Hong Kong has long been recognized as a hotspot for tourism in East Asia. Along with this reputation, Hong Kong universities have strived to improve tourism and hospitality programs, producing high quality graduates who bring their talents and skills to the world.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University ranks first in the 2020 Shanghai Ranking of Global Academic Subjects Ranking for Hospitality and Tourism Management. Its School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM) described efforts and plans to heal the post-pandemic sector in its “Horizons” magazine – here are a few takeaways we can all learn from.
Focus on health and personal care
COVID-19 has created an urgent need to improve health and safety measures. “Along with promoting the hygiene measures adopted at different touchpoints to build visitor confidence, we will reopen our doors to welcome travelers again with attractive offers and exciting experiences,” said Dane Cheng, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
Beyond institutional measures, hoteliers also learn crucial lessons on change management, crisis management and negotiation, including the role of work-life balance and self-care. This is done through conferences and seminars by industry professionals.
Use disruption as a springboard for creativity
While disruption takes many forms, a pandemic causes a shock that forces each industry to revisit its entire game plan. SHTM believes: “Rather than persisting with the same old ways of doing business, sales and marketing teams and revenue teams must develop new working practices to survive and even thrive in today’s unpredictable climate.” hui.
This includes embracing more digital marketing strategies and harnessing the influential power of social media, as well as realigning international tourism messaging to tell the world that Hong Kong is safe.
Adopt e-learning modes
How do you teach hospitality online, you ask? At HKPU, students had access to classes that replace traditional touch, taste, and interactions with online chat and education systems. This includes a crash course in coffee showcasing the types of extraction methods and espresso drinks, as well as virtual wine-making classes or wine tours.
In addition to this, the university also collaborated with edX to launch the MicroMasters in International Hospitality Management in August. The course combines online and offline resources to deliver a “whole new learning experience” for students, says SHTM assistant Brigid Yau. Ian Mason, an Australian tourism and hospitality consultant, recommends the program to anyone interested in “deepening their knowledge of key aspects of tourism and hospitality today” and “applying critical thinking to solve the challenges facing the sector is confronted ”.
Promote domestic tourism
Cheng shares that a key goal for the future is to “encourage Hong Kong people to” be tourists “in their hometown.” This could potentially result in a “profitable, less biased and more authentic advertising strategy than traditional advertising”.
How can this be done? On the one hand, brands must try to represent the place as precisely as possible, in order to create self-congruity, that is, when personal ideals correspond to a certain brand image. This will transform the inhabitants into proud ambassadors of tourism, even if they are not directly remunerated.
Develop a global mindset for tourism and hospitality
At the same time, tourism and hospitality professionals need to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy. HKPU alumnus Kristina Braun from Germany cites “a global mindset” as one of the important traits of a hotelier; Fortunately, she cultivated this through cultural diversity at HKPU.
Internships and mentoring programs will also help graduates gain experience in the industry and develop a client-focused mindset, which becomes a major asset for graduates entering the workforce. Former student Miyoung Hwang credits her summer internship with pushing her out of her comfort zone, which has helped her understand her strengths and equip her for her future career. Today, she is a human resources partner for the luxury brand Burberry.
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