Everyone knows what business projects are about at the CBS: the client poses business problems, and our students attempt to solve them by studying the problems and providing recommendations. Hilton posed very crucial and challenging issues such as the procurement of sustainable food products and the recruitment of young people. They were also with the CBS every step of the way to provide guidance alongside the lecturers.
It first started with an event with Visit USA at the CBS in which Hilton participated and a connection was established. Svenja Büsching, Head of Hilton Worldwide Sales Europe and Erik Altenhofen, Senior Director of European Supply Management came to CBS to present the Hilton hotel philosophy and management practices, before introducing our students of the study programme “International Tourism Management” to their topics. Since then, there were Webinars in which the students presented their initial findings to Hilton, mock presentations in which the lecturers provided critical feedback and a final presentation held at the Hilton Hotel in Cologne. In addition, our students also travelled to Berlin to attend the ITB and Hilton was there once again to give us a ‘live’ insight of what is happening within the industry at the most important tourism trade fair in the world.
After two mid-term presentations for each of the six groups, the students held their final presentations in front of a jury of five Hilton representatives at the Hilton Hotel Cologne. The outcomes were very positive with two winning teams. The runner-up was a group working with sustainable meat products. They had a very strong research agenda, providing very interesting findings on consumer behavior, as well as, consolidating various voices across the supply chain. Hilton honored them with a voucher for the Surf & Turf buffet at the Hilton Hotel Cologne. The winner was a group that positioned a very strong case for what was lacking in terms of online presence, especially pertaining to accessibilities for the recruitment of Gen Z. They provided recommendations using a simulated Instagram marketing model and adapting it to the current one. This group was awarded a weekend in the Hilton Hotel Munich City and will proceed to present their findings at the Hilton HR summit in Berlin.
The experience of collaboration between Hilton and CBS was most rewarding, especially for the students, who managed to bridge theory and practice by applying what they have studied into hospitality and hotel operations. More importantly, they managed to understand contemporary global issues, their relevance to management and their implications to businesses and the environment.