April 2019

UCB students run virtual hotel to win at Institute of Hospitality event

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Hospitality students from University College Birmingham beat off competition from around the world to scoop three trophies at an annual industry event.

Students from UCB's Hospitality Business Management and Hospitality with Events Management courses attended the Passion 4 Hospitality event in London to battle it out in two competitions with students from across the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Organised by the Institute of Hospitality, who provide accreditation for many of UCB's hospitality courses, the event in March featured a HOTS Hotel Simulation Business Game in which students had to run their own virtual hotel.

Two teams from the University competed with students from eight other institutions in the game, which challenged them to manage a wide range of factors such as room rates, marketing, advertising, training and staffing levels throughout a simulated business year.

Boosted by their studies and their experience with the simulation software within their courses at UCB, both teams topped the revenue rankings to claim 1st and 2nd place in the contest.

BA Hospitality with Events Management student Marketa Dlouha, who was on the first-placed team, said: “We were competing against international universities and industry professionals, which put more pressure on us.

“After the initial stages we were in the lead, and all we wanted was to keep it up and bring home first place. Both of our teams performed brilliantly, and I cannot be more proud of my teammates and the second-placed team – it was a close contest.

“We needed to make decisions under lots of pressure within a short period of time. It was an extremely valuable experience for us.”

Hospitality lecturers Ankur Ahuja and Daniel Evans, who joined the students on the trip, both praised the performance of the UCB teams in the contest.

“The teams performed brilliantly,” said Ankur. “They totally understood what was expected of them and on the day they made some rational and clever decisions. They were a credit to the University and have bright futures ahead of them.”

Meanwhile another team from the University competed in a debating contest, where the students were tasked with arguing for or against a motion that “AI and robots are a serious threat to the hospitality industry.”

Carrying out research and fact-finding on both arguments before the competition, with support from their year manager Rowena Burton, the team were first called to present their case against the motion before having to argue for the motion in the next round.

Having beaten off three other institutions to progress from the first round, the students went on to claim the runners-up award in the final.

At UCB’s McIntyre House this week, all the winning teams gathered for a special prize-giving ceremony to show off their trophies, certificates and medals.

Praising all the students, Ankur added: "This is a great success to go onto their CVs that prospective employers will really value. For the Business Game teams it reflects that they understand the principles and concepts of hotel management, while for the debating team it shows they are good at research, confident and articulate – skills which are always required within this industry."

As well as their competition successes, the students also had the opportunity to network with industry employers attending the event at the Hammersmith Novotel.

The UCB teams were:

HOTS Business Game – winners

  • Jane Ngandwe
  • Brian Ho
  • Marketa Dlouha
  • Kirin Kaur Sandhu

HOTS Business Game – 2nd place

  • Michaela Cvickova
  • Arvinder Sandhu
  • Collin Liang
  • Jan Sobek

Debating contest – runners-up

  • Julie Hlavacova
  • Kay Patel
  • Molly Robinson
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