By Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, President and CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
During the recent Hospitality School Revenue Management Faculty Forum, hosted by the HSMAI Foundation, participants from hospitality schools CUNY – NYC College of Technology, Missouri State University, Penn State, Red River College Polytech, Ryerson University, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas discussed various topics related to student perceptions of the industry. The following outlines the insights gleaned from this group during the forum.
What is the lasting impact of the global pandemic on student morale and motivation?
- Students are cautiously optimistic yet nervous about job security.
- There is concern that the industry is no longer a good fit with their ambitions.
- Students are less focused on growth in their careers and more focused on job security.
- There is a sentiment that there aren’t many revenue management opportunities after graduation.
What are the student perceptions of revenue career opportunities when they start your class?
- They are unclear as to what it really is and what their careers would look like.
- Students initially think it will be similar to a finance class and that it will only be applicable to hotels.
- Many haven’t even considered it. They think GM — nothing about revenue management.
- Once they start to understand it, they can find revenue management in everyday life and feel like they have a unique understanding of the world.
What do you tell students in your class that excites them about this career path?
- It is a global subject with a lot of opportunities.
- Based on personal experience, sharing the dynamic roles of revenue managers.
- The field is challenging, and you can see real impact.
- It is a fast-paced, energizing field that provides a great opportunity to drive strategy for an organization.
What recent shifts have you observed in students’ career interests?
- They have more uncertainty, but some understand that the opportunities are coming back.
- Some are moving toward revenue management as an option after taking the class, as a more stable alternative to operations.
- There are more students who want to take the entrepreneurial route.
What is a best practice for increasing student interest in revenue classes?
- Simulations and certifications
- Teaching it as a skill set and not just as a job
- Raising awareness of the discipline early in the program
- Getting involved in HSMAI
- Using guest speakers in the industry
What resources would help you with curriculum development or enhancement? (Ranked in order of interest.)
- Faculty externships
- Case studies and supplemental materials
- Digital assets (videos, podcasts, etc.)
- Faculty development opportunities or certifications
- Access to industry professionals as guest speakers
- Plug-and-play curriculum
HSMAI Foundation Perspective
During the forum, revenue faculty leaders also ranked internships, mentorship, and career planning and placement resources as the top ways to encourage students to pursue revenue careers. Across revenue, sales, and marketing faculty forums, internships and mentorship were ranked highly in this regard. Because of this, it would be beneficial to industry professionals at hotels and hotel companies to reach out to schools in their region, meet the faculty and find ways to engage students. This can be done by assisting with a class project, volunteering to speak at a class, or setting up a shadow day with your team members. You could also leverage students for short-term or summer projects. Share the message about your career journey and the breadth of career opportunities that exist in the areas that generate the revenue for hotels and the industry.