Les Roches students have been working with alumnus Kaiz Patel to bring his virtual reality hospitality training solution to life.
A proven game-changer in a range of commercial sectors, virtual reality (VR) is now touching almost every strand of the hospitality industry, from tourism and events to luxury travel and hotel real estate. And it’s one alumnus’ dream to harness the power of VR to provide immersive training for frontline hospitality employees, with the ultimate aim of improving the customer experience.
Kaiz Patel has been working with BBA4 students at Les Roches on a recent Spark project to devise, refine and deliver a marketing strategy for the SatisFIND VR nano-learning experience for hospitality. This comprises short videos that focus on single key lessons delivered using VR to capture the learner’s attention and build information retention. Lessons are designed to expose trainees to real-life scenarios to help familiarize them with customer issues as they would arise in the workplace.
“Training is an area that has not been optimized enough for people in the service industry, in terms of content and delivery approach,” says Kaiz. “The high costs involved often mean not everyone has access to training, particularly those on the front line who need it most. The educational content we create is based on insights gathered from our mystery shopping surveys, then VR makes the learning accessible because it can be provided to employees remotely instead of in a traditional classroom setting.”
During the Spark project, students were required to test the SatisFIND solution, produce market research, compare it with competitors, develop a survey to gather feedback from potential users and prepare a marketing communications plan aimed at increasing sales.
“The idea is that students work on a real project with a real company to develop their organization and research skills and learn how to present findings effectively,” says Undergraduate Program Director Wolf Gerstkamp. “This prepares them for the real world outside of their study and school environment and ensures they are optimally prepared after graduation.”
One of the students taking part in the project was Eliška Sluková, who relished the opportunity to gain a taste of life in a real-world working environment.
“It’s completely different from learning theory in classes,” she says. “You have to think about the problems you are presented with and put yourself in the shoes of a real-life manager who is looking to improve and innovate. You also get to work with professionals in the field, so you gain a lot of really valuable experience.”
Not only are Spark projects designed to give students experience of working in the real world, they also give them a deeper understanding of how new technologies can be applied in hospitality. Spark also helps develop the kind of soft skills students will rely on in the future as they shape their own hospitality careers.
“As a future hospitality leader, my key takeaways from this project are to not be afraid of innovation and to embrace change,” says Eliška. “As the world moves on, you need to be able to recognize that and adapt”.
“New technologies are a part of our everyday lives and, as they develop, they will improve and become more useful. The VR training solution we worked on is just one of those emerging technologies that will make things easier for hospitality employees, giving them better access to educational resources and training. It will ultimately make things better for customers too.”
While Spark is primarily aimed at developing skills in students, it has a dual function in that it also benefits the companies such as SatisFIND that take part in it. Whether that’s testing new applications or devising route-to-market plans, Spark provides a fertile environment for enterprises to develop new technology solutions for the hospitality industry.
“When I was first introduced to the program, I recognized Les Roches Spark as the perfect incubation program to test our solution,” says Kaiz. “Spark’s Director Pablo Garcia gave us valuable guidance that helped us refine our solutions further, while the students from more than 80 countries brought a wealth of diverse perspectives to the project.”
“Students at Les Roches are the future hospitality industry workforce, so it was particularly valuable for SatisFIND to listen and hear their feedback. It allowed us to gain a better understanding of the needs and expectations of the next generation of hospitality professionals. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Les Roches on this Spark project and hope to collaborate with them again in the future.”