Adrian Artimov is a dynamic, innovative and target-driven professional with 18 years of experience delivering premium sales, marketing, shopper marketing, consumer and brand activation initiatives across Central Europe, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, in FMCG and Higher Education. Adrian began his career as a Sales Area manager and after working at different organizations including IDO AD (Client Servicing Director/Business Development), Regional Sales and Marketing Manager (Laureate Hospitality Education), he became Head of Enrolment South Asia at Sommet Education.
Pandemic had a deep impact on every sector in India. It either slowed down or shut down businesses across the world. However, hospitality education sized it as an opportunity to transform the challenge to transform the education sector by adapting digital technology.
During pandemic, the education sector went through phenomenal changes impact on students, teachers and educational institutes. However, hospitality education had already foreseen changes caused due to digitization and started incorporating these changes and revamping curriculum focusing on individual development, flexibility, global yet local reach.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
The educational reform during pandemic times is a testament to the fact that “need” gives rise to innovation and reinvention. It helped hospitality education to reflect and reinvent the wheel to invest more in reaching out to the potential aspirants in different corners of the world by introducing accessibility, flexibility, and future-ready professionals through digitalization. We live in a knowledge-based era where employees are expected to be hands-on with technology and the hospitality sector is no exception. Hospitality is one sector that witnessed massive technological changes and needs professionals who are highly trained in science and technology.
Challenges Pre and Beyond Pandemic
Pandemic forced many educational institutions to close down temporarily when they were unable to switch from large to digital classrooms. On the other hand, there were many educational institutes that dissolved large classrooms and switched to remote learning, they transformed the pandemic as an opportunity to come up with innovative and creative ways to provide education to the aspirants regardless of time zones, locations in different parts of the world.
The transformation required a massive digital revolution and aligning existing faculty resources and generating content and making it available online. But it was not just about creating synergy and bringing curriculum online but bringing advanced technological tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) at disposal.
Digital learning not only provided convenience, flexibility and cut down students’ commute time but also helped faculty members to facilitate in an open environment and provide individual mentoring and nurturing of students. Though remote learning brought innovative solutions to the table, the flip side is it could not accommodate practical learning with theory. However, certain premium hospitality institutes combined extra-curricular activities such as ‘creative twist’ to the cocktails and many more such fun activities to keep up the momentum.
The ultimate objective of hospitality and tourism institutes is to provide industry-trained professionals to the hospitality sector. The design, the structure, the curriculum, and the teaching pedagogy of the course are different from traditional courses. The emphasis is more on practical instead of theory. Constant practical sessions and internships constitute a major part of the learning. Most premium institutes were able to devise active learning strategies to enhance students’ experience virtually. The experience included students’ engagement through customized virtual internships.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence and Technology
During lockdown Hospitality and tourism industry underwent a lot of changes. The industry slowly shifted from human interaction to minimal interaction with the help of technology. Covid 19 necessitated changes in the hospitality industry where service robots or artificial intelligence took over and social media marketing became relevant. Accordingly, changes were made in the curriculum as students were now getting acquainted with advanced technological changes in the sector. Hospitality and Tourism educators were designing interdisciplinary courses and multidisciplinary class projects to acquaint students with data analysis, the use of artificial intelligence and social media training. Digital integration worked as an added advantage for students who learned to scale up the sector with their professional ability and added knowledge. Tools such as animation were used to enhance students’ learning experience. Though usage of digital tools proved to be beneficial for some institutions to impart knowledge and expertise, however, replacing traditional with virtual classrooms came with certain disadvantages – there were certain class projects, subjects and practical learning that requires physical presence and could not replace the experience of learning it in the classrooms.
Hospitality Careers Post Covid
Hospitality educators are currently focusing on educating the next generation on analytics, finance, or digital but to stay in the game they should also focus on developing soft, hard, and digital skills to differentiate their graduates from others in the global job market. During pandemic, digitization accelerated to a whole new level which compelled new opportunities to emerge in the hospitality sector. According to the World Economic Forum report last year, over the past several months’ digital transformation has accelerated digitalization trends by enhancing customer experience through innovation ranging from virtual reality and augmented reality to touchless points and robotic services.
According to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2020, during Covid-19, across the world 76 percent of decision-makers are looking for companies that create completely new and innovative experiences wherever people and technology meet. This information gives an insight into the pathways that should be created through technology that can boost a customer’s travel journey and hospitality experiences.
Since the advancement in technology continues to remain an integral part of the Hospitality industry, it is about time for the Generation Z Hoteliers that they make a choice- from where they want to start or restart their careers and explore possibilities, new direction and opportunities in the sector that moves beyond the traditional hospitality experiences such as cuisines, beverages, restaurant experiences, hotel stay and a lot more.