The Past, Present and Future of Hospitality Education

Between the period of 2001 to 2022, there was an awareness within the hotel academy that professional training was no longer adequate

The lack of quality education in the hospitality industry leads to a corresponding shortage of talented employees. Nowhere was this more evident than in the last century, that is, the period between 1900 and 2000. Hospitality, catering, tourism and service companies continued to complain availability and quality of employees. In terms of quality and quantity, the production of graduates was insufficient. Thus, rarity. The focus of education and programs was to train students in technical skills and service procedures, so topics frequently included:

  • Food knowledge
  • Soups, broths, cuts of meat and cooking methods
  • Service technical equipment, etc.
  • Front office, check-in, checkout, baggage handling, etc.
  • Housekeeping, cleaning techniques and staff list, etc.

Although graduates of hotel management institutions are ready for content, the best hotel companies prefer attitude over knowledge. Now, this was an ideal example of working against the grain and thus resulting in a “scarcity” of talent.

Between 2001 and 2022, there was a realization within hospitality universities that professional training was no longer adequate and that listening to or learning from their customers was the key to a good educational program. A debate then begins: who was the client: the student who studies at the school, the parent who pays the tuition fees, the government or the licensing or accreditation agency or the industry client who employs these graduates? The best institutions quickly focused on the employer as the end customer and the student as the product. As a result, curricula were adapted and faculty were urged to stay relevant with real industry examples and case studies in their courses. Course topics that were added to previous skills courses included human resource management, marketing, accounting and finance, revenue management and more.

Although this change was welcomed by stakeholders, the hospitality industry still complained about the “scarcity” of talent. So, it was like an effortless exercise as the net result remained the same in the current phase of hotel education. This “scarcity” has increased further with the loss of labor suffered during the period of the pandemic which has marked the industry considerably.

Although it is almost impossible to predict the future, here is an attempt for the period between 2023 and 2033.

Abundance of information

Data is now easy to find, so the internet makes every student, teacher, parent, and employer equal when it comes to the basics of hospitality. You don’t really need to go to catering school to learn broths, soups and recipes or the difference between a club and a grilled cheese sandwich. In this paradigm of abundant information, what a good education will do is help the student analyze and conclude what is actionable knowledge and discard the rest as raw data. So, the skill of the future is epistemology – what constitutes knowledge.

blended learning

The education of the future is no longer limited to classrooms and full-time campus contacts. Classes will be delivered partly by contact, partly digitally, some simultaneously and others learning at your own pace. In general, the physical and virtual worlds of learning will become seamless to the learner’s advantage.

Levels of achievement – ​​no degrees

The current scale of education is as follows:

  • 12 or 13 years of schooling
  • + 4 years at the baccalaureate
  • + 2 years to obtain a master’s degree
  • + 3 years in doctorate

This scale of time spent in high school will be fragmented into several smaller academic achievements and recognitions and inspired by gamification levels and status levels. Over the next decade or two, we predict that students will seamlessly transition from study to work multiple times throughout their lives – going to study whenever they need new “boxes”. tools” for business success.

Soft skills

The hospitality programs of the future will emphasize the acquisition of soft skills – critical thinking, public speaking, problem solving, leadership, ethics, etc. All of these areas will improve the emotional quotient of the graduate. Soft skills are at the heart of guest satisfaction, the primary target of any hospitality employee.

The age of the students will vary considerably

With the advent of lifelong learning, capacity refresher and shorter programs, we will also have diverse age cohorts. Future teams will include all age groups and teachers will need to creatively ensure respect and knowledge exchange between their first, second and third career peers. Thus, the school of the future will be an exercise in diplomatic balancing act. The best advantage of older members of the cohort will be that they pass on life experiences to younger members – if all parties can respect each other.

Micro-enterprises – web 3.0, 4.0…

The future of hospitality lies in aggregate micro-enterprise ecosystems. The movement has already started with online reservation companies, food delivery agents, part-time flex workers and customers looking for multiple levels of service delivery, etc. This change will also go through education. Since a good education prepares graduates for industry, institutions will also be compelled to practice what they preach; curricula will have more content on diversity, entrepreneurship, financial agility, etc. Likewise, the faculty will be a group of senior professors who run their own businesses. It will be fantastic for everyone involved and each course will become a living example of the new world of micro-enterprise and self-responsibility.

Finally, I foresee that after experiencing the past and present of talent “scarcity”, we are at the starting point towards talent abundance and an exciting future for individuals and organizations who do the right things to themselves and for humanity.

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