The fundamental meaning of hospitality means to make someone feel welcome through entertainment and comfort. The hospitality and tourism industry provides tangible products such as hotel rooms and restaurant foods. It also provides intangible products such as service and hospitality.
Hospitality and Tourism Industry
The hospitality and tourism industry is fast paced and rapidly changing. As a result, hospitality programs focus heavily on industry trends in order to be nimble and adaptive. As an example, checking-in a hotel several years ago was only possible by interacting with the front desk agent. However, nowadays, due to the development of technology, you can check-in using the kiosk or even through your phone by using an app.
Additionally, because the industry is focused on human experience and emotion, hands-on experience can provide an opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Through case studies and assignments that require critical thinking, students are able to get a sense of what is happening in the industry. However, not everything can be learned with a classroom alone. Gaining hands-on experience in the industry is critical. For example, customer relations or interacting with customers can be learned in classroom but it may not be applicable in every situation. The best ways for students to gain knowledge in engaging with customers is through real world experience.
Global Hospitality and Tourism Program
Eastern Kentucky University’s Global Hospitality and Tourism program provides opportunities for students to have hands-on experience through a practicum course which requires students to have a minimum of 240 hours of industry experience before they graduate. Throughout this course, students are not only working in the industry but also are preparing to write cover letters and resumes, weekly logs, and submit a practicum portfolio that will be presented in class. This opportunity allows students to assess themselves, document their experiences, and gain industry experience before graduation.
Hands-on experience allows students to differentiate themselves from others in the job market after graduation.
By: Daegeun (Dan) Kim, M.S., CHIA, assistant professor, Global Hospitality and Tourism
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