Returning in-person after the Covid pandemic, World of Hospitality is a bi-annual event organized by bachelor students at Swiss Hotel Management School in Leysin.
Overlooking a magical, snowy view of the Swiss Alps, the Leysin campus of Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) is abuzz with activity. Swirling with excitement and determination, plus a bit of nervous anticipation thrown in, the hospitality school’s grand hall had been converted practically overnight: a raised center stage with an interview setup, cameras from multiple viewpoints, decorations hanging from the walls and ceiling, and hundreds of white chairs in neat rows for attendees. This is the fall semester edition of the biannual World of Hospitality event that is fully planned and executed by students of the SHMS bachelor’s degree program who have chosen to focus on Hospitality Events.
For this real-world event, not just a graded project, students work as a team to plan according to the parameters given by the clients who are usually organizations that partner with SHMS. Former partners for the World of Hospitality have included the likes of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and Bidroom.com, and have featured speakers from brands such as Puma, Tissot, and The Chalet Royalp 5-star hotel in Ollon. This time, the event features Squake, a Swiss startup building a scalable and secure solution in sustainability for the travel and transport sectors. Having these partners is an opportunity for students to broaden their horizons not only in the hospitality industry, but also learn and network with professionals at the top of their fields.
Overseeing and advising each iteration of the World of Hospitality is Ludovic Cosandey, with over 15 years of experience in international hospitality management. Like other lecturers at SHMS, his real-life experiences in the hospitality industry make practical wisdom easily accessible for pupils. The bachelor students organizing the event are split into specialized divisions such as marketing, logistics, service, kitchen, entertainment sponsorship, accounting, human resources, communications, decorations, as well as guest management; each team is responsible for planning and executing their designated assignments. One student is also elected to coordinate their efforts as the event director; this year, that honor was given to third semester Bachelor of Arts Student Maya Sweileh from Jordan.
As it always is with real-world events and clients, there are unique challenges and pitfalls which students must learn to navigate, such as what to do when a major partner drops out last-minute, budgeting limitations, or how to adjust for an unexpected number of attendees. A project like the World of Hospitality is what makes hospitality schools like SHMS special, because it embodies learning by doing, providing an education that integrates traditional studies with practical experience. Students get an amazing opportunity to demonstrate true Swiss hospitality before they even finish their degree.
The ideas for each iteration of the World of Hospitality event are always changing, perhaps paralleling the way that hospitality also shifts to address the modern needs of today’s global world. The bachelor students can flex their creativity along with their management skills. This time, students opted to create a hybrid live and online event to celebrate the return to in-person events post-Covid as well as recognize the way technology has kept us in touch despite barriers in real life. To highlight the diversity of ideas and technology used in this World of Hospitality, as well as the initiative that the students take to run the event, Valentine Lauly, a bachelor student from France who ran the marketing team for this event, coordinated social media posts, an Instagram live, and other audio-visual content in parallel with the live event and online streaming to make everything as accessible as possible for a wider audience.
The World of Hospitality events for 2023 are already beginning to take shape. In May, the SHMS Leysin campus will welcome the surrounding community for family-friendly entertainment and activities, while the winter edition will happen in November 2023 in partnership with the Association Vaudois des Contrôles d'Habitants. As each World of Hospitality is organized by a different group of bachelor students bringing their own individual talents and abilities, along with the needs of different partners, you can count on an exclusive, unique event every time.
Are you planning on a future in hospitality and events? Learn about the SHMS Bachelor’s Degree or our other programs by downloading our brochure. We look forward to the opportunity in welcoming you to the world of hospitality.