As demand for employees with advanced management and technology skills in the hospitality and tourism sectors grows, educational institutions and businesses are re-evaluating the tools required to educate newcomers to the industry, and retrain seasoned professionals to take on new roles.
Among the key skills hoteliers ask of entry-level talent today is basic business acumen and experience with tools commonplace throughout the hospitality industry, such as revenue management or database platforms. And, experience with more advanced tools such as analytics and business intelligence tools is growing in popularity, too.
As educators, we are continually working to advance our curricula to keep up with changes in the industry. However, there can be a perceived gap between classroom learning and the practical skills students need to be successful as they embark on real-world careers.
At the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) Johnathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, we address these potential gaps by continually advancing our teaching tools to meet the real-world demands of hotels. We do this by tapping into the minds of professional faculty who embody both industry and academia—people who have a finger on the pulse of today’s hospitality business. We’re proud to be one of the best hospitality programs in the country with a growing annual enrollment of more than 500 students.
Our BS in hotel and tourism management has five concentrations, each focusing on giving students a solid business foundation applied directly to tourism and hospitality. We also have two graduate degree programs—the MS in hospitably industry studies and the MS in tourism management. Our programs focus on making students more employable straight out of college, and on helping current professionals to obtain promotions in the field.
Increasing Demand for Strategic Revenue Management Skills
One area of hospitality that’s going through a technological revolution is revenue management. What once was an arduous and labor-intensive data crunching job is now a hybrid of art and science—a way to help a hotel use data in a strategic way that can optimize RevPAR or function-space profitability. But, revenue managers—traditionally viewed as an extension of the reservations department—need to expand their skill sets to embrace business analytics to become strategic advisors to their business.
Our alumni data shows that students with a revenue management concentration and internship experience find jobs quickly. This can be a lucrative career path, too, with demand and wages for skilled revenue managers growing.
To help more students gain experience with the type of software that drives today’s revenue management strategies, we partnered with IDeaS Revenue Solutions. Through the IDeaS Academic Partner Program, we’re able to enhance our curriculum by giving students access to the real-world revenue management solutions hoteliers use on the job every day. The ability to learn on the same software platforms that a student might use in an internship or job helps reduce the learning gaps between classrooms and careers.
By implementing revenue management tools within our program, students can learn applicable skills that they can apply immediately in the real world. Students also have the option to learn at their own pace by using the program in the classroom and at home if they need more time to learn or study.
Fulfilling the Academic Need
Collaborations with industry leaders are becoming more important as advanced technology is accelerating the way the hospitality business operates. Revenue management, like analytics and other complex software-driven skill sets, are not skills that can be taught from a theoretical perspective. Students need to have hands-on courses that allow them to use software and apply it to their own decision making around revenue optimization.
Prior to the implementation of IDeaS revenue management software, it was challenging for professors to find relevant course materials that addressed the latest revenue management tools, and we lacked simulation software. Using IDeaS saves professors time and creates course materials that students can easily navigate, both through guided courses and on their own. Instructors have also found the revenue management software beneficial because the course materials are particularly versatile. They can teach module by module or focus on areas of the software that fit the needs of their course.
Since the beginning of the collaboration last spring, we have already received positive reviews. Both students and professors are finding the software to be a valuable addition to the current curriculum. This partnership is strengthening NYUSPS’ goal of giving students a solid business curriculum combined with application in the tourism, hospitality or events industry.
In addition to working with IDeaS, we’re also expanding our course focus on analytical capabilities and writing skills. These skills are particularly important as employees are expected to not only use the latest software tools, but also to create advanced analytical reports and communicate their insights to other managers in a professional manner. Partnering with IDeaS has helped us provide our students with a well-rounded, high-quality education and skills that make them more marketable than ever in the hospitality and tourism industry.