In partnership with Dorchester Collection, Swiss Hotel Management School provides students the opportunity to engage with and learn from luxury hospitality professionals.
Since 2021, Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) and Dorchester Collection, which operates 5-star ultra-luxury hotels around the world including The Dorchester in London, Hotel Eden in Rome, and The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, partnered to bring SHMS students an educational opportunity to learn from leaders of today’s luxury hospitality sector. This year, bachelor’s and master’s students at the Caux campus of SHMS, as well as faculty members, had the privilege of welcoming representatives from Dorchester Collection once again, this time in Caux Palace. Dorchester Collection Academy (DCA) is part of Dorchester Collection, providing training and development in creating exceptional customer experiences through inspirational leadership for other luxury brands, and collaborates with SHMS to deliver informative sessions specific to the needs of the school. This visit is also a chance for SHMS students to learn about current careers and learning opportunities for hospitality students at Dorchester Collection.
The visit spanned two days, with DCA Programme Facilitator Hussein Assani and Talent Attraction Specialist at Dorchester Collection Marina Kawarazaki flying to Switzerland all the way from London and graciously presenting three hospitality-focused sessions for bachelor’s students, Master of Arts students, and SHMS faculty. The visit to Caux Palace is Mr. Assani’s first time at SHMS, while Ms. Kawarazaki has visited once before to participate in the International Recruitment Forum last fall.
Second semester bachelor’s students learned about creating a personal brand and defining the concept of their own brand. From practicing small talk for engagement and building rapport with colleagues, to finding the confidence to represent themselves in the workplace, students developed their soft skills such as situational awareness and social skills which, while indispensable for those in the hospitality industry, are extremely valuable for those pursuing any career path. “What really stuck out to me was the part of the presentation on non-verbal communication,” comments Ayshe Erinc, SHMS Internship and Career Coach, specifically mentioning a quiz that had highlighted the importance of personal presentation and disposition and how research shows that 80-90% of communication is, in fact, non-verbal. “It’s really important to be mindful on how one perceives you with regards to your gestures and facial expressions. It can have more of an impact than the words you speak or use when communicating with someone.”
As the bachelor’s students are still in the early stages of their hospitality education, this special visit was an exceptional opportunity to introduce and further their knowledge of the current luxury hospitality sector from industry leaders in addition to their future academic courses such as Retail Management of Luxury Brands.
The presentation for the hospitality Master of Arts students was more specific, tailored towards providing the ultimate customer experience—a subject in which Dorchester Collection, famous for unparalleled luxury hospitality service, has mastered for over a century. Master’s students could define luxury and who luxury consumers are, gaining comprehensive insights into the integrated customer journey from the luxury hospitality perspective. The master’s students couldn’t have had a better teacher than Mr. Assani, who worked over 15 years within the hospitality industry in Europe, including as a Customer Service Guest Specialist and Quality Ambassador.
Master of Arts Program Manager Nektarios Lykopantis couldn’t be happier with the engagement between the master’s students and DCA, and he hopes that Mr. Assani and Ms. Kawarazaki feel the same way. “Visits like these are so important,” Mr. Lykopantis says. “The beauty of it is that it reinforces what we are teaching the students. They can see that what they are learning is used at the top levels, in real life situations.” Students could ask questions and receive answers backed by real-life experience—something they can already do with SHMS lecturers as well, all of whom come from the industry before turning to education, but as Mr. Lykopantis jokes, it does hit a little differently.
SHMS lecturers are also always learning, keeping up with the landscape of the luxury hospitality sector and current industry trends. In a Q&A with SHMS faculty, Dorchester Collection addressed the steps they are taking to meet changes in customer needs and expectations as well as furthering growth in the hotel and travel industry after Covid-19. These meetings foster the exchanging of knowledge and ideas for both SHMS and Dorchester Collection and are an occasion for SHMS to create better and more meaningful experiences for students through exclusive partnerships with industry professionals at the highest level.
Ms. Kawarazaki says, "It was wonderful meeting the students of SHMS, (whom are) clearly very passionate about the hospitality industry.” She also advises students to be themselves.
Personality is one of our values at Dorchester Collection and one of the key elements we look for in candidates. You also want to make sure that future employer fits your personality.
Along the same lines, Mr. Assani advises students on developing themselves. “Keep on building, nurturing, protecting, and investing in your own personal brand,” he says. “It was a real pleasure to meet you all and thank you for your hospitality...We hope it has been a valuable learning experience.”
Dorchester Collection will be opening The Lana in Dubai later in 2023 and is expanding into East Asia with a location in Tokyo’s Torch Tower in 2028.
Swiss Hotel Management School is partnered with Dorchester Collection and other leading hospitality and tourism brands to give our students the best and most up-to-date insights into the current industry