Three BU students have won the annual Master Innholders Competition, of which the award ceremony and conference will take place from the 16-17 January in The Hilton on Park Lane in London.
The competition was open to all Hospitality Management degree programmes within Europe, which required students to produce a 10 minute video on a subject of particular topical interest to the Master Innholders Society, this year being ‘Maintaining Sustainable Competitive Advantage’, with 12 teams from different Hospitality Degrees in the UK and overseas entering, but BU created the winning entry.
Julian Dombrowsky, Suzanne Parr and Eleanor Moore all final year Hospitality Management Students at BU, successfully brainstormed the winning video submission.
Julian is credited as the main producer of the film, although he maintains the brainstorming was a group effort,
“What we ended up doing is looking at the economy and looking at what was happening in the industry and we noticed these trends of high unemployment rate, especially youths, so we tried to see if we could come up with something, what may help tackle these issues.”
Other winning student Suzanne said the brainstorm was a heavily collaborative project,
“We threw loads of ideas together about what constitutes competitive advantage, eg a changing hotel over the seasons, tech etc but at the end of the day we thought the ideas could be stolen by other hotels so is not sustainable, what’s really hard to copy is people.”
The group focused on the idea of the German model of apprenticeships to educate and retain staff, as people cannot, like ideas, be cloned or imitated, Suzanne continued,
“In Germany you can do loads of apprenticeships as part of an education system, whereas in England we really need something like that as not all kids can afford to go to uni, so more apprenticeships would be fantastic, then other things like staff exchanges schemes, which happens in few fine dining hotels, could be introduced into other businesses as well.”
The topic was set by the Master Innholders and The Springboard Charity, to challenge final year students to advise how hotels can best gain sustained competitive advantage, aiming to celebrate the contributions made to hospitality management by creative students and their universities.
The event on Monday will be attended by over 500 senior members of the hospitality sector, including Lord Coe and Ufi Ibrahim, (CEO of the British Hospitality Association), to name a few. The main focus of the event is to discuss the challenges facing the economy how to cope with the demands of an ever changing economic climate.
Andy Boer, Associate Dean of Hospitality and Retail Management, said he was incredibly proud of the winning team of students, not just for beating BU’s main UK competitor, Surrey University, but European Competitor Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland too,
“Our students have also managed to come in first or second position every year and maintained the highest performance of any Hospitality institution since the competition started 3 years ago. This consistency and high profile reflects both the professionalism of the students concerned but also the high esteem in which the Hospitality Programme is held by senior members of industry.”
Also known as the annual general managers conference, the three winning students will have to prepare a short presentation to accompany their winning video.
Speaking ahead of the conference both Julian and Suzanne are determined to quash their nerves in order to maximise the great networking opportunity that lies ahead of them. Julian said,
“I’m a bit nervous, understandably as there are high profile individuals attending, I’m sure we will be alright, and they will understand we are students!”
The prize is sponsored by the Lancaster group, with the wining BU student team rewarded with a chauffer driven experience to stay and eat at 3 different top London Hotels, with exclusive meetings with key staff at each.