Teaching Hospitality through Turbulent Times

Mumbai: While face to face teaching is not possible during the global sanitary crisis, Sommet Education has developed virtual access to its campuses and implemented cutting-edge digital content and tools enabling its students continued access to education whilst maintaining the high level excellence for two of its renowned hospitality schools – Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches.

Artificial intelligence for education continuity
Following announcements by public authorities worldwide, Glion and Les Roches campus operations have been temporarily closed just providing accommodation and support to students not able to return to their families.
To maintain a highly personalised approach for students while switching to remote studies, a dedicated task force has been created at the Group level comprising faculty and IT members including Pierre Ihmle, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer and Eric Wyttynck, Chief Information, Innovation & Digital Officer.
Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches study programs have been adapted to online distance learning since 17 March 2020 with the use of digital textbooks accessible 24/7, videoconferences and online assessments. Academic content of 100 new videos is made available daily and until now, more than 2 000 videos have been created for students to access via Moodle, a Learning Management System. Online Q&A sessions for small groups accessible several times a day to all students in various time zones have been implemented so as to support the theoretical teaching.
Artificial Intelligence systems analysing user behaviour during the written exams have also been applied in the assessment processes to maintain a high level of control against plagiarism.
Within this context, digital technology has been a mean to create a more horizontal method of teaching. Digital learning imparts some of the essential knowledge, which faculty can then discuss, reinforce and validate in a more open and collaborative classroom environment allowing additional focus on mentoring and nurturing the students. This has led to a daily student engagement rate of 95 percent connecting to the system from 90 countries.
Benoit-Etienne Domenget, Chief Executive Officer at Sommet Education, highlights: “Our teams have been striving tirelessly over the past weeks to enable our students to continue their studies with the same level of excellence. Our faculty members have once again proven their incredible commitment to our students who are now connected to us from everywhere in the world.”

On-line certificates
To enable students to make the most out of their remote learning period, both Les Roches and Glion students have been granted private access to join small group sessions coached by experts in Revenue Management, Hotel Valuation and Spa Management. The additional two-week courses starting on 27th April 2020 have already proven very successful with almost 4 500 students already registered from 90 countries worldwide. The courses “Hotel Market Analysis and Valuation”, “Hotel Revenue Management”, “Excellence in Spa Operations” and “Maximizing Spa Profitability: Financial Planning for Spa and Wellness Centers” are all designed to meet specific industry needs and will allow students to obtain 4 professional certificates in addition to their academic degree.

Unique series “Leading Hospitality Through Turbulent Times”
Sommet Education has created an exceptional new series of live online classes entitled “Leading Hospitality Through Turbulent Times”. From the initial impacts of the crisis and the lessons to be learned from past cycles, to a potential recovery and what hospitality is likely to look like post-COVID-19, students will gain a thorough understanding of how Hospitality industry is being affected by the crisis while learning from experts on ways to face up to it in the most efficient way possible.

“As the hospitality industry is being confronted by major challenges caused by COVID-19, we believe it is crucial for the Hospitality leaders of the future to understand how to face such crisis situations.” comments Benoit-Etienne Domenget.

Every week between now and the end of June, senior faculty from Glion and Les Roches will be joined by expert guests from the worlds of hospitality, luxury, finance, academia and research.
The sessions will be around three main topics: Global Trends & Economic and Financial Impact, Strategies & Tactics and Organizations, Leadership & Careers.
Yves Schemeil, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Sciences Politics Paris, will share some of his outstanding insights. So will, among many others, Steve Hood, Senior Vice President of Research for hospitality data and analytics specialist STR, Robert Alter, Chairman Emeritus and Founder of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., Michel Girardin, Economics Applied to Finance Professor at University of Geneva, Chris Mumford, CEO Cervus Leadership.
This content exclusive at first to the institutions’ students will be available to all through the schools’ websites to give the Hospitality communities some insights as they look to rebound.

Beyond Studies – virtual Open Days
Under the lead of Eric Wyttynck, Chief Information, Innovation & Digital Officer at Sommet Education, the potential of digital tools such as virtual reality, has been pushed by creating an immersive experience for students and families willing to visit the campus. “We are currently experimenting the use of virtual reality as an alternative to School’s Open Days providing an immersive experience. The participants can visit the Swiss-based campuses virtually and engage with the faculty members or exchange among themselves.” says Eric Wyttynck.