This year, 5 challenges were given to hospitality students by Accor, Hilton, IHG Hotels & Resorts, MKG Consulting and Radisson Hotel Group. 5 challenges to shape the hospitality of tomorrow. But apart from that, the students had the opportunity to win a 6-month internship within those companies.
The Young Talents Awards is a worldwide competition that rewards the best students initiatives on the hospitality sector and is organized by Hospitality ON. The students were invited to submit their ideas and projects related to communication, marketing, human resources, social and environmental responsibility fields.
Accor, represented by Patrick Mendes, challenged its students on the theme of AI, proposing the following challenge:
How can artificial intelligence revolutionize the customer experience in the hotel industry, for both customers and employees?
More precisely, how can AI either help our hotels employees save time or help bring even more personalized experiences to our guests on-site?
How can these ideas be built to bring added value to human service, not replacing human interactions but enhancing them?
And most importantly for Accor, how do we deploy those strategies in a responsible, inclusive and ethical way?
Antoine Dubois came to reward the students who brilliantly rose to the challenge: Congratulations to Sibylle Canonica, Johanna Reboullet and Albane Charlery from the Experia project, who are using AI to offer personalized training to hotel employees. The project adapts courses according to the employee's role and evolves over time based on their performances. The aim is to improve the customer experience by enhancing employee skills and promoting spontaneous interactions, applicable to all Accor hotels.
At Hilton, under the direction of Valeria Fruscio, students were challenged to solve the following challenge:
How can Hilton eliminate the prejudices and barriers that prevent women from gaining access to management positions, particularly in food and beverage services?
What challenges do women often come across within F&B related leadership roles and how can we best overcome these?
What recommendations would your Team have for Hilton to reach a gender parity within these leadership roles in the next years…?
Björn Olthof presented an award to Lina El Meliani, Alice Drillet and Noemie Pigeon, the winners of "The Inspiring Women" project. Hilton's initiative aims to eliminate the prejudices and barriers faced by women wishing to take on management positions in food and beverage services. Overall, Hilton's plan aims to support women's career development and work-life balance in the hospitality sector.
Congratulations to the InnovaQueens finalists: Anna Vekshyna, Maria Saverska and Svitlana Mahometa, and Woment: Yui Sun Koo and Alexandra Kurilenko.
IHG, in the person of Eric Viale, invited its students to reflect on the following challenge:
How can IHG create an inclusive and inspiring culture for all people to flourish - no matter their background?
It includes specific diversity, equity and inclusion targets to:
Drive gender balance and a doubling of under-represented groups across our leadership.
Cultivate a culture of inclusion for our colleagues, owners and suppliers.
Support our colleagues in prioritising their own wellbeing and that of others.
Drive respect for and advance human rights.
Create a plan that can be used to make our hotels even more inclusive.
Eric Viale came in person to congratulate Anna Vekshyna, Maria Saverska and Svitlana Mahometa, the winners of the "Grand Vision" project. The project aims to strengthen diversity and inclusion in IHG hotels by tackling ageism in the workplace. It aims to provide opportunities for people over the age of 65, who often find it difficult to find employment. The initiative also encourages the hiring of senior staff, focusing on their strengths and contributing to a more inclusive workforce.
Well done to the finalists of the "Lyfe Innov" project: Auriane Paris and Maxime Roy, and of "NHL Inclusive Alliance": Stefan Marin, Jessica Rusnokova and Shubhang Kanojia.
Under the supervision of Vanguelis Panayotis, MKG Consulting solicited students to identify existing KPIs in need of improvement or new development, such as those related to P&L, environmental sustainability, or other relevant areas. The aim is to determine how these KPIs can bring value to the community, employees, operators, owners and financing teams.
Define what you think “performance” really means to you! What existing KPIs can be improved and/or which new ones need to be developed (such as P&L indicators, environment sustainability indicators or any others you'd have in mind)? And what will create value for the community, for the employees, for the operators, the owners and the financing teams?
Vanguelis Panayotis personally congratulated Cecilia Fernandez and Jack Collins of Les Roches CH for their "Avalanche" project which redefines hotel performance to include sustainability and social impact. The project delves deeper into indicators, such as customer nationality, to adapt marketing strategies, enabling hotels to maintain their leadership.
Well done to the finalists of "The Cool People" project: Lok Tin Yeung, YAN Qiu Choi and Wannisa Klinsorn, and "HMH": Margot Bellamy, Khanh Hoa Nguyen Vu et Thi Thu Hang Nguyen.
RADISSON Hotel Group
The most important was the way that everyone understood the key elements, of what the net zero, stands. - Inge Huijbrechts, Radisson Hotel Group
Led by Inge Huijbrechts, Radisson Hotel Group issued the following challenge to its students:
How can we make "Net Zero" tangible for our hotel teams and guests?
How can we integrate it into solutions and communication ideas within the guest experience — and why not, in the loyalty program?
Create these new NET ZERO HABITS, but also define what KPIs can be used to measure success!
What steps can RHG take to get guests to buy into Net Zero and actively support the transition with their stay?
At Radisson Hotel Group, applause to Jorja Moll and Allannagh Joubert from the "Stenden Firecrackers" project. The project aims to encourage guests to help the Radisson Group achieve "Net Zero" by tracking their energy and resource consumption in their rooms. A points system rewards guests who use fewer resources, and these points can be exchanged for a free stay in a Radisson hotel or converted into donations for SOS Children's Villages.
Well done to the finalists of the "Beyond Zero" project: Liselotte Gort and Emma Dijkstra, and "Net Zero Drifters": Polina Voronaya and Taylor Luigs.