The third trend of our four-part 2019 tech trends series looks at five areas where EdTech is shaking up the hospitality sector. Let’s go…
The hospitality sector is facing an uncertain future. It’s predicted to be one of the industries most affected by Brexit, among other significant challenges, meaning it has never been more important to equip future hospitality students to succeed in this ambiguous environment. But how can this be done?
One remedy is to keep up with the very latest that EdTech has to offer. Let’s take a look at five growing trends for the hospitality sector in the year ahead:
1) AI in hospitality education
‘AI’ have the answer
There’s no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) has become one of the world’s biggest buzzwords.
It’s everywhere – and everyone wants a slice of the pie. We’ve seen it being applied across nearly every industry and the EdTech sector is no exception.
But what tangible benefits does AI have for hospitality?
Implementing AI into a hospitality school’s practices and processes has two main benefits:
AI can complement educators’ jobs. It gives them the opportunity to automate and personalise some aspects of the student experience so it eases the workload of educators, a significant pain point for most teachers.
It also enables hospitality students to engage with new technologies, such as chatbots and smart speakers, on a daily basis. These technologies are shaping the hospitality industry and will therefore impact their professional lives.
And then there are the chatty bots…
Chatbots are already a common use of AI in education. They have the capacity to answer questions about homework, help students through paperwork or assist with bill paying, easing the workload of the people who would normally serve those roles. That means they can concentrate on more complicated tasks that the bots can’t manage. Cheers, chatbots.
2) Programmes: keeping up-to-date with industry practices
Stay ahead of the game
New technologies are evolving quickly to directly shape the role of hospitality workers more and more. For example, more courses arise to specifically focus on the ‘customer experience’ and how it can be enhanced through the use of technology.
So, what does this mean for hospitality schools?
It’s absolutely essential for hospitality educators to face up to the radical changes happening in the hospitality industry, and to train and empower a workforce ready and raring to go, equipped with all of the relevant skills and mindsets required.
The future of hospitality will be shaped by technologies like AI, IoT, voice technology, automation, blockchain and many more. It’s vital that students and teachers alike have exposure throughout their training to the latest technology, so they’re prepared when they are faced with the real thing.
On your toes
With the goalposts always shifting, it is not enough to just apply learnings; educators and students must learn to be agile and adaptable in their approach to really stay ahead of the game and remain highly employable.
3) The end of a one-size-fits-all model
A fit just for you
Personalisation is relevant to both the learning experience and the hospitality industry.
As a society, we’re evolving towards more of an emphasis on individuals, rather than groups. We acknowledge, value and celebrate people’s uniqueness. For education, this means tailoring the content and intensity of study to an individual student’s needs, abilities and goals.
This is a win-win situation for the tutor and student. The more suitable the teaching is to the student, the more likely it is they will be engaged and it will stick.
“Education providers will be further challenged to develop flexible learning environments while providing a true student-centered, even personalised, delivery. The most successful hospitality business schools will be the ones that can innovate in their delivery models and effectively tailor education to the specific needs and wants of each learner.” – Jeroen Greven, Academic Dean, SHMS Caux
4) Experience over knowledge
Knowledge isn’t everything
It’s increasingly important to learn soft skills to stand out in an ever-more-digital environment, especially in the world of hospitality.
Technology will never replace humans in hospitality, but it will remove a lot of everyday mundane tasks, therefore freeing up time for staff to create stronger relationships with customers and deal with more complex issues. It’s important to train students accordingly.
By 2022, Gartner predicts that one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine functions will rely on AI to do many of the humdrum tasks associated with their roles.
5) New ways of learning
Out with the old, in with the new
The traditional linear learning method just isn’t enough anymore.
In a field like hospitality, there’s a big opportunity to transform learning into a more concrete and engaging experience in order to maximise students’ potential – whether it’s in the form of gamification, blended environments or using new technologies such as VR or AR.
Translate your selfie
For example, Google Translate’s instant camera translation can help hospitality students to learn new languages in situ, right in the moment. It uses VR to translate text in images instantly by just pointing their camera – and it supports 38 languages. ¡qué sorprendente!
Alert: opportunities ahead
So, what does this all mean for marketers in the sector?
The hospitality education industry needs to show – and more importantly, prove – that it’s evolving with students’ and businesses’ needs. And most importantly, they need to make this an essential component of their brand.
Support the digital natives
Most existing and prospective students were born in a digital world and therefore have high standards and expectations when it comes to higher education. To attract and retain students, higher education institutions need to appear modern, relevant and up-to-date with industry practices and innovation.
Face the future
Hospitality businesses are looking for a future-proof workforce. They would therefore value higher education institutions that take an innovative approach to education to prepare students for a constantly evolving industry.
Being reactive isn’t enough. A consistently proactive approach, with sustainable methods built in, will ensure hospitality schools and businesses in the EdTech sector are armed to face an uncertain, yet ultimately exciting, future.
Remember, this is just one blog within our four-part series. Take a look at the other blogs exploring what you need to know about tech in 2019.
1. Sandy Alexander, 2018.
2. Gartner, 2017.