Students transform poorly performing hotel to win national competition

A team of students from Plymouth University have triumphed in a national competition held during a conference staged by the Institute of Hospitality.

The HOTS Business Game, part of Passion4Hospitality 2016, challenged participants to turn a poorly performing hotel into a successful operation.

Six universities were represented having survived a series of heats, with the Plymouth team being crowned the overall winners having achieved the highest level of profitability.

The four students taking part in the competition – Kirsty Chiu, Julia Lau, Sammi Cheung, Kimmy Yuen – are all studying on the BSc (Hons) International Hospitality Management course. They said:

“Taking part in the competition was a fantastic experience, and we were obviously delighted to win first prize for Plymouth University. For us, the main challenge was developing a shared idea and once we had that, we used the 3Cs – communication, collaboration and click (which is what we did as a team) – to guide us to our success.”

Passion4Hospitality 2016, held in London this week, provided a range of networking and advice opportunities for hospitality management students at the start of their careers.

The all-day programme included inspirational stories from operators, speed networking and one-to-one careers advice, with speakers from respected hospitality companies and organisations based across the UK.

The HOTS game featured a hotel simulation, in which students had to successfully operate a 250-bedroom venue, focussing on areas including revenue management, financial performance, staffing, training, and advertising.

They were tasked with considering profit centres in food and beverages while developing facilities, and ensuring the most effective channels were used for distribution.

To win the competition, the Plymouth team overcame others from Manchester Metropolitan University, Bournemouth University, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Brighton and the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, near Sydney, Australia.

Dr Wai Mun Lim, the team’s coach and Associate Professor in Service Management at Plymouth University, said:

“This is the second year we have put a team into this and, having finished second last year, it is amazing to have won this time around. The success is all down to the team's tenacity, strategic foresight and planning which got them through each stage of the process. This competition was an opportunity for the students to apply taught skills to real world problems, and winning will undoubtedly enhance their CVs and help them stand out from the crowd.”

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