now it is up to us to use them wisely.”

Day 3 – Berlin to Paris

Company visited:
Akrame Restaurant

Why it matters:

The restaurant’s owner and chef, Akrame Benallal, has already built a culinary empire featuring nine different brands and 15 restaurants between Paris, Baku and Hong Kong. He has also achieved two Michelin stars at the relatively tender age of 38; plus he acts as ‘godfather’ to this MSc program.

NT: “Prior to the visit, we were given a project to come up with ways to better connect his various brands through a marketing strategy, which we’d then present to Akrame. It was a bit awkward at first, as some ideas didn’t work for him, but then we had one really good suggestion that he might pick up. This was really good practice for us, because we will have to pitch our ideas to clients in future.”

Day 4 – Paris

Company visited
La Clé Group

Why it matters:

Created by serial entrepreneur and hotelier Samy Marciano, this collection of design-led luxury boutique hotels includes the Hotel National des Arts et Metiers, which hosted the field trip students.

RK: “What really surprised us about the hotel was that none of the employees wore uniforms or name tags. They told us that this was to make customers feel comfortable and create an atmosphere where everyone is equal. Also, they like to talk to each customer and present themselves personally, so this is why they don’t wear name tags.”

NT: “We met with the events manager, revenue manager and front of house manager, so it was nice to see three different perspectives of operations. This was important for our class, because there are quite a few people among us who want to open their own hotels one day.”

Company visited
Airbnb

Why it matters:

The disruptor’s disruptor, Airbnb has changed the hospitality landscape forever. The company’s Paris office, which opened in 2017, blends Airbnb’s ‘belong anywhere’ approach with local Parisian design touches.

RK: “The offices are fantastic and very impressive, with different-themed rooms from different countries. They were made in a way to make you feel like you are at your home. Not the traditional corporate environment at all! And we got to meet a female executive from the company’s US headquarters – she had just flown in from New York a couple of days before and it was a real honor to meet her.”

NT: “She showed us how it all started and gave us some insight into what is to follow in the future of Airbnb. For me, it was a bit scary to see how big they will become, because I am so traditional about hospitality and I know that Airbnb is one of the biggest threats to ‘hospitality-as-we know-it’. But I learned that there will be many synergies and that they are already working on some projects with hotels, so it reassured me. There will be some pretty interesting things happening in the next few years.”

Company visited:
Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel

Why it matters:

Students received a tour of this Art Deco-inspired hotel and were given a presentation on how it operates. They were also able to take part in a brainstorming session on how to create a co-working space in this traditional hotel, as well as how to make the bar more trendy. They worked with a member of the management team, who asked them to share ideas for service improvements. The students discovered that all guests will shortly be able to check-in, check out, order room service and open the doors of their rooms using their mobile phone. All the room doors were due to be changed a few days after the visit.

Company visited:
Wilkins Avenue

Why it matters:

This virtual reality (VR) business mixes a traditional office environment with innovative concepts and ideas.

NT: “The company already has a few successful projects and our host shared some examples with us. We ended the session by testing one of their products, which was an AR (augmented reality) experience. We got to use the headset and it was really fun! At the moment, hotels use VR more in the booking stages to give you the option of seeing the rooms for yourself, or discover the destination and local attractions. But there are many more things coming. I already have a few AR ideas for hotels that I would like to apply one day.”

Day 5 – Paris

Company visited:
Station F

Why it matters:

Built within a former railway station, it’s Europe’s biggest incubator; home to established brands such as Adidas and Ubisoft alongside many start-ups.

NT: “This is a huge co-working space where the next big ideas are born. The whole place is really well made: they kept the original architecture of the train station and added a modern design. They all have their own cubicles, but also lots of meeting spaces. Some of the meeting rooms are in containers, which we all found to be a very nice design.”
Company visited:
Big Mamma restaurant

Why it matters:

Featuring a leadership group aged 30 or less, Big Mamma is one of Europe’s largest restaurants, taking up to 8,000 orders per day! The brand is now looking to expand its footprint aggressively.

RK: “There are 30 chefs working in the restaurant. The interior is unbelievably good because it combines that typical Italian style with very modern decor. A Beautiful place with delicious food, managed by very enthusiastic people. Before, they were present only in Paris and London, but now they would like to grow. They were asking us: ‘If we open in your hometown, will it work?’”

 

· Meet the program’s director, Marie-France Derderian

Take the next step

Do you have a specific query you would like to ask us? Please fill in the contact form below and let us know the nature of your
enquiry, and a member of our team will respond to you as soon as possible.

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.
View all posts