The College of International Tourism and Hospitality Management joined the 4th 30-Minutes International Tourism Talks last May 06, 2020. This was hosted by Dr. Perry Hobson, Mr. Alan Williams, and Dr. Andy Nazarechuck. The hosts discussed the challenges being faced by hospitality and tourism students during the current global pandemic.
The talks were divided into 3 parts. First part was delivered by Dr. Hobson. He talked about “SMART Tourism- What it means for Destinations, Experiences and Businesses.” He pointed out the importance of interconnectivity, use of smartphones and other smart technologies to facilitate trip, the unique and personal experience it can create to travellers by engaging actively. He said that technology is now in our hands, Internet of Technology will not only allow us to control our home- but put the world in our hands. New data displays will allow us to see world around us in different ways. Smart tourism promotes accessibility, sustainability, digitalization, cultural heritage and creativity. On the other hand, smart businesses that embrace digital transformation is able to automate insights and generate action plans that work across channels which provides fast response to come up with the best offer every time customer behavior changes.
The second part was all about “Restaurant Service Procedures May Never be the Same... The Future” which was delivered by Dr. Nazarechuck. From reservations to entry, ordering, service up to bill payment, all service procedures may never be the same. Different apps like OpenTable, Yelp maybe used to lessen the face to face reservations. When it comes to entry, it will be a new normal to see a staff with gloves and thermometer standing at front door taking guest’s temperature. Traditional menus will disappear and Touch Menus will be in trend. Service will have a new face. It will be more exclusive per group, reducing restaurant’s capacity by practicing social distancing, glass partitions or different materials will be used by different establishments to make guest’s feel safe and comfortable. Soon cash will disappear; mobile or digital payment will be used for everything.
Last part was delivered by Mr. Williams entitled “Room Amenities: Post COVID-19.” He emphasized the importance of connectivity/ Wi-Fi in a hotel. He presented a survey on how long humans can live without the food, water, sleep, and internet. According to the survey:
a. without food: 21-40 days;
b. without water: 3-7 days;
c. without sleep: 4-5 days;
d. without internet: 2 hours.
The survey clearly shows that, in order to sur
vive a day, humans need internet connectivity. Based on the recent case study, guests consider speed, reliability and security of a hotel Wi-Fi when checking-in. This only shows that connectivity/ Wi-Fi is now one of the most important amenities in any hotel.
With all these new normal possibilities, universities, and hospitality and tourism students around the world are highly encouraged to learn, use, and embrace technology to cope with these transformations.